My Story of How a Turkey Sandwich Helped Save My Marriage!
In life, things happen and those things shape who we become. Everyone has a story. This is my story.
At age 7 a very important event happened in my life. My parents were getting ready to divorce. Mom and Dad were fighting all the time and I could feel the tension in the house. But then something miraculous happened. My parents got saved! It all happened right before Christmas. My parents went from fighting all the time to lots and lots of kissing. I remember Dad bringing Mom roses. The fighting stopped almost completely. We started going to church. I witnessed my first miracle. I saw a God who was up close and personal and cares about what happens to us.
I learned something through watching God change my family. I started to BELIEVE that if God could change my parents, then He could change anyone, including me.
Fast forward a few years…
After a series of broken relationships that ended without a marriage proposal, I was left feeling very rejected and abandoned. Somehow, over the course of time, I started to believe the lie that, “Something was wrong with me.” I wanted desperately for someone to love me unconditionally without any strings attached — just for who I was, the good and the bad. I wanted the same kind of love I saw in my parents.
And then I met my husband. There is nothing like marriage to magnify your faults. Anyone who has been married for awhile knows that marriage is hard work! After one particularly large fight early in our marriage, I remember feeling completely devastated. It was unexpected and I felt like I had been blind-sided, like someone had hit me from behind and knocked the air right out of me. I remember crumbling to the floor in my kitchen, just crying out to God from my gut. I had never experienced such pain before. Words could not describe the confusion and deep agony I felt inside.
My first response was to run away and ignore what was happening. But God told me to stay and work it out, so I obeyed despite how I was feeling inside.
But what God asked me to do next really pushed me past my comfort zone. I remember Him impressing on my heart to get up early each morning and make breakfast for my husband. Not only that, but He wanted me to do it with a GOOD ATTITUDE. That really made me mad! And then God had the nerve to tell me to fix him a turkey sandwich for lunch also. God spoke very clearly to me. I knew it was God because I would have never come up with such a crazy plan — and I argued with God about it. I think that is when He threw in the turkey sandwich!
Looking back, I can see now that God was already at work in our marriage. God used those silly turkey sandwiches to prove a point. He used my act of service to reflect His Godly character. He showed my husband (and me for that matter) that He loves us in spite of our faults. In my obedience to God, I made a CHOICE to LOVE my husband and not hate him. That turkey sandwich was God’s “Love Note” to my husband. God simply chose me to deliver “His Message.”
That was a turning point in our marriage. In fact, I believe those turkey sandwiches saved our marriage. It stirred up forgiveness and renewed hope. The road to healing our broken hearts did not happen overnight. I remember several times feeling confused and angry and depressed. My emotions were up and down like a roller coaster — so unpredictable. I felt like the world was crashing around me. At times, everything looked so dark and without hope. Little things we did frustrated each other and got on our nerves. We would blame and point the finger at each other instead of face the hurt we both felt inside.
And then you add four children into the picture. In order to survive the daily routine of taking care of little kids, I went numb inside. I didn’t have time to take care of myself, much less cry, so I determined in my heart to just survive. Like a robot I would go through the motions of family life — dishes, laundry, trash. That seemed to be all my world consisted of. I felt tired and overwhelmed and hopeless that things could ever change. I didn’t feel God’s presence like I used to. God seemed distant. I remember feeling so alone. I started to question everything. I struggled to trust again.
There were so many negative voices in my head. I remember one time in particular I was having a pity party, feeling sorry for myself. I prayed for God to give me insight. The insight He gave me was not what I had expected. In an instant, I saw my life pass before me as if on a videotape in my mind. I realized I wasn’t so perfect. I too had made some bad choices and only by God’s grace did He spare me the consequences of my actions. I realized that I was more of a sinner instead of the saint I thought I was. I had been so critical of my husband. That’s when God started changing my attitude!
In my quiet time the next couple of weeks, I re-read the story of the Prodigal Son. All of a sudden I realized, I was the “older brother.” I had never seen it before, but I was judging my husband for the poor choices he made, but my motives were wrong too. I pointed the finger at my husband and blamed him for all our troubles. But in my heart was PRIDE. I knew God was talking to me.
I don’t know how it happened — but that started a process of looking at myself and allowing God to deal with me and “my stuff” and I stopped focusing on my husband and his stuff. The more I listened to my husband’s story of pain and rejection growing up, the more I realized we were both more similar than different. We both were hurting inside. The circumstances were different, and how we chose to cope with the pain was different, but the pain of rejection was the same.
God is still working in me, my husband, and our marriage. The final chapter in our story has not been written yet. I’m learning to not make excuses for bad behavior, but I also don’t expect perfection either. We are a work in progress. Although there are no guarantees in life, with God’s help we have the best chance of succeeding. Just as I saw God work a miracle in my parent’s lives and in their marriage, I am now seeing God do a miracle in our lives, and in our marriage.
When I think of my journey,
I compare it to that of a caterpillar…
As a caterpillar, it spends its days crawling around on the ground. All it sees is dirt and rocks and grass. It has a limited view of the beautiful creation surrounding it. But then, unexpectedly and without warning, a cocoon develops — a dark, restrictive wrapping that must feel more like a “straight jacket” than a blanket.
Changes start to occur. It can’t see it or make sense of it yet. But wings develop. It must not be happy, because it struggles to break free. The whole process must feel very strange and confusing. But God has a plan for the caterpillar.
The struggle releases toxins — poisons — built up in it’s system. It is being refined, purified. The very process that causes it pain is actually saving it’s life. The struggle increases it’s wing strength.
Suddenly, it breaks through. It sees light. It struggles some more. By now, the caterpillar must be filled with HOPE. The light is getting brighter; it’s escape hole is getting wider. The obstacles in front of it no longer seem impenetrable. And then, it happens — it breaks free.
It’s wings, strengthened by the struggle, flap with determination. They lift it higher. It begins to fly. It looks around. It is no longer a prisoner. It is free. The world looks different, more beautiful — so open, so wide, so free from restrictions.
Just like the caterpillar, there are times in this process that I too have felt very alone. Things happened that I didn’t expect. All of a sudden my world turned upside down. I didn’t feel God’s presence like I used too. Everything seemed very dark — almost as if God had abandoned me. At the time, I wondered what I did to deserve this. Was it some sort of punishment or cruel misfortune? I struggled and fought to get out of my circumstances, out of my mess, but with no success.
I asked the tough questions, “Does God not hear my cries? Does He not care? Is there any point to this madness?”
God remained distant, or so it seemed. Why doesn’t He help me break out of this situation? All the while, the struggle is changing me.
What I learned from going through this process is this — God in His great goodness knows that the struggles we face are necessary to build our strength, to take us to a higher level, more beautiful than we’ve ever known before. What seems like cruel punishment is actually God’s grace. He is saying in essence, “Don’t settle for crawling around on the ground, when you can fly. Don’t lose hope!”
So what did I learn in this process?
- I learned that the Battle Begins in my mind. What I think about influences my words and ultimately my actions. The battle is won or lost in my mind. So I better start thinking about what I’m thinking about.
- I learned to make choices today that I would be happy with tomorrow. My choices affect my future. And if I wanted my future to look different, then I needed to make different choices.
- I learned to depend on God to meet my needs and fulfill me, not anyone or anything else.
- I stopped making excuses for my behavior.
- I learned that I don’t have to pretend that everything is OK when it’s not. I can be honest with God and others.
- I learned I didn’t have to perform in order to gain God’s favor. He loves me no matter what, just the way I am.
- I learned to stop fearing what I could not control. I could not control or change myself, or my husband, or my marriage. I didn’t have to live under the constant stress and pressure of trying to hold it all together. ONLY GOD could change me. I let Him be in control.
If there is ONE THING that I would like you to remember about my story is this….
None of this would have happened without God.
God was there when He told me to make the Turkey Sandwich.
God was there when He opened my eyes to my own sin through the story of the Prodigal Son.
God was there. He was always there. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for God in my life.
Some of you feel like you are in a cocoon right now? Maybe it’s your fault, maybe it’s not. But you are there. Maybe you’ve given up hope of ever getting out. So you quit trying. You quit believing.
Just like the caterpillar, God has so much more for you than this. Yes you can and will be happy again. The end will be better than the beginning. What you thought was impossible, is possible with God. Because the same God who made the butterfly, made YOU.
You get a front row seat to watch God at work in your life.
Someday, you will fly above your circumstances. ALL caterpillars were meant to fly!