Unequally Yoked – The Early Years
My husband and I met when we were very young. My parents were at a lake visiting friends and the neighbors had a slide on their dock for their children. I couldn’t swim so I just stood on the dock watching the others romp in the water. My friend didn’t know I couldn’t swim and she pushed me into the water. My future husband’s mother pulled me out before I drowned.
Life went on. One summer, before my pre-teen years, a group of teen evangelists came through the neighborhood. They told me about Jesus and I accepted Him into my heart. My future husband did the same thing at a summer Bible camp when he was 12. But, with no discipleship, the action faded away. We both lost sight of Jesus.
The teen years crept by and I soon met Mike again, unaware that we already shared memories. Our relationship blossomed and waned, but before he entered the Navy we declared that we would grow old together. I had graduated high school two days before our wedding and my Navy fiancé came home on leave to share the time together.
As his term in the Navy came to a close, we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. One thing I had learned about marriage, support your husband in his attempts to success or failure. We shared a lot of activities. He wanted to sky dive, I stayed on the ground watching. He hunted and fished, I cooked his catch. We both joined a volunteer fire company; he fought fires and I took video. We had 3-wheelers and toured the countryside at night.
My sister-in-law started to share the gospel with me more and more. I got the idea that I needed Jesus desperately. My life, even though it was full of love, lacked something. I would have recurring bouts of extreme anxiety about being lost in a black hole. All through the teen years and into marriage, these episodes would hit in the middle of the night. Complete nothingness surrounded me and I felt as if I were the only person in the whole world. Life was just happening and my life had no meaning outside what I created.
One night, the Billy Graham Crusade was on television. I responded to the call to re-commit myself to Jesus. My anxiety changed to a vision of a great lion surrounding my bed, protecting me from any more emptiness. My life began all over again…but I was still alone.
Unequally Yoked – God Worked in My Heart
Mike didn’t share my passion for the Lord and that created the tension of being unequally yoked. I don’t remember hitting Mike over the head with the Word or anything. I just quietly sat and read every night. I didn’t own a study Bible so I received what I could understand. Mike didn’t understand why I was wasting my time.
My husband did not want any more children so he went for a vasectomy. The intern erred in the surgery and it didn’t quite work, so I became pregnant the next year. Mike’s first remark was to say “Get rid of it.” I calmly assured him that this was a life that we shared inside of me. The pregnancy didn’t make things easier, so my prayers became focused on Mike’s understanding.
God eased me through the delivery with flying colors. My favorite Scripture at the time was “I look to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” After two generations of boys in Mike’s family, God blessed us with a little girl. She has been the “apple” of Mike’s eye ever since.
My husband and I were entrepreneurs. We had some very successful businesses and some that weren’t. My last endeavor, a bridal shop, was the culprit for a lot of disunity between us. You see, I had started the bridal shop from scratch. I loved retail and fashion was a big draw for me. When you birth something and become known for it, it has a hold on your heart that is hard to relinquish.
During my almost 10 years of bridal work, I had become acquainted with a seamstress in the area. Of course, good relations with a seamstress come in handy for a bridal consultant. She became one of my best friends. She frequently invited me to the gospel mission. I attended one Sunday and my eyes and ears were opened to receive the Word of God as never before.
My shop had become unstable financially. It seemed that when I made one step of accomplishment, I would fall back ten of defeat. Finally, God was able to get through to me and He said, “If it meant that Mike would come to Me, would you close the shop?”
The decision was very hard but I surrendered to the will of God. Freedom reigned in my heart, as I disposed of the inventory for the next year and a half. The shop closed on October 30 and the following June, the building flooded with 3 feet of water. What a mess all those white gowns would have been. God’s hand of mercy surely extended to me.
Through this period I waited. I watched to see what God would do in Mike’s life. He became interested in playing guitar, so I learned to play a mandolin. A harmonica player joined us and I switched to bass guitar. What a joy that has been! As a trio we wanted to perform, so we did a few family functions singing oldies from the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
That fall, I fell into a state of depression that I couldn’t express to anyone. I needed to be creative and purposeful. Did you ever feel like if you stayed somewhere you would lose yourself? I did.
In the meantime my church offered to hire me as administrative assistant to the pastor. I jumped at this opportunity. But I still felt unsupported spiritually. I knew God was working on Mike and my impatience was getting the better of me. The past prayers of supplication on his behalf seemed to go cold. He’s a good man, a man of integrity.
Years of standing in the gap at the altar for him seemed to go unanswered. Prayers by the church, deacons, and pastor seemed to go unanswered. Advice from books, naming and claiming, laying on of hands over his pillow at night, all seemed to go unanswered.
Unequally Yoked – Persistent Faithful Prayer
I had even taught a class that focused on unequally yoked marriages based upon 1 Peter 3. I rejoiced as other’s spouses accepted Christ, but sorrowed inside. I had all of the right answers, but it wasn’t God’s timing...yet.
Maybe I was looking for a magic charm, but God isn’t to be used that way. It must be God was waiting for me to change. Was there a part of me that needed to line up with God more? I finally just stood on my faith. I bravely told God, “This is the year. This is my year. I’ve tried everything I could think of. I only have Your promises to hold on to. You said that ‘Me and my whole household would be saved’. It’s Your Word, Lord. I’m tired. It’s up to you.”
January of 2007 came and went. In February, Mike decided that he would move from a town highway job to the county highway department. He asked me to put his application in on a Tuesday. I dropped it off and the girl said it would go into the system. She said that he needed to submit a new one every six months, as it was hard to obtain employment in the county government.
On Thursday, the highway supervisor called Mike for an interview. The interview went well and they told him they would make a decision in a couple of weeks. They called him on the following Thursday and asked him to start within two weeks. He took the job. His fellow workers wanted to know who he knew to have gotten the job. I knew it was the hand of God. At this point, Mike just believed it was circumstance.
He started to question his purpose in life. He began at the bottom of the ladder in his new job but he wondered how he got there. He started attending church with me. One Sunday he came to church and I directed him to the office to sign up for a class he had expressed interest in. God worked it so that it was only him and pastor. He came out later and we went home.
Later that evening, my pastor’s wife called asking me if I was on cloud nine. I said “for what?” She told me that Mike had re-committed his life to Christ that morning. Unbelievable! God did it without any fanfare or tears. It was as normal as breathing.
Unequally Yoked – The Results of Unity
Since then, Mike has fellowshipped with the guys from church. Relationships have been built that will last a long time. At this point, he has read the Bible from cover to cover. As he builds relationships at work, he is bringing them back to Christ. He calls his job “his field of dreams.”
My whole life has changed. . .again. I have a priest in the house, a confidant in the Lord, someone to share Scripture, sermons, teachings, books, and fellowship. Our house has become a cell group for music one night a week.
The Lord has moved Mike’s brother to accept salvation on the day that Mike was baptized. There were tears that day. Our harmonica player has recommitted his life to the Lord. We’re watching the Lord move in the other’s lives too.
God is miraculous and He gives you the desire of your heart. Every facet of my life has changed and become new. I cannot contain the blessing in my hand. My testimony as ‘the wife of an unsaved husband’ has become ‘learning to live with a believer’. Sharing of God’s Word is almost like heaven.
And what does the future hold...God’s promises. If the last 36 years are any indication of the future in this life, I can’t wait to live it. God holds the future and if we stay in God’s light, the darkness will never ever reach us again. The best is yet to come.