'I asked my ex-wife to marry me. And she said ...'

Mark’s story | Trying to reconnect through shared faith

“When I was younger, I went to church once, for a wedding, and that was about it. I never went again. In 1977, I met and married Judy, and in 1979 we bought a house together. In 1981 our son, Stephen, was born. But the marriage didn’t last. We weren’t connecting. I was working shift work, up to 80 hours a week, often until midnight, and we just drifted apart. We separated in 1985, and she stayed in the house while I moved back to the St. George area [in Sydney’s south west]. Then we officially divorced.”

“I used to come and visit once a week to pick up our son and take him out, on my day off.

Mark and Judy

In a Faith Stories special, Naomi Reed brings us the memorable relationship journey of Mark and Judy.

“One week, I came to visit them for his seventh birthday. My ex-wife had put on a party for him. I went in and she told me that she’d started going to church. Then I overheard her telling someone else about her new faith in Jesus and how much she loved God now. The person came over and talked to me. The person assumed that if Judy had become a Christian, then I would too.

“I said, ‘What?’

“Before then, I probably thought there was a God. It was supreme logic and I’m a logical person. If there wasn’t a God, what would there be? But I wasn’t interested in church, or the Bible, or Jesus.

“At the same time, though, our son started going to church with Judy and he also had a conversion experience. He got every person at their new church to pray for me. He wanted me to become a Christian, and he wanted the two of us to get back together again. Apparently, he asked someone to pray for us and the person told him they hate praying that kind of prayer because it never works.

“Then, in 1989, their church held a ‘father and son’ camp. Our son invited me to go to it and I did. The camp was really designed for the kids because all the fathers were probably Christians. But it got me thinking. At some point on the Saturday, a guy gave a Gospel talk. I just responded to it. I put my hand up and then went down the front. I wanted to trust in Jesus. I remember looking around me and there was me standing at the front with all these little kids around me.

“It seemed true and right from then on. I remember an overwhelming sense of peace. And it made sense. If Judy could change that much, in every way … then there had to be a God. After that, I kept visiting Judy and I started going to church with them. We had a new connection. We could talk about our faith together.

“One day, I was visiting at their house and we were sitting at the table. The sermon on the Sunday had been about the different types of love … and we were talking about it. We were getting on really well. I said to Judy, ‘Do you think we should get married again?’

“She said yes.

“We did better the second time around! It’s been 31 years now. I know I’ve changed. I’m less selfish. I’m more patient. We work together better now and I support Judy in all her ministry. She’s been involved in Scripture in schools and with radio, Rhema (a Christian radio station), and with visiting asylum seekers. These days, she works at a school for kids with really challenging behaviours.

“I support her in all of it and I’m interested in the environment. I’ve started doing permaculture in our back yard.

“For all these years, my favourite Bible verse has been Matthew 7:12. Jesus said, ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.’

“God has been so faithful to me! And I think that God is really interested in the little things, and so that’s how I want to live.”

Mark’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse Matthew 7 12

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