I sat down a few minutes ago to prepare this post. Before I started typing, I stopped to pray. I prayed for all of you who read the posts, Church or no-Church. I thanked the Lord, our Great King for each of you who took time to leave me your thoughts, your prayers, your concerns and your experiences.
I have read and re-read your comments just now. I have tears in my eyes. I have been writing here for three years and the advice and love and comfort all of you have given through your comments is some of the best I have EVER read. I encourage all of you to read the comments from last week. Such words of wisdom. You may very well leave your computer today….. CHANGED. PERMANANTLY – CHANGED!
I know that I am.
On Friday I wrote that I was seeking answers from the Lord and how He is always faithful to answer when I pursue His wisdom. Girls and men, He did not fail me. I have a powerful story and prayer to share.
Before I tell you what happened, I think it is important to point out some interesting observations from all of your comments.
First, not all of us agree. After reading through the comments and the private emails I received, it looks like the church or no-church decision is very personal and individualized.
Second, it appears most of us actually have grappled with this very choice and have spent considerable hours, years in prayer and in thought, determining what is appropriate for ourselves, our kids and especially our husbands. These decisions were not made lightly.
Third, many of you found your spouse attending after you released pressure on them. hmmmmm
Fourth, many spouses attend to make their wives happy and that works as well. hmmmmm
Fifth, the enemy is often at work in this situation. (Boy, is that the truth)
Okay, now I want to share a direct message that came to Lynn Donovan on the beach Thursday afternoon. The minute I heard these words, I knew Jesus was correcting my perspective and re-directing my path. The words spoken to me were what I needed to hear and penetrating. I am changed.
So, here goes…
I am fortunate enough to have a small group of friends from my church. We meet together once a week to review the pastor’s message and to pray for one another. Until this year, I was never comfortable as a “married-single” to be part of an intimate group like this. I always felt like a third wheel among all the couples. But, my friend, Pam, loved me so much and welcomed me after inviting me year after year to join the small community, that I felt ready. Thank you Pam!
Well, because most of the families in our group are on a budget, we look for inexpensive ways to enjoy the summer with our kids. The beach is perfect. Free rides on the waves, beach combing and you pack a lunch.
On Thursday, I arrived at the beach and joined a few of the other gals there. I sat down with Gina and Jolene and I shared with them my struggle with this church or no-church thing. They know me and my husband and listened with loving hearts and ears.
I explained my dilemma, “Jolene, it is just so hard to sit there (in church) when he is angry. I don’t want him there.”
Jolene, looked at me and she said. “So what.”
Hunh? No mercy here. Jolene isn’t one to beat around the bush.
She went on in a kind and loving voice. Her message was not to hurt but honestly to help. “Lynn, you know that my husband and I were unequally yoked for many years. He came to Christ a little over five years ago. But before he was saved I would literally be on my knees before the Lord, begging Him to place Himself anywhere and everywhere in front of my husband.”
“I would pray, “”Oh Father, place yourself in front of my man at every turn. Put a Christian man next to him on the airplane today. Father, let my husband catch a glimpse of you through a song, or something on television tonight. Lord, surround him with other business people who love You at his meeting today.””
“Lynn, I wanted my husband surrounded by the Lord. If you want the same, you will want him at church too. Let go of yourself here and if your man is willing to go to church then rejoice as you sit next to him, because the Lord is answering prayer.”
“Oh, Jolene, you are absolutely right.” I knew in my heart, for me, the right thing was to get over myself. And at that instant I did. How dare I let this be about me?
On Thursday as I sat under a cloudy sky at the beach, the Lord spoke. He didn’t speak audibly but through a wise and Jesus-loving friend, Jolene. I now pray much differently and with a new heart for my husband. I stopped asking the Lord to save my husband and to have him read the Bible and to open his spiritual eyes. These prayers are not wrong but I now I am moved to pray like this:
Oh Father, today let me just love him. Pour Your love into me is such a powerful and complete way that I am just bursting with You all over everyone and especially my husband. Father, I beg you to place Yourself before my man today. Be in front of him as he searches the employment boards for work today. Lord, place one or two men in his path at the store today or on the phone who know You. At the barbeque tonight, I ask that there would be one or two Christians who initiate a conversation with him. Lord, I ask you to surround him with You. Fill his morning, noon and night with some message that puts You smack in the front of his face. I ask Your will in his life and not my own.
You sit on my throne.
You sit on my throne.
I love you Jesus. I love you. Your humble servant, Lynn