Today I went to a pastors conference in Springfield, MO. I had a great time with coworkers and enjoyed the discussions at the conference. But the highlight was seeing Steve Smallwood (@stevedsmallwood on twitter). Without Steve there would be no Marriages Restored, and no marriage to Ann.
When I first found out about Ann's affair I felt like a walking Picasso. Four days after revelation day I traveled the two hundred miles to Springfield for my monthly Army Reserves Drill. I sought Steve out and asked him if I could talk with him. We walked a couple of first downs down the hall and outside the glass doors. He looked at my face and asked, "What happened? Did your wife have an affair?"
I was undone. I have no idea what I said in my stunned state. I indicated yes. I felt comfort in his presence.
He took me out to lunch later that day. I'm sure mostly I stared at my food while he talked. My mental capacity was about that of a tea pot at the time. At one point Steve looked at me and me at him.
He said, "Ben, your marriage isn't over yet. And God isn't through using you."
I initially thought he was full of it, that he was just trying to cheer me up. But there was something else in me that yearned for his words to be true. So I folded them up like an invisible napkin, put 'em in my back pocket and carried them with me everywhere I went for the next fourteen months.
I didn't always remember they were tucked safely back there, but when I needed some hope to get me through another day or even just a nanosecond there they were offering a flicker or beam of light.
Steve walked with me through the crap of it all. It was messy. He spent time with me, took me to buy books, took me to see Braveheart, listened when I rambled on about my pain, and cautioned me when I was out on the road by myself to remember how very vulneralbe I was.
Steve was God's special agent of grace in my life. Without his presence, any help you may have received from this blog over the last eight years wouldn't have happened. When I think of that I get a sense that our God is a big God. One man helps one man who helps other men. The impact of Steve's grace has reached thousands of couples based on the almost 900,000 lifetime page views for this blog.
Without Steve's surrender and obedience to God there is no Marriages Restored Conference this Friday and Saturday. If your marriage is struggling through infidelity or for any reason whatsoever I hope you'll join us.
Because your marriage isn't over. And God isn't through using you.