Hope For Your Marriage Restoration While Social Distancing

BY: Koji Bell, Director, Restored Marriage
Depending upon where you live in this world, the discussion about COVID-19 in your community may have started as early as January 2020. For many of us here in North Carolina, USA, the impact of social distancing requirements began taking shape in early March 2020. During this time, I was traveling to meet with a ministry leader in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho which had me flying through Spokane, Washington. At that time, Washington state was a media focal point for the Coronavirus outbreak.

As I returned home, I found myself praying that God would use this time to heal hurting marriages. Why? Because I have seen Him move during catastrophes before. Like you, I have never experienced anything quite like this pandemic. I happened to be traveling through China during the SARS outbreak and I had personally experienced being sick abroad and getting my iris scanned in order to board a plane. But social distancing? Never. I knew this was a perfect opportunity for God to show us His glory.

My frame of reference for watching God move in marriages was a powerful and deadly storm called Hurricane Sandy. For those who lived in the Northeast United States, this immensely powerful hurricane pummeled the Northeast United States, Canada, and the Caribbean in October 2012. At the time, Deana and I were separated and living in two separate homes. Deana was stationed in the home that we owned together as a married couple and I had moved out about 30 minutes away in a townhome community. Deana was standing for our marriage and was involved with Covenant Keepers in a Pennsylvania-based small group. For me, I was wandering the wilderness of separation and divorce wondering what was next in my life.

When the hurricane hit my new home, power was knocked out for about a week. Like COVID-19 conditions, food and supplies were scarce. Local travel was severely limited and almost everyone sheltered in their homes. However, different from our current pandemic, electricity was not available. This meant my TV was off, my cell phone finally died and the only source of light in the evenings was candles. Food had to be purchased daily because there was no way of keeping things refrigerated. Lots of restaurants and businesses were out of power too. The ones that did have power were overwhelmed with people trying to feed their families.
But here is the amazing thing. God used that time of crisis to reach me. Looking back on it now, God used a break from my preoccupations to get some alone time with me. I found myself sitting in an empty home with ample time, being idle, and thinking about all the mistakes I had made in my life, marriage, and family. I didn’t know it at the time, but the Holy Spirit was interceding and convicting me that I had made a mistake in leaving my marriage.

The hurricane crisis was a very different experience for Deana. For one thing, “Super Storm” Sandy had quite literally passed over her house. While my home was damaged with shingles and siding torn off and power gone, God had protected Deana’s home. Except for a lot of rain and power outage for a couple of hours, Deana was in good shape. Even the large trees that surrounded our property were unchanged. When people down the street from Deana lost trees, she did not. While I was alone wallowing in my own self-pity, Deana was being encouraged by her small group and continued to press into her faith. Deana used her downtime to go deeper into her relationship with the Lord and to hear clearly how to proceed in our marriage crisis.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

My point here is that God used that time to work for our good – even separately. God used a crisis to give me quiet time to contemplate where I had gone wrong in my life. He sent His Advocate to me to convict me of my mistakes. He also protected Deana and the home that we used to live in together. He knew that I would one day return to that home and He caused a hurricane to pass over the house to keep it a place that I would eventually return to with my wife and children.

Deana was also able to avoid discouragement by meeting with her Covenant Keepers’ small group. Her team of prayer warriors kept her encouraged, and together they set their faces like flint until the restoration of their marriages would manifest. God used that time to remove the distractions and obstacles and created a ton of free time for Deana to soak in Scripture.

So, in this time of global pandemics and uncertainty, what are you doing with your extra time? It would be all too easy to watch the news for the fourth time in one day. It would be so easy to sit in self misery and become depressed. That is precisely where the enemy wants you. Distracted, isolated, and doubting the existence of God. The enemy, if you let him, will have you convinced that restoration is not in your future. Don’t make the mistake of giving up or giving in to the enemy.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

You are not called to be alone in your marriage crisis. When you are praying for God to move in your marriage while a global pandemic is changing everything around you, you need faith and the encouragement of others who understand what you are going through. Staying busy is not the answer. Perhaps you are being given an opportunity to be still in His presence. Instead of more news, maybe it's better to interact with a computer screen full of caring and empathetic faces on Zoom; with people who will make it their priority to pray with you. Maybe they will even help you pray that God will use this time to slow down your prodigal spouse’s life for a second, so they can contemplate Christ’s design for marriage. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that God only works in Deana’s and my life! He will work in yours too.

If you are not already a part of a Covenant Keepers small group, this is your invitation to join. Our small groups are free to attend and meet via Zoom. Even social distancing does not keep fellow standers from holding Bible study, encouraging one another, and praying for the return of their spouses. Pictured above is a sample of our many volunteer leaders at Covenant Keepers who lead small groups. I’ll bet God has already chosen an ideal small group for you.
There are Covenant Keepers small group meetings held every day of the week. You simply fill out this application and we’ll take care of the rest to get you on-boarded with Zoom and connected to your group. Sure, it can be a little uncomfortable meeting new people, but I believe something shifts in the spiritual realm when you take a step of faith and do something new to be in His presence. Just like the centurion saw his servant healed by Jesus just by asking, perhaps He will move a mountain for you.

We are looking forward to meeting you virtually in one of our many virtual small groups.
Koji Bell is Co-Director of Covenant Keepers, Inc. together with his wife Deana. Koji started his married life like many others. He focused on climbing the corporate ladder, tried to achieve financial success, served on leadership teams at church and worked to be the best husband and father he could be. After being hit by a drunk driver, life spun out of control and his marriage went in crisis. After surrendering to Jesus, everything changed. Today, Koji walks in victory humbled by his call to ministry and this new season of abundant blessing and service. Koji is a licensed Pastor and is a graduate of Dove | Hopewell School of Ministry.
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