Note: This is a continuation of a series I am doing as a public testimony of what God has allowed in my life to take place throughout my life, all of which was in preparation for the ministry to which he has now called me.
Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12 NASB ‘77
I mentioned in the previous writing, “Our Spiritual Fervor,” that the leaders of the church we were in at that time had judged me as being spiritually weak and immature because I was going through a healing process of my damaged emotions resulting from the abuses of my childhood.
But, spiritually I was doing well at that time, for I was dealing with those memories in the correct way as they surfaced. I was giving them over to God, and I was forgiving every offense against me, and I was allowing the Lord Jesus to heal me emotionally. I was walking with the Lord in fellowship with him, doing what he said to do, and I was rejoicing in each victory he provided me.
So, we have to be so careful here that we don’t misjudge people as spiritually weak or immature when they are going through circumstances in their lives which may result in them being emotionally weak. For, we have to remember that Jesus struggled with the idea of dying on a cross for our sins, and he pleaded with the Father to let that cup of suffering pass from him, yet he submitted to the will of God.
And, we have to remember, too, that Paul had a thorn in his flesh which rendered him either physically or emotionally weak, yet he rejoiced in his weakness, for what he learned was that when he was weak he was strong, because he was strong in the Lord and not in his own power and strength. He also faced much suffering for the sake of Christ, and even despaired of life at one point in time, because the suffering was so great.
So, emotional weakness due to suffering should not be naturally equated with spiritual weakness or immaturity. For, we can be walking with the Lord but be going through a time of grief because of physical or emotional suffering we are going through.
Nonetheless, just because we have had victory, and we have had healing, and we were making good progress spiritually in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, it is no guarantee that we will always overcome the enemy of our souls. It is a daily battle. And, daily we must deny self, take up our cross, and follow (obey) Jesus Christ. Daily we must put on that armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, and we must draw near to God in full assurance of faith.
For, our enemy is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, so we can’t get slack or we can fall. For, Satan doesn’t give up. If he can’t get us one way, he will keep trying until he finds a weak spot in our spiritual armor. And, then he will attack.
So, even though I was doing well, for a time, and I was having much victory over the enemy, and God was healing my damaged emotions, and I was persevering in my walk of faith, despite all persecutions, things got harder and harder for me, and eventually I yielded to my flesh, denied the Spirit of God, and did what I never thought I would ever do.
Now, what I am about to share has already been shared on the “Walking Wounded” site in my book titled, “I Married My Dad,” so you can read about it there, so I am going to just try to hit the highlights, if you can call them that. And, just know that my husband and I agreed together to put that book out there in order to help others who were going through similar circumstances as us, so this is not about husband bashing. I am just telling my story.
I had had a hysterectomy after my last child was born due to my uterus prolapsing 3 months into my last pregnancy. I still had my ovaries, so the doctors said I would not go through an early menopause, but I tend to fall into that rare (2%) category for a lot of things. So, not long after we moved to North Carolina I began to have early menopausal symptoms which only increased when, in 1986, we moved to TN.
So, now my emotions were definitely very up and down. Hot flashes were getting really bad, too. And, at times I thought I was going crazy. It was something physical that was contributing to all of this, and no matter how hard I prayed, it didn’t let up.
Added to that was loneliness. In NC we had a good church, even with some of the difficulties we faced there. I had friends and I had Christian fellowship, and I had a spiritual family encouraging me, though not always. We were in Bible studies and in Sunday School and we had a lot of spiritual fellowship and support, but not without trials, too.
But, the small town in TN was not welcoming to outsiders. They were not friendly. They did not reach out to me. In fact, some of them gave me more the message that I was not welcome in their town or in their church. And, then my husband and I made friends with this man who was very nice to me. I liked him a lot. But, I was hungry to be loved. And, without going into much detail here, I fell into sin, but with the encouragement of my husband. For, my husband was a sex addict.
I felt like King David, when he was confronted with his sin with Bathsheba and regarding the murdering of her husband in order to cover up his sin. I wept over my sin. I wanted nothing more to do with anything like that. I hated what I had done. I wanted to go back to who I was before. I wanted to walk in fellowship with my Lord, in obedience to him, and to not give way to my flesh. But, the battle was not over. It continued on and off for the next five years, had a 7-year reprieve, and then I had one more fall before I closed the door on that sin issue for good, by the grace of God.
During that five-year period of time, I was determined, at times, not to ever go down that path again, but I just kept being tested over and over and over again, and eventually I would give in. For, I had a pastor ask me to be his secretary (volunteer), but he tried hitting on me, but then I reported him to the head elder, and then I quit working for him. He later lost his position.
And, then I joined this support group for women who had been abused, but when I tried to help a friend to share something in the group, because she had asked me to help her, I was attacked by one of the pastors, and I was accused falsely of being “autocratic.” That was so far from the truth. I was so broken, and I was needing help myself, and yet I reached out to help someone else, and then I got slam-dunked for caring.
Finally, we ended up in a Methodist church in that town, and that was so healing for us. The people were so kind and loving. And, it gave me time to heal emotionally and spiritually. But, it wasn’t until after the very last fall that there was a permanent breakthrough and I fully surrendered my heart to the Lord, and I accepted his sovereignty over my life.
For, although in my mind I thought I believed in the sovereignty of God, my actions, at times, revealed that I did not. Eventually the Lord told me that I had not forgiven Jesus, and I realized that I truly was blaming my Lord for all the abuse I had faced in my life and for the fact that he had not rescued me from it all. And, so my behaviors, at times, reflected the fact that down deep in my heart I was angry with God for not rescuing me.
But, when I accepted his sovereignty, then I yielded to him and to whatever he wanted to do in my life. And, praise the Lord, I have been free from that sin for about 18 years.
God allowed everything in my life that has come into my life. He placed me in the womb of my mother, and all the days ordained for me were written in his book before one of them came into being (Psalm 139). He allowed me to be abused, persecuted, used, taken advantage of, and falsely accused, and then tempted severely, and he allowed me to fall. He didn’t cause me to fall, and it was not his will that I should have fallen, but he allowed it.
Thus, everything in my life, including the time period when I fell into that particular sin, was all preparation for the ministry God has now given me to share his gospel message of deliverance, not only from the punishment of sin, but also from the bondage to sin.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*copyright status is public domain