It’s that time of the year again when I turn another year older and those springtime verses in Song of Solomon 2 start dancing through my head as sweet birthday wishes from Jesus:
"Get up, my dear friend, fair and beautiful lover – come to me!
Look around you: Winter is over; the winter rains are over, gone!
Spring flowers are in blossom all over.
The whole world’s a choir – and singing!
Come, my shy and modest dove,
leave your seclusion, come out in the open.
Let me see your face, let me hear your voice.
For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing."
And I reply in verse 15: "Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden."
Fox #1: Infirmity. Our Love After Marriage preparations were going smoothly until the other day. Our co-worker Isabelle is in the middle of translating the materials and will be our translator for the seminar. Last week she went into the hospital with facial paralysis and is undergoing testing. The enemy aimed well, as he knows that we cannot pull off this event without her, so this is not a surprise. Also, David was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in the shoulder that he drapes over his guitar, just when our church decided to expand our House of Prayer sessions! He is compensating by buying a flat electric and a tiny travel guitar, but daily pain and reduced range of motion continues. We refuse to worry, but to join with our intercessors and worship God in faith that He is taking care of these visions that He planted in our hearts for France. He will see it through.
Fox #2: Insecurity. Like many introverts, I have always been uncomfortable with my social skills and so I give God all the glory for the advances I have made in helping people feel safe enough to confide in me for inner healing. A girl in her 20s even asked me to be her spiritual mother for a season, and this is the generation I relate to the least! But there were still some fears in this area that were niggling me, so I had a Sozo colleague give me a session for it recently. I have quickly gained a new confidence in lovingly confronting lies that people are believing about themselves and God, without nerves shutting me down, (even during one hostile encounter!) And rejection doesn’t seem to come into play for either side! I have also had people tell me that I’m more radiant lately. Could it be that at last "my voice is soothing and my face is ravishing" to more people besides Jesus??
I know David is appreciating it the most, as we are enjoying a time of supernatural grace for each other’s weaknesses, paired with a deeper appreciation of and dependence on each other’s strengths. We are nourishing each other with physical affection several times a day and speaking out more words of encouragement than ever before. Combined with the training we got at Bethel last summer, we had the gumption to come alongside another couple being stalked by…
He grew up without parents and had been depressed for 10 of their 11 years of marriage. He looked like the walking dead and since past counseling/deliverance hadn’t helped, he thought he would just have to live with it.
She had grown up under an abusive father and had to be the strong one her whole life. She was empty and lonely, and there was no way she could continue to "live with it."
Their kids were car-pooling to our school from the big city, and once her husband got his driving license a couple of years ago, he found a steady job and they were able to start attending our church. Last fall they moved to a cute apt. in Soultz.
Then she asked if she could help me with my Janitor for Jesus duties and slowly started sharing her pain and asking for prayer. It was obvious that moving to an idyllic village, regular church attendance, and new jobs weren’t making them any happier. I was getting eager to get to the roots, but she was skittish.
Then one day, when her husband brought up separation, she was at my door in tears and ready to deal with her stuff. After her second Sozo and hearing enough about their marriage to be concerned about her keeping her healing, I asked if we could meet with them as a couple to see where he was at. (This was a big step for us to actively intervene without relationship with him!) A few minutes later, I crossed him at school and boldly asked if he would be okay with us coming over, and he agreed!
Hopelessness was the fox that was destroying their garden, and we chased it out that day with our own testimony of healing. She learned that he didn’t want to separate after all, and we asked them to verbally commit to each other to choose the path of healing and restoration. We asked them to hold hands and say positive things to each other. Their marriage started in YWAM with a heart for missions and it was brutally stolen from them, so we also declared a restoration of their one-flesh destiny. He’d lost his wedding ring 7 years ago and never replaced it, so we prayed that it would be restored as a prophetic symbol.
Before we left, we asked them to ask forgiveness of their children for planting the fear of divorce and prayed for favor from his boss and the provision to attend the seminar, (as God has already provided the childcare!) We reduced their fees to make it more accessible to them, and when Rachel sent in an offering towards this ministry, we gave it to them a few days later.
A week later, he had his first Sozo and he said it was like no other ministry he’d gotten before, and friendship with David will grow because David is training him in sound booth duties. She is ready to continue sessions with me until the roots of her anger are completely severed, and her cleaning help at church really blesses me in return, not to mention her expressions of gratefulness for our investment in them.
These same foxes are also attracted to our "foster" child Oceane, but our fences are strong and high, at least while she in in our garden, and we are seeing positive changes in her. My latest healing has removed fear of her manipulation and I can face her stuff head-on and smother her with kisses at the same time.
I recommend it as a good tactic for broken kids and as well as broken couples.
So our marriage ministry is "springing" to life at last. I see a home group in our future, post-seminar, to keep the couples in our church moving forward.
I think we should call it "Foxbusters."
Stay tuned for next month’s testimonies from the seminar!! Angela