"He who has found his life will lose it,
and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it."
During the past few weeks, especially while driving, I have been drawn to a song that my boys sing in their worship band. I enjoy the upbeat nature of the tune, but it is the words that have captivated me.
The chorus says:
“To find your life,
You’ve got to lose it,
All the losers get a crown.”
Less than five months ago, I lost the life that I had lived and actively pursued for 14 years. All my life, I wanted just a simple life of being a wife and mother; I loved, simply loved staying home and not venturing outside my world.
Less than five months ago I was the wife of a pastor of a megachurch and had begun a huge women’s ministry of thousands, which was founded on my own marriage restoration. I was well-known, admired and loved as a co-pastor (women’s pastor of our church), and was often ministering side-by-side with my husband. Even my children held many leadership positions within our church. And due to the media attention our church was given, our family was well known through our area and even statewide.
Our family was clearly high-profile, both here in the United States, and even in many nations. Then, one day, my world as I knew it fell completely—my husband walked into our bedroom and told me that he was leaving that morning for an appointment with an attorney to file for divorce and that his intention was to find another woman to marry.
What do you do when your world falls?
The song that I love to sing says, “And even if my world falls I will say . . . Above ALL I live for your glory!!”
Not immediately, but sometime later, I understood that God had been preparing me for that moment in my life for well over a year. And that meant I was determined to do just that—to live for His glory. I knew that God was in complete control and that no matter what happened, the Lord was all that I needed, and He was all that I wanted. Through my love and trust in Him, I knew, my world falling would be used to give glory to God.
The day the Lord chose to prepare me for my journey was when I heard the sermon I spoke about in chapter 1, or it just may have been a couple of songs I couldn’t stop listening to that made me re-examine my life. One spoke of finding my place in this world and was about a person who had once moved mountains, but now was a missing person. I wanted to feel like that again, be the person who felt so alive, able to believe God for the impossible, and live on a limb where only my faith was holding me up.
The feeling ached within me. I had no earthly idea how to get back there, so I often spoke to the Lord each morning long before the sun came up and pleaded with Him, urging Him, to help me to get to that place with Him again.
When I first started my journey at the very beginning when I found RMI and I wanted a restored marriage, it really was more about what it would do for me. It’s always where we begin our journeys—when we have a crisis hit our lives. Back then I wanted the pain gone and the shame (of separation and later divorce) removed from my life. And I also wanted a father for my children, and I did not want to be a single parent.
Yet, somewhere during my first journey, my focus changed, and with it, my heart changed too. My desire became more of wanting my Lord than a restored marriage. And not surprisingly, as soon as I no longer cared about my marriage being restored, nor getting my husband back, God turned my husband’s heart back to me (and toward home), and my marriage was restored.
This change in my focus (and later in my heart) is what happened this time too. I went into this journey for what a closer walk with the Lord would do for me. I wanted to feel loved, secure and cherished—simply to feel all the things that every woman wants to feel but can never get from an earthly husband. Soon, again, somewhere in my journey, my focus changed. As soon as I began to feel all those things (loved, secure and cherished), I then wanted an even more intimate relationship with the Lord for His sake, no longer it being about me.
That’s when I began to ponder just why God created all of us—God created mankind to fellowship with Him. Someday when the new heaven and new earth is created this is what we will all do continually, an earth that has no sorrow, sickness or tears. Is it good enough for our Lord and Savior to wait until each of us leaves this earth to begin our fellowshipping with Him as we were created to do? I knew it was not good enough, not when I pondered what He’d already given to me.
My deepest desire became to be to Jesus what He deserved and longed for—to fellowship with Him in a deep and intimate way. I wanted to be, in this moment of time, like Adam (who walked with God in the “cool of the day”), like Enoch (who was taken up to heaven; maybe because God enjoyed his company so much), and like Moses (who spoke to Him face-to-face, so much so that Moses’ face “shone like the sun”). This was now what I wanted and yearned for.
Though I know I am nothing and am certainly unworthy to be a proper companion for Jesus, God could certainly make me to become what He wanted me to be if only I asked. So I asked Him to show me, to teach me, and to make me the Lord’s companion, the bride that He desired and so richly deserved.
As a result of my asking, many things happened over the course of the next several months; some of which I remember, and some of which God will have to bring back to my memory if they are things that I am supposed to share with you. The main thing that happened, the turning point, was when I began to tell Him that He was all I wanted, and that He was all that I needed, as I mentioned in the last chapter.
It may not be necessary for you to experience all that God led me through for you to reach this pinnacle where your life changes forever. If you have not yet begun to say these words to the Lord, please begin right now. Just to encourage you, for a very long time I never felt those words, but soon you will see, as I did, that your focus will change, and with it, your heart.
Then get ready. Once you have changed enough, God will do something that will turn your life upside down. If you are listening, if you have spent sufficient time in your prayer closet, time alone with Him, you will know all about what’s up ahead long before it happens. Giving you enough time so you will not be shaken. “‘For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,’ says the Lord who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10. He will show you, before it happens, that your world, as you know it, is about to fall just as He did with me. “Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses! Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” Isaiah 44:8.
The reason your life is about to fall is because our very foundation was created and has been held together by us. Yet our desire, and His desire is to give you a new life. The very foundation that He is about to give you: His life for you, His foundation, which will be high on the Rock, above your enemies, is where He will put that “new song in your heart, a song of praise to our God!”
“To find your life,
You’ve got to lose it,
All the losers get a crown.”
The moment my world fell, when I lost my life, I found the One that God created me for. The difference is as significant as the difference between this world and heaven. My journey and my focus now, is to begin to share with women everywhere, like you dear one, how to find and to live the abundant life that He has created for you to live.
It is no longer enough for me to want this life for myself, and to be the “companion” for our Heavenly Husband as I know He deserves and longs for. I long to be His lover, and I want to draw as many passionate lovers to Him as possible—as many as I can, and for as long as I live this life that He has given me here on earth.
What you will find, as you venture upon this “journey of a lifetime” is a life that explodes with JOY that is truly unspeakable. It is every promise hoped for, now lived. It is beyond anything that you have even hoped for, cried for, or could have ever even imagined. All that you have becomes nothing in comparison to what you are about to receive through your relationship with the Lover of your soul, and from the hand of Him who longs for you!
I pray that this chapter, too, will create an even greater yearning that is so deep, and a desire that is so passionate, that you will begin to tell the Lord just how you (want to) feel about Him. Each time you hurt, you are bewildered, you are alone, or you feel you just cannot go on, you need to get to a quiet place (even if that is the quietness of your own mind when there is noise surrounding you) and tell Him that HE is all you want and HE is all that you need.
Tell Jesus that since you have Him, you have everything that you will ever need to make you happy, secure, loved, and complete.
In closing, let me share some more words from the song that I opened with.
“In your weakness, He is stronger,
In your darkness, He shines through.
When you’re crying, He’s your comfort,
When you’re all alone, He’s CARRYING you!”