Despair is a Round Trip

I was closing an email from Doug, the Saxophone Player, and my eye quickly glanced down at his signature.

This email came from his office at the jail, and I was just moved to tears seeing his title. You may not know my husband’s testimony**, but I can tell you that I did not marry a man fit to be a minister. I married a great guy, but he had some big problems. Those problems affected his family, and drove me to despair so many times I don’t need a map anymore.

Yet, in those places of hopelessness The Holy Spirit kept telling me to trust God. Sometimes, there would be this flash of a vision from an unknown future. I would see him speaking to a group of people, Bible in hand. Where did that come from?

I can’t get over what God has done in my husband’s life, and I hope I NEVER do! I hope I never forget what God has done, and that He is able to do far more than we can hope or imagine—if we will just keep trusting Him. That trust will most likely mean a few trips to despair for anyone daring enough to let God do things His way, but I promise it’s a round trip when we’re in His hands. It’s a round trip!

I did not marry a man worthy of his titles: Reverand, Pastor, Chaplain, Chief Executive Officer, President. He wasn’t worthy of the work the Lord has entrusted to his care, but God made him worthy. God persevered, and Doug surrendered.

If you know the way to Despair as well as I once did, please seek the Lord for help. Please, believe that He is able to help you in your circumstances, because what He does for one of His children*, He will do for any of them.

*If you aren’t sure you are a child of God, don’t wait to find out. CLICK HERE.
** This is Doug’s Testimony. CLICK HERE

Happy Anniversary to My Elkanah

To mark our 32nd wedding anniversary, I thought I would share some photos. It’s kind of an odd assortment. I just chose pictures that stood out to me and offer a glimpse into our past. As we move into our future, I am just so thankful for this man I see these days as my Elkanah, a godly servant of the Lord, faithful and kind. Thank you, dear Doug, for all the seasons of our life together.


My Filthy Rags

I had three major confrontations with the Lord in 2001. They began at the women’s Bible study (testimony here) and continued through the summer, when I finally dipped into a pile of articles Doug had given me to read.

Those articles would eventually be life changing, but I didn’t want anything to do with them at first. Oh, I was very happy for him, because he’d finally found a ministry that actually addressed his spiritual need. It was the first time we’d heard anyone use the term sexual addiction, and these men* had testimonies to back up their articles. He felt so much hope, and I was hopeful, too. Maybe, this was the answer we’d been waiting for, and all my suffering would finally be over. 

You see, while I recognized there was a spiritual war going on, I didn’t realize Doug and I each had battles to fight. I thought this war was his war, because it was his fault. If he would just do the right thing, we’d win the war and live happily ever after. Wasn’t I doing my part?  Keep the home fires burning, Caroline! Despite the fact God had been dealing with me all year long, calling me to yield to His will for my life, I just didn’t understand that there was something for me to do. I was sure our problems started with him, and would only end when he stopped living a chronic cycle of Sin-Repent-Repeat. In the meanwhile, I would be the good Christian wife I thought I was and endure this suffering. Isn’t that what longsuffering means?

Wives, God doesn’t call us to endure our husband’s sin. If we’re just holding our own, trying to get better at enduring, we’re wasting our time. That’s as far away from being a help meet as we can get. Yet, I know that’s what most wives think they’re supposed to do: don’t quit on him. Without meaning to, they become his enabler.  

You see there is a difference between godly endurance and human endurance, and too often we confuse them. Godly endurance stands out, because it bears spiritual fruit in both you and him. It doesn’t enable him to stay unchanged and in sin, but instead reminds him that his race isn’t over. We don’t ignore his fall and fail to hold him to account, but urge him to get up (repent) and keep going.  

I’m not sure when I gave in and picked-up an article, but I do remember the words took me by surprise. Like a tsunami. The first article was called, “Why People Remain in Sin and Bondage,” by David Kyle Foster. I remember thinking that maybe this article would help me understand Doug better, but instead it helped me understand myself better. It was an incredible experience. Yes, it was life changing.  I very clearly recall sitting in bed and sensing the presence of Christ beside me. I could see myself next to Him, my head down, looking at the pure white drapes of His robe. It was then I finally saw my filthy rags. I wept, I repented. My eyes were opened. For so long I had seen myself somehow ahead of Doug on this course, but suddenly I realized we were in the same place. I had no advantage over him, because I didn’t struggle with his brand of sin. I was not further ahead, because I had grown-up in Sunday school classes. We were equally wretched sinners, both in need of a Savior. 

Looking back now, I realize that God was preparing me for what was soon to come. If our family was going to survive the onslaught Satan had prepared for us, I was going to have to rise up out of my selfish version of Christianity and become a woman God could actually use. I was going to have to put my flesh in its place, just as much as Doug would—though in very different ways. I was now in the war.

*David Kyle Foster (Pure Passion) and Steve Gallagher (Pure Life Miniseries)