The Damoffs never expected to wrestle with brokenness so early in their marriage. George and Jeanne met through a ministry where both were heavily involved and George was respected as a key leader. Confident in the Lord’s desire for them to be together, they married in 1979, while still in college. The future looked bright and hopeful, and neither expected nor was prepared for the heartache to come.
Three months into their marriage, wounds from George’s past began to surface. In his struggle with doubt, he dropped a bomb that would crack their foundation. He said to Jeanne, “I’m not sure I married the right person.”
The couple lacked an outlet that would allow them to deal with personal pain and tension...
At the same time, George and Jeanne’s spiritual community was also crumbling. Within months, the church where they had been married and had both grown in their faith went through a painful three-way split. The Damoffs lost the accountability and community they had once been so heavily immersed in. The couple lacked an outlet that would allow them to deal with personal pain and tension in a healthy way.
The split discouraged them spiritually and widened their divide. During this difficult season, Jeanne prayed weekly with a group of women she trusted as mentors. George did not have similar support and resented that his wife was leaning on other women instead of him and trusting their opinions over his own. Their communication further disintegrated.
Not only did George feel alone in the midst of the church split but, four years into marriage, he experienced a crisis in his faith. Feeling discouraged and confused by much of what was being done in the name of Christ, he chose to walk away from the church. “If this is what Christianity looks like, then I’m done,” he said. Unknowingly, George began to choose passivity and depression rather than pressing into what the Lord had called him to do and be.
For Jeanne, this time was full of uncertainty, but looking back she says, “God protected us. We chose to fight for our marriage, and we chose to love our children. God really drove me into prayer and sweetly assured me that George was His child and no one could snatch him from His hands.” Jeanne had no choice but to surrender control over to God. She remembers finding comfort in her own powerlessness and God’s perfect sovereignty. She didn’t know the game plan, she didn’t know how many years this would go on, but she did know that God was trustworthy and, despite the pain and uncertainty, she was safe in Him.
In 1989, George spent the summer teaching biology at Liberty University in Virginia, while Jeanne and their three kids visited family in Texas. God had been quietly working in many ways, and over the course of those few weeks, He sweetly came to George’s heart. George responded, “I want to be fully yours.”
Jeanne describes the transformation as being night and day. She admits that she was also struggling at the time and was not pressing in and praying on George’s behalf like she had in the past. It is precious to the Damoffs that the healing and redemption in their lives and marriage was an absolute and complete testimony to God’s power. George emerged from the wilderness, leaning on his Beloved. He still possessed his gift of leadership but was tempered with a beautiful humility. “You don’t walk away from the Lord for seven years and come back with any sort of arrogance,” Jeanne said.
“You don’t walk away from the Lord for seven years and come back with any sort of arrogance.”
In the 25 years since then, the Damoffs have lived many seasons of great joy and deep loss and pain but, in them all, they’ve experienced God’s beautiful design of walking in community with one another and the body of Christ. George and Jeanne can confidently say they have witnessed the promise of God to make all things new and to redeem all things. This promise has had an impact on them that can never be reversed.
Looking back, George humbly admits that stepping into passivity and out of Christian community was a mistake. He now sees and understands the importance of young men and women seeking out mentors, community and accountability, and especially the role a man plays in setting the spiritual climate of his home. “I have been so thankful for the depth of community, accountability and church discipline at The Village,” George said. “Whether in marriage or in the church, when we do it God’s way, we all flourish.”