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John Piper

I found John Piper’s position on divorce & remarriage paper online just now and wanted to share it. He doesn’t agree with the majority stand on adultery, divorce, & remarriage.

I do want to mention that while he teaches against remarriage, he does tell those already in a remarriage to stay in it. That of course, we don’t agree with. As a stander, we are to stand in the gap for our spouse’s adultery, pray he/she comes to their senses, and of course returns home to us waiting for them. I wish this article was one we could 100% support, but, alas, we cannot.

However, with that said, John Piper does make a lot of solid points regarding the permanence of marriage that I do want to share. Therefore, I attach it here.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/divorce-and-remarriage-a-position-paper

The Death of “The Camp”

In 2011, JW wanted a place to get away: to hunt, see his parents, be on his land, and get away from me. He wanted to move here and I didn’t – so he began building his camp. Before it was completed, our marriage fell apart, and then it was restored. Then we kept having babies, and it became this burden of something to complete that really began from roots of bitterness, unhappiness, and a desire for separation. We didn’t know what to do with it, nor had the time to finish it.

Fast forward to 2019, when, in the middle of Ariel’s leukemia treatments and just getting out of the hospital from a UTI, our septic system stops working and it’s too wet for anyone to fix it for 6 months! We had to go somewhere. So, we put it in high gear and finished the camp enough for us to move in – it had no kitchen, no bathroom, no floors! We literally built a kitchen after we moved in! Our family of 6 had to abandon our 2 story brick house to move into an unfinished 800 sqft camp in the middle of the woods! The baby stayed in our room, while the other three kids squeezed into the laundry room and slept in a triple bunk! (I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a triple bunk!)

We knew God had moved us here, but we didn’t know why. So we sold the brick house once it was fixed, with the intention to build here, except that Covid made building materials skyrocket! So we stayed cramped like that for almost 2 years until we expanded the back to give the kids an ACTUAL bedroom, another bathroom, and much needed space. However, all 4 kids are sharing one room and our kitchen is still a temporary facility.

Now, almost another year has passed, and we’re beginning the front addition of our house. It’s no longer “The Camp.” Today, we took off the front porch, which has held many memories these past 3 years, and made a barn. 🙂 When the barn is complete, the framework will have come from the trees we took out for the pool, the walls from the front porch floor, and the roof from the camp’s tin skirting. The roof of the porch will make the animal shelters on either side of the barn. I want to make and place a sign on the barn that reads: “Here lies The Camp; the rest we made a HOME.” 😀

It’s symbolic, that little barn. We repurposed what was originally created as a way to get away from marriage into this wonderful place for our farm animals that we can sit and watch from our new porch of the home we built together as a family!

P.S. That same new porch now directly sits in view of the very spot JW proposed to me over 20 years ago – the very place he wanted to build his house, his family, and his life with me!

Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.

Rainbows 🌈

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but never made a post about it to explain…

God is this amazing loving being who not only talks to us through His word and His Spirit, but also through His signs. Rejoice Marriage Ministries talks about this with Covenant Transport trucks. So many standers receive strength and encouragement to keep standing when they see that truck, usually after begging God to give them a sign to keep on “trucking” in their stand. Others have mentioned seeing restoration trucks, etc. as signs to keep standing or to encourage them that God sees.

Our sign throughout these past few years has been rainbows. We didn’t start out recognizing it as a sign. We would take pictures of the rainbows as we saw them in the sky. (Come on, who doesn’t love a rainbow?) It actually took a few years for us to realize what was going on. We were looking through the pictures in our phones and noticed that during the really difficult times, there would be rainbow photos! Once I recognized the pattern, I started going back to dates like when my dad died, and when my father-in-law died, and when Ariel was so sick from cancer treatments. Yep, sure enough, there were rainbow pictures at each juncture! I couldn’t believe it!

At first I viewed rainbows as this ominous sign that said something bad was gonna happen. I know that sounds superstitious. It wasn’t like that so much as just experience telling me to hunker down while painful things occurred. I know now I was looking at it all wrong. God was not forewarning us bad things were gonna happen, He was letting us know He’s got it (whatever may come), He sees, and He’s right here with us!

Now, when we see rainbows we get excited. Hard stuff may still follow, but we know we’re gonna be okay because God is sovereign. He’s got it and us!

Genesis 9:13 (NIV)
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Childlike…

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be childlike as Jesus told us we must. We know the biggies like purity of thought and complete trust of a parent to take care of everything, but today hit me differently. I’ve been overwhelmed lately and wanted to pull out one of my adult coloring books that has scriptures in it. As I’m coloring, my 7 year old sees me coloring and the once considered “boring” activity is seen with renewed interest simply because her mom is doing it.

She wanted to color with me. I thought about it. All my kids tend to want to do whatever I’m doing. That’s what we should do to God. He’s our dad. What we see Him do, we should wanna do. Where He is, we should wanna be…just like our kids do to us.

Where do you see God? What do you see the Father doing? Emulate Him, yes…but also do what He’s doing because you wanna be with Him and you know He’s “where it’s at!”

Moving Mountains

Today, our daughter was asking us what a mustard seed was. When we explained what it was, she asked what Jesus meant by having faith like a mustard seed. We told her it meant that it didn’t take much faith to accomplish something impossible, according to Jesus. I looked at her and told her, “Mama’s never moved a mountain before, so what does that say about my faith?” Because, honestly, that’s the way I’ve always felt. If I can’t even believe enough to move a mountain, then how truly little is my faith?

That’s when JW interrupted me and said, “I don’t see it that way.” I told him, “Ok, encourage me then.” He said, “In 2012, you moved a mountain and you have great faith.” 🥺

He stopped me in my tracks and I began to cry. He grabbed my hand to hold it. I always took that verse literally, but JW was right. In 2012, I had faith that God would restore my marriage and bring us children. They were impossible things, by man’s standards. They were immovable mountains, but I believed God could move them…and He did.

So today I learned more about mustard seed faith. Tiny faith as long as it’s in Jesus, moves impossible things (mountains or not). 😊

God Is In The Details

So I’ve been reading the end of Exodus where God describes exactly what He required regarding the Tabernacle and the priestly attire. If you’ve ever read it, you’ll see how specific everything is. The High Priest’s robe had to be purple, blue, scarlet, with gold. The gold woven in their garments came from gold pounded thinly and then cut into thread! They wore bells at the hem exactly between woven pomegranates. The Bible describes the breastplate with exact gemstones to represent each tribe and exactly how they should be set and exactly how the breastplate should be attached and on and on. There’s this overwhelming sense of how important the details were. It mattered how everything looked, how the Tabernacle was run, and how everything was made, even to the point of getting Moses’ approval that it was done to God’s specifics!

Now, one could argue that this was God’s house and He was just designing His house the way we all design our own houses: to our personal tastes. However, the overwhelming peace I got from reading what some would categorize as minutiae, told me otherwise. These passages were screaming, “God cares about the details.”

God cares about my details just as much. I used to believe that God concerned Himself with the big things of my life and the little things that don’t matter were allowed to be up to me because they really didn’t matter. However, there have been too many instances, understood or not, where God demonstrated that every detail of my life is a big deal to Him and He’ll take care of them equally as well as He takes care of the “big deals.”

Let me share two very personal examples of this. For some this may be too personal or too much information (for men especially) and if so, I apologize for that. However, I’m being real and thankfully our God is a very real God! Also, these examples are truly poignant to how much God cares for us in our darkest moments and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, so please see my heart to share that above all.

The first example is when our eldest daughter was 3 and just one month after her leukemia diagnosis. We were in a tailspin of doctor’s appointments, traveling long distances multiple times a week for treatments, and really still trying to wrap our minds around the whole thing. It was our youngest daughter’s second birthday and we had absolutely nothing to give her. I don’t mean gifts. I mean of ourselves. We were fighting to save the life of our other daughter and we honestly couldn’t think about a birthday, gifts, party, celebration…nothing. I consoled myself saying she would be too young to remember that we did nothing for her birthday, but it was still crummy. All of a sudden, a precious friend of mine stops by with a huge box of gorgeous professionally made cupcakes! She brought them to celebrate our baby’s birthday! I cried! I hadn’t told anyone, including that friend, that we weren’t (or couldn’t handle) doing anything for her birthday. She just showed up. I knew instantly this was God seeing into this mother’s heart and providing something she so desperately needed! Would our little daughter have been fine never celebrating her 2-year-old birthday? Yes, but God showed up to prove He sees, He understands, and He’s in the details.

My second example is more graphic. Men can skip this section. I’ll give fair warning. This was a few months before Ariel’s diagnosis. I was three months pregnant with what would’ve been our 4th child. I’ve miscarried before, so when I started cramping, I was extremely worried. I went to the doctor to discover our child was no longer living. He gave me the choice of a D&C to clear my body or wait till it happened naturally. I hated the D&C last time, so I went home to think and pray about it. I was grief-stricken and couldn’t understand why I was going through all of this. I remember telling God that I hated the smell of period blood. I didn’t know if I could handle that smell associated with the loss of our baby. I didn’t know if I could handle a natural miscarriage at home or if I should just deal with the D&C and the rush of hormones I experienced last time. The next morning, the decision was made for me: the natural miscarriage had begun. But here is where God showed up in a very personal way. Before the miscarriage began, the kids and I were in the bathroom closet digging for something when an old tiny vial of my husband’s cologne fell and shattered on the tile floor. It was a little mess we had to clean up, frustrating at the time, but later I would realize what it truly was. God orchestrated that little mess to fill the whole bathroom with a pleasant smell for the whole duration of my miscarriage!! Not one time did I have to smell any blood! It was a terribly sad situation that God cradled me through and showed me just how intimate the God of the universe can be with those who are His!

I had to stop writing this to cry a little bit, just remembering how precious He’s been to me just like that so many times. I share these gruesome stories to tell others God is in your details too! I don’t understand how the God of everything, Who is perfect and sovereign can love us so much. I just can say He does. This God can handle all your big deals, but even more special, He handles all your tiny deals too.

Love to all,

Jenn

Why we stand

We stand for our spouses and marriage restoration to change our family tree. We are praying for eternal changes to take place in the lives of ourselves and our family, to see our loved ones come to know Christ.

Today, I experienced a most unexpected blessing. Ariel, our 7 year old eldest daughter, the one who fought leukemia, told me she thinks she finally heard from God. 🙂

Let’s rewind to a few weeks ago when she wrote me a letter saying she’d been praying to God for Him to speak to her. She just didn’t understand why she couldn’t hear His voice. I took that time to explain that God speaks to us in a number of different ways. Mostly, it’s from His word. When His word jumps out at us, we know He’s speaking directly to us. Sometimes, He speaks to us through others. Other times we see or experience signs or feelings. However, whatever we think we hear from God MUST ALWAYS align to His word, never against it. I explained that it can be hard sometimes to hear God because we let distractions get in the way. We gotta learn to be quiet to hear Him. However, over time and with much seeking we can learn to hear from Him. He wants to talk to us. He wants us to listen.

Today, she tells me that about a week ago she was reading a scripture on the wall (as I’ve mentioned before, we have promises posted all over our house). She said, for some reason she focused on the word “rejoice.” Then she felt like she heard, “Have joy, for I am with you.”

When she shared that with me, the first thing I did was to look it up in the concordance. We discovered that there’s no exact reference for those words together, but of course God does command us to rejoice and also promises us that He’s with us. So I told her that it falls in line with truth. I also looked at her and told her that I know for a fact that God is with her. She knew that too. Then, I told her she needed to write it in her journal to God, because all her prior entries were her talking to God. She needed to write down when God speaks to her too!

I’ve been amazed seeing this spiritual growth in my tiny daughter. I peeked through her journal and saw she had asked God some serious questions. I read one aloud: “God why do you let bad things happen?” So I asked her what she thought the answer was to that one. She thought it was different reasons, but the one that she named was how ppl think they have a good relationship with God and He uses bad things to happen so He can really show them how their relationship really is.

I was impressed. Have we discussed this topic before? Of course. We’ve explained leukemia, the deaths of grandfathers, Covid, etc. But here was her chance to express what she’s learned. I thought it was profound. There’s a lot of adults who struggle with that question.

God challenged me in 2012 to stand for my marriage…way before kids. When I accepted that challenge, I was just hoping to get my husband back (being honest here). I never could’ve imagined this moment almost 10 years ago. When God changed me, he tipped the first domino to change my husband, to change my marriage, to create 4 amazing kids, and to change the way we would raise them. We’ve seen what God can do. We’ve seen Him restore. We’ve seen Him provide. We’ve seen Him protect. We’ve seen Him heal. How can we not share this with our kids? They’re part of the miracles we’ve seen!

God has this amazing plan for them. I know it because they came so close to never existing! God has this amazing plan for your family tree as well! Please, please, PLEASE don’t ever give up on your stand!

Walls in Marriage

Lori Steinkamp Lassen from Rejoice Marriage Ministries wrote a great devotional for married couples to watch out from building walls in their marriage. I was reminded of the walls that used to be in our marriage. It’s such an amazing thing to realize that walls, once a constant in our marriage, are now something we have to be reminded of even existing! That’s why I had to write Lori a response to her devotional! We have to get the word out just what God can do! God heals hurting marriages…yes…but He does it so profoundly! God works the impossible in broken marriages. God is real and God loves us! And God does amazing things for us!

Here is the post of my response to Lori’s devotional. At the bottom is a link to her original post.

On our Mark 10 Nine Devotional for Married Couples, Lori recently wrote about the walls that can get built up in our marriages. Just as those walls go up, God can tear them down. Jennifer shares the story of watching the walls come down in their restored marriage.

WATCHING THE WALLS FALL

by Jennifer in Mississippi
 Tuesday, October 19, 2021

It is so easy to erect walls around our hearts because our spouse has hurt us so many times. We can look up in our marriage and wonder how we got so distant from each other. We feel the walls. We see the walls.

Sometimes, like in my marriage, the walls are so real, they are a part of our marriage, and we would talk about them and wonder how in the world to get past them!

Finally, after so many years living with the walls and both of us refusing to remove them, unsure how to even begin that process, my husband had enough. He found a new lady with no walls and left our marriage full of them.

In my devastation, I heard God speak to me. He told me to stand and promised restoration. But God also acknowledged our walls. He was tearing mine down through standing, but what about the wall surrounding my hardened husband’s heart? Well, God gave me hope and a promise for that as well:

With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:29

God was telling me those walls that existed for years in our marriage were going to come crashing down like the walls of Jericho! The restored marriage He promised me would have NO WALLS! What He was making would be new and last forever. I clung to those promises and waited for God to work. He doesn’t disappoint.

My husband and I are working on our 10th year since restoration. We are so grateful to say we have zero walls in our marriage. We still argue, disagree, and can even hurt each other, but God has changed us both so much. There’s too much gratitude and humility for walls to find a foundation. Only God can do that. God can move the mountains in the same way for you and your spouse!

You can read Lori’s full devotional Stop Building Walls in Your Marriage.

God bless,

Jennifer in Mississippi