God created man and woman and He created marriage, but we distorted His design for marriage. Our story began in 2003 when we attended the Alpha Course in church and we came to believe in Jesus Christ.
Unlike Eitaro who prayed and read the Bible regularly, my attitude towards Christianity, church and believers was a judgmental one. I had resistance in my heart and negativity in my mind all the time; I grew tired with church for years. I didn’t understand the Bible at all either.
An affair with our mutual friend in 2007 brought a devastating blow to Eitaro, shattering what we always thought we were, the best of couples.
The disclosure brought to light my deep selfishness in my life, especially with my messy lifestyle prior to marriage. As a single, it was normal to have a relationship with anyone I felt attracted to. But I am married and with this sin exposed, I did not know what to do. I did not even know how to repent. I was afraid, and I asked “How can one go on living life this way?’’ I definitely loved Eitaro but I felt enslaved by my sinful passions.
The year 2012 was a turning point when I faced much difficulty at work. It drove me to cry out to God from the bottom of my heart, something I had not done since confessing faith years ago. That day, God spoke to me in an audible voice to stay in the situation I was struggling with.
In that moment, I lost all desire for the things that used to tempt me. I realised that God is real, that He knows me, and that He has a plan for my life. The difficulties I had with work turned to joy. I found I no longer held on to anger. From that day, true restoration with my Father began. In the face of my addictions and old habits, I was able to say, “I don’t want this, God!” They left me one by one because He had cleansed me completely.
When her affair came to light, I felt I had lost the person I trusted the most and my closest friend. I wanted to run away from my family and my work. I wanted to leave everything behind and disappear, but I did not have the courage to do it. Daily commitments to work and family carried on as if nothing happened.
Every night I would cry out to God, “Why? I thought that we are the ‘best couple’, and that life wouldn’t have such troubles with You. Please give me strength to get through another day.” His answer was simple: I needed to forgive her even though I was not willing in my heart.
A thought came to mind one night. “What if my only child was kidnapped, tortured then killed? Would I be able to forgive the criminal? Of course not! I struggled even to forgive my wife.” I remembered Jesus, God’s precious only Son – betrayed, tortured, ridiculed and killed in the most painful way at the cross. Yet he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
I broke down crying. “I am sorry that I didn’t understand what Jesus went through for You to forgive us. You win. I will not negotiate anymore. I choose to forgive her. Please help me to do so.”
Even as I accused my wife, God revealed the secrets of my heart, like my addiction to pornography. As much as she was wrong, so was I. God set me free from my addictions, and healed me from the pain and hurt of the affair.
In 2016, we experienced total deliverance from our sins and past addictions. God made our marriage whole again by showing us how beautiful His design is for the relationship between husband and wife. We share this testimony openly because He has wiped away all our guilt and shame, and driven away any fears or inability to forgive. We love each other more than when we were first married 17 years ago, because He first loved us, and this love we share is given by Him.
We came to TLBS to respond to His calling. He wants us to know Him deeper and to connect with Him more strongly. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)
TLBS is the place where we seek His face and He is pouring down His revelation everyday. The more we know Him, the more hungry we become. We hear His heartbeat calling His children back to His Kingdom.
Eitaro & Tamae Ogawa
Singapore Christian Canaan Church