“Do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled”
—1 Peter 3:13-15
“But seeing the wind, he became afraid”
Obedience to follow His principles is impossible when it’s combined with fear. Fear, which will always want to come in to stop you from gaining all that God has for you! Let me share another faith building testimony to show how God longs to be gracious to us!
“[God Is Gracious and Just] Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him”—Isaiah 30:18
When I took over the finances, one of the areas of debt that I was the most concerned about was a building pledge we (my husband and I) had made almost two years earlier that I knew was almost due to be paid off. For some reason, back when we made it, I felt that there was something very significant in our making this particular pledge.
How did I know? Because my husband really balked and resisted “even praying” about making the pledge in the first place; he argued with me about it, though I never said a word, but when he kept pressing me, my only response was, “Can you just pray about it?” when he asked me what I thought.
“ A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger”—Proverbs 15:1.
Dear reader, any time you see resistance like that, which is out of proportion to what is being discussed, you can be sure that the enemy is lurking about, trying to steal something from you (or your family or your ministry). And you can’t blame any loss on your spouse (or ex-spouse), boss or parent, since you have the power to keep and gain every blessing through your obedience and trust in the Lord! And if someone does try to steal something from you that is when you really can rejoice since God promises a double recompense!
Isaiah 61:7-9 says, “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; and I will faithfully give them their recompense”!
After my husband finally prayed, he had an immediate change of heart and excitement. He said he knew now how important it was to pledge—and it was far more than I would have ever dreamed we would give!! However, because I was never included in the finances, I was totally in the dark as to how much we had paid on the pledge (paying it down each month over the two years as the church says we are to do). When the announcement was made in church, that the pledges would be due within a few short weeks, it was during the time of my husband divorcing me and had already turned the finances over to me.
When I asked my husband how much we still owed, my husband said he didn’t know, but that I could call the church accountant for the balance. To my surprise, three-fourths (thousands of dollars!!) was still due! For me to pay this would truly have to come from God—I would need Him to make a way.
The significance in this pledge was confirmed over, and over, and over again when time after time, my husband kept trying to persuade me not to pay it. He told me that he had made the pledge, not me, so I didn’t need to pay it. He said I should contact the pastor who was over the single moms and widows to ask to be released from the commitment! He told my children that if I acted so stupidly I would surely lose our home, so they, too, began to beg me not to pay it. However, for me, each attempt to stop me confirmed that to miss paying this would be a huge loss for me and for our future in regard to our finances.
Let me add something here: each time my husband spoke to me, we were still legally married, but since he had moved out and filed for divorce, he kept telling me that I needed to make the decision myself (that he was only concerned and didn’t want me to make a mistake that would mean losing our house—remember I told you it was a very large amount!). And each time, I assured him that I would do nothing but pray about it, which I did. And each time I did, God continued to tell me that He wanted me to pay it and He would show me the way.
That is the other point I want to make—there was no way that I could have found a way to pay it. I was backed up so far to the Red Sea to the point that my heels were getting wet! God had to be the One to do it, which I kept assuring my husband and children—there was no way I could do it, but if He wanted it paid, He would make a way.
The day that the pledge was due—came and went. God didn’t show me a way to pay it, but when I prayed, I still believed God wanted me to seek Him to pay it even if it was late! Then one evening, our senior pastor made an announcement, “Anyone who had not yet paid is released from what you owe!” Yet, when I prayed and asked if that was Him speaking to me, He, again, assured me that He would make a way for me to pay it!
Almost a month after the pledges were due, God showed me a way!! I was so excited to write the check, my hands trembled with excitement. Yet I needed to wait three more days for our prayer meeting so I could put it in the offering! And even then, only two minutes before I was to slip the envelope into the offering, the enemy had a dear friend lean forward to tell me something to steal the joy I was experiencing, as I watched the offering plate coming down my row!!
But PRAISE THE LORD!! God got the victory, and less than three hours later, God blessed me beyond my dreams!! Even now my eyes fill with tears when I think of how awesome God is!!
Just a little over two hours after I put the check in the offering, I got an email from a friend who had moved to the east coast who said that God had laid it on her heart to “Sow a substantial seed” into my ministry to women!! The seed was the EXACT amount of the entire pledge!!! Not just what I had put in the offering just two and a half hours earlier, but ALL that we gave over the two years—the entire pledge!
But that is not the end of the blessing—when I called and told my children, they in turn told their father, who called me and left me a message on my cell phone: “You were right Michele, and I was dead wrong” and he went on to tell me he was so happy for me. This was huge (as I am sure it would be for you too)!!!
The Blessings Continue Long After the Divorce
Almost a year to the day that my husband announced that he was divorcing me, I was able to go the extra mile that has opened the door for me to lead countless people to know the Lord. It is so absurd, however, that many Christians believe I am completely nuts. Nevertheless, it is the lost souls who need Him, right? So I am glad that the Lord provided these outrageous testimonies that have proved to shake up those who hear them.
When my husband was leaving he did his best to try to help me get a handle on the finances by advising me to consolidate our debt by taking out a second loan on our home. Since I was simply following the Lord’s leading, it never came to mind until I began to travel extensively out of the country. While gone for long periods, it was difficult to pay so many different bills, so the Lord led me to look into a consolidation loan so I could pay off most of our debt, leaving me with a lower percentage rate and only one bill instead of dozens.
It was on the last day before I signed the papers that I got a call from a woman (my neighbor and friend) who told me some shocking news. In the midst of the divorce, my divorce papers were written up in a way that it said that I had a huge “judgment” against me. My husband did not only ask to pay no child support, and leave all the debt to me, but he wanted half of the equity in our home. So his attorney told him the only way he would get it (since the divorce judge would never agree to it) was to file a judgment against me for half the equity. God saw fit to back me into the Red Sea again. A huge judgment against me meant that financially it ruined me— even worse than a bankruptcy would do (since a judgment stays on your record for ten years not just seven like a bankruptcy).
My friend (who was handling my consolidation loan) asked me to call my ex-husband since he could easily get this amended through his attorney and allow me to pay it when I refinanced the house. Immediately my husband agreed, but a day later told me that his attorney told him NOT to do so since that was the only way he was sure he would get his money. I gently reminded him of how I had given him more than he asked for when he filed for divorce, had given him rather than loaned him money, and that this should prove that I would do the same thing when the house was refinanced. Nevertheless, he said he had prayed about it and God said not to do it.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them’”—Exodus 10:1
Christians are notorious for always giving the enemy the credit for a disaster or for causing us difficulty, when it often times is God who wants to do something special in the life of the believer when we are willing to be used by Him and not protect ourselves or fight back!
“…not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing”— 1 Peter 3:9
When my ex-husband adamanetly refused to amend the judgment, I told my friend what he said, which led to a very surprising offer from the loan company. They said that if I were to take out another loan and pay off my ex-husband five years early, then they would put the first loan through. Immediately it sounded like God since He tells us that we need to bless our enemies, and to give my ex-husband a huge lump sum five years early would certainly be a blessing!
Since this was such a big step, I told my friend to give me 24 hours to seek the Lord; however, immediately the Lord brought the answer to me in the form of another surprising situation. My son came in and sat next to me with his laptop, and asked me how things were going. I told him that I was seeking God about the judgment payout, and told him my only hesitancy was something that had happened a few months earlier. I was about to bless my ex-husband with a much smaller sum of money, but my children had stopped me and begged me not to. When I asked why, they said they were concerned that he would use the money to move back to our area. They no longer trusted him and were afraid that he would flaunt his new lifestyle, and show up at the mall, or a restaurant with his girlfriend that they would have to explain to their friends.
To my surprise, my son said that they no longer were worried about their father using the money to move closer. A bit baffled how he knew that for sure, he went on to say that his dad just announced he was engaged to his high school sweetheart that he had left us for. I thanked my son profusely since I now had my answer—give my ex-husband the huge lump some of money early.
“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38
Then, that same night I woke up at midnight with the most absurd, outrageous thought that I told God had to be Him (because a thought like what I was thinking would never enter my mind), but just to be sure, I would dismiss it and just go back to sleep. If it was Him, I asked that He confirm it in the morning.
When I woke up the absurdity doubled, with a more of a plan of what He was now asking me to do. I didn’t need to wait any later than 8 in the morning (when I knew my ex-husband would be awake) to step forward and state the outrageous way He showed me He wanted me to do. When I telephoned, I began by telling him that the next day he would be getting a certified check for the full amount of half the equity of our home sent by special courier. He was so stunned he couldn’t even speak, but then he tried to thank me over and over, and also apologize at the same time for not signing the papers to release me and that he knew there was a distinct possibly that I may never recover my financial ruin done by the judgment he placed on me.
I told him that it was okay, and “you’re welcome.” Then I went on to share with him what the Lord spoke to me in the middle of the night, and then again, with even more details that morning. I said, “I heard congratulations are in order. I heard you are engaged!” He mumbled, “Yes, sorry, I had planned to tell you myself.” I told him it was not a problem, and that I wanted to do something special to bless him and his fiancé with a really special honeymoon.
Again he went silent, so I continued to tell him that I had quite a few new flying miles, and that they would take him and his new bride just about anywhere in the world, except Africa. (I explained these were the miles that I was going to use to visit a friend in Africa with me, but I was short flying miles.) Then I completed the honeymoon package gift with a week at a resort since I also got in the divorce a crown level timeshare that they could use (he didn’t want the timeshare because there were ongoing payments due, but what the Lord helped me pay off!). Though he tried not to accept, he finally gave in and again thanked me over and over.
Ladies, I wasn’t doing this to impress him or you or anyone else. What I did was God’s plan, that’s all. And why, you may ask, would God want to bless a man who committed adultery, who left his family and had just ruined a family’s financial credit (amongst many other things)? Because, you may remember, it was while we were yet sinners, yes, sinners, that He laid down His life and died for us. This principle is as powerful today as it was back then.
When I shared this with ladies in Nairobi, Kenya one of their top female leaders couldn’t get over it and told the audience that if it were her, and her husband had done the same thing to her, she would have found the largest object she could find and beat him with it! But then she said, “God help us all to have the humility that is possible with a relationship that Michele has with our Savior.”
Again, this is not about me; I am no superstar (or maybe you just think I more of a nut or a fool), but I believe that God is looking for anyone, just someone, who is willing to be used by Him to prove that He is as amazing as He really is!
What is exciting is that I have shared this story with several strangers on the phone (when closing credit card accounts as they got paid off, and because these were my ex-husband’s accounts that I was paying off and closing, I was easily able to share my faith with them too because they asked why I did what I did). Most of them told me this was not the God they had ever heard of at all, and asked me what it all meant, so I often spent almost an hour sharing about the Husband I had now and that the church (anyone who accepted His gift of eternal life) was His bride.
One of my favorite responses was the cab driver in Hong Kong who slammed on his brakes, turned around and shouted at me: “Why did you do that?! Why did you do that?!!!” My response was simple, “Because while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us.” His response, “This Jesus is Someone I need to know. Please tell me about Him.” This is what witnessing to someone is about. When they witness your peace in the midst of horrible horrendous storms, only then do they beg to know Him too!
As I close this chapter, I hope that everything that I have shared with you will give you the faith to trust the Lord with everything and anything that is going on now and in your future!
When facing divorce, it doesn’t matter what your spouse wants, just be sure to give more than he/she asks. It doesn’t matter if there are lies your spouse is telling you or there are lies in the divorce papers. It doesn’t matter if your spouse tries to steal from you, or if the other person in your spouse’s life (or parents or the other man/woman) who has put your spouse up to it—bless him/her by giving your coat! God is your Source! If you look to Him and give all you have when asked (and then more), then God will open the windows of heaven over your life too!
You may even see a deadline come and go, but God is not bound by deadlines or death!! He often waits, like He did with Lazarus (when he waited for him to be in the tomb 3 days and began to stink) before He shows up in your situation!
And if you have other people who can help you financially (I don’t, so that it does not pose a temptation), do not go to them for help!! Everyone, but God, has a limited supply and there are always strings attached. Don’t sell yourself short! Tap into God who has it all and is more generous (and loving) than any other person ever created!!
Update: God bless me in so many ways, one that happened a year after I gave my ex-husband the honeymoon to Hawaii. I was able to bless my son with a destination wedding in Kauai, Hawaii— with a honeymoon— a full week at a gorgeous beachside resort.
If you are ready to make a commitment to GOD to finish the course, by CLICKING on your JOURNAL you've agreed, and are ready to document this next step along your Restoration Journey in your "My Daily Journal" form. Take your time, sit down, grab your coffee or tea, and pour your heart into your Journal.
As an “Older women likewise…teaching what is good, that they may ENCOURAGE the young women…” (Titus 2:3) you will have the opportunity to speak to the younger women who are still single as part of your ministry.