With one last, deep breath, I pulled out my wedding dress, the symbol of all my lost hopes and dreams. I held it and felt a surge of anger mask the pain as I clipped it to a clothes hanger and hooked it on a pole hanging from my front porch. There! The garage sale was complete! As the wedding dress flowed in the breeze, my life seemed to wave to every person there, "Here! Here! Come to the divorced woman's garage sale full of broken promises and damaged goods!"
As people streamed in, buying all my marital possessions, a car screeched into the front drive of my home. The driver's door flew open and my friend Debbie jumped out of the car.
"Tracey Lynn Russell," she shouted. "Stop right there!" She moved like a linebacker through a row of unsuspecting shoppers, walked past me, and without ado she grabbed the wedding dress off the hanger and dragged me inside the house with her.
"What are you doing?" she asked. I stared at her, suspecting a lecture as I replied, "I'm selling my wedding dress." Her arms folded across her middle as a look of defiance fell over her face. "Why?"
Tears burned my eyes with the resignation of my head shaking no. "It's over Debbie, and I don't want the reminders, and I can't use it anymore…".
My dear friend continued with what seemed like a pipe dream to me. "God can save your marriage story! There might be more children, there could be another home, there may be someone who wants this dress one day—and that person could be you. I'm not letting you do this!"
With one final snatch, she grabbed the dress and took it back to the safety of my closet. Could God really save my marriage story? I breathed a strange sigh of relief and headed back to the sea of memories being sold outside.
Today, I recall that moment at my garage sale from over 24 years ago and I smile. You see, Debbie was correct—there would be more children, another home, and another time I would really want that dress. She was right to keep me from giving it away!
I didn't know it at the time, but through the devastation of divorce, my ex-husband cried out to God. Through forgiveness and healing, we were remarried to each other. And it was Debbie who would sign my re-marriage license to my restored Christ-filled ex-husband, with whom I share the treasure of our faith and family.
My wedding dress is now safely preserved in a big box to be used one day by the beautiful little daughter we now have, the one with chocolate brown hair and blue eyes … just like her daddy. Or, it may be given to the future bride for one of our three sons!
We all need a friend who is willing to jump into action when they see us giving up on God's power for our future. Hebrews 10:35 says, "So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded." Even in dark times, God will be faithful to write a testimony for us that is never wasted or thrown away.
Are you tempted to give up on your marriage? Then I am the friend (your Debbie) you need to remind you to keep hope alive and trust all the promises in God's Word. In a figurative sense, I am screeching into your driveway and coming in linebacker style to remind you—God can save your marriage story too!
Dr. Dobson interviews Tracey Russell on the daily broadcast.
This broadcast highlights Dr. Dobson's popular work Love Must Be Tough through a real-life story of a relationship that it impacted. Author and speaker, Tracey Russell, shares how she applied principles from that book in order to save her failing marriage.
On this edition, Tracey explains the difficulty of living alone after letting her husband, Mark, walk away. Hear how the Russells discovered marital reconciliation.
On this broadcast, Dr. Dobson concludes his 3-part discussion with Tracey Russell, whose marriage was saved using principles from the book Love Must Be Tough.
Learn More about the Writer
Tracey Lynn Russell is a conference speaker and an award-winning writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She also hosts her own podcast, The Heart of The Story with Tracey Lynn Russell. She recently created an interactive leadership program for women called The Art of My Story™ Workshop. This course communicates to women how to creatively and effectively share their testimonies. Tracey has a very powerful testimony of how God radically healed and transformed her marriage. After enduring such pain and then experiencing redemption through Christ, Tracey now writes encouraging marital devotionals called Save My Marriage Story. She received her B.S. in Communications from Florida State University and her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from Florida International University. Tracey and her husband, Mark, have been together for 23 years and they reside in Miami, Florida with their 4 children.