And Grace will Lead Me Home
“You’ll make the 50th year holy, and announce freedom throughout the land to all the people. It will be a Jubilee to you; and each of you will go back to your own land, and to your own family. That 50th year will be a Jubilee to you.”
I have been studying the concept of the Jubilee years in Scripture the last couple of years. I read Jonathan Cahn’s book entitled “The Mystery of the Shemitah” which explains a good deal about the Jubilees in Scripture. The Jubilee years were the culmination of the Shemitahs which came every seven years. The seventh Shemitah or the 49th year ended and the 50th year was the Jubilee. In the Jubilee year all the slaves were to be set free and return home to their own land and families. From September 2015 to September 2016 is the jubilee year in our lifetime.
As I finished up the last chapter of this book, many things were still up in the air with my relationship with husband. He lived at our home where I had lived with him for twenty years and I lived at my mobile home a few miles away and that seemed to keep the peace between us for the most part. We visited one another as needed for sexual relations and remained faithful to each other throughout our separation, though strong temptations were there at times. We had been separated for nearly 14 years when my son decided to move back home with his father for a time until he could get on his feet financially. This put me in a quandary because I kept his children while he was at work. This would put me in close proximity to my husband much more than I really desired at the time. But it was necessary so I agreed to do it, but with caution.
Well his house was in shambles for the most part and had not been thoroughly cleaned in years. I knew that I had to somehow get them moved in and put the house back in order to make it relatively safe for the children. And I knew I was going to have to tiptoe around my husband to get it done. Needless to say it was a very rocky start and conflicts were many. I did a little here and there and got yelled at more than I cared to, so I began to work in the yard to stay clear of my husband as much as I could. Our marriage was much like the jungle I was trying to clear out of the back yard. It was grown over with weeds and bushes as high as the house and seemingly impossible to penetrate.
My son and I began to clear the underbrush that had taken over the back and side yards. We first got an area on the side yard cleared so the kids could play outside some. The swing set area in the backyard was completely taken over by wild privet bushes, so I found some clippers and began to slowly make a pathway from the back porch to the swing set area and cleared it out. I fixed some tire swings on the swing set using old tires and rope I found in the yard as the swings were no longer there and created a play area there for the grandkids. Then when I had the yard pretty much squared away I went to work inside again.
I tried to organize the kitchen a little at first and conflict arose there so I left it alone for a while. Then one day one of the kids was in the front bathroom so I went in the back bathroom. It was disgusting to say the least and had garbage piled up to the counter top on the side of the toilet, so I got a garbage bag and started cleaning it out. I cleaned right down to the mouse family living in the buried garbage can that I couldn’t even see before. So I worked on that bathroom most of that day and then started some supper. When my husband came home he found something to yell at me about and then went to his room pouting. A little while later he came into the kitchen, kissed me on the forehead and said thank you. I was in shock. This was my first real break through in that jungle of weeds in our relationship and I almost thought I saw a glimmer of hope there shining through the underbrush.
My son tried to mediate between us as much as possible and tried to keep him off my back as much as possible. I told him I would not be able to continue keeping the kids if I didn’t have some peace and he didn’t keep his father from yelling at me every time I cleaned something or hung a picture on the wall. Slowly but surely we made progress in the house and by the time Thanksgiving came round, we had the cabinets put up in the living room, but still no flooring. I organized and rearranged the living room and put up some Christmas decorations for the kids. I brought a tool cabinet from my mother’s house that had been my Dad’s before he died and put all my husband’s tools from the dining room table into it outside the house. I had the house pretty much in order for the holidays but I was still sleeping in the recliner in the living room and had no bed to sleep in on the weeks we had the kids.
I continued to go home every other week that we didn’t have the kids just to get some rest and catch up some at my place. But I was exhausted by the time I got home. I started getting headaches from not being able to sleep well in the recliner and I was miserable, so I brought a cot from my house and put it under Selah’s bed so I could roll it out when needed. But it was still quite uncomfortable and I just wasn’t sleeping well.
By this time things were starting to calm down between my husband and I, and I began to pray on whether or not God was telling me to go home to my husband’s house permanently. I knew the Jubilee was a time for going home and the concept intrigued me. I felt in my spirit that God was telling me it was time to go home, though I still couldn’t see how that might be possible. We had been separated for fourteen years and I didn’t know if I could even learn to be a wife again. I had been alone for so long that I was used to doing things my own way. So I prayed for three signs to show me if it was God’s will for us to reconcile or not.
The first sign was that my husband would call me “beautiful”, which he never did. He always called me “sexy” or something like that, but never beautiful. Well, lo and behold, not very long afterwards, he did just that. I was in shock and unbelief. The next sign that I prayed for was a little more telling. I needed a place to sleep comfortably and my side of his bed was covered with a two foot high pile of junk that had been there for at least a year. He never changed his sheets, but just threw a blanket on top of his side of the bed. I prayed that if it was God’s will that I come home permanently that he would clean off the bed and give me a place to sleep comfortably. Well I went home the next week as usual and when I came back, lo and behold, the bed was cleaned off and the linens washed. I was truly in shock and unbelief then, but I knew in my heart that God was telling me it was time to go home. The third sign I prayed for was that we would renew our wedding vows by our 35th wedding anniversary, which is still to come in August of 2016.
Well, I started sleeping in his bed again and you can imagine what happened next. My sexual appetite increased by leaps and bounds and I was getting satisfied more than I had in the last fourteen years. And just when I thought things were going well, Satan threw a fiery dart or two. I was looking for some pocket change to take the babies to the thrift store one day and found some porn DVD’s in my husband’s dresser drawer. I was devastated. I couldn’t go through that again. I was very angry and hurt and broke them in pieces. I confronted him about it a couple of days later after many tears. He said that they were old DVDs that he had just recently found again and confessed to me that he was still struggling with whether or not to watch them again.
It had not been very long since he had come by my house one day and wanted sex, so I had agreed. After we finished, I came out of the bathroom, and saw something flashing. I looked up on my wall shelf and saw a small camera. He had filmed us without my knowledge or consent. Needless to say, I had thrown a fit and he gave me the chip that held the pictures. I tore it up and disposed of it. I guess he decided since I wouldn’t allow him to have pictures of me he would just have to have other pictures and was tempted with porn again. I had told him any time he needed it I would fulfill his needs as much as possible, but we still had trouble finding the time to get together as much as we needed to. We both struggled with the temptation to masturbate when we needed to and the other just wasn’t available. So finally being able to have sex practically any time we wanted was refreshing to both of us the but porn find just made me put the brakes on and question everything again. Was I doing the right thing or not?
We had a revival at church shortly after this, in January, and it was exactly what we needed at this time. It was the Life Action Refuel event from the first Life Action revival I had gone to two years earlier. The theme this time was grace: Learning to have grace for one another. God reminded me about how much I needed His grace in my life and showed me that I needed to have more grace for my husband, even if he didn’t deserve it. And he showed my husband that he needed to have more grace for me even when I didn’t deserve it. More grace – that was exactly what we needed.
After the revival I started doing a 30 day Bible Study Journal of Encouraging Your Husband that I received at the ladies luncheon during the Refuel event. At first it was hard trying to find positive and encouraging things to say, but as I began searching my heart for things that I loved about my husband, it became easier to find things. I found old pictures of him that I loved and taped a few of them in that journal. I had prayed for many years that somehow we would be reconciled, and even when I had no hope in our own ability or desire to see it happen , I had not given up on the hope that God, my great and mighty God, who can do anything, had the ability and desire to do so.
Even when I thought all hope for reconciliation was gone and started a divorce process just a few years before, God stopped me and said no. I could not get passed God’s word that said, “I hate divorce.” I simply could not do something I knew God hated even when finances were devastatingly bleak and I got no child support. But in the last year or so before my son had moved back in with him, my husband had begun to help me with the electric bill and water bill when he could. It got cut off a few times but he always helped me get it turned back on within a week or so. I learned to survive and I had slowly begun to learn to trust him again for my provision, though I knew ultimately that God was my provider.
God had recently shown me some amazing things about Him being my provider. I had long wanted one of those supersize towels that would wrap all the way around me. One day some college kids moved out of a house near by me and left a lot of throw-a-ways in the garbage to be picked up. I stopped to look as I love to curbside shop and one man’s trash is another’s treasure. I found a garbage can full of freshly washed towels and took them home to go through and see if they were any good. Most of them were still in very good shape and at the very bottom was that supersize towel that I had wanted. God is good!
Another time I was driving home from my son’s apartment when I spotted some building materials being discarded at a house that was being redecorated. I had been praying about getting some flooring for my bathroom and bedroom as I had pulled up the old carpet a couple of years before and just had the subfloor. When I stopped to look, there was some bathroom wall board that looked like tile, all different sizes. I loaded it up and took it home. It was enough to do the bathroom walls and cover the floor as well. When I finished it, I prayed out loud to God my thanks and said, “Now if I just had some flooring for the bedroom.” I went back to keep the kids the next week and when I left to come home, there on the side of the road was some snap together wood flooring and a lot of it. I went through the pile and got all the good pieces I could find and got some pieces that still had some good ends on it that I could cut. Needless to say, it was enough to finish my bedroom floor. I did it all myself, and though not perfect, it looked really good. God is so good. He is certainly a good provider and has shown me very vividly how he will provide for me whether through my husband or somewhere else.
When I first stating going back to my husband’s house to keep the grandkids, I had just gotten to the point where I didn’t really need anything much and my mobile home was sufficient for my needs, even without power on occasion, as I had now gotten oil lamps, candles, and a wood stove for heat and cooking when necessary. So I was struggling just a little bit on whether to start all over again back at my husband’s place and was wavering quite a bit in my emotions. It just seemed like for every step we made forward, we’d take two steps back. I finally decided, I was just going to take a leap of faith and do it and see what happens.
Satan was very real during this time and put every stumbling block he could in my path to discourage me. One day, I brought my chickens and rabbits to my husband’s place and put them in a chain link kennel and the dogs tore through the chain link and killed them all. But I saw immediately that it was simply Satan trying to discourage me, as was the earlier porn episode and a few other incidents that were very discouraging to me personally.
Anytime you try to do what God wants you to do, you can be sure that Satan will inevitably put things in your path to make you stumble and to discourage you. But God will also encourage you during this time. Before Christmas, I was doing the War Room Bible study on Wednesday nights at church and was relearning some spiritual warfare that I had almost forgotten. I was also learning that when prayer is spoken out loud it is most powerful. I spoke that flooring prayer and it came to pass within a week or so. Other prayers that I spoke out loud were being answered in miraculous ways. But even those prayers that were simply in my heart were also being answered. God knows our deepest longings and needs, but there is something about the spoken word that is noteworthy. God spoke the world into existence and a prayer spoken out loud to Him is powerful. I had gone to see the movie “War Room” at the end of that Bible Study with the ladies group at church and it was truly a powerful influence on me at this time in my life and it was all about grace. There was a scene in it where Priscilla Shirer was made to see by Mrs. Clara how she needed to have grace for her husband, even when he didn’t deserve it. Boy, did that hit home.
Sometime about February, I was listening to the radio and Amazing Grace was playing. I came back in the room about the time the line “and Grace will lead me home” was sung. It dawned on me at that time that this was the perfect title for this chapter of my life story, as it has been all about grace. Learning to have grace for each other, even when we don’t deserve it. Learning to forgive each other, even when we don’t feel like it or really even want to. Praying to God to help us forgive and trust one another again, to help us truly love one another again. God’s grace is truly amazing and we simply need to have more grace for one another to survive in this world. God has grace for us when we don’t deserve it and we need to have grace for others even when they don’t deserve it. Sometimes that can be very hard for us, but with God’s grace for us, we can have grace for others in our lives. God’s word tells us that He won’t forgive us our sins if we don’t forgive those who sin against us. His grace makes that possible when it seems humanly impossible for us to do. What is impossible for us is possible with God.
On the last day of the Encouraging Your Husband Bible study it called for writing a poem to my husband and this is what I wrote:
When I said I do
When I said I do I meant it forever
I thought we’d always be together
When I said I do I meant it from my heart
I never thought we’d be apart
But life happened and times changed
And my emotions got all rearranged
I forgot who I was and lost you for a time
I walked away and left you behind
I walked alone for many years
I prayed to God’s listening ears
I prayed for you and I prayed for me
I prayed with a hope I couldn’t see
I prayed that somehow we’d find each other
And learn again to love one another
I prayed for God’s strength to see me through
Until once again I could hold on to you
But God was my first love and always has been
And I needed His grace for all of my sin
He loved me unconditionally by His grace
Until I could lovingly seek His face
And just as He loved me, I try to love you
I try to love you in spite of what you do
I try to forgive when it’s least deserved
I try to love you without reserve
All I ask is your grace in return
That to love me again your heart might learn
Forgive me when I least deserve it
Love me when you can hardly endure it
God will teach us His loving grace
If We together will seek His face
If we walk together in God’s great love
We’ll walk forever in eternity above
I now await my 35th wedding anniversary. My God’s grace be sufficient for us!