What did I do it all for? What was the point? Did I really lose as most people think, or was I really the winner?
Normally when I begin writing a chapter, I begin with the title. It’s almost as if He’s giving me direction for where He wants me to go as I begin writing. Though I believe I know what I want to share with you, where I’m headed, I am still not clear how to sum it up enough to create a suitable title. Nevertheless, I will set off and simply trust that the Lord will help me share this wonderful revelation with you, title or not.
If you’ve read any of Erin’s books, you certainly must have stumbled onto A Wise Woman, which originally was created for the desperate women who, like myself, had found themselves abandoned or cheated on by their husbands. It was a culmination of what the Lord had revealed to Erin during her two-year restoration journey when she sought God to restore her marriage. From that book, she explains that a smaller book was pulled out to help those women to simply get out of their crisis (once again who had been abandoned or whose husbands had been unfaithful to them), again like me, that was entitled How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage.
After using both books, as most of you know, my marriage was restored, and even before it was, I’d begun helping Erin with her books and online ministry. But, when my husband left me a second time, suddenly, after fourteen years of restoration, many women thought that I had lost big time, and I also felt disqualified to help Erin so I resigned! Some women I’d been working with even went so far as to accuse me of being a fake before I resigned, saying that if I had been the wife that I professed to trying to be, following A Wise Woman, and encouraging other women to also follow the principles, basically saying that if I was “practicing what I preached,” my husband would not have left me.
Thankfully, through false accusations and out of his own mouth, my ex-husband actually defended me to our senior pastor as “the perfect wife” and later confessed that he also had (prior to how I handled his leaving a second time) thought I was a fake, but that I was “unbelievably real.” Wow, only God, my dear, only God could have prompted him to say that. And of course, Erin said she knew the real me, and one or two other very close friends affirmed their belief in me. But due to what happened, I began to doubt my calling as a minister or of having anything more to say to any woman.
Once the dust settled, and the initial crisis of the second divorce, additional lawsuits he filed, and the initial financial ruin had died down (of course I never defended myself), then I, too, had questions like “What was it all for? Why did I learn to be that “perfect” wife if I was to have no husband after all? What would I do now since my testimony was gone, who could I ever minister to that would listen?”
Fast forward. It’s now been about a year and a half since the divorce was final, so I have been living without a “husband” for many months now. During my many days and hours of traveling around the world, the Lord has since revealed to me many answers that I believe many of you are struggling with as well. Those of you, who like me, began this course of action to restore your marriage, but you, like me, are without a restoration or a husband in the home and are wondering: What was the point? Even worse, you are feeling as if you are a failure. Because come on, aren’t those women who write their “restored testimonies” the winners? Doesn’t that then make you, and now me, the losers?
Today, let me dispel this myth and reveal to you the truth that will set you free—free to rejoice and be glad!
We not only did not lose, darling, we won!
The very purpose of this transformation He made in us wasn’t to be anyone’s wife, but in order for us to be His forever bride—a bride of a Prince—the Prince of Peace! Doesn’t that mean, then, that you and I are a princess? Yes! And this means that for eternity you are promised (by Someone who is unable to lie) to be treated and cherished like a bride who is loved beyond imagination. “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Ephesians 3:20 The Message).
Each day and in every new season of my life, I am learning this truth in amazing ways!! May I share with you the most recent?
The Lord told me in late March of this year that in six months, which would be September, that my life would be totally different. To confirm this, He told me “something totally unbelievable would happen the following month,” April. Sure enough, instead of us, RMI, publishing their own books, they were picked up by a huge publisher, a secular one, who will be printing and distributing them. This is incredible due to the destroyed books I mentioned in the previous chapter, so that wherever I was, anywhere traveling around the world, I could simply mail anyone a copy of any of the books that changed my life! Also by trying to stop part of my ongoing income (of selling RMI books), which I believe he’d destroyed to cripple me financially in order to take custody of my younger children—God had a bigger plan for allowing this.
If you’ve followed the history of RMI, Erin has explained that years ago when their first publisher could not keep up with the demand, they tried unsuccessfully to get any Christian publisher to print even one of their books! Over and over again they were rejected due to Christian book publishers believing they were too radical—and as we know, the only books that speak and share the truth! So that’s why RMI began to self-publish their books. So to have a secular company “publish ten titles to start with” is truly remarkable.
“Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).
“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He WAITS on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him” (Isaiah 30:18).
This new turn of events, that affected me as much as it affected Erin and RMI, made me wait with great expectation for what September would hold. Funny thing is (and we all do it) I imagined exactly how I was going to be blessed. I was sure it had to be in the area of my finances since surely He had to show up there! So that’s what I was waiting and anticipating until October 1st arrived. For the next week, I tried to make sense of it all. I often thought of writing a chapter about how Lazarus and his sisters must have had difficulty waiting for Jesus to arrive until it seemed it was too late (but how God had set them all up for a greater miracle by letting him die—but that’s another chapter). Since, instead of my finances increasing, my finances are in fact still dying a slow death. Nevertheless, I have been reminded by the Lord (often enough) to ponder the story of Lazarus when I speak to Him about how bleak my finances look. So it may be the Lazarus chapter is coming. However, this is not what this chapter is about, nor for how my life was going to change.
Without ever realizing it, my life did change, dramatically! But would you believe I almost missed it? It was ever so subtle that the enormity of it all eluded me. You know, I think that is what happened to so many of the Jews who were waiting for Jesus, their Messiah, to arrive. He came in with such subtlety, in a manger and a carpenter’s son, so since they imagined Him to coming as a royal earthly king (with all the splendor), many of the Jews missed it, missed Him entirely.
What was it? Subtly, suddenly and incredibly, I realized I’d simply become a stay-at-home mom! I woke up one morning to the fact that He’d given me the desires of my heart that I had wanted since before I had my first child. Throughout my marriage, I had either worked part-time or had helped my husband with him in his profession and even when he’d become a pastor. So you ask (as I did)—how is this possible when I am a single mom of so many children, with no child support, and certainly not independently wealthy?
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You!” (Jeremiah 32:17).
At first, I could not accept this blessing as real. Certainly I would have to “work”— right? Come on, again, let’s be real here. Yet, over and over again the Lord reminded me of my over 25 years of marriage, how He had trained me to be that “perfect wife,” and this was the reason. I was now not just His wife, but His bride. So would He expect or want His bride to “work”? BUT, what about my failing finances? The Lord asked me one day, “Michele, if you learned not to question your earthly husband about the condition of the family finances, and you trusted him with the solution and the burden, why then are you concerned now when you have a heavenly Husband who has unlimited resources?” Wow, this certainly helped me to see things differently!
The Lord has graciously worked it out, also, I am doing all the things I love to do! Rather than a job to make money, I am free to write, and to continue to minister to women! Even the lack of finances plays a part in it too. If I were drawing a salary, then I would feel too guilty to do what I am doing; however, the little bit that is coming in is just enough to keep my life going. And ministering to me is never work—it’s my passion. And though I believed that my no longer having a restored marriage disqualified me from having a ministry, the truth turned out to be that having a restored marriage only limited my ministering. Every woman alive needs His love and deserves to be His bride! Not everyone needs or wants a restored marriage—so by losing my life (as I knew it) I found my life!!
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it’” (Matthew 16:25).
So what about you? What was His purpose in your not being a wife right now; besides letting you experience Him as the Husband of your dreams? I believe it is ultimately to give you the desires of your heart—desires that you may have even forgotten over the years! It’s so easy to lose our focus when the journey of our life takes us on a path we thought we would never take. Nevertheless, God did hear and remember each and every one of those desires and hasn’t forgotten one, not one.
So precious one, ask the Lord to show you what He has been up to and what you may have missed. I believe that many of you are actually living the life that your dreams have always been made of.