Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Candid Story That Will Give You Hope

May 2006 (Photo by Joan Hodges)
“Lord, I’m messing up badly. I’ve treated Bert so ugly for such a long time. I’ve tried to change – I
really want to change – but I seem to constantly give into yelling and complaining about everything."

For years, I prayed, believed, and dreamed of being a better wife; but I never thought God would be able to do all He has done in me – and in my marriage!

This is one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to begin writing about our last verse as we learn to apply and meditate on Ephesians 3:16-20, one verse at a time:

Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified)
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]

Here’s a little of my story:

For a while, I had been noticing how critical and angry I had been acting, especially when I felt rejected by Bert. And of course, the more angry I became, the more Bert rejected me. My bad behavior and attitudes were so constant that it felt as if they were being permanently added to my character DNA.

Was I able to change? God, please change me!

One morning, after I had my devotions, I opened Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book, Love & Respect, and read several testimonies from ladies who described their disrespectful behavior towards their husbands. I felt shame as I saw myself in many of their stories.

I realized I wasn’t totally responsible for the demise of my marriage, but I couldn’t deny my contributions. The more I read the book, the more I could see how my constant criticism (including the tone of my voice and rolling my eyes) undermined my husband.

During this time, I also read R. T. Kendall’s words in his book, Total Forgiveness, regarding the rewards for totally forgiving those who hurt us. Thankfully, he went on to remind me that I, too, am in need of mercy and forgiveness. I cried into my hands as I repented again for my angry, spiteful and self-righteous heart. Before the day ended, I made Scripture Memory Cards (SMCs) with verses on forgiveness.

As I began to practice the principles presented in Dr. Eggerichs’ and Mr. Kendall’s books, I started to behave and think differently. Instead of nagging Bert to eat healthy, I bought food I knew he liked. Instead of lecturing him about going to church or having a quiet time, I remained quiet and prayed for him. The house, which was always impossible for me to keep up before, now stayed neat and tidy. And when he came home, I made sure I was pretty.  Most importantly, with God’s help, I chose to forgive Bert for his failures, and continued to take responsibility for mine.

I didn’t do any of these things perfectly, but my repentance was real. As I prayed constantly and meditated on God’s Word every day, I could sense God’s presence penetrating my innermost being.

God continued to give me grace to behave like the wife Bert thought he married.

Then one incredible evening, I saw tears in Bert’s eyes. “Sheryl, I never had anyone love me like you do. I never had someone who was willing to stay with me, in spite of my selfish, self-centered behavior.” He reached for my hand and pulled me closer to him. “Will you forgive me?”

Thus, a new, sweeter—more loving and respectful—marriage began.

Now every day, while cleaning the kitchen, making sales calls from my home office, preparing supper, and while lying in bed at the end of the day, I continuously thank God for doing superabundantly more than I ever imagined possible in me, in Bert – in us.

What is your deepest desire?
It may be a desire you’ve never told anyone, maybe never even dared to whisper to yourself because it seemed too impossible or too great.

This week, would you consider doing these things?

  •  For five minutes every day, meditate on and/or memorize Ephesians 3:20

  • Throughout each day, ask God to help you know that He loves and cares about you

  • Purpose in your heart (with God’s help) to grow in your faith to believe that He is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above your expectations

Feel free to share your comments.

Note: This blog is for anyone who desires a deeper walk with Jesus. I have another accountability blog for women only: (Once on the blog, click on the Current Goals tab to see several practical links regarding specific behavior issues, including: being a better wife/mom, quiet time moments, immediate goals (setting task-related goals), addictions, eating/exercising habits, etc.)


  1. I really like your blog honey. It is living (and written) proof of how much you love me. Bert

  2. Thanks, Bert! I do love you so very much. We had a rough time for awhile. But now I wouldn't want to be married to anyone but you!

    See you when you get home.

  3. Excellent post. And I love the photo!

    1. Thank you, Barbara. I love that photo, too!! One of my dearest friends (and my maid-of-honor) took the picture.

  4. That was a GREAT testimony Sheryl! I've been there as well & God is sooo patient with us! He lets us come to the end of ourselves & then He'll pick up our broken pieces when we turn them over to Him & He makes something so beautiful that we're in aw at the beauty He gives us in place of our mess! What a great God we serve!!!

    Blessings to you & Bert!!!


    1. Indeed, we do serve a great God!! What would we do if His patience with us wore out?! I want to extend the same kind of mercy God gives me to Bert and others.

      Thank you, DiAnna, for reading the post and for your comment. Please keep in touch. You are one of my early visitors when Coffee with Sheryl first began! Thanks for your friendship.

  5. Hi Sheryl with an S.
    I love your wonderful story about you and Bert. Also that is a great photo of you two. Quite a photographer. :)
    You little newlyweds (almost)

    1. Lol !! That is my very favorite wedding picture of Bert and me. Thank you for all the pictures you took. You've always been good at capturing those Kodak moments.
      And thank you for serving as my maid of honor. Your friendship will always be special to me.

      Let's get together sometime soon for lunch! Did you see Carol's comment? Wouldn't it be great if the three of us could get together again!

  6. Love this!!!!! What a privilege to be your friend and encouraged by your witness and your walk.

    You remain a beautiful bride to Bert and to Christ.


    Sent from my iPad

    1. Thank you, Carol! I appreciate you stopping by and for allowing me to copy and paste this onto the blog (from the email you sent).

      Your words are so kind and very encouraging! I have enjoyed - and been blessed - by our friendship, too! I hope we can see each other next time I come your way (or you my way!).

      Take care of yourself, dear friend. I miss laughing with you.

  7. This is such a beautiful picture of you and Bert.

    1. Thanks, Susan! That was a wonderful day which was beautifully captured by my maid-of-honor, Joan. In fact, you met Joan when you all helped Bert and I move into our current home.

      I love you, Susan.


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