One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple.
In seeking the Lord for what to write in this final chapter, there were many principles I could have shared. Oh, how fitting that I would end up concluding with what matters in my life—Him and Him alone! Just One thing I have asked from the LORD . . .
Due to facing an onslaught of crises in my life, very often throughout the day I am surprised and yet increasingly filled with awe that instead of fear or panic or planning an escape, I instead feel this overwhelming passion for Him. So I inevitably ask the Lord to help me to somehow have the words to explain the total blessedness, sheer joy and incredible awesomeness of knowing Him from the moment I took Him as my Husband, since no one seems to really understand. Yet that’s to be expected, since I, too, had no clue whatsoever prior to my living it.
Very often, especially lately, I stop to ponder how I used to think and feel about things. For instance, with my former husband’s wedding date just days away, I remember how I used to envy women who had godly husbands. You know, the same sort of woman who I know looked at me, since I once had a pastor for a husband before he walked away. So many women, I know, before everything in my life became public, told me they’d sit in their pew looking at me, longingly, while they’d be sitting next to their husband who wasn’t interested in spiritual matters or things pertaining to Him. Looks, dear one, can be deceiving. Yet I actually did the very same thing, so I assume that’s why I got what I coveted. Thankfully, He’s so loving that He brings us through those valleys and still sees fit to bless us in spite of ourselves.
So, first let me say something I know you already know by now—don’t go by what you think you see. Many of those women whom you envy are in far worse shape than you are in. Like me, they have husbands who appear spiritual, are outwardly a spiritual giant, so other women envy us, and often say so publically, when in truth the man and our dream life is not as you imagine it to be. And because of the way you misunderstand her, she has compounded pain when she chooses to honor her “less than honorable” husband. We each must admit that no one knows what really goes on behind closed doors after a man (or woman) leaves the pulpit or after leading worship, or in the lives of those whom you watch on television. I know.
Yet, of course, there are women who are blessed with incredible husbands, some who have even changed history. So I used to envy these women too. But now I know that if any woman knew the life that I lead right now, they would instead envy me! And what thrills me beyond belief and the totally unimaginable truth is that this life can be the same for each and every one of you! I am not the only bride whom He has called. Each and every one of you have the very same opportunity to become His bride—no matter what your marital status, social status, physical stature, spiritual state, or mental capabilities. It makes me tear up knowing that He loves you just as you are and loves you, not in spite of, but because of your weaknesses! “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”—Awesome; simply awesome!
When I used to work with Erin, back when her ministry was more of a “marriage restoration” ministry, she and I knew there was no guarantee that the woman who came looking for help would be able to follow the principles (to the letter) in order obtain a restored marriage. And worse, once it was restored, there were varying degrees of blessedness depending on the man who returned home. But now, this has all changed! The new call on my life and Erin’s focus has begun to focus on recruiting brides for our Beloved. Everyone (even men though it’s harder to wrap my head around) are called to be the bride for whom He is coming back for “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27). This means, each and every woman can simply trust Him, seek Him only, and everyone who desires to be loved and healed and happy can be! Nevertheless, this only happens when you and I are willing to let go and lose the life we had planned on. This is because He needs our whole heart to be free to then have it all.
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
“The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:34).
“An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:34).
“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4).
When my life bottomed out about a year ago (with my husband divorcing me to marry someone else), it was the end of the life I had hoped and dreamed for most of my life. Yet, by losing my preplanned life, and opening my heart, I opened amazingly new and exciting experiences that changed my world. It’s my hope that you will have the courage to do the same and what I’ve shared will help change your life in the very same way.
One amazing truth that I learned is that He never meant that we had to literally die to live in paradise, nor do we have to wait until He comes to get us as His bride. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” (Revelations19:7). Let’s be real, there are far too many women who are hurting horribly: abandoned, forsaken and grieved to think that this is the way we women were supposed to live until we die. The way we’ve been taught to believe is simply not correct!
Jesus didn’t die so we could, one day, go to heaven. He laid His life down to set us free now, in every area of our lives; His blood and His resurrection changed it all and it was for now. This means that women who are ignorant of this truth will continue to perish in their lack of knowledge and hope. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge . . .” (Hosea 4:6). Unless we live our lives in such a way as to reflect what they too can have, and when asked we simply share our hearts that are overflowing with love!
He Is Making All Things New!
This morning, I guess you could say that I came to the end of myself, or maybe it’s simply facing the end of my ministry as it was, or maybe it’s both. However, I am far from concerned, afraid, or any other negative emotion. I am simply excited to see what is about to happen. This morning when I woke up and spoke to the Lord about it, He gave me a new revelation or principle. He told me that it takes us thanking Him, and being broken, in order for us to be blessed.
“. . . and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people” (Matthew 15:36).
“And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people” (Mark 8:6).
“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19).
“Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat” (Acts 27:35).
“. . . and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
The only way to multiply, and the only way for His glory to appear, is when we give thanks and allow ourselves to be broken in order to feed those who are hungry for the truth, in order to heal those who are unloved.
This morning, I had to face the fact that the way things LOOK is that my ministry within the church is going under. But we all know (or should know by now) that it is always darkest before the dawn; that to have a resurrection, there has to be a death; that without an enemy cornering you, there is no Red Sea to part. To encourage me further, the Lord had me read through the promises He had given me in Isaiah and Jeremiah, all the way through to Malachi. I cried buckets of tears (of joy) when I saw that 90 percent of those promises have already been fulfilled. Therefore, these new crises are simply what will catapult me to experience the fulfillment of the final 10 percent of the remaining promises, which often mean it’s when we will face our greatest trials. This is the reason why the Apostle Paul spoke so often to encourage his readers not to faint and to finish the race.
No matter how things look, I want to let go and let everything be allowed to fail and to fall. Just as I have done in the past, I just give it all up and simply surrender it to the Lord. I told Him that it really doesn’t matter anyway, because He is all that I want and need, so I care little to nothing if I lose it all (even though my church ministry is my family’s only income, which means that the loss of my ministry means our home would be gone also)—dear Lord, you’re all that matters to me!
It’s also not just about me. My children are all watching and waiting, and at the same time, they are looking (and commenting often) because their dad is who is currently prospering, while more and more of what I have or had is crumbling. Yet they know, and we remind each other that righteousness will, always and forever, play out in the end. This is the way God created the universe, so it is foolish for us to become anxious about what’s ahead, isn’t it?
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant’” (Jeremiah 17:5–6).
The Plot Thickens
Interestingly, my church ministry “apparently” crumbling is not the half of it, for what I am about to share will shake most of you. It’s been exactly two weeks ago today that I got an email from my FH that rocked my world. It was my “Abraham-Isaac-altar heart test.” It is only because of Him and His love for me that helped me to go through it with joy and without any trace of fear. I am amazed at how He has changed and transformed “Much-Afraid,” yep, that’s me!
The email came on what would have been my 25th wedding anniversary, which forced me to face a couple of things that I knew I could possibly (no, I guess I knew it would be a probability) be facing in the future. The attack was two-fold.
First, my FH explained he was taking custody of my three youngest children when he married, which is now less than two weeks from today. Aren’t you glad that “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9)?
I knew, without any doubt or fear, that whatever was about to happen would be a good thing. It could mean that I may live hours away from my children, but if so, then it would be a good thing. How that would be possible, I don’t have a clue; but no one could have convinced me a year ago that I could have experienced such JOY by having a husband walk out, tell me he was going to look for someone else to marry, divorce me, leave me with all our debt, not pay child support, have a judgment that would ruin my credit for ten years, and set out to destroy my resources (our family’s livelihood) while away ministering in Hong Kong, and that my children would be in my FH wedding party when he marries the AW.
**Forgive me for sharing these details with you, but I did so to remind me, too, of the sheer awesomeness of God!! How often we fail to really ponder and think of all that He has done for us!!
So with the same enthusiasm, as I exhibited with the divorce that turned to joy instead of sorrow, I embraced the crisis, and in a matter of just 48 hours, the tide had turned so incredibly that all I could do was praise the Lord and fall in love with Him all over again! This crisis took place in order to bless my children and me. Though it might have been intended for evil, God intended it for good. In the end, instead of my youngest children moving away to live with their father and the AW, it caused things to be uncovered in their little hearts, which resulted in my FH making plans to come here to visit them (and without the AW) at least for now!
This crisis inevitably uncovered the truth that, the hurried nature of my FH’s decision to move out, divorce me, move away, and the most traumatic event of them being introduced to the AW and having her in their lives, had resulted in our children pulling away from loving their dad because the pain had become too great for them to bear. Had I tried to stop or slow down anything my FH wanted to do this year, I would not (and my children would not) be experiencing the newfound freedom and joy we are now rejoicing in!! Even the once “very exciting wedding” is now a very bittersweet event since for him. This is, once again, subjecting the children to what could potentially destroy the love entirely, the love they once had for their father. My FH knows it and has expressed it, yet he also knows he can’t stop the children from coming and witnessing an event that could alter their future relationship with him forever.
The second attack in my FH’s email made it very clear that destroying our resources was not enough—they (he and his fiancée) are determined to stop my church ministry completely, stating many lies and slander. They’ve made it clear they want me out of the “marriage ministry” for good, both at our church and my association with RMI. And my FH said that whatever it takes he will take his children away from me. However, “‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn, this is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17). Knowing His truth meant when I heard the threats, I was not moved at all, instead, I became more excited to see what blessings would result from this frontal attack.
So, not only did I place my children on the altar of my heart, I also went ahead and officially placed my church ministry and my volunteering with RMI, along with my potential future of being entirely alone, giving everything to the Lord because all of it is His anyway!
Immediately, the Lord spoke to me ever so gently in my prayer closet concerning what I had to do. Honestly, though, it was something that He put on my heart a very long time ago; back when my ex-husband* was still running the ministry. The Lord told me to let go of everything and resign from each of my positions.
*My FH told me that I cannot use those initials for him anymore; therefore, you will see that I will begin referring to him as my ex or ex-husband, not FH.
Though I no longer “submit” to my ex-husband since he is no longer my husband, we are told not to resist evil and to do more than is asked of us. “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:40–42).
This principle is very different than submitting to a husband, and needs the leading of the Holy Spirit to really walk it out since there is no easy way of discerning.
So, by letting go, I believe I will have more time to write and for now, spend time with my children!! I’m not sure where our income will come from, but it’s God who provides for “all of our needs according to His riches” so why should you or I worry?
God truly is in control, so that should make ALL OF US just rest in Him, no longer worried that we will make a mistake or miss God. It’s only when we are surrounded by the enemy and getting backed up to that huge Red Sea, that God parts it! And once parted it creates a clean, straight path directing us to EXACTLY where He wants us to go!!
Whether I have an outlet to minister, have children close to me to love, I nevertheless will happily continue to focus on my intimacy and oneness with the Lord. Finding my Love, at last, is what I share when I meet with any woman, here where I live and women around the world. If He opens the doors for me to continue to speak in churches and conferences my message will forever be “He is all that matters.”
Dear reader, it is all about Him becoming our Husband and us becoming His bride. And this happens only when we are willing to embrace enthusiastically whatever He allows to come against us—that’s when the crises will result in “no more tears and no more sorrow.” No threat of losing my children or ministry or income or home can shake me, because all I want and need is Him. And though people may think I am being taken advantage of, just like Jesus, no one takes my life, I lay it down willingly.
Just as Erin has been quoted as saying too, “My beloved is mine, and I am His . . . When I found Him whom my soul loves; I held on to Him and would not let him go . . . For I am [indeed] lovesick” (Song of Solomon 3:2–4; 5:8). May you each become lovesick too.