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Living with a stranger (2)

THERE is no way our marriage can be changed…” In 1997, one of Laura’s co-workers, Rita, told Laura about FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® conference. It was a three-day marriage conference that Rita and her husband went to every year to refresh their marriage.

Laura and Adam could not cover the cost, but for their anniversary Laura’s parents paid for their conference registration, and Adam’s parents paid for their hotel.

Broken and hurting, the Browns attended the conference. “Some of your marriages will be changed this weekend,” one speaker told them on the first night. But Laura was skeptical, thinking, “There is no way our marriage can be changed in one weekend.”

But those same words brought Adam hope. “He said that if we had an open heart and an open mind and were diligent to do the homework that our marriage could be changed,” Adam recalls. “I was ready to pay attention.”

The next morning, the gospel was presented, and for the first time Adam understood his need for Christ. “It was November 12, but for me it was like the Fourth of July,” Adam says. “Fireworks were going off in the back of my head—I was finally getting it!” That morning, Adam dedicated his life and his marriage to the leadership of Christ.

“We prayed together, and it was incredible,” Laura says. “The presence of the Lord was there, and we knew that God could change our marriage, making it new and filling the void that we felt. We realized that we were trying to do everything on our own, but we could never fix it. It had to be God, changing Adam’s heart and giving me hope again.”

That night they went to their favorite restaurant and talked for hours at a level of communication they had never before reached. “I’ll never forget looking across the table and feeling intense love for this man, where 24 hours before I did not love him at all,” Laura says. “Now I had a love that said I can forgive you for whatever we have been through. I knew that God was giving us hope and a fresh start and that even though the road may still be hard, God was with us, and it was going to be different than it had ever been before.”

As soon as the Browns returned home, they started applying to their lives the principles they learned in counseling and at the conference. They began praying together every day, planning date nights, and communicating openly and honestly. They sometimes sent Madeline to spend time with her grandparents so they could stay home and enjoy each other’s company.

Together they learned how to build a relationship focused on God. “God had never been in our marriage before,” Laura says. “He may have been prayed to at mealtimes, but that was about it.” “He was like a piece of luggage on our roof rack,” says Adam. “And when we learned to trust Him, we gave Him the steering wheel and said, ‘Take us anywhere you want us to go.’”

After many months of accelerated growth—and a new baby named Malorie—the Browns began to see opportunities to minister to couples in their church, using their personal testimony as encouragement. Then their lives changed again when they were involved in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Laura and Madeline, bruised and bleeding, were hooked up to IVs, and Laura was put in a neck brace. “I started sobbing as I watched them, thinking that I could have lost my family,” Adam says. “From the house, the cars, the things I wanted so bad—they could be empty, and my family would still be the most important thing to me.”

From that point on, it was Adam’s goal to concentrate on his family. “God used that wreck to strip the desire of material things from our minds and our hearts, which really opened us up to ministry even more,” Laura says.

In December 2000, Adam and Laura lay in bed together and committed their lives to God’s service. They said, “God, we don’t know where you’re going to call us, or where you’re going to use us. If you want us to go to Africa, we’ll go to Africa, but show us where to go and we’ll be there.” Eventually they answered God’s call to serve at FamilyLife, and worked at the headquarters in Little Rock for several years.  Now they work with the Military Ministry of Cru (the U.S. name for Campus Crusade for Christ) in Fort Hood, Texas.

“Looking back, we can see God’s fingerprints all over our lives, shaping and molding us for this time,” Laura says. She remembers that night, looking for Adam and singing to Madeline, never knowing what God would do to complete this work in Adam.

“We’re still in the process of being completed by Him, but we have seen His faithfulness in the miracles He’s already done in our lives. And now we’re here at FamilyLife. God’s got a plan in all of it, and we just want to be open to be used by him.”

  • Source: Familylife

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