“We had no idea that we were standing in the middle of a miracle.”
“Love is Patient. Love is Kind.”
— 1 Corinthian 13: 4
“Too often we find ourselves searching for a love that our spouse just can't provide.”
It's been over five years since God restored our family.
I had all but given up that Julie could ever love me after who I had been. I even wondered if God would forgive a man that had ran from him for so long. Thankfully, His grace is greater than my sin! His love is patient and his pursuit is relentless!
Julie and I started our relationship just after a terrible time in my life. She was 18 and I was freshly out of a marriage that started early in my teenage years. I was a father of two boys, Will and Caleb. Honestly, I was just barely a man. Within a few months matters only got worse. My mother passed away at 56 years old. I was devastated. I found myself bitter and angry. Heartbroken, I started to step away from the life that I had known since childhood.
I took a position with a local police department. I loved law enforcement, but later, became a bounty hunter. It took me to places I never thought I would go.
Julie and I were married in August of 2008. Six months later, our daughters Jaidyn and Payton were born 14 months apart. We were a normal married couple on the outside: inside, we were a time bomb waiting to go off.
The bitterness inside me turned into verbal abuse. I was gone more than I was home. Work became my God. Then I started to see infidelity going on all around me. My mom used to say, "if you hang out in a mud hole long enough, you will get it on you!" She was right. I started to fall into the trap that the enemy had laid out for me. Finally, I came to the conclusion that marriage was not for me.
One night before work, I remember being so prepared in my speech. I began to tell Julie that I was leaving, I didn't want to be a husband or dad anymore. We were through. I was leaving and not coming back. Julie's response changed our lives forever.
I'll never forget the hurt in her face when she said to me "I Love you! God can fix this! We just need to get things right with him." I replied with " I don't want God to fix it. I just want him to leave me alone! All my life, I have only wanted to serve Him, sing and preach for Him. He took my mother and he won't open doors for us! Why should I try?" Julie asked me to give her 40 days. I had seen the movie "Fireproof" and was not interested. She then asked me if I loved the kids at all. That one hurt. I just couldn't show it. I was the tough bounty hunter. I couldn't show any weakness. I agreed to the 40 days to let the kids get acclimated to the change coming. I had no idea that I would be the one getting an adjustment.
Julie would call my name before the Lord night after night. I could hear her some nights. I could even feel her tears on my back. Day after day I just tried to go on as if I hadn't heard her. That I didn't care. The truth is that I was being changed and couldn't even see it! Things were slowly turning for the better.
One day I was going to make an arrest. One of the people in the house had a gun. He started shooting at me. He missed me twice. Before I could turn around and return fire, I saw the gun in my face. I heard the hammer hit but no bang. God had spared my life that day. A few weeks later I woke up to the most beautiful woman I had ever seen standing at the foot of the bed. She was getting ready for church. Something was different but I wasn't sure what. I decided to go with her. When we got inside, the worship team was sing "So Amazing". The whole church was on their feet singing this chorus. Before anyone could speak, Julie ran to the altar. People began to gather and pray. I knew who she went for. I began to tell God all the things that I had done for him in the past: Every message, every song, every testimony. I realized at that moment that my whole life, I had only a head knowledge of God and his love. I needed a heart knowledge!
I'll never get over the moment that I went to the altar. I felt arms wrap around me as I cried and asked God to restore my broken life. When I reached up to acknowledge the person holding me, I saw that no one was there. Jesus met me there Himself. He wrapped His arms around me and loved me with a relentless love!
I promised Him that day that no matter what I did or what platform I'm on that I would share the story of his goodness! We have done just that ever since! We have been blessed to speak and sing all over the U.S. and Canada. We have shared our story with families all over the world and have seen the restoration power of a mighty God! We even have a new baby boy, Allen Todd. He is proof that God can give you a brand new start!
No matter the struggle you face. God is always in control!
Tony and Julie Griffith