By Michael Ashcraft —
First there was blood on the pillowcase. Second, her husband slept all day, had circles under his eyes, and a persistent bad attitude. Eventually, he lost his job, his car and his dignity.
“I was naive,” Norma Peña says. “I didn’t recognize the signs of drug abuse. Although I came from a dysfunctional home, I didn’t know what addiction was.”
It got so bad, Norma told Tim to move out. Three years of marriage was coming to an end. She felt “numb to him,” she says. “I had no feelings for him anymore.”
Today, Tim Peña has been pastoring a church in Visalia, California, for almost 20 years. It’s a mind-boggling turnaround. And they are still married.
When Norma accepted Jesus into her heart in 1997, the marriage was on a fast train to Splitsville. Her friend, Sandra, who had evangelized her tirelessly for three years, encouraged Norma to contend for restoration of their relationship.
“At first I didn’t believe he could get saved,” Norma says. “He made my life a living hell.”
But there was a grain of sand in the oyster that irritated her thoughts. Her mother was a single mother of four, her grandmother a single mother of six.
At the time, Norma had only one child — but she was worried that she was falling victim to a vicious legacy.
At the constant encouragement of Sandra, Norma prayed for her husband. Things were not going well for him. He was sofa-surfing at friends’ houses. His life was spiraling downward, propelled by cocaine and alcohol.
Then one day, he showed up at the same church Norma attended, the Potter’s House in Indio, California. Tim answered the altar call for salvation.
She watched from the congregation. She thought the conversion was faked.
But her friend urged her to persevere in pray.
“The Bible says you have to pray for your enemies. He was my enemy because he made my life a living hell,” Norma relates. “But he was the father of my daughter, and I wanted him to be a good example to her.”
She did NOT pray for her marriage to be restored however.
“I prayed God would give me a godly man,” she says.
But Tim kept showing up at church. He started dressing up and even putting on a tie. He pitched in with cleaning and started to learn the bass guitar to play in the band. God was doing a wonderful work.
Four months later, God told Norma her husband would preach throughout the world.
“When I prayed that God would give me a godly man, little did I know God would fulfill that prayer in my husband,” Norma explains. “He turned 180 degrees.”
Eventually, she received Tim back home. It’s been 26 years. Tim has preached in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.
“God restored my marriage little by little,” she says. “It took a lot of patience and prayer. Timothy says anything is possible in Christ. It was a total miracle.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
Based in Los Angeles, Michael Ashcraft does Christian journalism, teaches in a Christian school and works as a financial professional.