“Hi Jane, this is Lisa. We’re not going to be to our counseling session tonight.” “Oh, that’s too bad,” Jane replied, “why not?”
“Well,” Lisa continued “we’re done. Nate moved out and I am just tired of it. I am tired of all the fighting and yelling and just all of it. I think we are going to get a divorce and be done.”
We had been working with Nate and Lisa for a number of months before that call. As with many couples who we see, they came to us when their marriage was strained out and most of their hope of it getting better had been drained away. And like most, Nate and Lisa had had their ups and downs over the months when we met with them.
We felt the pain, the hopelessness and the despair, but we also knew that there was hope for this couple bound up in Christ Jesus himself. Even though at the beginning, we can’t always see the road we would walk down in leading them to find that hope.
Jane and Lisa had talked for a while and Jane did her best to comfort Lisa. After the call, Jane turned to me and we talked about what Lisa told her. As I listened about how Nate would yell at her, my frustration began to grow.
For me it was frustrating to think, “here is a guy who considers himself a Christian, believes he is called to evangelize, and he dishonors his wife and the Lord by the vile things that flow from his mouth.” I almost had to stop Jane because my frustration level was rising.
For those who know me, I tend to follow-up on things that need attention. If a hard thing needs to be done, I am willing to do it. I decided that Nate needed to be confronted on this issue. However, I just didn’t have as good of a relationship with this man as our mutual friend Kevin did. So I decided that I would give Kevin a call and see how we could rebuke this fella. Little did I know that the Lord had a different and much more glorious plan.
I gave Kevin a call to talk about Nate. I had intended to ask him if he would go with me to confront Nate. As we talked, it appeared that Kevin was equally frustrated. He and Nate had spent much time together evangelizing. Can you imagine knowing the same mouth that was proclaiming Christ was yelling and swearing at his wife? That can be embarrassing at least and at worse a mockery of Christ. In a way, we were both seething together, just waiting to get our hands on this fellow and really give him the what for.
Then, like the sweet sound of a bird calling, the Holy Spirit went to work on old Kevin and Eric. Kevin was sharing a story about how he told a brother who he had conflict with that he was going to take a low place and figuratively wash his feet. I interrupt and said, “That is it, we need to wash their feet.” “Whose feet?” Kevin asked. “Nate and Lisa’s.” I replied. “Everything inside me wants to wring this guy’s neck, so I know that is not the spirit of God. God wants to love Nate and Lisa and he wants us to love them too. We need to wash their feet.” “You know, Eric, that speaks right to my spirit what you just said,” Kevin replied. “I have never washed anybody’s feet,” I said.
Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of washing someone’s feet was a little intimidating. At the same time, I believe God had spoken and this is what He wanted. He didn’t want a tongue lashing, He wanted to show His love through His weak vessels, Kevin and Eric.
So we discussed it, decided on how we were going to undertake this directive and moved forward. We had agreed that we would invite Nate and Lisa to Kevin and his wife, Missy’s home. Jane and I would join them and our sole purpose would be to wash their feet.
When Jane and I arrived, Nate and Lisa were already at Kevin and Missy’s. You could have cut the animosity between Nate and Lisa with a knife and you could tell this was the last place that Nate wanted to be. He even said, “Well I just about didn’t come because I figured it would be another chance for you guys to beat me up.”
“We didn’t come here to beat you up,” Kevin said, “we gathered together because we love you guys.” Kevin went on to share about how he, Missy, Jane and I love them greatly and wanted the best for them. He then shared Scripture from chapter 6 of Isaiah where Isaiah said, “I am a man of unclean lips.” He went to the New Testament and read the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and several other passages. And he said, “And this is why we brought you here today, to wash your feet. Eric and I are going to wash your feet and the ladies are going to wash Lisa’s feet.”
Immediately Nate and Lisa protested, “You’re not going to wash our feet. What Jesus did was figurative. He didn’t mean it literally.” As the protests continued, the four of us got on our knees and began untying their shoes, removing the shoe, and then the sock. Grabbing the warm wash cloth we began to wash their feet and pray. The protests continued and then Kevin said something that I will never forget. He looked up into Nate’s eyes and said, “It’s hard to receive love isn’t it.” At that, the man broke. He just began to weep. All that burden, guilt and shame that he carried, all his anxiety that we would heap more shame and guilt on him, all the anger and hurt he carried for so long just broke. I broke too. I was weeping and praying, washing and weeping not sure what really happened but just overwhelmed with love for Nate and Lisa. Heck, I am tearing up now just thinking about it again and writing about it.
Next to the day of my salvation, that day deeply changed me. I saw the power of love over hate, anger and fear. It taught me that God’s ways are so much higher than my own. God again showed Himself to be alive, that He heals the broken hearted, that He never gives up loving us and that He works in ways that we often don’t understand.
What happened that evening was a real healing. Nate is a different man today. God poured out His love for Nate and it was irresistible. What a blessing to see God work and what a joy to know the new Nate.
In the several months since our encounter with God through a pan of water, we delight in seeing Nate and Lisa and their renewed marriage. We continued meeting with them and completing a budget course we were doing together. What a blessing as they successfully turned around their finances and have a plan to be debt free (including mortgage debt) in five years. That’s amazing! Not just because they had some challenging finances, but because there is nearly no one who believes, let alone has a plan, to be mortgage debt free in five years. Most importantly, you can really see how God has healed them and is using them in a grand way for kingdom work. Together, they are a powerful tool in the hands of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are blessed to be counted among their friends and watch them in their walk with Jesus. Praise be to God!
*Note: Because of the confidential nature of the ministry we provide, we normally can never share stories like Nate and Lisa’s. It is another credit to this couple that they gave us permission to share their story in order to bless those who read about it and be used by God to help other couples. Thank you Nate and Lisa!
Blessings and Praises (so many, so little space)
- We praise God for another great Truth Project Seminar. We concluded the seminar in the early spring. It was such a joy to gather together with a number of folks and go through this systematic and comprehensive Biblical World View tour.
- We were blessed to begin a time of fellowship and worship every other Wednesday nights at GGA. We have a potluck dinner together and spend time in worship through song, scriptural study and prayer. Our next gathering is May 21st.
- One of our pre-married couples honored us by asking that we share a scripture verse and reflection at their wedding in August. We are looking forward to that. It has been a joy watching God work in their lives as He draws them closer to Him and stokes the fire for the Gospel in them.
- Since our last newsletter, we like the rest of the folks in Wisconsin have slowly been crawling out of our winter shelters. Spring is sputtering along and planting for us has been slowed, but the ground is thawed and we are excited as we continue to expand our food production here at GGA.
- Jane held a seed starting class that had great attendance. It is exciting to have the space inside and outside to encourage others to enjoy the rich blessings of the creation of God.
- We held a budget seminar in April and are going to hold another on June 29th, and July 13th at 1:30pm. We are very encouraged by the folks who attended and are working on honoring God with the finances He has given them to steward.
Growing At God’s Green Acres
- Spring is coming on slowly. God has recently blessed us with much needed rain.
- We are looking forward to many educational opportunities for folks throughout the season.
- Those educational opportunities will come in the form of classes, seminars and volunteer work opportunities. We look forward to you taking advantage of those that fit your needs.