Close to My Heart

A few weeks ago I was sitting beside our youngest grandson on the glider in our backyard. We weren’t talking very much, just sitting together and enjoying the garden. Then he turned and looked up at me and with deadly seriousness he asked,

“Grandma, do you know we’re getting a divorce?”

The words cut through my heart and I fought to keep back tears. I had wondered when he would be willing to talk about it and had left the timing to him. Never did I suspect, though, that he would take ownership of it. To him this wasn’t just Mom and Dad that were splitting up, it was the whole family.

Through the years we have watched many couples change their stand on divorce and remarriage when their own children went through divorce. They always told us, “It’s different when it’s your own child.” I often wondered how it could be. Truth is truth, no matter whose marriage it is. God’s plan to be faithful “until death do us part” is His marriage covenant. We have always said we can’t control what our children do, but we can control how we react.

Knowing God’s truth about marriage and seeing His miraculous healing of so many marriage through the years makes the pain of watching our own children’s divorce even greater. Knowing that God not only can heal a marriage but wants to, makes choosing the devil’s answer even more tragic.

Seeing our children under attack also makes us twice as angry at the enemy! We are experiencing the pain that so many of you have of living in a “no fault” divorce state where the enemy can tear apart a home with no resistance, where no counseling is mandatory, and no hope is given.

Again, as I have asked so many times before, where is the Church? Why is there no battle for this family? Why is the devil’s solution seen as a Godly answer? I know you have asked these same questions in your own life. Sometimes it seems all of us are a lone voice crying out, yet it makes us more determined than ever to see the enemy lose once again. And this time for the greater glory of God!

On Chad and Cristine’s wedding day, we challenged all their bridesmaids and groomsmen (and there were 20 of them) that they had voluntarily chosen to be witnesses to their covenant. If their marriage came under attack, they needed to stand with both of them, not taking sides, but fighting for both of them and for their marriage and family. Well, that hour is here. Now is the time to surround them with prayer support and stand together with them. It is not a time to agree with one in opposition to the other. On the day they married, Chad became our son and we stand and fight the enemy for both of them, for their marriage, and for their precious children.

Our generation has seen God work miracles in family relationships. We have witnessed impossible situations changed as only God can do. Yet at the same our children’s generation has witnessed break up after break up of marriages in both the Church and the world with few people ever offering any Godly alternative. A marriage that is meant to last a lifetime is only a dream to so many! As we walk through this, may this generation also see the powerful hand of God that we have witnessed through the years!

That day in the garden when our grandson asked me that painful question, he added with hope in his voice, “But we don’t know if it’s permanent.” Amen! The faith of a little child’s heart should be what we all stand in right now. Love, Marilyn

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  3 John 1:4

What About the Children?

So many of you have asked me about our children during my stand – how did they deal with it, what about them being around the other woman, their relationship with their dad, etc. As I share my experience I recognize that it is not the same as yours. I pray that you may find some answers and some encouragement as you seek the Lord for your particular situation.

When Michael became involved with the first other woman, our daughter was eight and our son was five. I was pregnant with our third child. Along with telling me he didn’t want me around anymore, he also told our children that he never wanted them and wished they’d never been born. The devil really does fight dirty.

Every child is different and every one of them reacts individually when faced with a crisis like that. Our daughter was very emotional, crying most of the time and deeply wounded by her dad’s rejection. Our son internalized everything and I mistook his outward calm for inward well being. On top of that, at five years old he became the man of the house.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I began to rely on him to take care of things my husband had done such as take out the garbage. We had a very steep driveway in our home in the mountains and one of my most vivid memories was looking out the window and seeing my little five-year-old struggling up that long, steep driveway with a full garbage can. I ran out to help him and he said, “It’s okay, Mom. I can do it.”

That was his heart toward me, always protecting and taking care of me. Our daughter healed just as openly as she had grieved, but our son is still healing to this day.

Pay attention to the one that seems to be doing so well.

When our third child, our second son, was born he was severely demonically oppressed. The enemy had attacked him in the womb with the rejection by his father. When Michael learned I was pregnant he had declared he did not want the baby. He spoke words of death over our child and those words wounded him and allowed the enemy an opening to oppress him. Eventually we learned how to get him set free, but that is another story.

The Lord impressed upon me that no matter what my husband was saying and doing, he still had the authority that God had given me as the head of our home. If I truly believed God was going to heal our marriage, then I needed to prepare our children for the return of their father to their lives. If I dishonored him to them or if I allowed them to dishonor him, then I would be contributing to their lack of respect for him. Yet, on the other hand, he had said terrible things to them and had hurt them tremendously. I didn’t know how to deal with that and yet help them to continue loving and honoring him.

As usual, the Lord has answers for us when we pray. As I sought Him, He reminded me of His command, “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) If I did not teach my children to honor their father, then I would be cursing them with the effects of dishonor to parents. But how would I help them love and honor him when he was treating them so terribly?<

Again the Lord gave me wisdom. My children were young and yours may be older, so this is what the Lord spoke to me. It may not be what He would have you do. You must ask Him for your own answers.

For my children, though, the Lord gave me the perfect answer. I sat down with them and asked, “if Daddy were sick, what would we do to help him?” They answered as little children do with various things such as get him a cold cloth or see if he needs some medicine. Then I said to them, “Daddy is sick, but it’s not his body that is sick. It is his mind. He doesn’t look sick but inside the devil has made him very sick and so he says and does things that are not like your real daddy. We need to help Daddy just like we would if he were sick in his body.

They thought about that for a minute and asked some questions that related to his words to them and his behavior toward them. Then they said, “We hate the devil. He’s made our daddy sick.” God had helped them to see who their real enemy was. How many Christians never realize that truth!

From that day forth we cried together and prayed together for Daddy to be healed. Eventually each child had to forgive him in their own time and maturity, but for that season we reached a place where they could relate to what was happening and love and honor their father.

When Michael came home, they ran to greet him. I believe their love for him was part of his healing. Marital discord and separation break the hearts of children. They should never be used as weapons in the war between Dad and Mom. They should never be used as spies or as secret agents when they are with the other parent. Children’s hearts are pure and when they learn to hear the voice of the Lord, they will listen to Him.

I don’t want to minimize the trauma of sending your children to the other woman (or man). It tears our hearts out to have our children go into the enemy camp. But remember, none of that is of their choosing. They didn’t want you to separate in the first place. The enemy is a terrible foe and he fights dirty. He will try to get to your children and he will use any means he can. You need to help your children learn the truth of God’s Word. You need to teach them how to hear His voice. He speaks to children so clearly and their hearts are so open.

There is only one enemy and he is not your spouse or the other person. Satin is the enemy. Teach your children to recognize him and his ways. You do not have to use names or people as examples. Those who know how to recognize the truth will detect the lie easily. It is when we argue against our spouse as loudly as our spouse argues against us that our children become confused as to who is telling the truth.

Let this time of standing become a spiritual classroom for you and your children. Show them the love of God. Let them see you returning good for evil. Let them see you loving when you are not loved. Let them see you forgiving and blessing. Let them hear you speaking words of honor and love for your spouse. When the Lord is shining through your life, they will clearly see the difference when they are with those who are following the enemy. The lessons they learn in this season will last a lifetime.          Love, Marilyn

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2