We returned to the States in time for Thanksgiving and to celebrate my mother’s 75th birthday. She and my step-dad came to Texas to visit us, and to make a big deal of her big birthday we took her to Corpus Christi, which she hated. I adore Corpus Christi, but it was like sharing my best china with a raging bull. I was putting forth my best effort at creating a party atmosphere with the clamoring grandkids while my tight-lipped mother and stepfather pouted. At that point in time I didn’t need dissension in the ranks, so I didn’t handle it well. We muddled through the birthday.
In spite of December being so full of activities, which I had no heart to participate in anyway, I made time to fast and pray for John, staying up all night, as I like to do, until I heard the Lord speak. I secluded myself in the spare bedroom, praying, worshiping, and finally at 4:00 a.m. He obliged me. He said, “I have an acceptable will, a good will, and a perfect will. My perfect will for John is for him to be totally set free. When he is free, I have a ministry for him in France. I want him to be an administrator for Me.” The Lord told me the name of the ministry, and I could see it was a perfect place for him.
He said, “My good will is for John to come home to be with Me. The death of my saints is a delight to Me.” I thought to myself if it were my choice, I would choose the Lord’s good will. I was tired. Get him out of the picture. Get him out of the way.
He said, “My acceptable will is for you to divorce.”
It seemed clear to me it was not His will for things to remain the same. He also told me, “This is John’s life, and therefore, it is John’s choice.” I harbored absolutely no hope for number one to be achieved, and I understood that John could choose his day of death, not by committing suicide, but by settling it with God and within himself to die. But I could not imagine John asking me for a divorce. I knew with certainty the only way a divorce would happen was if I asked for it.
I begged the Lord, “Please, please don’t make me get a divorce!” For the first time in my life I took a good look at divorce, and I hated it. I feared it. The image of the shame, the blame, the distancing of family and friends, being alone, making my own way in life, didn’t just terrify me, it traumatized me. They say people get divorced too easily. I can’t imagine any divorce being easy.
December filled up with Christmas, and we traveled to California to spend the holiday at my mother’s house. My bubbling daughter, her sullen husband, the wired grandchildren, and John and I met up with Jeff who had brought his love, Vicky, a British girl. My mother’s brightly decorated house overflowed, the living room mounded with presents under the towering tree, bodies slept everywhere. But we got to be there when my son proposed to his love over New Year’s Eve. Wonderful new life seemed to rise from the ashes of mine.
I poked around in those ashes, and I saw no improvement in John. Granted we were busy. Our family in California numbers plenty, and then to add the friends, our brief time there didn’t cover much. But whenever repentance has come on me, I haven’t taken social obligations into account. Repentance wants it now! Whenever I’ve wanted to get free, I’ve prostrated myself before God and cried out for deliverance. Once I’ve seen where I’m bound, I’ve turned to God, sobbing, determined to change, determined to turn life around. It doesn’t matter what else is going on in life; freedom is all that counts! Didn’t John see his bondage?
After the festivities we all returned to our respective homes, saddened to part, some eager to embrace the future, me dragging my feet at what I feared. I launched out on travels which separated me from daily watching and waiting, which I considered to be a Godsend.
I went to Santa Barbara again to minister for my friends Martin and Kathy, staying in their home. One night, before going to bed, I shared my predicament with them.
Martin said, “You’ve got to get deliverance for him as fast as possible.”
“What about counseling?” I asked.
Kathy snorted, “What good would that do?”
“Marty,” Martin persisted. “Counseling only helps you cope with a situation. Is that what you want to do? Cope with homosexuality?”
Miserable, I shook my head no.
“Then get him to a minister of deliverance. There’s a great one in Kentucky.”
“How about that guy in Texas?” Kathy hastened to add. She noted my hesitation, “Can you get John to go?”
“I don’t think so.” I responded sadly, “He hasn’t cooperated with anybody so far. Why would he submit to something as radical and dramatic as deliverance ministry?”
“Then you’d better get out, Marty.” Martin said firmly.
“How can you say that!” Kathy reprimanded. “Divorce is only the very last resort, and you as a minister should not be recommending it!” She turned to me, equally firm, “Stand on your faith, Marty. I’m standing with you. He can be delivered.”
Lying in their daughter’s bed that night I thought about serving the Lord being so much more satisfying than dealing with sins like homosexuality. But then that thought seemed to be a paradox. So, I asked the Lord if the whole purpose of my life was to be the wife of a homosexual, and if the Holy Spirit would say the word, “DUH!”, then I think that is what I heard.
I suppose dealing with sin like homosexuality is serving the Lord. Who else will deal with them? The world? No, they simply want to accept the bondage as “alternative lifestyle.” But God overcomes sin. So, what was my purpose in being the wife of a homosexual? Obviously, I wasn’t helping him get set free, as after all my efforts, he wasn’t free. I fell asleep assured the Lord would eventually answer that question.
When it came time to return home, I was bolstered by what I found there. John had changed his routine in order to watch and tape televangelists’ programs every day. In the mornings I caught him praising the Lord to worship tapes with his hands raised to God. In the evenings I found him kneeling by our bed praying. At first, I didn’t believe it was for real, but after a couple of days when it continued, I gushed all over him saying I much preferred he do the perfect will of God than anything else. I watched in awe.
But as days passed his fervor seemed to wane. I was ashamed of myself for thinking he might just be putting on a show. I left for Israel on a familiarization trip with our ministry group. Sitting on the hardened mud beach by the Dead Sea, Jamie and I had a lengthy talk about all that had transpired since her eye-opening note. She said she had called another ministry to ask what to do about John and me, and the director of that ministry had asked her why this unnamed wife, me, was still married to the man. Didn’t I know that unless that condition is severely dealt with, it will remain, and those men end up molesting little children?
Jamie had also checked with a certain renowned psychologist who warned Jamie that counseling seldom succeeded in these cases. She had tried helping several clients but could never get them through the decision-making process. They never elevated their commitment level to an overcoming height.
I swung, like a despondent child slumped on a rope swing, emotionally low as if dragging my feet in the dust. The little boy’s eyes haunted me, wondering what was being done to him. In the depths of my heart I believed it to have been my fault the child had been put in that position. I prayed fervently that he had not been affected by John’s attentions.
A clinical psychologist happened to be traveling with our group, and Jamie suggested I speak with her. I agreed, but no opportunity presented itself until we boarded the plane, and I found myself seated by this psychologist on the long flight home. Keeping her awake for the whole trip I divulged everything to her from beginning to end. Several times I had to stop to take deep breaths to keep myself calm, breathing in relief, breathing out remorse.
The clinical psychologist responded to my tale by saying, “Sincerely, thank you for sharing all that with me. I appreciate your honesty, but Marty, I want you to know that 99.9 percent of the people who try to come out of this sin do not succeed. They don’t really want to. They like to stay in relationships with women for the respectability it affords them, but they like their imaginative life and rarely give it up. I want to warn you, these men can look really good without actually having a heart change. From what you’ve told me I surmise that John enjoys his comfort in your relationship and would go to great extremes to keep it from changing. Now, if you want to keep on trying, then John needs to be accountable to someone, and it should be the director of our ministry. Ken will be able to discern if John is sincere in his commitment to change. I also recommend that you get some counseling for your wounds.”
In New York, even though bleary eyed, I approached Ken with this information as we passed through customs, and he said he would be glad to take on the responsibility. He would do anything to help. Arriving back home, I told John what had transpired and he, dispirited, agreed to do it. The next day, a houseguest arrived, so we had only one day to talk—actually, I talked, and John listened. He always says he agrees, but I never really know till I see his actions.
That week John dodged church twice. We attended a ministry lunch where John had several occasions to say something to Ken. Anything would have satisfied me, like, “I’ll be seeing you soon,” or “Thanks for helping me out.” But he just made small talk. By the end of the week, I was so depressed you could have slid me under the door.
Our houseguest, Nancy, the friend I confided in last April, worried by my depression said, “It’s time to turn John over to Satan to destroy his flesh and to save his soul.”
I knew she referred to the passage in Corinthians where the Church in Corinth had done just that. But I said, “I don’t think I’m capable.”
“Then I’ll do it with you,” she said. She read the passage out loud, took my hand and prayed, turning John over to the devil.
But after we prayed that prayer, I had no peace. For weeks I kept tossing and turning in my spirit to know how to pray for John, or whether to pray for John, or what to do. Finally, in frustration, I asked the Lord, “What should I pray about John?”
The Lord said, “Nothing, because I can do nothing for him.”
Surprised, I asked why. He said, “You turned him over to Satan who also is going to do nothing because he already has him where he wants him.”
I asked what I should do, and the Lord led me to Hebrews 10:30, 31, “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord,” and again, “The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Then He took me to Luke 12:5, “But I will show you whom you should fear; Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”
I took John back from Satan, knowing I have the authority to do that with my words alone, and gave him to God. I put John into the hands of the living God, once again expecting change. Then I had peace.
Counseling with Ken started right away. He instructed John to create a journal in which he put his confessions of what he hopes to have happen in his life, backing each one with scripture and reading them three times a day. This is how Ken has structured his life and his ministry, and it works. It sounded so impressive I made an appointment with Ken to see his journal. He showed it to me; he even puts pictures in his journal of what he wants to have happen in his future. He prays, he believes, and it comes to pass. I went home and made mine right away. John worked at making one, too.
After our houseguest left, I went on another ministry trip to Florida, and I asked the Lord who I could get to counsel me. He said to go to the pastor for whom I would be speaking. Shocked, I questioned Him again, “Lord, that young man is less than half my age! He’s younger than my son is! Are you sure you want me to speak to him of such matters?” He was sure.
When I arrived, I asked the young man if he ever counseled other ministers. He responded, “Surprisingly enough, that has been part of my ministry since I was in high school.” He said he would gladly counsel with me, so I made an appointment with him. This young pastor, Samuel, had taken over my congregation when I closed the church, and waiting for him to arrive for our appointment, I went through such contortions! Would I jeopardize my favored position with him? Would he be disgusted and kick me out? I resolved that if the Lord had told me to proceed in this fashion, I should trust and go for it.
I poured my heart out to him; he listened attentively and then made several pointed observations. “First of all, I’m really sorry to hear all this. I never suspected this of John. I like him and will continue to like him, but something must be done. Now don’t be offended by this Marty, but the reason most people don’t tell others about their situation is because of low self-esteem. There is the strong possibility that you may have been trying to protect yourself as much as your children by keeping it all a secret.”
I breathed out a big expulsion of air. Could this be true?
Samuel continued “No one should stay in a miserable situation. That does not honor God. You don’t have to protect your children or your grandchildren. That’s God’s job. Put your trust in Him to take care of their reactions, and He will make them strong, and they will be better people for knowing it. Then you’ve got to put John in God’s hands and not take him back.”
“But I thought I’d done that.” I tried to correct him.
“Perhaps it is something you will need to do over and over until the situation finally stays in His hands.”
I nodded my head in agreement. Samuel proved himself to be my champion, and I relied on his advice; however, he put me in a pickle as he pointed out a condition I didn’t know I had, low self-esteem.
I cannot begin to express my malaise. Had I lived through this hell in order to protect myself? With honesty I admitted that to be a factor of equal importance to protecting my children. The shame of having a homosexual husband sapped my strength and placed in me the certainty of being totally unwanted, worth nothing more than to be a shield for a man’s low life. I had protected myself from anyone else knowing just how worthless I was. My father had always called me “worthless,” and now my worst fears were realized. I saw that I thought myself to be worthless. The question now was how to get out of the pit.
I easily leaped across the yawning schism between this soulish realm, containing my earthly fears and demeaning decisions I had made about myself, and the divine realm of my Father, God. I knew He loved me with un unconditional love and held me in high esteem because of the promise and potential He had put in me. It was my thoughts about myself that prevented God’s hopes from being realized, but that didn’t stop His love from flowing.
He is so faithful! His love is an active force that purses me. A few days after that counseling session, staying with friends, the Lord woke me early. In fact, I, who rise with the speed of a slug, was standing at attention like a saluting soldier by the side of the bed before I realized I was awake. With the booming voice of a drill sergeant the Lord said, “I am your shield and your exceeding great reward!” Wow! If God was shielding me and rewarding me, there was no reason for fear in exposing my position in life. His proclamation left me breathless.
I took the occasion to ask God, “Why couldn’t John have loved me enough to change?”
The Lord answered, “Until John changes he cannot love you enough.”
“Then how can he change?”
“He can’t change without Me.”
“Will You please help him? I begged.
“I have been patient with John. I have given Him every opportunity to change. My Son, Jesus, already paid for the sin. I’ve been waiting for John to come to Me. My arms are open wide.”
“Why hasn’t he come? I don’t understand. John has had every opportunity I can think of. Why hasn’t he come to You?”
A great sadness came over me as if I had stepped into the heart of God’s emotions. “I have been up with John’s sin for a long, long time. But John continues to be stiff-necked, and hard-hearted toward Me. He refuses to do things My way. But I will put an end to it.” Knowing that God puts an end to things by spreading love and mercy, hope glimmered in me that divorce might be averted after all.
Before leaving Dundee, I attended a tent revival being given by the young pastor who had counseled me. A stirring preacher, Samuel challenged us to ask God the same two questions Paul asked on the road to Damascus. “Who are You, Lord?” and “What do You want me to do?” I asked the second question because I already knew the answer to the first. Jesus is the Son of God, and He is my Lord and Savior. But then I answered the second question for the Lord. I told Him what I wanted to do. I want to have the money to go to France and build the Center He showed me in the vision. I want to get on with my call.
On the way home from the tent I decided to drive down Main Street. I passed a dinner theater whose marquee read, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” It lulled me into a reverie. The last time I had seen that title advertised had been 22 years earlier. Barely 23 years of age, I left my apartment where I lived with three roommates, in a state of morbid depression for no apparent reason I could remember. I chose to walk down Chestnut Street and passed the Movie Theater where the marquee read, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
My foot seemed to automatically turn from the sidewalk stretching before me into the compelling theatre because I love movies, so I paid for my ticket and went inside. Whatever occurred in that movie recharged me and afterward I bounded out on the sidewalk determined to overcome. With the spontaneity of youth, I said to myself, “I know what I’ll do! I’ll marry John Delmon.”
At the time, my aunt, being married to his overbearing brother, connected John’s family and mine. He had accepted his assignment to show me San Francisco when I first arrived from the Mid-West, and I found him to be tall, handsome, and thought he would make a very acceptable “catch.” Being the single ones left in each family and near in age, everyone expected us to be together at the family gatherings. In fact, John’s brother, Bob, spoke loudly, feigning to speak behind our backs, whenever he could force the situation, about our suitability as budding marriage partners. It became downright embarrassing!
That night, exiting “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” I made my decision and set out to get John Delmon. Five months after my decision, we were married. When I am driving by myself, I talk to Jesus as if He were sitting in the passenger seat. In the comforting dusk Jesus kind of nodded and mildly said, “You set yourself to do something once and accomplished it. Set your mind to do something now.”
I thought to myself, “What does He have in mind?”
Jesus smiled, answering my thought, “Didn’t you just tell me what you wanted to do?”
“Isn’t that what I have been telling you to do from the beginning?”
I smiled at Him, knowing our hearts were beating as one and said, “Let’s do it!” I drove home knowing that I was going to be Dancing with Jesus around the world. I’ll take the Gospel and proclaim it to whoever will listen, whether using the media, or one on one; I’ll walk through whatever doors Hs opens. I’ll build the center in France.
I’m going on with God. John cannot go with me unless he is completely free from homosexuality. I turned John over to God in the chapel of the car that night, for the thousandth time, and myself as well. My mind is set. I will accomplish His will.