The following is a letter I received in December from a dear reader who has been part of our community here for a number of years. She speaks frankly about spiritual warfare and I thought it appropriate to share with you today in light of our current series.
My friend is writing to Dineen and I (Lynn) but where she speaks to us personally, I ask that you would think that she is speaking YOUR NAME. Because this encouraging message is for all of us.
An now I give you a letter from one of our long-time readers:
I remember when I came across your site. I was so thankful that I was not alone! I think the most powerful thing that you and Dineen have done lately is to post honestly and transparently. Women in these marriages WANT to have hope but they also don't want to necessarily hear that others in "unequal" marriages are thriving and joyful etc. That may sound strange but for the most part unequal marriages suffer, greatly.
And truthfully if the marriage is unequal the home has a constant open doorway for the devil. He is always welcome and WE must do battle continually. We may get "breaks” the fog may lift to some degree but the battle is continual. For those of us in marriages where there are serious addictions the battles are that much more intense. The need to cling to the Lord is that much more necessary. I think your honesty lately is revealing more Truth than ever. Because the truth is, we may live our entire lives with our spouse and they may never be saved. The hardest thing to grasp in these relationships is that it is not God's WILL that ALL be saved. It is His desire and He woos and calls people to Himself but He gives them the free will to love Him in return.
This is so difficult for us who have loved ones who are unsaved. At times, I find myself with a lump in my throat, my spirit crying out, and pain that goes deep beyond description, as I watch my loved ones walk further and further away from the Lord. Yet, at other times, there is great peace and there is a sweet surrender. It is then that I realize the peace that Christ had. He mourned those who are lost but pressed forward into God's will, trusting the entire world to God's sovereign care. Jesus prayed that God would "make another way" but prayed nevertheless, that God's WILL be done. God's will called for Christ to die. This side of the Cross we don't argue with God's decision. On the side of the Cross where Jesus' mother Mary kneeled God probably seemed to be failing His people in more ways than they could imagine. But, He knows what He's doing. We must remember that Jesus said . . .Matthew 7:13-14:
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
My great peace has not come from giving up hope.
I cling to the Promises and I declare:
"But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more"
I pray continually for the salvation of my husband and my loved ones but my hope is not in that outcome. If I hope in that I will find myself disappointed. But if I hope in God, trusting that HE knows best even if that means that He must allow some of my loved ones to turn away from Him then, I will not be disappointed. Just as Jesus' Disciples were not disappointed at the resurrection! So, I guess to make a LONG email short, haha. I just think that the more you share your struggles, the more power you will see in your ministry. God will not force ANYONE to love Him. If He did then the love He offers would not be love at all. You can't FORCE someone to love you. Therefore, each person may choose. Though it is difficult for saved spouses to watch, their unsaved spouse may continue to drift back and forth. It is the power of God moving. Yet, in the end it is the decision of their heart and yes, God allows it. Because of His great love.
A very dear friend advised me, as I was encountering some very difficult times several months ago,
"It is God's job to judge, Jesus' job to save, the Holy Spirit's job to give us the direction, strength, and power to walk in faith, and our job to love."
They were the wisest words that I may have ever heard. I keep them close to my heart each and every day. After those words, I find a place of sweet surrender and peace that can only come from Christ.
Whew . . . well, I didn't mean to write that LONG of an email. My heart just pours out to you and Dineen. You both have such a special place in the heart of God. Trust Him. He is writing your story for YOUR good and His glory. Don't pay any attention to what you see on the surface. God is behind the scenes of your life working ALL things for good. It's not about where you're going. It's not about the outcome of your circumstances. It's about who you're becoming! AND THAT is God's concern. You have crossed the line of obedience and dependence on Christ and you have set off every alarm in hell! You both have quite a reputation there!!! Praise the Lord! You both are a threat to the kingdom of darkness and because of you both, souls are and will be saved!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Know that because of your faith you are a target for the enemy to bring discouragement, despair, and doubt . . . but know this:
Jesus has prayed for you:
"Lynn . . . Dineen . . . Satan has asked to have you,
that he may sift you as wheat . . .
But I have prayed for you, Lynn and Dineen, that your faith may not fail.
And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers (and sisters!)"
Dearest sister(s) you are dearly loved and I too am so grateful that God brought our lives together! You are a blessing. Although I don't always comment, I am reading every post and praying continually! We will fight this battle together in the strength of Christ!
I will be keeping both of you close to my heart praying that the peace of Christ will consume you and that the joy you find in the Lord will overflow!!!!
Love you sisters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!