Stories of Breakthrough
Story from the “Investing in Your Husband” class:
“Even though our marriage, without dispute, had divine beginnings 18 years ago, life had definitely taken a significant toll over the years. We were the best of friends and did most everything together — we never believed that we could grow apart like so many couples do! But three children later, combined with financial challenges and the never-ending demands of my husband’s business, we found ourselves like passing ships in our little home with thickly-walled hearts towards one another.
The circumstances that led to such indifference are too many to mention, but years of hurts and disillusionment (from both of us) brought hopelessness that nothing would ever change. We have always been deeply committed to our children and have poured ourselves into them, even when we had nothing to give to each other. We would never consider divorce, as we believed it to be unconscionable, but we were definitely at an impasse and neither of us was willing to do anything about it.
It was at this point in our marriage when the Lord began to confront bitterness in my heart during one of Esther’s meetings. Though it was not fun, the Lord brought it to the forefront in such a manner that I couldn’t mask it and He made painfully clear that it would be devastating to my family to continue to nurse it. God showed me the abundant, beautiful fruitfulness He made for me to enjoy (and had waiting for me), and He brought me to the place where I wanted that for myself and my family, instead of the poisonous anger on the inside.
As is typical in Esther’s meetings, she doesn’t just teach — you are given opportunities to meet with the Lord and allow Him to bring forth His Kingdom agenda. Over the period of a couple of months, the Lord uprooted significant amounts of bitterness, tenderly comforted my heart, filled in deficits, and revealed His truth about some of the many lies I had been believing about my husband.
About that time, Esther announced her new class, “Investing in Your Husband,” and I knew the Lord would have me attend to see the Lord further destroy the schemes of the enemy at work in our marriage. Truly, it was amazing to see what God did in just a few weeks!
Esther not only gave us thought-provoking and very practical resources, but, of course, she had very clear direction from the Holy Spirit each time. She had questions we were to ask the Lord about our husband, which targeted lies we were believing about them. Our meetings also usually included intercession for our husbands as well. Throughout the seven weeks, each person in the group had the opportunity to listen to hear the treasures God was saying about them, which was obviously valuable because we weren’t always objective to receive them!
All in all, we finished the class with a revived heart and a different perspective concerning our husbands. The Lord gave us a greater desire to cherish our husbands and pray them into the greatness God put within them. We also came away with the realization of how important it is to guard our hearts and God’s perspective concerning our husbands. And the exciting thing is that, as my heart softened and I began to genuinely and tenderly care for my husband, his heart has also softened and attitudes are slowly changing. For the first time in a long time, I know we are going to become the people God made us to be and will hit God’s target for our lives!” J.
Story from Freedom Night:
“My wife and I left filled with faith and expectation of His power to continually pour out on us and through us. The Lord put it on my heart that it was like a bottle of champagne being uncorked. The Spirit within us needed to be uncorked. We left refreshed and hungry for more. We are thankful for the recordings of the words spoken and will listen to them again to allow them to soak in our hearts. God is amazing, unchanging, and compassionate. I love that when we draw close to Him in faith, He draws close to us. He is faithful to forgive, to answer and to bless. We left stirred up and the overflow was still with us Sunday morning with the saints at church during worship time. God’s love language is power and we can set the mood by offering up unbridled, unhindered, selfless worship to Him.” Paul
Story from a Prayer Ministry Session:
“Hi, I’m a recovering controller. I’m a “whatever it takes, never say die, yes we can, you’re not beat til ya quit” kinda girl. Part of my gifting is to fight for new ground and accomplish tasks, but a gifting carried out in the wrong spirit is sin.
The day I realized I had grown up being controlled was a terrible day. The day I realized I was controlling was even worse. The two people that loved me enough to point this out? My husband and Esther. I still vividly remember, like a clap of thunder, the realization that the way I had always operated was ungodly. I despaired, wondering, ‘Well then, how do you get things done?’ I felt as though I had been given a wheelbarrow full of bricks that needed to be pushed 100 yds, but the wheelbarrow handles had been removed and the front tire was slashed.
As I looked into scripture, several examples jumped off the page. Perhaps there is something in the fact that they were all women. When Sarah, wife of Abraham, didn’t humanly see how God’s promise of a covenant line could be fulfilled, she gave her maid, Zipporah to Abraham. A son was born (Ishmael), but then, as God promised, a son was born to Sarah and Abraham (Issac). Years later, when Rebecca, Issac’s wife, conceived twins, God told her the blessing would go to the younger (breaking tradition) and that ‘the older would serve the younger.’ When Rebecca saw that Issac intended to give their oldest son Esau (now grown) the preeminent family blessing, Rebecca did whatever it took to see that Jacob got the blessing. Neither one of these stories had an untarnished, happy ending. Sarah’s ill-conceived plans to provide an heir has resulted in centuries of strife between two people groups and after Rebecca’s elaborate bait and switch, she dishonored her husband, set her sons up as the original Hatfields and McCoys and after Jacob (her favorite son) left town, she never saw him again. Sad.
For the same reasons that we shake our heads and sigh at stories of Sarah and Rebecca working out their families destiny, we’re amazed by the faith of Moses’ mom, Jochebed, who repeatedly trusted God with the outcome of her family and Mary, the mother of Jesus, who instead of setting up a campaign to do damage control for her Nazareth public image or find a scarlet letter solution, said ‘Be it unto me according to your word.’
What I have learned:
* I don’t have permission to take a passive approach to my life, but when its being powered by my own striving. I’m out of line.
* The people that you’re “helping” don’t learn independent thought, do not learn to rely on God to meet their needs, and may end up viewing you as some kind of super hero.
* The term “Control Freak” isn’t a badge of honor.
* When you’re in control, you tend to take the credit for the results rather than giving glory to God.
When I manufactured results, I missed out on the miracles that God would have done. We know that God was faithful to keep his promises to Sarah and Rebecca and can only imagine what could have been if they hadn’t been so ‘helpful.’
But there is redemption. Sarah is only one of two women named in Hebrews 11, The Hall of Faith and what’s written about her gives me hope. Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child[b] when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. God is faithful to his promises and he will provide everything needed to fulfill our calling here on earth and to the ultimate purpose, to change us into the image of Christ. 1 Thes. 5:24 says, ‘Faithful is He who called you, who also will do it.’
If you recognize yourself somewhere in this story, you can join in this prayer.
‘Father God, I confess my sin of control, covert and overt manipulation, ungodly problem solving, and unbelief. I ask that you forgive me for this sin. Help me to remember that you are God and I am not. Thank for planning better for me than I would plan for myself. In Jesus name. Amen.’ ” A.