In the last chapter “Surrender,” I left off with surrendering so many new areas of my life to the Lord. One that was of deep concern to me (before I turned it over to the Lord) was my younger children’s education.
As with all areas that I have turned over to His finished work, there is always a period of waiting that is required before He begins to move. This is a time of testing and resting—and of trust. While waiting, the enemy (or maybe it is simply our flesh) will tempt us to do “something!” If we are trusting the Lord for our weight loss, we will be tempted to “at least” drink more water, stop eating sweets, or take smaller portions. But we must resist that temptation and make sure we tell the Lord that we are helpless and hopeless without Him taking care of this area of our lives.
It was the same way while I waited on the Lord to move in the area of schooling my children. I was willing to send them to school: private or even public (something I had spoken so adamantly against). Yet, surrender means giving up our will for His will, which means the enemy will be doing what he can to get in the way of what the Lord has planned for us. So once I fully surrendered the enemy began trying to persuade me with thoughts (remember our battle is often won or lost in our minds) that the Lord, whom I was trusting in, had made me go through a scandalous divorce, and so—sending my children to public school was certainly next on His list.
However, as I praised Him for even that possibility, knowing, too, that though scandalous and high profile, my divorce has brought immeasurable blessings beyond what anyone could hope or think was possible! That was when the Lord spoke to me that just as He had blessed my baby sister (who is somewhat “intellectually and emotionally challenged” to move close by, so I could help with her care just a few months earlier), in the same way, He assured me that He would bless my children with something wonderful, something I never thought of! So I shared this with my younger children and they were relieved and full of faith believing with me as we waited.
It was only three days before I left for a European tour (leaving my children for three weeks without any clue as to how they would manage their schooling while I was gone), that the Lord began to move!!! My sister, who as I said is challenged, has many amazing gifts. And so I’d know this was His plan, when I told my sister that I was on my way to Paris (as one of my destinations), she began speaking little phrases in French to me. A few days later it clicked, and I asked if she would be interested in tutoring the children in “a little French.” Then the Lord reminded me that she had also lived for a couple of years with a family from Mexico and that she could speak conversational Spanish really well. I asked if she would also teach them Spanish when she ran out of things that she knew in French.
My sister was so excited and replied that she would love to tutor them, but that her real love was spelling! That’s when I remembered that she had an incredible gift for spelling! So I hired her to tutor them in all three subjects! This revelation led me to follow His lead and I asked my niece (who came to live with us for a year), and who is excellent in mathematics, to tutor the children when she came home from school. My niece was so honored and she agreed immediately, telling her cousins and her parents how important it made her feel. This led me then to ask my oldest son (who is an excellent writer) to tutor the children in their written reports (science, history, and geography). Lastly, I asked my special needs son to help the children in reading and to help hone their skills as an orator (reading or speaking aloud) since he feels inadequate in these subjects. So tutoring others will also help him as he helps his younger siblings! Within just one day (and just three days before I left), the Lord (not I) pulled this all together!!
The results were amazing. The first time that I was able to speak to my children with a chat while in Europe, in my hotel room in Belfast, Ireland, just as we said our good-byes, my son came close to the camera and whispered, “Je t’aime Maman, Je t’aime” (pronounced za tem ma’ma). It means, “I love you mother, I love you”! Ladies, all I could do was cry! How precious is our dear, sweet Husband—my goodness, we simply can never really fathom His care for us! Oh the heights and depths of His love!!!
With this testimony now shared, let me speak to you, dear reader about your failure to let go of your marriage restoration, or of finding a husband (for those who are not yet married), or of a good marriage (for those of you who are still married but who are miserable). Erin often shares of how she longs to be able to help each of you more, so I’d like to help her since she’s helped me so much.
If I was convinced that God would certainly allow me to continue to homeschool my children, and if I had held onto (not letting go) of the real possibility of sending my children to public school, then I would never have left room, nor would my heart be right with trusting God. Therefore, He would never have been able to work in this area of my life. So, too, are you who refuse to let go of the “promise” that the Lord may have given you in regard to your marriage (present, past, or future marriage).
The Lord gave me those same promises too. However, as my intimacy with Him grew, so too did my desire for Him alone. And at that point, nothing else mattered, and all the promises that He gave me, I gave them back to Him. What He gave me, as a replacement, was the Abundant Life that I am living now. The way I am living now is what I was created to do. It was nothing that I may have wanted or planned, but as we all know, His ways and His thoughts are far above our thoughts and plans!!!
“The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“This is God's Word on the subject: "I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11 Message).
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8–9).
Had I held onto my marriage restoration “promise” (Hey, Lord, you promised!!), for instance, not only would I not have this life, but I would also have continued to experience pain, after pain, after pain! Erin continues to see this kind of pain in praise reports and I’ve even read far too much pain in other things written by some of RMI’s leaders—pain that is accepted as normal when it simply is not His plan! And I’ve spoken to Erin about it because I know it grieves her too.
Once all of the heart ties are severed (for every need on this earth: physical, material, and emotional), and the promise has been put on the altar (each and every promise), that’s the moment that you will begin to experience “no more tears and no more sorrows.” Let me give you an example.
When I heard that my former husband had a wedding date set, it did not hurt, not one bit. Instead, I honestly rejoiced, knowing that my future with my precious Husband was more secure than ever!! When I heard that all of my children had finally come to the place where they would not only attend their father’s wedding, but would actually be in his wedding with the AW, it too was a time to rejoice because I could see that they were following my lead in trusting God in areas that most children (and adults) find impossible. “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).
Dear reader, surrender means freedom from worry, pain, confusion, and loneliness. It is a place of rest while you watch miracles happen right before your eyes. It sets you free so that you can spend more time and enjoy greater intimacy with the Lord, which is what He wants from us! He longs to spend time with us, not discussing our needs and troubles, no more than that kind of discussion would foster intimacy in a marriage between a husband and a wife!
Without truly surrendering, however, you will never experience true joy and the freedom that the Lord died to give you! What a tragedy!! It is just as heartbreaking as those who never accept His death to free them from hell and eternal damnation. But it may be even more heartbreaking for our precious Savior who is on bended knee asking you to be His bride. How He longs for each of your hearts, but your heart (your thoughts, what you talk about, what you dream about, and what you write about) is all about your earthly husband or boyfriend. Can you really compare the two? Is someone you can see so necessary when there is One who is unseen Who can meet and exceed all the dreams you have ever had over your entire lifetime—and more that are so far above that you’ve never even dreamed them?
“For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4).
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Ephesians 3:20 Message).
Just two nights ago, I spoke to the Lord regarding continuing to help with RMI as I had been doing after reading some of the praise reports and columns that were submitted, but hadn’t yet been posted on the website. It was clear that most of RMI members still want their marriage restored above all else (and the young women want an earthly husband, not a Heavenly one). It seems that this topic is screaming at me in every column and praise report. And if so, who am I to help in leadership when I honestly really don’t want restoration myself? Yes, that’s a true statement. I have been fully restored to my Husband after waiting a lifetime for Him, and now I see He is more than I could have imagined a Husband could be! So why would I want to settle?
So each time I interact with a RMI member, who oozes excitement in her voice and dreaminess in her glazed over eyes, and she asks me if I believe that my marriage will be restored again, my heart is pierced. What I want to ask is, if God gives us the desires of our hearts and your heart is for God to restore my marriage, what about my heart and my desires? My heart is for my Heavenly Husband, my Beloved! “So who am I, Lord?” I ask, “to remain and help Erin to be a leader over this body of believers (who want their marriage restored or to capture a Christian husband)?”
That’s when the Lord reminded me of this verse that I have read nearly every day for about ten years. It was only a few months ago when I finally understood what it meant:
“And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman . . .” (Jeremiah 15:19).
“The precious,” that this verse refers to, dear one, is the Lord—meaning everything else is worthless! That means your marriage restoration (or finding a Christian husband), money, reputation, children, position, career, etc. Everything but Him is worthless.
This means for those of you who are angry with me or disappointed in me, or even judge that I lack as a leader and am disqualified to help Erin, remember that it was Jesus who told us, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37).
The Lord told me that when I, too, shared the same “passion” and “obsession” for marriage restoration as I am seeing in the RMI ministry, it was then I wasn’t fit to be His spokesperson. But now that I have finally seen the light, just as Erin has seen it too, knowing just Who He really is and what He wants to be in my life (and in yours), I finally became His spokesperson and that’s when I began traveling all over the world!
Yes, these are hard words for many people to accept, so I am prepared to see many walk away from RMI, judge Erin and shun me.
“Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:21–22).
Better than the riches of this world,
Better than the sound of my friend’s voices,
Better than the biggest dreams of my heart,
And that’s just the start!
Better than getting what I say I need,
Better than living the life that I want to,
Better than the love anyone could give—
Your love is!
You hold me now in your arms and never let me go . . .
I can’t stop falling in love with You!
I’ll never stop falling in love with you!!!
I can’t stop falling in love with You!
I’ll never stop falling in love with you!!!