Personal Stories: Heather Ingrey's story
There Seemed There Was No Way Out.
I had always believed in God, and although I knew of Jesus, I did not understand his role in coming to God.
I was married in 1972 and over the next 10 or so years believed we had the perfect marriage – a loving husband, 2 children, a boy and a girl, lots of nice friends, a nice house, sports car etc etc. We had it made, or so we thought!
However, my husband had been made redundant several times and finally got a job which took him away from home during the week travelling throughout the country. Over a period of time, we began to grow apart. I had my life with the children at home and all their activities, plus a nice little part time job working from home. He would come home for the weekends , having been staying in hotels during the week. He was glad to be at home to rest, but we were equally glad to see him and to make the most of his company and spend quality time. Often this caused conflict.
After 6 years of this role within the company, we knew we had problems and Colin asked to be based in Brighton, which was the firm’s head office, rather than continue travelling around the country. And so we moved from Bristol to Worthing in December 1989 two days after Christmas! We found a rented house in Worthing and we were altogether – strange house, strange schools and no job for me and a husband who seemed very remote! By 14 Feb we were experiencing great difficulty living in the same house for 7 days a week and our relationship took a real downward turn and all four of us were very unhappy!
However, I was going to our local church where the children were both in the choir and my husband was living an almost separate life from us. He would leave very early in the morning for work and not return until late evenings, so we did not get to see him much. The children sensed things were not as they should be, although he was always a good dad to them. My husband had met a work colleague who introduced him to some Christians in Lancing and he would spend time with them.
At the local church one Sunday morning, I met a missionary, who was visiting his family in Worthing. I was desperately upset and when asked to “Share God’s Peace” became very tearful as he turned to me and took my hand and asked why I was so emotional. He too had tears in his eyes as he explained his wife had died after 57 years of marriage and I replied –“I am about to lose my husband after 17 years, but not because of death, but because he no longer loved me.
This man, was so caring and talked to me after the service. I will always remember him saying “With God all things are possible!” He also gave me a little booklet, called “living together God’s way”. I took this home and read through it and realised that God did not like divorce and that marriage was designed so that God would be in the middle of the relationship. It was at that stage that I prayed the prayer at the back of the book and gave my life to Jesus. I just knew at that point that whatever happened, He would be with me.
I remember shortly after this, my husband woke in the night and asked me if I had heard a voice – I thought he was going mad! However, he had heard a voice – the very audible voice of God speaking to him!
However, we came to a point when we knew we could no longer continue the life we were leading and so decided to divorce. There seemed there was no way out. I went on holiday with the children and left my husband in Worthing, knowing that when we got back it would the start of divorce proceedings.
However, God had a different plan – whilst on holiday (during which time I prayed most nights as I went to sleep, asking God to stay with me through the divorce, if that was where we were headed, or could he change things?) After a week away my husband rang me and told me that he had had a life changing experience, had given his life to Jesus and wanted to start a new life together! Wow – that was the most amazing phone call I had ever had! He asked me to forgive him and could we start afresh. I was still very much in love with him and wanted us to be a complete family again. He came and collected us from Somerset and that following weekend he was baptised and we were there as witnesses!
God had spoken very clearly to my husband and had restored the love in our marriage – What a God – what a miracle.
Within a few months I too was baptised and I must say that our relationship is so different to the one without God being in the centre. We became much closer than ever before and our relationship was open and honest. Sometimes that was difficult, but necessary, so that we could iron out any wrinkles from the past.
It was now 23 September 1990 and we were able to celebrate our 18th Wedding Anniversary in style! We felt our marriage had come of age!
We are about to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary this year – God is so good. The journey has been extremely difficult with many situation occurring which, in our own strength would have destroyed us – but God remained our guide and our ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46 v 1)!
I cannot even begin to understand how I could live my life without Jesus now – before He came into my life, even though in the early years I thought life was good, there is no comparison and the riches of his love and company are immeasurable.