Kimberly’s Love Story

From Ruin to Restoration, Part One

By Kimberly Dimick

My husband Joshua and I have been married 23 years. We met at Bible College….got married and continued our Biblical Studies after marriage. Joshua was a believer!

My dream of a great marriage was supposed to be coming true. It only took a few days to realize, much to my horror, that he was an abusive, control freak. Joshua's weapons were deliberate and cruel.

Among his arsenal were rejection, abandonment and controlling with rage to keep me bound up and under his thumb. He was profoundly spiritually abusive. The usual submit and headship teaching of the Church came spewing out of his mouth incessantly and with a vengeance. The more I tried to meet his needs the more insatiable he became.

My husband abused me in every way possible. He was intimidating, would go silent for months at a time, often left me alone and would go on fishing trips every weekend. He was callous and cold. He would be condescending and treat me like a child. I had no voice, no opinion, no gift to bring of any value to him.

I was married but ALONE. I was UNLOVED.

He withheld finances from me; I was not allowed to have money without permission. He made all decisions unilaterally. He was harsh and punitive with me and our children. We walked on eggs shells. I learned NOT to communicate anything to him at all. Any attempt would always be detrimental to my emotional well being. I learned that silence and agreeing with him were the only ways that the madness would cease, at least for a few moments.

I lived in silence. Depression descended upon me so deeply that it overtook me for years. My health began to deteriorate. What was left of our children could only be redeemed by a miracle.

He was a believer. A Christian. He always had a deep desire to love and serve God but in retrospect he was ignorant. Joshua was and is a man whose waters ran deep…."a man after God's own heart."

Because of all the abuse I had allowed, because of all the lies he had told me about myself and which I had believed, there was a deeper problem! I did not know HOW to bring change to the marriage. I did not know which way to go. I did not know what to do to realize my dream of loving and being loved. I was drowning in hurt so deeply. I did not believe I could ever be made whole again.

I did not even know who I was anymore. I had learned to define myself as a person by what he said, what he liked, what he disliked. I was just a shell of a human being.

My dignity and worth were robbed by his cruel tongue and incessant demands, the control, the horrid spiritual abuse. I never would be good enough. Everything was subject to his approval or disapproval.

In February of 2002, after 16 years of marriage, when our sons were barely 11 and 13, he walked out the door and abandoned his family.

How apropos that in the dead of winter, he left me cold. That winter would settle in for a long stay… in the deadness and coldness of his own heart. He left for almost six years. The events of my life during that time were sad and difficult: A dying father, caring for my mother and little brother with Down's. My children began showing the effects of his leaving and the fall-out from his destructive behaviors. My 15 year old began cutting and using drugs. The whole court process and drug rehab began. My older son began to suffer from deep depression. They each later dropped out of school. My perfect, beautiful and innocent children were falling apart at the seams.

I felt powerless. They were so broken over the condition of our family.

The pain of seeing my children hurt like this was unbearable. The loneliness followed as a close second. Without the truth of God's design for marriage I was floundering. I was so torn inside all of the time. I was constantly trying to make sense of God's love for me and not being able to receive it.

This was slowly killing me inside. I started to disassociate. It felt like my mind was breaking apart into little pieces, with every part of my being strewn and scattered everywhere. I dared not expect God’s pleasure in me. I feared my cries fell on deaf ears. I hoped beyond hope that God was still there in spite of my fears and frailness of soul.

I blamed myself for the failure of the marriage and lived under condemnation toward myself. I was not skinny enough, smart enough, pretty enough, Godly or submissive enough. I was REJECTED. I was a shame and a reproach to my husband and God. I felt as if God was disappointed in me, as if I was in rebellion of some sort – and that He hated me. I had offered unbalanced mercy to Josh, to my own detriment and to the detriment of our children. I yearned for truth.

The five year separation left me ruined and leveled inside. I hated and despised myself.

I needed my husband to love me. I wanted to be okay, to be a person. I felt I was no one without him. Since I believed his lies, who else besides him could ever love me? That was the whole central pain and desperation of my heart. I needed him to love me the way I longed to be loved. Even though he claimed to love me, his love was empty and void of true intimacy. It had been squandered on himself. His brand of love was made up of useless gestures, insults and broken promises. It did not seem fair that my heart still reached out to be loved. I had died inside, holding to a hope whose answer never comes. I tried and it still eluded my grasp. I believed God, I fasted, I prayed and the dream to be loved only moved further away. In my confusion I knew that some way, somehow, someday, God would bring me to it.

I found a unique marriage ministry in April of 2008. Joshua and I had been separated for 5 1/2 years. Their hearts were wide open and accepting of me. They heard my cries. They gave me truth. They could not believe my husband had strung me along so many years with threats of divorce and promises of reconciliation.

I honestly did not know any better. I believed that I had been faithful to God by “standing” for my marriage and trying desperately to be a good, obedient wife.

I ordered and read their first book!  I read it 4 times! The fragrance of heaven washed over me as I read and wept at its truth. I felt the burdens of blame and false guilt lift off my shoulders. I found the answer! I was not crazy! God had led me to the living waters. God had come to deliver me. I had been silenced by false teachings in the church. They gave me permission to finally say out loud what I had always known in the recesses of my heart. God drew near to show me His heart and the Romance of the Ages…the heart of a Bridegroom for a Bride.

As I read their second book, the Lord unfolded His glorious purpose for marriage. I was in. Whatever they asked, I would do. I was lost and drowning in an ocean of desperation. Their teaching was the life preserver that would certainly rescue me. It was the air my soul longed to breathe again.

I was terrified to give my husband the books. I knew that this would be my final stand. I was afraid of his anger and the arguments about "his rights" that would ensue. His anger for years had shut down any coherent thoughts in my mind. No great wisdom from God through my voice would ever be heard. He had made it clear – he was right, I was wrong. I would stumble over my words and look the fool to him. His fierceness towered over me like a monster. I only wanted to run. My mind felt overwhelmed by fear at the prospect of him rejecting this message. I loved him so desperately. Rejecting it would be the final blow. I could not withstand anything more. I did not think for one minute I would survive. He had the power, I thought, to sentence me to a life of loneliness. I would be lost in a great big world with no one to love me, to care for me, to be strong, to watch over me.

I thought, Lord how can I face such a future? I was made to love. I was the one who only wanted to be a good wife and mother. I wanted my two boys to be loved and accepted. I wanted their father to show them God's heart. All they were left with was shame and self loathing. My whole existence revolved around that dream. My dream was shattered right before my eyes. I had no control. I could not make it stop. I somehow KNEW I had done all I could do.

I gave Joshua the Book. Long story short – he threw it in the garbage! He ranted and raved that he would never reconcile unless I met his demands, demands he carried in his wallet and checked off as I met them. I was never able to meet the letter of his law. His law brought death and I was ready for LIFE. He rejected this message.

As my husband rejected the message, light came to me. God broke through my darkness and questionings. He led me to the answer through this very Ministry. God gently and tenderly opened my clenched fists and barricaded heart of self protection. He asked me to surrender my marriage into His hands. He did not force me or rip my heart open against my will. He showed me the truth. It was not God who had torn me to pieces but an abusive husband.

This Ministry taught me that my heart does matter. God knew the wounds I had endured. He saw the tears and sleepless nights. He knew the disappointments for the lives of my children (this pain alone went deeper than any other). I learned from the books that I did not ask for this. I did nothing to provoke his assaults on my emotions and my spirit. The culmination of my life experiences and sadness could not be measured by his truth. God saw me. He knew the fears that drove me to the brink of insanity. He heard my cries for peace, for the confusion to subside. He heard me blame myself and doubt His love for myself. He knew how my heart broke for the vows I made – that keeping Covenant was sacred to me. He knew the struggles and bruising from my childhood, my past. He knew that the lies of my husband had spilled over onto my portrait of Him, that my heart tried to convince me not to trust God.

The marriage counselors said that my “standing” was not scriptural. They acknowledged my love for God but declared that I was being destroyed by a lack of knowledge. They instructed me that the Word of God commanded me to “let the unbeliever depart.”

They said that my “standing” was actually disobedience! They asserted that my “standing” was hindering God from working the miracle that I so desperately wanted. Josh wanted out of the marriage. The Bible clearly told me to “let him depart.” How did I miss this? It was right there, plain as day, in black and white, in the Word of God! My husband’s pride, arrogance and actions had disqualified him from being considered a believer. I had to let him depart. This was life changing. This was dramatic. This was scary. For 23 years, I had blindly followed the advice of those who encouraged me to first “submit and pray” and later, to “wait and pray.” Could it be true? Was I being destroyed by lack of knowledge?

The counselors told me that I needed to file divorce for the purpose of restoration. Needless to say, my world was rocked to the very core. Here was a Christian ministry, telling me that the only way up was to go down; the only way for the seed to live was for it to die, the only hope for my marriage was to file divorce! This is a MARRIAGE ministry? I asked myself, “What does this mean Lord? I am afraid. Where are You taking me? Divorce? I DO NOT want to go there. Please, Lord, NOT THERE.” I said to God, Look, its me. Look at my bitterness of heart. My strength has collapsed inside me. I am not strong. I have no great faith. I have no perfect prayers. I do not possess those qualities I see in others. I am tired and have no ability left inside for what I fear you will require of me.”  I begged God that this would not result in me losing the man I loved. I wrestled with knowing my husband was slowly destroying me. I wondered why I loved him. I questioned my sanity for such ridiculous thoughts:  

“Why am I afraid to let go of the one who is harming me?”

I struggled with what that said about my faith. If I let go and let God have him, did that mean I was giving up in the eyes of God? Did it mean I fell short and that my love had no courage or perseverance at all? I judged myself mercilessly for my supposed weakness to believe God for the impossible. The counselors told me that it was just the opposite. They said that by filing divorce, I would be operating in the will and strength of God. They said that I was partnering with God and that my obedience to His Word was the greenhouse that my husband needed to repent. Wow.

The counselors taught me that as a help-meet, God wanted me to position Josh’s heart to be disciplined by the Lord, to be led toward genuine repentance. I had every reason and sound Biblical right to divorce him. He had abandoned me for 6 years. Still, coming to this decision of divorce was so confusing and painful.

They convinced me that he would not ever "wake up" if I did not challenge his deceptions.

The entire purpose of the divorce was for God to restore and recover him. It was not me who was divorcing him. He had divorced me already by his behavior. I did not want a divorce.

I did love him. Josh simply did not understand that if he would reach out to God and obey, he could heal our marriage and my heart. The counselors said, “Try it the Bible way!” The worst thing that could come of it is that at the least, you will be free of this tyranny!” They convinced me. Being free of the tyranny would indeed be better than what I had. I had a choice to make. Live in misery for the rest of my life or go for all or nothing. I was either going to have a great marriage or no marriage – at least the misery would be over.

Two weeks after finding this marriage ministry, I did it. I filed divorce for the purpose of restoration. It took 7 months for the long divorce process to go through. I was instructed that God wanted me to fiercely believe for restoration through this process. This was a vital ingredient, designed to protect my heart from being overwhelmed by bitterness. It was a purposeful, difficult and emotional time. I had new found purpose and hope in this newly discovered truth.

I was joining forces with the Lord to recover my husband’s soul! No longer was I powerless to act, a victim at the hands of another. NO!! The Lord was applying the balm of healing to my soul.

I was coming alive! I was created to be loved with a love willing to die for me.

I would settle for nothing less than a love that is unconditional. My husband would focus on the heart of his broken Bride. God created Josh to lay his life down for me, to nurture, cherish and nourish me into a glorious Bride without spot or wrinkle.

The old dream had to die in order for God to bring resurrection.

God would give me a whole new life with or without my husband. My husband dug his heels in those 7 months. I remained non-communicative and went completely "dark". I would not speak, nor respond to him.

This was a time of healing for me, to catch my breath. For my husband, it would be a time of pressure and pain to awaken his heart to Jesus. Josh’s resistance and anger slowly turned questions. He began to ask God for His heart and truth. Though he was a lost, abusive and narcissistic soul, God's grace could abound toward him if he was willing to walk this path. I knew that my husband was just as ignorant as I was about the truth of God's design for marriage. I knew that if he would hear the truth and embrace it as I had, that God could change him. Yes, I was scared but I trusted God. If Joshua would truly lay his life down, then my marriage would be completely different and new.

In October of 2008, Josh was sitting alone in a two room apartment, divorce papers served and a Court appointment looming in less than a week. He was asking God, “What do I do, what is the truth?”  He read Ephesians 5:25. In a moments time, the scales fell off his eyes. He called me 5 minutes later. He asked me to meet him for dinner the next day on my birthday. I was cautious and had trepidation. He had to tell me why. Josh said, “I relinquish all my demands, I only ask for a chance to love you again.” The way he was talking to me and the understanding he had was unbelievable. We did meet for dinner the next day. I could barely believe what I was hearing. I was throwing every conceivable hurt and complaint at him and he merely sat there and wept, nodding in silent agreement.

God had opened blind eyes. My miracle came suddenly, or had it? It felt like a “suddenly” – but it was the yes in my heart and it was surrendering to God that paved its coming. God only had need of me to get out of His way. The “standing” that I had done for over five years was a misguided attempt to love my husband. My filing divorce and “going dark” made him face God alone. God was able to speak to him, “Brace yourself, like a man.” He could finally see his need for TRUTH and God's way, God's thoughts. No longer had mere flesh dealt with him but God Himself had dealt with him. I had  challenged. I actually was his helpmeet! When I did it God’s way, God bent down to rescue Josh from himself.

I was witnessing an amazing miracle. For 23 years I had suffered as a “stander” – now, in only seven months of being obedient to the Word, there is a transformation! What do I do now?  It was time for me to take a deep breath and give him a chance to succeed. He was going to stand or fall by the truth from that moment on.

I agreed to give him a chance. Two days later we sat like lovers swooning from delight outside the Judge’s chambers.

It was the day of our hearing that would finalize the divorce! My lawyer said I looked different, beautiful and radiating! We were careful to hide our giddiness in front of my lawyer. I instructed her to put the divorce on hold. I kept the divorce in play for 5 months, just in case! Joshua knew, in no uncertain terms, that I would NOT ever go back to Egypt.

It was an Outrageously Happy Marriage or nothing!

God is re-writing our history. He closed the very long, sorrowful chapters of my life.

The separation had lasted almost 6 years. Our twenty three year marriage was finally on the right road; a whole new road! God was changing my very sad ending into the likes of a fairy tale, allowing me the priceless gift of a happy marriage. God so worked in my husband that when he "got it," it was at such an accelerated pace that I am still stunned. I cannot articulate how different Joshua is. I have watched him change from a very arrogant, prideful man into the most giving and unselfish man I have ever known. He jumped into the deep with utter abandonment and he has kept it up, consistent and loving, with very few upsets. He moved right through every obstacle of his flesh as if it were not even there.

Years ago, God had spoken to me about this day. He had told me that Joshua was blind and full of pride but that He would one day deliver him in a radical way. He would take a battering ram and knock down every stronghold. God said that my husband’s humility would be as deep as his pride had been. He said that Josh’s heart would possess tenacity for truth that would equal his former stubbornness. He would embrace truth, love it and would not back down!

God would turn his heart to a tenderness that was the equivalent opposite to the cruel abuse that had been before.

He would be authentic, genuine and believable in others' eyes. God did all of it. I watched it happen within weeks of receiving this marriage message. Unbelievable you ask? It is true!

Since then, God has positioned my husband in some very demanding situations and circumstances. He has faced many tests. If his changes were not real, he would have faltered. He has carried so many burdens in recent days. He could not do this without relying completely on Christ. He went to my family and his and owned everything. He asked our sons, with tears, to give him another chance at being a father. God has begun to bless him and show favor in ways we could not have imagined.

I asked God to help me to be a good help-meet. I responded warmly to Josh, to cheer him on to the finish line. I poured onto my husband the love and appreciation I felt for him. I let him feel the respect that he earned, for his sacrifice on behalf of my family and myself. I watched in awe as Joshua slay his demons. I enjoyed the benefits as he further earned this appreciation, love, respect and praise, by his treating me like a Princess.

Today, our marriage is blessed and delightful. It is cheerful and content. We are closer to God than ever. We are so in love. Joshua has healed the hurts that he put into my heart. It feels like falling in love all over again. During this process, I would sometimes yell and vent, telling him how he hurt me. I would hear not ONE sound in retort.

He listens to my heart and continues to take full responsibility for those things that I bring to his attention. I say some very truthful insights about him in conversations. His demeanor and attitude are consistently ones of humility and acknowledgment of his character flaws and how (un)Christlike he was in the past. If he even thinks he may have done the smallest infraction he is quick to back track and start over to correct himself. He catches himself BEFORE I even need to mention anything. This is a miracle.

I can see God pouring grace and humility all over him. He has never been so kind and affectionate. It is something to behold. He treats me like God's daughter every day of my life. Not only is our marriage beautiful but our children are also healing. I continue to be in awe. I do not even recognize the man he is becoming. Like Paul, on the road to Damascus, he has turned around and it is real. His growth in understanding and applying these principles is amazing. He is dying to himself and now looking for the way into my heart. Josh says that he will find God’s heart and God’s will right there, in my heart.

He says that loving me IS loving God.

The pain and anguish is now a distant dream. He is as Christ to me. Christ in  flesh and bone. I am loved. Love has conquered all.

We pray we will never forget the place God found us. We want our scars. I am in awe of God and my husband. He is the man I dreamed he could be in the loving hands of God. I am blessed and grateful beyond expression for God's kindness toward me. An outrageously happy marriage is in progress and we are living the impossible. We are living under the shadow of the Cross. There is love and forgiveness. We are on the same page, we are one flesh. We have overcome by the Word of our testimony!! God has been good and subdued our enemies. This is only the beginning!

My heart for wives reading this testimony is this: though it is glorious to read the ending of our story, all the moments in between were filled with the same pain and anguish you feel in your marriage. You are reading this because you are looking for hope, for an answer.

Listen to wisdom's call.

I had no promise that my husband would ever be changed. I also had no other place to turn or choice to make.

God so wisely hemmed me in and gently led me to a crossroads. No matter which way my marriage ended, He IS and always will be GOOD. He is good if my marriage was healed. He would have been GOOD if He had only set me free from the chains of abuse holding me. I would have done this, if not for me, for my children. They would see their mother, though beaten down, rise up in the strength of her God and say "NO MORE!" to tyranny. Perhaps they would one day learn something of a God who loves them too and could bring both mother and children out of Egypt together. My sons would learn the invaluable lessons: they could learn love and hate abuse in their own marriages.

I pray God's truth sets you free. I pray God’s power gives you your miracle.

Click here to read Josh's story!

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This article is reprinted with permission by Joshua and Kimberly Dimick.

Kimberly's story is an example of how writing a life story can have a national and international impact. 

One life story can change a lot of lives! Many marriages and families are being saved… and experiencing outrageously happy marriages as a result of these people being transparent about their lives and sharing their story!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan McKenzie July 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Kimberly had a word for us today, and although it's a bit long, it's direct from our Father's heart and I'm pasting it here:

Ladies and Gentlemen!! 🙂

I have sensed in my heart from the Lord and can not shake it that the Lord is moving even now and even as you read this Word and receive His love for you that something is breaking open you in the spiritual realms over your lives unlike you are familiar with. I have sat on this as I do get scared to "prophesy" a Word from the Lord. This is not leaving me and so I am obeying Him in my heart. For whatever it is worth my brothers and sisters, here is what God has laid upon my heart. Of course, I want you to test the spirits and receive or discard whatever you may feel the Lord is telling YOU. For some of you theses words are going to be a confirmation to you of something God has already told you!

I sense strongly, that, "Help is on the way!" The Lord is charging His messengers, His angels to come to the aid and help of his saints. He is sending reinforcements from on high and many of you who have never in a million years thought you would ever encounter angelic movement are going to be surprised. Ha….do not fear little ones….they will come unawares and in ways you have not nor could you dream up!

I feel this strongly that there are more with us than those who are against us. Oh there has been an army who has tried to withstand the Lord, but the zeal of your God is about to flip things around. Those things which have been upside down and unjust and unfair will SUDDENLY flip RIGHT SIDE UP. What was way off base and completely opposite of what it should be will take on a complete reversal. Those who have suffered persecution will be praised. Those who have been poverty stricken will suddenly be blessed. Those who have fought the legal system will be shown favor from Judges. Those who have fought against you will JOIN you and those who have ripped you apart will be agreeing with you, and those who we never dreamed would turn back to God will be like Paul on the road to Damascus. Those who defamed you and brought a reproach upon your character will repent to you. In Isaiah it says, When God ACTS, WHO can reverse it? When God moves and raises up a standard against the enemy WHO can stand? God is showing me that when one is in a battle for a long time that a weariness settles in and it does effect our faith in God for the impossible but God knows this and by the way He is NOT angry either. God is going to revive the hearts of many, even couples who have fought and fought and fought and poured and poured out and drench them with the rains of God to refresh and for others to resurrect FOR them the deadness around them. God is saying though that He does not want you to assume you may know what that will look like or how He will do that. Often we are so desperate for anything to happen that we misinterpret God's movement. So look and wait and listen for Him to come to your rescue. Remember that just because the enemy tries to pull out it last weapon to frighten you that it means absolutely nothing! God is greater and He is making you to walk in triumph, victory and an overcoming spirit.

God sees that for many of you your strength feels as if it is sapped and you are emptied out to the point of wanting to give up and hide.

For others your hearts are fearful of the future and you are discouraged that nothing good will ever come from the ruins of your lives.

And still for others you are feeling that you have trusted and believed God and yet, He seems afar off and even as if God Himself has closed Himself off to you. ALL of you have walked a path that if someone had ever dared to tell you that your marriages and your life would come to this point you would have bowed out a long time ago…..that having faith in God seems like some cruel joke and you shudder in self-condemnation.

God wants you to know that He is NOT taken aback at your brutal honesty, your questions, your vulnerability. He does SEE you and He IS listening. He understands that you can not see the end from the beginning. The Lord knows that your eyesight is limited and your view has been blocked. He is a compassionate God who sees your frailty and knows your back is up against the the wall….all you can see is what is in front of you and can not see yet the way out. BUT, the end of the thing has not been seen yet.

The Lord is NOT writing your heart off. He is for many of you in the shadows and behind the scenes working a work you can not fully know or see as the finishing touches are being put on His plans for you…. and that shadow you think is the enemy closing in on you is the Lord Himself covering you, hiding you under His wings. There is still light where you are as HE is that light. You may feel as if the darkness has enveloped you but the Lord will not let you go, will not let your enemy win when all is said and done. Your enemy is looking for you but you are hidden. You feel scared becuase you see the battlefield and think you are in the actual battle but in fact you are out of the reach of the enemy and looking DOWN on the battlefield and soon you will see a turnaround and watch as God sends your enemy into derision. Even for many of you your husbands will be seen for who they really are and you will be vindicated. Their ways are going to catch up with them and YOU will not need to lift a finger. The Lord will fight FOR YOU. Yes, YOU have in the past fought with His sword and wielded the Word of God but you did not know that the enemy of your life was in those very moments mortally wounded.

Praise God for His unending and enduring love for the the widow, the poor, the downtrodden and the faltering. He is coming, HELP IS ON THE WAY!!

Reply

Julie April 7, 2011 at 1:19 am

I too received my marriage miracle from God through this amazing ministry.

Reply

Susan McKenzie April 7, 2011 at 1:21 am

I’m so glad to hear that, Julie! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Reply

Victoria Gazeley April 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm

What an amazing story of faith, and stepping into light. Incredible!

Reply

Denny Hagel April 2, 2011 at 3:46 am

The power of love…a beautiful story of incredible courage and wisdom. Thank you for sharing .

Reply

Susan McKenzie April 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

Thank you, Denny…. “courage” and “wisdom” is definitely what it takes! And the best part is, they can be shared with others when we share our stories!

Reply

Olga Hermans April 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

This is an absolutely wonderfilled story. Isa 61:3 To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for His own glory. is averse that suits well to this awesome story! Thank you so much!!

Reply

Susan McKenzie April 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

I love Isaiah 61, well really, the whole book, but this is a very special blessing! Thanks for sharing, Olga!

Reply

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