Restoration after my husband left me
My story for the last couple of years has been one of restoration. God has so beautifully restored my life, after a very dark and difficult time. It is five years now since my divorce. I was married for nearly ten years, until my ex-husband decided that he no longer wanted to be married or be in relationship with anyone, and wanted to live a life of a single man. It was an incredibly difficult time for me, we had both been through a lot. We were living in Dubai for the duration of our marriage.
Our time there had been challenging, running a water sports business, and going through a lot of ups and downs, relating to the business. The marriage itself was hard, but I gave it my all. So to have my husband, after almost a decade, walk out on me in 2017 was devastating. When he left, I packed up my bags, by then we had downscaled to a small apartment, so there wasn’t much furniture to sell after living for a decade in the country. I sold what we had, and flew home to Cape Town in October 2017.
On the plane I remember thinking, What am I going to do? Where is my life now? I am 37 years old with a broken marriage, I haven’t got assets and property and money. I haven’t got a job or a house to live in. What will I do, Lord? My parents picked me up at the airport and I remember the look on my mums face, she was crying, devastated for me, but also happy I was home. I just felt relief to be with family after a decade living in the Middle East, and in an unloving difficult marriage. So my life started from scratch again.
I stayed with my parents for three months, and just threw myself into the arms of the Lord. I got plugged into church straight away, and did a divorce recovery course. I met a really good friend on that course, one of my best friends to this day. I prayed, ‘Lord, I don’t have anything but you, and you are the only One who is going to get me through this season of my life.’ The Lord graciously started to put the pieces of my life back together. I remember everyday waking up and starting my day with the Lord, and giving Him the day, taking it one day at a time, asking Him to guide and lead me. I had no direction, I didn’t know what job I was going to do, I didn’t know where I would live, I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have much money. I really had nothing but Him.
So I spent 3 months with my parents, getting my health back and being loved by them. After three months I got an amazing job - the Lord really knew exactly what I needed. It was a marketing manager role for a national restaurant franchise. I got to be in the ‘fun and games’ of the nightlife and restaurant business and fly around south Africa, meeting the most amazing people – DJs and influencers and artists. It was an incredible season – I worked really hard, I threw myself into my job and I excelled at it. It was perfect for me at that time.
I was with the company for four years, which took me through COVID. Through the pandemic God sustained me – so many people were being laid off in the restaurant business in South Africa, out of all the staff, there were 8 of us that kept our jobs. The Lord had his hand on my life during that time in terms of provision, because I didn’t lack for anything. When I got the job, I also moved out of my parent’s and into a lovely house-share. I was serving on the events team at Hillsong Church in Cape Town, building up friendship and community again.
The Lord bought beautiful friendships back to me, he brought restoration in my family, to spend time with my brothers and sister in law and nephews. He re-built my life in every area. In the last year I changed jobs, as I realised the night-life industry was not very sustainable for me as I got older – I had been working evenings and weekends. I realised I wanted a more 9-5pm job, now that I am in my early forties. The Lord brought me an amazing job, I am now marketing manager for a tech business. In the last year I feel God has brought the balance back into my life.
Through it all there has been the healing of heartache, there has been loneliness and the longing to meet someone and share my life with a new husband. My longing is still there for children. But if I look back to that last five years of my life, I have seen God restore every area, and I feel he has done it in order. I feel that last part of the puzzle is me meeting my new husband. Looking back, I see the Lord has allowed all the other foundational blocks to be put in place: health, family, financial and spiritual restoration.
I am in awe of the Lord, He has led me along the best pathway, I have kept my eyes fixed on him, and He has gently opened and closed the right doors, and carried me through the pain. He has given me my life back.
Mari, by email
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