I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the ripe old age of 5. Some of you reading this may think that 5 is too young, but I knew the Truth, could answer all of the questions posed to me by my parents and my pastor, and so they determined that I would be allowed to make a public profession of faith, followed by a water baptism. I was so small that my feet flew up out of the water when the pastor dunked me.
I’d love to say that my journey ended there. I’d love to say that I’ve been the epitome of the perfect Christian girl and that I lived every day in the subsequent 32 years for God. However, that’s not my story.
Yet, even in the midst of my teen years, when my life in no way reflected God or the love of God, I still knew the Truth. By the time I came back to God, I was married to Kaylee’s dad, who is a non-believer. In the 9 years married to him, I held onto my relationship with God by a thin thread. I found a church, became a member, and made Christian friends. I had Kaylee, raised Kaylee to know God and to develop her own relationship with Him, and did my best to carry my own weight in the difficult and unevenly yoked marriage.
I started writing in 1999. I woke every morning at 4:30 and wrote for two hours – a means of escape for me into another world. In two years, I wrote 10 secular “trashy” romance novels.
I had vowed to stay married and to be a good wife regardless of how hard it was, because that was what God commanded (Malachi 2:16) In December of 2001, When Kaylee was almost 5, he admitted to an extramarital affair, and we divorced (Matthew 5:32). I felt like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. Despite the pain that Kaylee suffered with the divorce, I had never been happier. I didn’t even feel like writing anymore – and didn’t for years.
In January, Gregg and I met. Within days of meeting, we knew that we would get married. The first time we held hands was to pray over our first meal. We discussed topics of a spiritual nature, prayed with each other, went to church together, worshipped together, read the Bible together – it was beautiful and it was wonderful.
In March 2002 he asked me to marry him, in June 2002 we were married, and in September 2002, he deployed to Afghanistan. He was gone for 9 months. The one thing that kept me going through the stress of war was believing, in my heart, that God brought us together for a purpose, and that didn’t include Gregg dying before we could even live together as husband and wife.
When he came home, we changed churches to one that suited us more as a couple, and became very active in ministry. He taught Sunday School, I cooked Wednesday nights, and we became best friends with the pastor and his wife.
I had lost two babies before Kaylee and two babies after. My whole long story about that can be found here. After my fifth pregnancy, I had my tubes tied. Gregg and I prayed about it, and looked into getting my tubes reversed. It was a REALLY expensive surgery, so we just put it on our horizon about something we would save for in the future. Soon after, Gregg was offered a job with a company out of Georgia. The new employer had prayed about it with his wife the night before offering the job, and put paying for the surgery in the employment package.
Almost exactly a year after the surgery, I got pregnant with Scott. In July 2006, he was born via emergency c-section at 30.5 weeks (his story can be found here.) We knew God had arranged for Scott’s arrival by coordinating everything with the surgery, and that knowledge gave us a tremendous amount of peace, which got us through the 4 weeks and 1 day of our baby in the NICU.
Looking back now, I can tell you that we thought we were a happy, devoted couple, doing the Lord’s work, living for Him. We went to church. We prayed together. We prayed with our children. We were MADLY in love. Our love grew daily from the day we met, and I thought we were untouchable.
But hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
Johnathan was born via emergency c-section in May 2008. That September, our marriage suffered a staggering blow. It rocked us, knocked the wind out of us for several months. For the first time in fourteen years, I started to pull away from God. Praying about what we were facing only seemed to make things worse. So I just quit praying about it.
On the surface, nothing changed. Gregg was at an Army school 7 hours away and came home most weekends. The weekends he couldn’t come home, I tried to go to him, but with Johnathan, Scott, and Kaylee, that wasn’t always possible. I started writing again. Not an escape this time, but as a project that Gregg and I could work on together – via email. In February 2009, Gregg came home.
For six weeks he was home while he prepared to go to Afghanistan on the civilian contract that he currently works. Nothing had really been resolved with us. We had this huge pink elephant in our room that we never talked about, we never prayed about together, and it was destroying us. We were so in love that it was goofy and silly, but our marriage was crumbling at the base and wasn’t going to stand much longer.
At the end of March, as he prepared to leave and go 8,000 miles away, I finally decided to trust God again.
I prayed for hours. I sobbed and prayed and cried and prayed and begged God to save this marriage that I was so certain that He had arranged for a purpose. I couldn’t believe his purpose was to bring us together to have these two beautiful boys only to have it ripped apart. I just couldn’t believe that.
God directed me to Focus on the Family’s website. I typed a word into the bookstore search option and received a wealth of resources and information. I printed the list, went to our local Christian bookstore, and had them order every book on the list. Gregg packed all of the books that were for him to read in his carry on bag. I stacked all of the books that were mine to read next to my bed. I kissed him goodbye on April 2nd and fully expected our marriage wouldn’t make it through the first month, much less the next 12 months.
During the next two weeks, Gregg traveled and he read. And I read. And we read. And read. And we both prayed. And prayed. And prayed. He finally reached his final destination, and by the time he got there, we both had experienced such an amazing spiritual uplifting and renewing that I do not feel like I have the words to express it and I’m frustrated because I want to.
We individually and collectively vowed to make sure that every part of our life was living for God. Our love grew exponentially until the 8,000 miles separating us felt like a hair’s breadth. We started making changes in every part of our life – cleaning out our visual entertainment, our reading material, our music collection. We had spent several years following a Levitical diet for health reasons, but suddenly our diet and food preparation and food storage became an act of worship for us.
Our marriage healed. As if God just ran His finger down the gaping wound and left behind healed, unscarred flesh. It was amazing and beautiful and nothing short of a miracle.
We came together and vowed to use all of our gifts, given to us by God, to glorify Him. Despite an offer from a publisher for one of my “trashy” romances, I stuck by my conviction and started re-writing my books to be inspirational romances that could be used to inspire readers, to lift them up, to witness to them. I started this blog – and Gregg and I have worked together on it as a couple and as a ministry team. I’ve started back in my ministry of cooking for church meals. Gregg began teaching classes in Afghanistan and working on his own writing.
Deuteronomy 6:5 instructs us to love the Lord with all of our heart and with all of our soul and with all of our strength. Joshua 22:5 expands on that and says that we are to love the Lord our God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all of our heart and with all of our soul.
Looking back now, to just before September 2008, I realize that I wasn’t living FOR God. I realize that He was part of my life. I know that. I trusted Him, I prayed to Him, I worshiped Him. But I didn’t pour out all of me into Him. And with Gregg and I just kind of going through the motions, as sincere as we we may have been, it opened us up to the enemy, who attacked and almost won.
So here I am, on the cusp of 38-years-old, 33 years after I first accepted Christ into my life, and I am just now really getting into my journey with God. I am so excited with what He’s going to bring me, and bring Gregg, and bring us collectively. We both feel like He has something amazing in store for our future service to Him. Right now we are just reading and learning and training and waiting for Him to reveal to us what is next for us.
Thank you for reading this and looking back through my testimony with me. I would love it if you would leave your own testimony in the comments section below.
May God bless you in amazing ways.
In the words of the greatest warrior,
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15b
This is a wonderful testimony. Praise be to God!! I posted mine on my blog.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony. God is Good…all the time!!!!
My dad used to say that they first one to the foot of the cross wins every argument. Sounds like you and Gregg both won!
What an incredible testimony! I am blown away by the power of God in your life. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. (Thanks for reading my testimony too on Knowlton Nest). I am so blessed to have Christian sisters in the “blog” world like you!
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I find it so hard somtimes to put into words all I am thinking and feeling, so I can relate to your frustrations at times! However, I think you did a wonderful job expressing yourself.
Hallee, that was beautiful and raw and real and I know it will help others.
Here’s my conversion story: http://christianity101-kelly.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-conversion-story.html
It’s amazing how God often uses hurting marriages to bring us closer to Him.
WOW! What a powerful testimony you have! It truly brought me to tears, in regards to how God has really worked in your life. I am so glad you shared your testimony. Thank you! Blessings!
I just loaded my pictures onto an electronic photo frame and I don;t know if you realize how MANY of the pictures are of you and Gregg and Kaylee and Scott and Jon. We have at least an hour and a half of viewing of the Bridgeman family, and you’ve always made us feel a part of everything with you. I’ve been worried about you this last year, and even though our paths spiritually are different, I am happy and excited that you have found the key to closeness, because a lot of couples can be crazy in love, and not make it. We will always love you guys, just like you are.
Mari (and Alan)
What a wonderful testimony! Thank you so much for sharing it. :-)
Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your heart with us! I need to work on writing out my testimony!
I took some time tonight to read your testimony, and I am so glad that I did. I think you should write a book about your journey. There are many who are heading down similar pathways and could use some help from you. Your love of writing and your wisdom about God’s promises for you and your family will guide you to write the words that need to be said.
Thank you so much. What a blessing this comment is.
Gregg and I write together a lot. I have no doubt that one day we will write about this journey. I’m not feeling it right now, but I’m sure that when God’s ready, we’ll both be ready, too.
I love that you have written this and been so open about it. My husband and I experienced something about 5 1/2 years ago that most people split up over and have a ‘real’ story, but it is a very personal matter, not only for me but especially for my husband so I literally CAN’T write about it…yet. We’ve known that some day we will share our story with others and your courage here assures me that we’ll get there one day. Thank you for being open about this. Oh yeah…I also gave you an award. :-) http://love2cook05.blogspot.com/2010/05/reassured-and-another-award.html
It is amazing. I was experiencing the period of quiting praying to God. Now I realize how silly it was. It couldn’t solve any problem I had in my life. Today, I decide to get closer to God. I know there must be something God want me to take from him, peace, jorce, faith, courage, as long as I begin to read bible, pray to him.
I am glad to find this website at the day I would like to change my spiritual life. Thank God to use your testimony to add my faith.
I will surely to visit your website frequently. I found there are lot of interesting material here.
God love you.
What an awesome testimony! I was drawn to your site by the cute vintage buttonon Menu Plan Monday, but there is a feast of spiritual food here, too.
Thank you so much for giving us some of your yummy Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread today when you stopped by to get some honey. It is amazingly delicious! My husband suggested I check your blog for the recipe so that is why I am here and I enjoyed reading your testimony. I look forward to the opportunity to meet you some time when you come to get more honey!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the bread! I really enjoyed speaking to your husband today – I look forward to meeting you as well!
What a beautiful testimony Hallee! I have realized that I too have just been going through the motions of being a Christian instead of actually living my life for God. The Lord placed the desire in my heart seven years ago to share my story in the form of a book to reach to others who may be going through any of the number of experiences I’ve encounter in my life. For seven years I’ve run from the task feeling the task was simply to large for me. I realize that I’ve been looking at my inability instead of His ability. I have gone as far as to start a blog to gain some writing experience and hopefully through that the book will form. I can’t help but feel that out there somewhere is someone who is an experienced author who would like to work with me on at as a collaborative. My testimony can be read at:
http://thepursuitofpurposeandsurvial.blogspot.com/ Thank you again for sharing your testimony. May God continue to bless you and Gregg.
Thank you for posting this. I feel that I’m in a valley with God and your testimony of our Lord and your relationship with him, encourages me. Thank you for the food for thought. :)
“As if God just ran His finger down the gaping wound and left behind healed, unscarred flesh. It was amazing and beautiful and nothing short of a miracle.” This means so so much to me… your testimony is very similar to alot I have going on in my life, too. My husband and I are currently separated, I am praying for his salvation and freedom from the path he is on… believing for a miracle, your testimony is an inspiration to me, thank you for sharing it
Thanks so much for sharing your testimony. You have brightened my morning. Have made me want to become even closer to GOD. God has never failed me and my family. During the last 8 months I have gone thru 4 surgeries, and have lost my job due to being off work for so long. During this trial I have learned to rely on God. He will supply all my needs. We have a wonderful church family that has supported us with prayers and with other gifts that were such blessings. Really, it hasn’t been the great burden that most would think it would be. I have had more time to read and study since I have been off work. I honestly feel closer to God now than before. I have more time to stop and feel Gods hands and His prescience in my life. GOD IS GOOD!
Hello, to all the lovely ladies(sisters), who read this testimony.
I had to shed a few tears. I will not get into the lenghty tales of my history. Just yet.
I am new at this bloging thing.
we live in the country and well it is great. we have 4 children 13 and under. i am happily married to a wonderful christian man ,
we met first off at a horse stable, and then another encounter in picking up a horse. we chatted abit and well it is a long story but here we are 17 years later
i am a new creation.wow! It is so wonderful.
Our children are homeschooled and we milk cows. we have a nice farm in ky. and good neighbors. Just trying to make it all come together for the Lord.
I would like to have a copy sent of the budgeting plan if possiable
thanks bren God Bless you all
I just read your testimony. I too have been in a previous marriage that was full of addiction. It was fine in the early years until he fell weak addiction — an addiction that did not quit even after a couple expensive rehabs and trips to jail. I fought to hang on, but after he was sentenced to prison and after a couple affairs, I finally left. My church was against divorce. It was the same church we were married in as young adults and that I attended for most of my adult life. The church viewed marriage “until death do you part” as did several members/church friends who were my very, very close friends. I, however, felt raising children around a drug addict and all that that kind of life entails (cheating, financial drain, pawning valuables, in-and-out of jail, police at home) was not good for the children to be a part of. Even though it wasn’t Biblically correct to divorce, I honestly felt like I didn’t have a choice and I had to put my children over my husband and leave. I heard the comments like, “we all struggle” “every marriage has problems” etc from the church body. Nobody knows what hell you go through when you live with an addict — it is not typical marital problems. It is not the same problems as when you have a death in family, arguing over where to buy a home, raising children, etc. Anyways, I cannot get past the fact that the church, and a larger church at that, viewed marriage as I vow never to be broken even when addiction has ruined your marriage. Do you or any of your readers have thoughts on how I can ever trust a church again? And for the record, the ex-husband got out of prison and is still an addict and has no part of the kids lives– not even a phone call.
Put your trust in God. Go to church for Him, to worship him and to learn of him. Don’t stop going because of people. People are imperfect and for what ever reason, we feel we have the right to judge others. That right is only God’s and He knows you, loves you, He knows your situation and your heart. If you put your trust in God, and ask Him, He will help heal the pain that you have gone through and you will find peace. If you don’t feel comfortable in your current congregation, please find another. Search until you find one that feels like “home”.
I just want to say thank you for your beautiful testimony and your site. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family. I got led to your site while i was searching for how i could schedule my stay at home mom time.
thank you again
god bless you
Wow what a great testimony. I too was saved at 5 years old. I will have to write about that soon at feedingnineonadime.com There is so much encouragment in your testimony. A sense of looking forward to great things that I love.
Yours is an amazing story of how God is patient (because he was still waiting for you both to freely give your whole heart ), tenderhearted(He knows our hearts desires and is willing to give them to us), loving( because he’s already given us the greatest gift- His Son), and kind (allowing us to find our way with his help when you ask for it along the way). This is God and these are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we can have that are a part of God and like his word says if we abide in him (with our whole heart) then He abides in us. That is awesome.
I came for your fabulous looking “travel sandwich” and stayed to read your testimony. As a Christian I am inspired to tears by your story, and pray for your and family’s continued blessings in Jesus.
Thank you for posting your testimony, I am sure it has been a blessing to many. I had a similar experience in 1999, writing novels and then websites, later getting hired full time by a large company who paid me really well – about $8k/month. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing and didn’t feel like I could pray to God and ask for help because I knew how bad my sin was. It wasn’t until many years later that I started reading my Bible and discovered that my husband, who had also fallen away, had started reading his at the same time. We began going to church together – the first time in our 20+ years of marriage and we both got Saved within a few weeks of each other. I quit my job completely, making less than half of what I made back then and we even had to file bankruptcy, but the Lord has walked us through it. We put our faith and trust in Him and in Him alone and every time we re-commit that trust through an act of faith, He rewards us by renewing our strength. All of this has strengthened our marriage, as we have grown in Christ together. Your story was such an inspiration – you went through so much, but came out on the other side stronger, better, happier and blessed. Thank you again for sharing it.
Hi Hallee, I just read your testimony. I’m touched. I AM a wife, strong marriage, with three grown kids – Michelle 26, Ryan 24 and Christine 21. I homeschooled the kids in the early years, was a strong Christian. Sometimes I wonder if my faith has become weaker since the kids have grown up and left home, almost an empty nest… I am just downright sweetened by the fellowship of faith in your blog. I don’t know how i got here, but it was nice. Really nice.
Thank you Hallee for your testimony. Every marriage has its rough spots. Sometimes its deep holes that seem impossible to climb out of. I hope my husband and I can find what we are destined to do for the Lord as a married couple. Your testimony has given me hope. Thank you