Stories of Faith: The Burnham Family
When I started Stories of Faith, I never could have imagined it would open the door to get to know such amazing families and individuals. I thought I was going to be the one doing the "blessing" BUT honestly my heart and soul has been blessed 100x more. Each story is prayerfully considered and when I heard Beau and Rachel's story I just couldn't shake it! Their love for one another is super strong BUT their love for our Jesus is even stronger. As you read their story my prayer is that you will see just how amazingly gracious our Savior is. He cares for us and our marriages. No problem is too big or too far gone for Him!
I introduce to you... Beau and Rachel Burnham
This is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.....
Oh wait that's someone else's introduction. ;) The truth is it could be mine too. I would like to tell you the story of how my life, marriage and family has been flipped, turned upside down and set upon the Rock.
Beau and I met in the spring of 2000. I will never forget the day my friend called and asked me to get down to her house to see the “boy in the green truck”. I walked in and we started talking. After a few minutes, he asked if I would marry him, to which I laughingly replied “sure”. :) Six months after we started dating, I found out I was pregnant. I told him the news and he left college to start working. We married one week after I turned 17.
Both of our families had taken us to church most of our lives. We knew the information about Jesus and sin and separation from God. I remember praying every night like an insurance policy, “Jesus come into my heart and forgive me of all my sins.” But one day during my pregnancy, I went into my parent’s closet alone and cried out to Jesus. I knew I could never do enough to be good and I needed Him. I called on His Name for salvation and from that point I didn’t keep begging in prayer every night. I knew He was with me.
Beau also thought he was saved. At church camp one summer he claimed salvation and was baptized. Looking back on his life and conversations he had with people, he realized that his trust was not in Jesus but in himself. He would say “I know I’ll go to heaven when I die because I’m a pretty good person.”
Our marriage was filled with all the worst of the worst. Adultery, addictions, selfishness, unforgiveness, pride, anger and bitterness. We were both living for ourselves and the things this world has to offer. Chasing the next temporary high or fleeting satisfaction. We divorced three years into marriage and were back married within a year.
Nothing had changed... We didn’t really fight, you see.. We just co-existed. We were like roommates. One day I decided I was done. I made a vow to myself early on in life that I would never “need a man for anything”. I called Beau and told him I wanted a divorce. He immediately said he didn’t and he would start being a better husband. I had heard that so many times. That’s what he always said when I confronted him about something but it never lasted.
A few weeks went by and he started listening to Christian music, going to church with me, helping around the house but he said that he felt like he was always walking on eggshells. Scared that if he made a mistake, it would be over. One night while I was at work, Beau found a book under some clothes in our room. It was called “The Power of a Praying Husband”. He decided to read it (which if you knew him back then that was a miracle in itself ;) ) He said it just made so much sense. That everything he did wasn’t enough and he needed Jesus to change him. He called out to Jesus that night saying “Lord all I do is make a mess of things, I need You!” In that moment he felt physically, emotionally and spiritually brand new. (Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17) Things he had struggled with for years were instantly gone. Tobacco use, swearing, addictions to pornography...gone! It was an encounter with the Holy Spirit that forever changed him. (Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I immediately saw huge changes in Beau. In fact they were so radical, I didn't believe it. I thought he was the best actor of our time instead of a son of the Most High God. He started to love me and our children in a way that I had been praying for for years. Even so, I had made up my mind. I wanted a divorce. I had bought into all the lies that the enemy and this world tell us… “there is someone out there more compatible for you”, “you deserve better”, “you just picked the wrong one but you’ll do it right the next time”. I was determined to go down the road of divorce. (Married folks, I know you've heard those same things...the enemy is not that creative. Let's stand firm and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If it doesn't sound like what the Lord would say or think about your spouse..it isn't true.)
The Lord tried to stop me so many times. Consistently begging me to stop and turn around... for example... (I cringe telling this part)
My first attorney’s appointment was scheduled for 1:00pm so that morning I went to our church’s prayer room and prayed and told God, "Lord, You know I want this divorce. If You don't want this, You'll have to cancel my appointment.". You already know what happened. I got out to my car where I left my phone and there was a message from the attorney's office saying they needed to cancel.
Even after that I just made another appointment. I didn't heed what the Lord was saying. I was saved but not surrendered. I was asking the Lord to bless my plans instead of following His plans.
Beau continued to follow Jesus and love me in my rebellion. It was a love that couldn't have come from anyone or anything but God. He loved me inspite of my rejection of him. He loved me enough to share truth with me even though I ran from it. He loved me unconditionally even when it hurt him. He was Jesus to me. He told me the day our divorce was final that he would wait through a hundred boyfriends if he had to but the Lord had promised him we would reconcile. (I thought he was crazy! Whoops)
I came to an end of myself (FINALLY) after my own plans failed miserably. There was no peace in my life. From the outside I looked like a pretty good person. I went to church every week, was in a Bible study, served with the Body but I was disobedient to the Word of God. I was tormented. I knew from scripture that I had two options...stay single or reconcile to Beau. So I told God, "I surrender but You've given me options and I choose to stay single, just tell me what to do everyday and I'll do it. It's just You and me, Lord." For the first time in my life I experienced complete peace!! Oh it was so glorious!! I could breathe and had so much joy! (Romans 15:13 woohoo!) Something changed and shifted and I was very aware of it.
I started reading the Bible with an open heart this time. To know Him and do what He was speaking to me instead of checking off the list and getting knowledge about it. It was so fulfilling and exciting to know that I was where He wanted me and in His will. The Lord was so faithful to speak and instruct.
Then after a period of time of not seeing or talking to Beau (which was hard to arrange when you are exchanging kids), he called our children on FaceTime on his way back from a mission trip. When I saw his face I saw the new creation he had been claiming that he was during those four years. The scales had fallen from my eyes and the Lord healed broken places in me without me even knowing it. We started over that evening.
The Lord reconciled our souls to Himself and our marriage. It seemed impossible to me but what's impossible for man is not impossible for God (Mark 10:27). So many amazing things have happened to us and through us since then and my husband says it best, "All we did was say yes to Jesus; He did everything else. He did all of it."
And He continues to do far more abundantly than we could have asked or imagined! (Ephesians 3:20). God be glorified! Lord, do it again!