Melissa's Testimony/Vows I met Brian Schulz when I was 21 years ...

roar and foam and the mountains quake with the surging.” I have experienced this first hand- my life was completely turned upside down and I was devastated, ...
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Melissa’s Testimony/Vows I met Brian Schulz when I was 21 years old. We worked together and I remember looking at him from across a crowded room and thinking that he was very attractive. When I overheard him listening to a Supertones song playing on his ipod in his office (The OC Supertones are a Christian ska band that I loved in high school), I was hooked. As I got to know Brian better, I quickly fell in love with his sense of humor, his caring heart, and how great he was with children. Brian and I were married right before my 23rd birthday, and at first it felt like the happily ever after in the movies. We were warned many times that the first years of marriage are the hardest, but that wasn’t the case for us. We adjusted easily to marriage and were very happy newlyweds for several years. Then, in 2011, Brian was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and the diagnosis was later changed to Bipolar Disorder characterized by Severe Depression. He received intensive therapy and tried a variety of medications to treat the depression. There were long periods where the depression was so severe that he was unable to work or function. Several times, the doctors found a medication that was effective in treating the depression, and my normal Brian would be back! However, Brian suffered many awful side effects and several effective medications began to damage his organs, which meant we would have to start all over in finding the right treatment. During two good periods, I got pregnant with our two beautiful children, Owen and Ella, which was a huge blessing, but also made the times when Brian was depressed even more challenging. In June of last year I came home from work to find Brian acting strangely. I was scared of another medication reaction so I rushed him to the Emergency Room. Testing revealed a high level of alcohol in Brian’s blood, and after an initial denial, he finally admitted to the drinking. But worse, it was later determined that he was also using Marijuana, something he was hiding and then continued to deny several times after the truth came out. I was crushed by the continual lying, and feeling completely broken and betrayed, I asked Brian to leave. It seemed to me at the time that the marriage was broken beyond repair. I remember praying, “God, I don’t deserve this! This isn’t what I signed up for! Please heal me and take away this pain- it’s too much for me to bear!” I cried out to God from the very depths of my smashed heart. And He heard me. And He healed me! I’ve never experienced a miracle like this. I literally felt the crushing weight of the pain and hurt being lifted from me. Jesus took my heavy burden, and in its place, gave me a love and compassion that I’ve never known. And it changed me forever! And equally, as Brian came back to Christ, he has been clean and sober since that day in the Emergency Room. He completed an intensive outpatient chemical dependency program while living with his parents, and wrote me letters every day asking my forgiveness and promising a better future. He called the kids each morning and came to visit them every weekend. He moved back home in September, and we’ve been letting God continue to heal and strengthen our marriage. It’s not perfect, and there is still more healing to be done, but I know that God will use what we have gone through for a great purpose. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose.” I’m so thankful to have my Brian back, the man I fell in love with so many years ago, and I know that it is only by the undeserved grace and mercy of God that we

have this fresh start. Owen and Ella now have their amazing, attentive, and loving daddy back and I am so thankful for that gift! Jesus is so much more real to me now than he ever was before. Hitting rock bottom forced me to let go of a lot of idols that I was holding on to and to cling to Him for dear life. Jesus is my everything. We are all sinners, every one of us, and yet the creator of the entire