I Found a Truly Happy Life

May 22, 2024

By Elizabeth, Russia

I was brought up in an ordinary rural family. Although we were by no means well-off, I was still very happy. My mother had a cheerful personality; she was good-natured and capable, and kept the house in perfect order. My father was especially caring and thoughtful toward my mother, and they stayed together through thick and thin for over 60 years. I can’t remember ever seeing them argue. When I became an adult, I hoped I could find a man who looked after his family like my father. Just as I wished, I found myself a satisfactory husband. We went to work together and went home together, and shared housework and child-rearing duties. My husband was also very considerate toward me. Especially during the few years when my health was rather poor, when I fell ill, he was even more anxious than I was. He accompanied me to the hospital and took the utmost care of me. In all our years of marriage, we rarely had disagreements, and we were able to forgive each other. I also diligently kept the family going, fulfilling my responsibilities as a wife. I felt that I had a happy marriage, that I was the happiest woman in the world. I also repeatedly dreamed of remaining close to my husband like this forever, of us being life-long partners.

In 2017, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. I firmly believed that following God was the correct path in life, and I had great enthusiasm, accepting any duty the church arranged for me and submitting. At the beginning, I wasn’t busy with my duty and it didn’t affect my family life, and my husband supported my faith in God. In 2020, I became a church leader, and my duty got much busier. Every day, I would leave early and get home late, and my husband was left to attend to all large and small matters around the house. He started to object to me believing in God, even taking digs at me, saying, “You’re even busier as a retiree than when you were working!” To win my husband’s favor, I used the mornings and evenings to prepare food for him. I recall that one time, my husband’s mother fell ill and went to the hospital, and my husband stayed with her there for more than 20 days. He was so tired that he had bags under his eyes, and he lost a lot of weight. I brought food for them every morning, and my husband didn’t seem happy to see me. Seeing him so exhausted made my heart ache. I thought to myself, “If I could just do a simpler duty like I did before, then my husband and I could take turns looking after my mother-in-law, and he wouldn’t have to be so tired. I haven’t fulfilled my responsibilities as a wife.” One day, after my mother-in-law left the hospital, I got home very late. When my husband saw me, he said angrily, “She was sick for all that time and you didn’t care for her, making me drive myself to exhaustion instead. All you think about is yourself. We can’t go on like this.” Faced with my husband’s criticism, there was nothing I could say. I escaped to the bedroom and began to cry. I thought to myself, “Ever since I started doing leadership duties, there’s been lots of work at the church, and I couldn’t even take care of my mother-in-law when she fell ill. No wonder my husband isn’t happy with me. If things go on like this, he’ll become even more unsatisfied with me, and he’ll argue with me too. Then, wouldn’t this marriage that I’ve poured so many years of effort into just fall apart? Without my marriage, I have no home.” That night, I tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep, and I thought, “On one side is my marriage, and on the other is my duty; which should I choose? I might as well resign from my leadership position and just do a simpler duty.”

The next day, I saw the sister I was partnered with and talked to her about what had happened at home, and also about my thoughts and the inner pain I was feeling. The sister fellowshipped several passages of God’s words with me, and one of the passages made a deep impression. Almighty God says: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human disturbance. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the disturbance of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). Through pondering God’s words, I came to understand that all matters, large and small, which occur every day, are part of God’s orchestration and arrangement. These matters are all part of a spiritual battle, and God wants people to stand firm in their witness. In believing in God and doing my duty today, I was walking the correct path in life, which is something God approves of. However, Satan was causing disturbances and obstructions everywhere. Since my husband didn’t believe in God, he belonged to Satan. He only considered his own interests. When I was doing my duty and couldn’t take care of family matters, inadvertently touching upon my husband’s interests, he began to kick up a fuss, hampering and disturbing my duty. I was afraid that our marriage would rupture, so I wanted to resign from my leadership duties and take on a simpler duty in order to look after my family more easily. I didn’t stand firm in my witness and almost got taken in by Satan. I couldn’t continue retreating from my duty like this, so I dismissed the idea of resigning.

One day, I got home very late, and my husband angrily rebuked me once again, “Oh, I see you’ve come to check into your ‘hotel’ for the night. Seems like you don’t even want this life with me anymore.” Seeing my husband like this, I silently prayed to God in my heart, asking Him to give me the faith and strength to stand firm in my witness for Him. After my husband had given vent to his anger, I said to him, “I’ve already sacrificed enough for this family over the last thirty-plus years. Look at those colleagues of mine; after retiring, they’re either off playing mahjong, dancing, or traveling all over. They’re never home, and they spend all kinds of money. Now, I’m believing in God, walking the correct path and devoting some of my time, and yet you’re still against this, picking fights with me every day. If you don’t want to stay together, then go file for a divorce tomorrow. If you do, then stop interfering with me; I have the freedom to do what I choose.” He just stood there in shock and said nothing more. The next morning, I asked him, “So, what do you say? Answer me, are we staying married or not?” Hearing me say this, my husband pointed his finger at my forehead and said, “Oh, what am I going to do with you?” At the time, I was very happy. After that, I didn’t pay any mind to my husband’s grumbling, and gradually, he began to grumble less than before.

In May of 2022, I was chosen to be a preacher and put in charge of the work of multiple churches. Being promoted should have been a cause for joy, but I felt like a large rock was pressing against my heart, and I thought, “For the past couple years, I’ve been a church leader, and although I was busy with the church work, I could still spend time on household tasks in the mornings and evenings. Now I’m going to be a preacher, and not only will I be busy, I’ll have to leave home and live apart from my husband since some of the churches are far away. How will he condone this? Won’t it mean I’m actively giving up on my marriage? If my marriage splits apart and I’m on my own in the future, how will I get by? I’m going to be 60 soon; if I’m laid up with an illness in the future, I won’t even have anyone to cook me food or bring me water. How could I live like that?” The more I thought, the sadder I became, and tears flowed down my face uncontrollably. I very much wanted to satisfy God, but the bit of doctrine that I’d come to understand before didn’t have any effect, and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t put it into practice. Finally, I rejected this duty on the grounds that my stature was too small and I didn’t have the truth reality. During the few days after that, I was in great turmoil, and I felt indebted to God, thinking, “The church has cultivated me for a few years, and I’ve been a church leader all this time. I’ve often fellowshipped with brothers and sisters about the truth of submitting to God, but when I was needed for this duty, I was a coward and chose my marriage and family. I’ve become a laughingstock of Satan; how can I call myself someone who follows God? I’m truly worthless!” I urgently wanted to seek the truth and resolve my corrupt disposition, and I read a passage of God’s words: “Who can truly and completely expend themselves for Me and offer up their all for My sake? You are all half-hearted; your thoughts go around and around, thinking of home, of the outside world, of food and clothing. Despite the fact that you are here before Me, doing things for Me, deep down you are still thinking of your wife, children, and parents at home. Are all these things your property? Why do you not entrust them into My hands? Do you not have sufficient faith in Me? Or is it that you are afraid I will make inappropriate arrangements for you? Why do you always worry about the family of your flesh? You always pine for your loved ones! Do I have a certain place in your heart? You still talk about allowing Me to have dominion within you and occupy your entire being—these are all deceptive lies! How many of you are wholeheartedly committed to the church? And who among you think not of yourselves, but are acting for the sake of the kingdom of today? Think very carefully about this(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 59). Pondering God’s words, it felt as though God was judging me right in front of my face. What He exposed was my exact state. I appeared to be doing my duty in the church, quite busy with things every day, but deep down I was always thinking about my family. Sometimes, when I was out at a gathering, I would worry about whether my husband had eaten yet. When I saw that he was extremely exhausted from taking care of his mother at the hospital, I wanted to just do a simpler duty to relieve some of his burden. When I was busy with my duty and that made my husband unhappy, I wanted to resign from leadership duties. I vainly hoped to have my cake and eat it too, looking after my family while also doing my duty. Wasn’t I just someone who had a foot in both camps? I may have shouted the words, “God holds sovereignty over all,” but in reality, I had no true faith in God whatsoever and didn’t dare to put everything in His hands. When the church promoted me to be a preacher, I hadn’t considered the church’s work needs in the slightest, and all I thought of was my own marriage, worrying that living apart from my husband would cause our marriage to split apart and then I’d no longer have a family. In actuality, preserving my marriage wasn’t something I could control. If my marriage was meant to fall apart, then it would fall apart even if I was at home every day. I had a friend who followed her husband wherever he went, and the two were practically inseparable. However, her husband still became involved with another woman right in front of her eyes, and they ended up getting divorced. There were also some married couples who lived apart due to work and only saw each other a few times a year, but their marriage was still long-lasting. Recognizing this, I was willing to entrust my marriage to God. I came before God and prayed, “God, thank You for engineering these circumstances to reveal my corruption. I see that I don’t love the truth and that my nature is extremely selfish. I only consider my own fleshly interests, only wanting to keep my marriage intact. God, I am willing to rely on You and let go of my marriage! If I ever have another chance to leave home and do my duty in the future, I’m willing to choose my duty and satisfy You.”

Several months passed, and again I was chosen to be a preacher. At the time, I was very emotional, thinking, “In the past, I’ve always hurt and disappointed God, and I’ve accrued much debt to Him in my duty, but He has still given me a chance to repent. This time, I’m going to satisfy Him.” But, when I thought of how I had to leave home to do my duty, I still felt much internal conflict. I prayed to God and thought of a passage of His words that I had read before: “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and you should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). God’s words gave me faith and strength. For the first half of my life, I had lived entirely for my flesh, busying myself with things. I only pursued family happiness and fleshly peace. Living like that had no value and meaning whatsoever, and in the end, I would only die empty-handed and filled with regret. God selected me to come to God’s house and gave me the chance to gain the truth and life, but I wasn’t grateful and didn’t give Him my whole heart, rejecting my duty to preserve my marriage and committing a transgression before God. This time, God had favored me once more, giving me the chance to be a preacher. I couldn’t reject my duty again just because I was worried my marriage would split apart; there was no integrity, dignity, or value in living like that. I had chosen to believe in and follow God, so I had to let Him orchestrate things. It was worth forsaking anything in order to gain the truth. Even if my marriage broke apart after I left home, I would still do my duty well and live for God this time.

During the time right after I left home for my duty, I would think about my husband whenever I had any free time, and I wasn’t fully putting my heart into my duty. I knew I still hadn’t truly let go of my marriage. Later, when I saw God’s fellowship on the truths regarding marriage, it was like discovering a priceless treasure, and I read it closely. Almighty God says: “Many people make their life’s happiness dependent upon their marriage, and their goal in pursuing happiness is the pursuit of the happiness and perfection of marriage. They believe that if their marriage is a happy one and they’re happy with their partner, then they will have a happy life, and so they regard the happiness of their marriage as a lifelong mission to be achieved through unremitting efforts. … In such people’s hearts, marital happiness is more important than anything else, and without it, they feel as though they’re totally soulless. They believe, ‘Love is the most important thing for a happy marriage. Only because I love my wife and she loves me do we have a happy marriage and have been able to make it this long. If I were to lose this love and this love were to end because of my belief in God and because I perform my duty, then wouldn’t that mean that my marital happiness is over and gone, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this marital happiness again? Without marital happiness, what will happen to us? What would my wife’s life be like without my love? What will happen to me if I lose my wife’s love? Can performing the duty of a created being and accomplishing man’s mission before God make up for this loss?’ They don’t know, they have no answer, and they don’t understand this aspect of the truth. Therefore, when God’s house requires those who pursue the happiness of marriage above all else to leave their homes and go to a distant place to spread the gospel and perform their duty, they often feel frustrated, helpless, and even uneasy about the fact that they may soon lose their marital happiness. Some people abandon or refuse to perform their duties in order to sustain their marital happiness, and some even refuse the important arrangements of God’s house. There are also some who, to sustain their marital happiness, often try to get to know their spouse’s feelings. If their spouse feels slightly displeased or shows even a hint of displeasure or dissatisfaction with their faith, with the path of faith in God they have taken, and with their performing their duty, they instantly change course and make concessions. To sustain their marital happiness, they often make concessions to their spouse, even if it means giving up chances to perform their duty, and giving up time for gatherings, reading God’s words and carrying out spiritual devotions in order to show their spouse that they’re there, to keep their spouse from feeling alone and lonely, and to make their spouse feel their love; they would rather do this than lose or be without their spouse’s love. This is because they feel that, if they give up their spouse’s love for the sake of their faith or the path of faith in God they’ve taken, then this means that they’ve abandoned their marital happiness and they won’t be able to feel that marital happiness anymore, and they will then be someone lonely, pitiful, and lamentable. What does it mean to be someone lamentable and pitiful? It means someone without the love or adoration of another. Even though these people understand some doctrine and the significance of God performing His work of salvation and, of course, they understand that as a created being they should perform the duty of a created being, because they entrust their spouse with their own happiness and they also, of course, make their own happiness dependent upon their marital happiness, even though they understand and know what they should do, they still can’t let go of their pursuit of marital happiness. They mistakenly view the pursuit of marital happiness as the mission they should pursue in this lifetime, and mistakenly view the pursuit of marital happiness as the mission that a created being should pursue and accomplish. Isn’t this a mistake? (Yes, it is.)” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)). God exposed some of man’s behaviors in pursuing marital happiness. After getting married, to maintain the affection between husband and wife, people do things to curry favor with and please their partners. Or, to uphold their marital happiness, they expend themselves and make some sacrifices, with some even preferring to give up the chance to do their duty for the sake of a happy marriage, treating the pursuit of marital happiness as their mission. What God exposed was my true state; it was a true portrayal of what I’d been pursuing all my life. After getting married, I saw that my husband was family-oriented and quite considerate of me, so I thought that I had found true love and that it was a gift from Heaven to have such a marriage. Thus, I entrusted a lifetime of happiness to my husband, turning the pursuit for marital happiness into my life’s mission. To maintain a happy marriage, I worked hard to fulfill my responsibilities as a wife. I would prepare three different meals for my husband each day and handle the housework to please him. When I became a leader and was busy with the church work, unable to give thought to my family, my husband was averse to this. I felt guilty and reproached myself, thinking that I owed my husband and hadn’t fulfilled my responsibilities as a wife. After my husband reprimanded me, I was worried that my family would break apart, and I wanted to resign and give up my duty to preserve my relationship with my husband. When I was chosen to be a preacher, I only thought of my marriage and my family, not only being ungrateful to God, but also preferring to give up the chance to perform my duty for the sake of marital happiness. I was living by the mistaken thoughts that Satan had instilled in me, such as “Husband and wife shall love each other till death do them part.” I had treated the pursuit of marital happiness as a positive thing, believing that if a married couple could make it to their 25th or 50th anniversary, that was something to be admired. When I was young, my parents were deeply in love and always stayed by each other’s side, so I longed to have a happy marriage when I became an adult. When I got my wish, I cherished it very much, treating marital happiness as my life’s pursuit and even viewing it as more important than doing my duty and gaining the truth, which caused me to deviate from God’s demands.

I read more of God’s words: “God has ordained marriage for you and given you a partner. You enter into marriage but your identity and status before God do not change—you’re still you. If you’re a woman then you’re still a woman before God; if you’re a man then you’re still a man before God. But there is one thing which you both share, and that is, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, you are all created beings before the Creator. Within the framework of marriage, you tolerate and love each other, you help and support each other, and this is fulfilling your responsibilities. Before God, however, the responsibilities you should fulfill and the mission you should accomplish cannot be replaced by the responsibilities you fulfill to your partner. Therefore, when there is conflict between your responsibilities to your partner and the duty a created being should perform before God, what you should choose is to perform the duty of a created being and not to fulfill your responsibilities to your partner. This is the direction and the aim you should choose and, of course, it is also the mission you should accomplish. … The actions of any partner within the framework of marriage who pursues marital happiness at all costs or makes any sacrifice shall not be remembered by God. No matter how well or how perfectly you fulfill your obligations and responsibilities to your partner, or how much you live up to your partner’s expectations—in other words, no matter how well or how perfectly you maintain your marital happiness, or how enviable it is—it does not mean that you have fulfilled the mission of a created being, nor does it prove that you are a created being who is up to standard. Perhaps you’re a perfect wife or a perfect husband, but that remains confined to the framework of marriage. The Creator takes the measure of what kind of person you are based on how you perform the duty of a created being before Him, what kind of path you follow, what your outlook on life is, what you pursue in life, and how you accomplish the mission of a created being. With these things, God measures the path you follow as a created being and your future destination. He does not measure these things based on how you fulfill your responsibilities and obligations as a wife or a husband, nor on whether your love for your partner pleases them(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (11)). When God judges whether people are qualified created beings, He looks at what path they walk and whether or not they do their duties well as created beings, not at whether their families are harmonious and happy. When there’s a conflict between the work of God’s house and one’s family interests, one should prioritize the interests of God’s house, doing their duties well as created beings and completing God’s commission. This is the duty-bound responsibility of created beings. If someone doesn’t do their duty for the sake of marital happiness, then they’ve failed to fulfill their responsibility and don’t deserve to be called a human. Within the framework of marriage, I ought to fulfill my responsibility as a wife, but I am a created being above all else, and doing my duty well as a created being is my real life’s mission. When there is a conflict between the two of these, I should choose to do my duty as a created being. Now, I understood that pursuing marital happiness would not make me attain salvation and was not a true life; I had to put my duty as a created being first. I was very thankful to God for guiding me to make the correct choice.

I continued to read God’s words: “Asking that you let go of the pursuit of marital happiness doesn’t mean asking you to abandon marriage or to divorce as a formality, but rather it means asking you to fulfill your mission as a created being and properly perform the duty you should perform with the premise of fulfilling the responsibilities you should perform in marriage. Of course, if your pursuit of marital happiness impacts, obstructs, or even ruins your performance of the duty of a created being, then you should abandon not only your pursuit of marital happiness, but also your entire marriage. What is the final purpose and meaning of fellowshipping on these issues? It is so that marital happiness doesn’t impede your steps, tie your hands, blind your eyes, distort your vision, disturb and occupy your mind; it is so that the pursuit of marital happiness doesn’t fill your life path and fill your life, and so that you correctly approach the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill in marriage and make the correct choices concerning the responsibilities and obligations you should fulfill. A better way to practice is to devote more time and energy to your duty, perform the duty you should perform, and accomplish the mission God has entrusted to you. You must never forget that you are a created being, that it is God who has led you through life to this moment, that it is God who has given you marriage, who has given you a family, and that it is God who has bestowed upon you the responsibilities you should fulfill within the framework of marriage, and that it is not you who chose marriage, it is not that you came to be married out of thin air, or that you can maintain your marital happiness by relying on your own abilities and strength. Have I now explained this clearly? (Yes.)” (The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (10)). In asking us to let go of our pursuit of marital happiness, God isn’t asking us to get divorced as a formality, but to do our duties well as created beings under the premise of fulfilling our responsibilities in our marriage. If our marriage affects or obstructs the performance of our duties, we should let go of it. God pointed out a clear path to practice for me. In the past, I pursued marital happiness, putting half a lifetime of painstaking effort into it, and even after I started believing in God and doing my duty, I was still deeply stuck in this pursuit and unable to extricate myself. I even rejected my duty to preserve my marriage, missing out on many chances to gain the truth. I wouldn’t get back the time that I lost. Now that I was almost 60 years old, I wanted to use the limited time I had left to perform my duty. As far as what my marriage would be like in the future, I didn’t have the final say in that. I had to hand it all over to God and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements. After that, I put everything I had into doing my duty. When I discovered problems, I fellowshipped with the sisters I was partnered with to resolve them, and when I ran into difficulties, I sought guidance from the upper-level leaders. After a period of time, I achieved some results in my work. I used the mornings and the evenings for spiritual devotion, and when I had an incorrect state, I promptly sought the truth to resolve it. Before I knew it, I had equipped myself with some truths. When I was living at home, I’d been busy with church work during daytime and family matters in the mornings and evenings, with even the time for my spiritual devotion limited, but now I was finally experiencing the significance in leaving home to do one’s duty, and I had more time to equip myself with and gain the truth. Now, I understand that pursuing marital happiness isn’t my mission and won’t enable me to attain salvation. I’ll only be truly living if I pursue doing my duty well as a created being.

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