With intense pain shooting through her stomach, leaving her crumpled on the floor unable to move, Christian singer and songwriter Plumb cried out through the empty space, “God, I need you now!” She desperately hoped that the God of heaven was listening to her and would hear her plea for help and deliverance.
Plumb was unable to cope on her own. She suffered from anxiety so severe that it left her crippled with debilitating stomach aches – the clinical diagnosis was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with a spastic colon triggered by anxiety and panic. As a high school student, Plumb found herself medicated to the point where she had no interest in school or the ability to make herself care about traditional education.
Lyrics of Plumb’s Heart
Naturally gifted with words, Plumb sought solace in her poetry and music. Growing up, her music hobby offered her an escape from the reality of struggling with her emotional and physical burdens. Although signed by a major record label before her 21st birthday, she had neither the intention of becoming a rock star nor did she have a set agenda; rather, she simply desired an outlet to express extreme emotions and felt drawn to share her own lyrics.
As 2011 was approaching, her career was in full swing and the single “I Need You Now” that had begun as desperate cries for deliverance for one single young woman was poised to become a beautiful anthem for others to relate as their own plea for deliverance. However, in the traditional, unpredictable twists and turns of life, the song and its lyrics unexpectedly took on an entirely different meaning in her heart. Getting set to release her new album in 2011, Plumb’s world suddenly seemed to cave in on itself and teetered on the verge of crumbling, as her marriage was dealt a severe blow.
A Different Kind of Project
Plumb describes how she and her husband had to tell their children that they needed to work on a project, which was something the kids were used to in the life of a Christian artist, though this project was not one they would readily understand. Two days after Christmas, Plumb and her husband separated. It was a painful jolt to Plumb, though not naïve, had a lot of faith and trust in the marriage that they had built.
Trapped in a nightmare, thoughts of single parenthood, loneliness, hurt, and despair for her children swirled in her mind. Although she wanted to run from her marriage and the pain of disappointment, God used her children to ground her in the desire to try – to try to rebuild what had been shattered – to try to rebuild their family, if for only the children.
After some time spent reeling from the shock and pain, she heard the Lord speak to her weary and broken heart. It was time to move forward. Though unsure of what the path to reconciliation would be, the broken couple knew that they needed to start by assessing the damage and the cause. It was time to take stock. On the verge of divorce, they started to analyze how they got there.
Plumb’s Spinning Plates
Upon checking the inventory of their failing marriage, one thing became painfully obvious to both of them: they had too many plates spinning in the circus of their life and the crash was inevitable. Between music industry demands, releasing a new album, kids’ activities, group functions, board memberships, club memberships, mission work, managing a household, over-extended finances, and everyday life, they had lost sight of the life that God had called them to live.
A longing for the simple life began to take root in their hearts. While their lives were filled with a lot of good things, the volume of those good things had become the enemy of great. The current societal attitude of NOW and MORE had invaded their home and their lives. Nothing was left unscathed. There had been nothing that they had protected from the onslaught of NOW and MORE. Laying her head on her pillow at the end of each day, God was the last thing on Plumb’s mind. If she would have taken the time to ask Him what He wanted from her, He would have simply said “slow down!”
After almost destroying it all – each other, the house, their family, and their money – Plumb and her husband decided to make a change. As their project began to take shape, the path forward became clearer. They started by each taking responsibility for the failures in their marriage. Even though fingers are often pointed and blame is nearly always shifted, Plumb and her husband made an adjustment in their hearts and said, “What can I do to make this better and to make sure it never happens again?”
Mapping out the Journey
Putting things back into balance was their next priority. Life had gotten way out of hand and neither one of them had attempted to slow it down. Instead, they had existed in disconnection. Living in disconnection, either with your spouse or with God, is where the enemy does his best work. So, the couple sat down together and mapped out what their priorities would be. They put God at the top of their list and they asked Him to be the head of their home, the healer of their hearts, and the ultimate goal in their lives. After God, they set up each other as priority number one, even ahead of the kids, because their kids actually depended on them putting each other first. Children and family time were next, followed by careers and good works. It was a start…the journey they had mapped out was one that they decided they would take together.
Circles of Trust
It was in this phase of reconciliation and reprioritization that God used their community group to step in, support them, and hold them together while God did the repairing. He was good and faithful to answer the prayers of the embattled couple. Working in their lives and hearts and through the people He had placed in their circles of trust, God was able to mend what was broken and restore what He had united in the first place.
Making decisions to forgive each other and working together with God to rebuild their home has been one of the most rewarding decisions of their lives. The first morning Plumb and her husband woke up in their bed together, the sound of their oldest child’s voice choked up with emotion asking if the project was over and if Daddy could come back home now, penetrated their hearts. With a deep joy resonating throughout their family, the answer was a thankful “Yes!”
What the enemy intended for evil, God intended for good. By submitting to the call of God on their hearts, slowing down, and allowing Him to come in and heal their brokenness, the couple has allowed the Lord to build something incredible. Satan definitely did not count on the fact that God would turn what appeared to be a Titanic-sized disaster in their lives into a story filled with the glory of the Lord for the benefit of others, yet that is exactly what He did.
…On the Other Side
Today, Plumb and her husband share their story with the world in an effort to reach out to those who need to hear the hope of reconciliation that they have experienced. Not only have they been reconciled with each other, but they’ve been reconciled to God as well. Their marriage has been redeemed, and God is in the process of restoring their family. There was no magic formula though. There are still struggles and they still need God in their daily lives. Plumb describes how the reconciliation and redemption was immediate, but the process of restoration will take a lifetime – a pacing that they’re completely fine with.
On the other side of separation, their marriage is better than ever. They have learned to communicate honestly and openly with each other as well as the importance of sifting out impurities from their marriage immediately instead of letting even the smallest issues fester. They have learned that each fire they enter into on one side leaves their marriage even more beautiful when they arrive on the other side. They have also emptied themselves of any pride and have asked God to use their story as He sees fit in order to bless others since He was the one who put them back together in the first place.
On the anniversary of their reconciliation, Plumb’s husband surprised her with a second wedding – an intimate gathering of close friends and family meant to celebrate their triumph, reaffirm their vows to each other, and rededicate their marriage and family to God and His purpose for them.
Plumb’s Words of Advice
Plumb offers the following advice for hopefully preventing a broken home in the first place, but also for repairing what might need mending while you still can:
1.) Make Christ number one. If Christ is most important, it will be reflected in your marriage and children.
2.) Find a reputable Christian marriage and family therapist who can help you, your spouse and your family make wise decisions and who can help create an atmosphere of healing.
3.) Surround yourself with a godly community group to hold you accountable – people who know you. This community needs to be people who support your marriage – not just you.
4.) Live a life of simplicity.
5.) Know your priorities and live it out. Write out your schedule for each month, week, or day – and stick to it. Write down the time for your priorities – God, spouse, children, friends, volunteering, date nights, exercise, shopping, etc… If something comes up, even good things, that you hadn’t planned on and they cut in to your priorities, then politely decline or offer a rain check.
6.) This planning can give you the freedom to say no. It offered Plumb the sense of relief from the guilt and stress she felt when it came to saying no to people. It allows her to push the unimportant tasks out of her mind and off of her heart.
7.) Say no. When you say no for the right reasons, you’re leaving a door open for someone else to walk through. Be it helping deliver food, serving in the nursery, or other good things, people will have to ask someone else for assistance. It may turn out that it would be a blessing for the other person to serve, where it would have been additional stress for you and your family.
8.) Avoid the cultural temptation to have more and do more. Slow down, have less, say no, and decide you don’t care about your worldly status, what people think of you or your things. Care more about what your God and your family think.
9.) Never lose affection for new life, new chances, simplicity, and priorities.
10.) Make choices that you might not like for yourself, knowing that they will ultimately benefit your family. For example, Plumb describes how she still struggles with her anxiety issues and has chosen to take medication to help her with emotional problems. She is a huge advocate of a natural and healthy lifestyle approach to dealing with issues, but she also remains aware of the pride associated with this. We live in a fallen world where perfection cannot be attained in reality; because of this imperfection, stress, anxiety, and depression affect her – and that’s okay. She realizes that she needs to take a step, even one she would rather not take, to prevent her issues from affecting her husband or children. “If this medicine keeps me from saying something that will hurt my family that I can’t take back, then I’ll take the medicine.” This selfless choice is just one example of decisions you can make to benefit your family and all that it requires is emptying yourself of your own pride and deciding to serve your family first.
11.) Spend lives well-lived based on your goals – what is your legacy? At the end of the day, for Plumb, it’s God saying, “I’m proud of you Plumb” that she cares about.
God rarely answers our pleas for His help in the time or manner that we think He should. Standing on the other side of heartbreak and physical/emotional distress, Plumb can more clearly see the path that God has taken her on. Plumb stands ever grateful to a God who orchestrates the desires of her heart and paths of her life in ways that would ultimately glorify Him and help many.