They looked at one another as if to silently question, “How could she have known?” I knew what I had experienced just hours before was Holy Spirit preparing me to allow Him to be revealed…
We all experience a degree of brokenness and heartache. God has made it clear the circumstances of one are no greater than another. However, we are fully aware what some live through just feels more weighty and horrific than what we can imagine.
Physical abuse – almost to the point of death – at the hands of a spouse and in front of a child.
Years of addiction to some substance or another, choosing a high over a child, waking up in a prison cell wondering “what happened”; daily wrestling shame and remorse, fighting to find worth.
Poor choices leading to having no place to go, losing your children to foster care, wrestling with constant anxiety, and fighting to live an honest life.
Brokenness and abandonment leading to layers of deep and high walls, cutting off everyone, wandering to high and far places – constantly searching – never settling.
Loss after loss, murder and suicide, abuse and torture – relentless depression and anxiety – while doing everything to fight for a child and a peaceful life.
We may read, and identify. We may read, and compassion wells up inside. We may read, and conviction pricks our hearts to reassess those things we identify as wrong or unjust in our own lives.
I knew this call was going to stretch me. I had no idea how. A couple weeks ago it was brought to my attention an individual connected to the group I am ministering with had made some considerably unhealthy declarations. The remarks oozed with darkness and actions threatened what I sensed God wanted to do. I committed to the ladies I would pray for the situation.
“Lord, push back – and out – the darkness that resides and believes it prevails, by the power of Your Spirit and presence. When I, or others in Christ, walk into the space, I pray darkness realizes it is not allowed to stay. YOU desire my Sisters in Christ be healed and made whole more than I do, please deliver them from the tactics and antics I’m being told are taking place”. I was then led to reach out to a faithful and trusted prayer partner for council and agreement.
Again, I give you an eternal truth: If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer, my heavenly Father will do it for you. Matthew 18:19 TPT
Prior to our session this week, I felt “off”. I was more fatigued than normal. I felt irrationally emotional. Thoughts bombarded my mind I knew were not my own. Something was attempting to convince me I did not need to show up for the week’s session. My husband could tell something was up. When he asked me what was going on, all I could do was cry.
How do I share something he doesn’t understand? How do I describe something I don’t even fully understand? He is going to think I’m crazy (more than normal ;) ). Then I felt like Holy Spirit needed me to share. I sensed this was going to be a testimony of faithfulness my husband could not deny. I believed the situation possessed the potential to be a faith builder for many.
“I feel like someone is feeling suicidal. I feel like someone really wants to hurt themselves. I can feel the heaviness of thought running through their mind.” I looked up to make eye contact and found compassion in his eyes.
“That’s deep”. Translation: I really don’t know what you’re talking about, but I believe you believe it and it’s genuine, or you wouldn’t be crying in the way you just were. He gave me a hug. I went on to get ready, blared worship music and praised while doing so. Then, I was on my way.
After opening the session with worship and prayer, I could not escape the need to pray for the one contemplating self-harm or even taking their own life. The tears again welling up, a notable quiver in my voice, and an urgency I hoped the gals understood.
After prayer was when I noticed – SOMETHING was resonating with them, their glances provided clues I was not off base. However, it was not until the end of our hour and a half together, just before we entered into our departing prayers for the week, that I learned what had been going on.
One gal expressed her challenges for the week prior, making her requests known for what lie ahead. I pointedly asked if she was the one prayed for. “No, but it is someone connected to us. It is no one in the group, but someone connected with us.” The other gals confirmed and proceeded to share the individual whose challenging words and chaotic behavior weeks prior, had free-willingly decided to part ways. SHE was the one wrestling with the dark thoughts I believed Holy Spirit was revealing… Talk about needing to call on Holy Spirit to help decipher mixed emotions!
On one side, God was being praised for answering prayer. On the other side, a very serious concern for the soul in torment elicited more concern and a need for more prayer. On one hand, five women just witnessed the faithfulness and love of the Father by placing her situation on my heart and and moving me to publicly pray. On the other hand, there was relief from the chaos they felt subjected to. On one side I was grateful I could share this testimony with my husband so he wouldn’t think I had drifted farther than he knew what to do with. On the other, I was burdened and saddened that it was true.
Jesus! Teach, comfort, guide and share truth. Please.
WE prayed. I left. I did not share with my husband. Something inside me wanted confirmation what I was hearing was factual. The next day, I witnessed with my own eyes, from the soul herself, the torment she is living with. My heart sank and I prayed.
I know I reiterate all the time about the importance of you and me hearing from the heart of God. I know I share posts that confront our complacency and hopefully lovingly convict us to remove distractions from our lives so we can hear from God through His word and prayer. I know it may feel intense, overwhelming and maybe a little too much for some. I hope this testimony confirms God’s heart to us… HE IS THE ONE desiring we set aside distractions and hear from Him. This is only one example WHY.
Our ability to free willingly make time to hear from Him above all other voices this world throws at us, could mean eternal life or death for someone. It could be the healing someone either does or does not receive. It could be the next faith building brick a loved one needs. It could lead to the demonstration of God’s love the world around us desperately needs to see. I finally did share with my husband how the events unfolded, needless to say he was speechless yet in awe at how God had moved for one many may likely have given up on.
Be encouraged today to spend time with the Lord. Give Him what little you believe you have to give. Position your heart and soul to hear what His Spirit is saying. Take in the truth of His Word. And please, if moved to do so, pray for the healing of those lost and bound by darkness, who have concluded there may be no other way, but out.
Our parents did not model what it was like to live married as God intended and prescribes through His Word. Praise God we DID have my husband’s grandparents to look to as an example of commitment. Commitment was, is and will always be the cornerstone of our marriage.
Commitment was the word I shared with the pastor marrying us so many years ago, as the most important element to live out until death do us part. She was stunned. She shared many couple share love as the most important, or maybe a good plan, or having lots of things in common. In my heart of hearts, I knew all of those things could change, fail, or simply not be present for a season. I also knew in my heart of hearts after moving out a couple days following my seventeenth birthday, commitment to him was vital if I never wanted him to feel rejected like I had.
The first eight years of our marriage consisted of babies, building, and growing. It also consisted of selfishness, fighting addiction and one another. It was hard. Then, Jesus.
Jesus called our whole family to Himself in the fall of 2008. He called me back after years of wandering. He called my husband after years of not believing. He called our daughters to enter relationship with Him at the tender ages of five and seven. Our lives changed for the better.
We were equipped. We were poured into. We were prayed over. We lived in a season of thriving for nearly eighteen months. And then we didn’t…
This new life, while a blessing, brought its own challenges. We didn’t know what we were up against in the spirit and slowly things began to fade away again. AS CHRISTIANS, living for GOD, we found ourselves separated twice, bickering non-stop, and continuing to fight for our own way.
“But this is what God needs me to do!” I would argue.
“Who am I to argue with God?!” my Husband would lament.
Talk about creating a confused environment for our children. I thought I had this divine order of living thing all figured out. He did not want anything to do with it if the picture I presented was what it looked like. But God and His good grace.
In January of 2015 my husband was so ill with influenza he lay on our couch with a 105° fever for nearly nine days. I could have cared less. Harsh, I know. I had so many reasons, so many justifications for WHY I didn’t need to care anymore. I had an arsenal to come back with if he took even one shot with his words. I had examples all around me of Christian women I knew that had left their marriage (some even encouraged me that some marriages just don’t work out), and God seemed OK with it. Needless to say, God needed to deal with me and my heart. When Holy Spirit very clearly instructed me to sit with my Husband, take care of him, and tend his needs the entire week - I did. When He reminded me of the bedrock of my perspective on marriage to remain committed until death do us part, and to remove divorce from my vocabulary and list of options once and for all – I did.
This year, we took a BIG HIT. HUGE. Praise God He had prepared me for it, but it still hurt – deeply. This time, though, I didn’t have an arsenal of justifications for being hurtful in return. Separation and divorce were not an option (although there was a break to "breath" and allow Holy Spirit in) – God had effectively pruned those “options”. COMMITMENT, again, was the Word repeatedly coming to mind... NO MATTER WHAT.
I began to seek God, rather than solace in my pain, and ask what was going on. How could this have happened? Why?
Little by little, Holy Spirit began to reveal to me some scenarios where I had deeply hurt my Husband. He had never shared the hurts with me, for fear of communicating selfishness. However, when I went to him with what I believed God had shared with me, his facial expression said it all. Thank You God for sharing with me!
As we moved to heal and "make right some wrongs”, God laid very specific love actions on my heart to follow through on, specifically to minister to my Husband. God always knows our hearts. He is just waiting for us to ask Him what will impact the hearts of those we love, and minister to them in the most profound of ways.
Something began to happen. The Lord began revealing my heart’s desires to my Husband – and HE WAS RESPONDING. These were “little things”. I thoroughly enjoy laying in the hammock with a good book and maybe even slipping off into a cat nap in the summer. Once my Husband cut the trees down that hosted my peaceful resting place, I no longer had that small pleasure – and I missed it. As part of meeting a heart desire for my Husband, I purchased a bike to ride with him and go places with him. We talked about this becoming something more than just a leisure ride every now and again, but no firm commitment to make it practical.
Within the span of about two weeks, after following through on the love actions God had placed on my heart, the following shaped up…
My husband bought a couple posts to plant in our yard so he could hang the hammock up again. Swoon. While he was away on business, a hitch arrived on our front porch. A hitch that would support a bike rack the two of us would then be able to haul our bikes on and go on bike tours together. When the tiniest of packages arrived that would eliminate the “pop-pop” sound that could wake up the entire house when just one of us was preparing breakfast – my heart burst!
Yesterday, when he asked me to open the door and close it again with no sound, I lost it. Sure I was grateful it would no longer urk me to no end, but I was grateful for something more. My Husband was beginning to gain confidence in those small whispers and then FOLLOWING THROUGH. This is HUGE. He was beginning to respond to Holy Spirit – whether he realized it or not. But you know what? God needed me to do the same.
My Husband and I are on really different places on our faith journey, and our walks look completely different, but I know the same God we have faith in loves us both SO MUCH and desires to make Himself known through the little acts of obedience that are really magnificent, miraculous acts of obedience when we consider our journey up to this point.
Be encouraged today, listen to God and move towards His call on your life. His call will not exempt those closest to you - specifically your spouse or children – your family will always be God’s first priority in your life. If you’re willing to pray for others and trust God to minister to the multitudes through your life and voice, trust Him to do the same in your home, with your Husband and kiddos. If your commitment is waning in your marriage, take a moment to reflect on all the ways God Himself has remained committed to you, regardless of shortcomings, and allow a fresh wind of the reminders of His faithfulness to move your sails to do the same in your marriage.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.