Monday, April 5, 2010

Story of Hope and Restoration--Part 67

Running towards God as hard as he did running away from Him  was still going to take some time. 

We took a trip to Colorado for a few days, in January. We wanted to make sure that it was where God wanted us to be.  We loved the church; we found a house. The job thing might take time, but we needed to GO! 

Trying to sum up the rest of our journey is so hard to do. There is so much I have left out, and I think as God moves me through writing a book--more and more may come out.  I didn't realize how bad it was for many months after Josh came home.  My mind said it was really only bad for a week, until I started reading my journals.  God carried me. He has healed so much of my heart. 

The weeks that followed Josh's return home were difficult. He continually talked about the steps for getting back in ministry, as if not much had happened?  You could tell his repentant heart was not fully there.  He was not broken. 

Levi's name, meaning...a union supported by Jehovah.  Levi was a blessing and a joy. He slept through the night at 3 months old, giving Josh and I the rest we needed, as well!  God poured His grace over our move.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were uncomfortable but a blessing beyond words.  Our family was delighted to have no major holidays without Daddy where he belonged.  3 months seemed like an eternity, but it was nothing compared to the life we were going to live. 

God continues to sustain me, and some days are worse than others.  Healing from this pain has been nothing short of miraculous.  It's been two years, and I can write this story without crumbling into a fit of tears.  It can hurt, but it doesn't hurt the same way. 

Moving to Colorado was just definitely one of the best decision of our lives.  Our hearts have been knitted together with wonderful people, to this day.  The journey of healing and reconciliation would not have been the same without them.  God brought men into Josh's life that steer him towards God, keep him accountable, and encourage growth.  Remeber, I prayed for this!

Many months of crying myself to sleep led to more and more healing.  Those first few months in Colorado were so difficult.  Josh did not have a job for 3 months; we lived on very little.  Money stress just added more problems.  Josh was ready to go get a job at a bar, this was heart-breaking.  Josh still had no boundries for himself.

Working as a bounty hunter put him in places that could NOT have been good for him, but I just spent those evenings on my knees.  Josh never felt like he was doing badly.  My spirit knew it wasn't over.  Josh was NOT okay.  I was lost as to what else I could do.

After almost a year, Josh finally agreed to counseling.  He was reluctant still, and it was hard.  I had decided to go for counseling myself, and that opened up new things.  When Josh saw this, he was ready.  Our relationship grew during those few months of counseling. Josh was able to pray and recover pieces of his heart, and give them to me.  BUT one thing that was unsettled was the REASON for the behavior, in the first place. Our counselor told Josh he needed to ask God to reveal the contents of his heart.  Josh said he did....and God wasn't answering. 

That night I got into a horrible accident, almost killing a motorcyclist.  Our Yukon was totaled, and the pieces of our life were seeming to get a bit more shattered.  Things didn't want to go...JUST right.  Josh blew up.  I got scared.  "God owed him!"  WHAT??? Oh, no!!! This was it; the anger towards God was the problem all along.  Josh still felt like God should do more for him?  He had come home; he was being good. Why did THIS have to happen?  It felt like someong had punched me in the stomach. Nothing was really fixed; I knew it. BUT to be faced with it was tough to swallow.   

My friends, those men I prayed to surround Josh came to the rescue. They spoke life into those dark places, explaining that God owed him NOTHING.  It didn't matter coming from me, but it did matter coming from his "brothers!"  God was showing Josh the contents of his heart, but Josh didn't like it. 

Almost over night I saw a difference.  The man I wanted was FINALLY home!!!  More than a YEAR after coming home, JOSH was HOME!! 

Josh agreed to have his computer monitored by Covenant Eyes, and it was a step in the right direction. Josh had not been "bad" for a long time, but unless your heart it turned towards God, it cannot last.  I can still be brought to tears when I think about God's goodness in Josh's life.

Do we still have ups and downs? Of course! Do we know what's worth fighting about? Sometimes!  Are we the same people we were 2 years ago? Not at all......

God continues to work in our situation.  Josh heard clearly from God that we needed to move back to California to continue the healing process. People and family here did not get to experience the journey in the same way we did.  They needed a glimpse, a real one, of what God had done. Josh needed to reclaim his anointing.  On February 14th, we dedicated our newest addition to the family...Shallah Rianne.  Her name means, "river of grace!"  God's grace is beyond compare.  Josh was also re-instated, as Pastor Josh.  Our journey is not God leads us on the next step of our journey, we anxiously await.  Healing is a process, but it's a complete healing, if done through the Healer!

No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still. Anyone of you, if faced with some of the circumstances can allow God to heal and work through them.  God gives grace for your situation; you must allow Him to work though. You have to listen.  It's not an easy journey, but I am SO glad that I walked uprightly.  I regret nothing. 

Thank you for following me on this journey, and I would LOVE to hear from you.


Mrs. and Mama K said...

Wow, Serena...Question: how soon after he came how did you get pregnant with Shallah? What point in your story was this? Do you consider that pregnancy as part of the healing process? Were you at peace when you found out?

amy k* said...

Your candid and honest account has blessed me so. I can't explain how much my heart was grieved while knowing that you two (my own personal Pastors!) were going through this. I am SO EXCITED to see what God does next! Thank you for sharing and revealing your heart. I, for one, have learne SO MUCH!!! LOVE YOU BOTH DEARLY!!! XOXOXO

Josh Abdelaziz said...

Babe, I am so incredibly proud of you. The way that you have written our story- to include the good, the bad, and the ugly- has been hard for you. But, I also believe that in doing so He has continued His healing in you. Many of the days you wrote about I did not remember at all. And most every day that I read the story were hard for me to stomach. But, your writing has healed me in many ways. I know that our story has touched many lives and am proud to stand with you in order to tell it; not for our own glory but for His. You are no longer standing alone. We stand together for our marriage. Our marriage is stronger than ever and I know now that He has supplied us with all we need for our next step in the journey. I am eternally grateful that you did not give up on me or the plan that God had for us. I love you, Serena.

Joshswife said...

Josh was home for almost a year when I got pregnant with Shallah. It was God's AMAZING timing, once again. My car accident had happened only a couple of weeks before I would have been pregnant, and THAT was the turning point I mentioned. I dealt with a lot of things emotionally during my pregnancy, seeing as I had been alone for some of Levi's! BUT God was good, and it could not have been a better time. The emotions I dealt with would have happened even if it had happened 5 years later. Thanks for asking. I figure we are an OPEN book at this point.

Jazette said...

And thank God that you are an open book. This is an amazing testimony! I can't wait until the book comes out. I pray that it happens for you soon.

Bonnie said...

God is so mighty to save! Your lives have been a powerful witness!


Luke Gilkerson said...

Thanks for this series. It is so good to hear about how God has carried you in all of this.

Would you be interested in writing a guest post for the Covenant Eyes blog? I think many of our readers would love to read your story and learn some about how good accountability has helped in your restoration.

Let me know!

Joshswife said...

I would be honored, Mr. Gilkerson! Let me know what I need to do, if my story will help anyone I would be thrilled to give glory to God!

As you can see, I would love to write a book someday. Thank you for following along.