548 – The Story of James and Brandy
God makes men by showing us how we can believe Him anyway in the face of what seems like impossible circumstances.
James and Brandy both went into their marriage fully intending to build their life together on the rock of Christ. James, who attends the Bible study I teach, told me, “And so it went…at first.”
After five carefree years without kids, they started a family with two wonderful children, anticipating that life would only get happier. But in reality the demands of work and the stress of raising children began to take a toll on their marriage. They lost that important feeling of being close to your soul mate. That made it easier to dwell on each other’s faults, and so they slowly drifted apart. At the fourteen-year mark, weakened by self-pity over his unhappiness at home, James fell into the arms of another woman. When confronted by friends over his adultery, he said, “I felt like I was being torn in two.”
With the help of their church community, James and Brandy reconciled and started over. But this transgression, along with the unresolved issues each had brought into their marriage, kept eating away at them. For his part, James was quick to anger and wore his feelings on his sleeve. Brandy, in contrast, buried her feelings because she thought that was the Christian thing to do. When the children hit their teens, James and Brandy decided to get counseling to help them become better parents. But those conversations opened a can of worms. His affair came back to center stage. Their arguments became more and more frequent. Brandy, particularly, seemed annoyed at every little thing James did.
One day James said to her, “Brandy, if these things bother you so much, then why don’t you ask me to leave?” So she did. After a few days of living alone, James realized what a horrible mistake he had made. His repeated pleas for reconciliation fell on deaf ears. Brandy was boiling with a volcanic anger, and she wanted nothing to do with him. In the months that followed, he found e-mails that revealed his wife was getting emotionally attached to an old flame. That attachment eventually led to an affair. James still believed God wanted them to reconcile and stay married. But after everything that had gone on, he was thinking, You’ve got to be kidding me. How could that possibly happen now? Brandy clearly despised him, and she had opened her heart to the other man.
There appeared to be no way his marriage could recover. He started losing weight and couldn’t sleep. He routinely woke up at around 3:00 a.m. and pleaded with God to save his marriage. One morning God whispered to his heart, “James, I have you. But you need to give Brandy to Me.”
James wasn’t sure what that meant. He said, “How can I give her up when what I really need to do is win her back?”
Meanwhile, Brandy continued moving away from James. She began bringing up the topic of divorce in their infrequent communications, though James resisted it every time. He wanted to find some way to get Brandy back, but he didn’t know how to begin.
One day James yelled at the top of his lungs, “God, I don’t think I can hold out any longer!” When he was done venting, he heard God whisper, “Are you finished?” Then, “Wait.”
One day, after a couple of years of separation, Brandy sent James a text: “Happy Father’s Day.” For an hour James sobbed uncontrollably and cried out to God to bring his marriage back from the dead. Later that day, when James picked up his daughter for dinner, Brandy asked if she could join them. They had a wonderful evening talking and laughing. The two started dating again. Each saw changes in the other. Then they went to counseling together and began learning how to open up and express honest feelings without letting their emotions become destructive. They sought and received forgiveness from each other. After two years of prayer and pain and waiting on God, James and Brandy got back together.