As I was reading a devotional recently I was struck by the realization I needed to share with you some of my history. In the devotion ‘God’s Recruitment Strategy for Leaders’, the author wrote, “When God calls one of His servants into service, there is often much travail. There are many examples where God makes His presence known through circumstances that tax the individual to his very soul.”
He listed Biblical examples of this: Saul/Paul – blinded on the road; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – thrown in a furnace; Daniel – thrown in a lion’s den; David – had to live as a fugitive. I thought of Joseph being sold by his brothers! These situations helped prepare these leaders for their service in the kingdom.
We don’t usually grow deeply in our comfort zone. In the desert trees can only survive if they push their roots far down to the water table. These trees can withstand stronger storms better than ones in the tropics. “In the same way, God brings us into extremely difficult situations in order to prove His power and drive our spiritual roots deeper.”
I graduated from Cincinnati Bible College (now called Cincinnati Christian University). I married a man going into the youth ministry just six weeks after graduation. I thought we would live ‘happily ever after’, after all, we were serving God in the local church.
My husband was living two lives. One life he was a minister and husband; and the other he was a man giving in to the sin of homosexuality. I had known he had been molested as a child and knew he had lived the lifestyle in the past, but he had asked God to forgive him and wanted to live a Godly life. If God could forgive him, I could forgive his past.
He hid his sin well, for a while. I don’t know how many times he would rendezvous with others. By the time I realized for sure what was going on we were in our third ministry. Life was hard, very hard. I endured trials through leaving that ministry, trying to be his encourager, moving four times in two years with three young girls. I read Hosea, often. I felt like Hosea. How many times was I to forgive him.
In the dry desert of my life I dug down. I just wanted to bury myself deeply in the sand. Maybe the hurt would just go away and I would have my husband back, but as he should be. Life got harder and as I was digging down, I realized only God would be able to help. I knew if I dug a little deeper I would reach the Living Water. I cried out to the Lord and asked Him to help me do what was right. God lead me to confront him and have him choose which lifestyle he was going to follow. He made his choice and continues to live in that way.
I felt raw, used, stripped to the bone. I had a big D – divorced – that was mine to wear in shame. I loved my years in Bible College and being a minister’s wife. I asked God how could you use me now? I felt ruined. The only thing left was to serve God in little ways. I could try to be a good mom, right?
God hadn’t given up on me. A few years passed and I was asked to volunteer again at camp. A couple years later they asked me to dean a week of camp and I was amazed. Maybe God could still use me. I felt the call to go into missions about the same time and realized it would be in the future to some unknown place. “Use me, Lord!” has been my prayer, “I am rooted in You!”
Lord called me, not the ‘on top of the world’ Bible college graduate, not the ‘minister’s wife’, but the broken woman who had to struggle to reach down deeply to cling to the Living Water. I’m not on this journey alone.
God has called me to work in Verona, Italy. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing there, but I know God has never led me astray. Where He leads, I will follow.