Being able to attend the meetings given by the South African Evangelist in Orlando required a two-hour drive. It was worth it. One Friday night I went by myself, feeling the need to touch God and have Him touch me. After the brother preached, he called for the ministers to be the first to come forward for prayer. We lined up, and he went down the line laying hands on each one. A spirit of laughter came over us; we laughed uproariously, some of us sitting on the floor because we could no longer stand we were laughing so hard. Periodically, when the laughter subsided, the brother would wave his hand at us and say, “Have another dose!” and we would fall to hard laughing once more.
At the end of the evening, on his way out of the church, the evangelist passed me sitting on the floor. He put his hand on my head and said, “Have a double dose.” I did not fall back laughing. From my old drinking days, before I was born-again, I recognized this dose as being one drink too many. There was always a limit where, if I drank one more drink, I would be sick. It felt like that. I had taken one spiritual drink too many. I pulled myself off the floor, staggered to my car, and drove home in a stupor.
John was asleep when I arrived, and I went into the back bedroom, threw myself on the bed, and sobbed until four o’clock in the morning. I had no idea what I was crying about, but I was sobbing hard sobs. It felt like I was spiritually vomiting, getting rid of something that was very bad for me. When the crying ended, I heard the Lord say three things, “John is still afflicted with his sin. He does not want to serve Me because he is afraid I will make him testify. You will not get what you want, so go on without him.
The next morning, I confronted John with these. “Is it all true?”
Sitting on a bar stool at our kitchen counter, John hung his head. “Yes, I am still afflicted.” He sighed heavily, almost as if he were disgorging something bad for him. “Every day when I go to the beach, I watch the men I see there, and I fantasize about them.”
What he confessed surprised me by my own lack of observation. While I spent every day in the Word, writing, ministering, preparing sermons, and so on, he spent his days on the beach. I asked, “And I suppose you don’t want anybody to know.”
“Absolutely no. Never!” he emphasized. “We don’t know anybody who tolerates homosexuality. If I have to tell people who I am, then I won’t serve God.”
I wanted to ask him if he thought he was serving God with his pretense, but I didn’t because I was sure he would say yes. I did ask, “Then being my partner in ministry has no interest for you?”
He shook his head sadly as if to say, “Marty, when are you going to wise up?” But he did say, “You might as well do what the Lord said, and go on without me.”
In a voice that insulted my own integrity because of the whine it contained, I asked, “Do you have any interest in being my lover?”
He grimaced and shuddered, “No.” He looked at my devastated face, “But I am your friend.”
Since John always followed along, attending meetings, even board meetings for the ministers’ association, I had lived in hope that he would turn around, get delivered, become a real husband, love me. Now the hope was gone. For the first time, with his own words, John told me so. Without hope, my marriage, or my puffed-up imagination of my marriage, died.
It's amazing how circumstances align themselves with a truth God wants me to learn. Jo and her husband decided to attend Rhema. I have always believed Jo had a call in the ministry, and I hoped the Lord would take them to France to be with me. She asked us to move to Texas to help them with the kids while they attended school, and to my horror, John said yes. But with the church closed, and being able to write anywhere, I agreed to move. Besides, it gave me a chance to be with my granddaughters. We purchased two duplexes side by side and moved in one side of one, and they moved into one side of the other, our kitchen windows facing each other.
Right after moving in, I attended a Christian rally in Alabama with a girlfriend and her mother. We had some time before the first meeting, so we prayed together in the motel room. My friend said, “I know things about you by the Holy Spirit.” But it was time to leave for the meeting, and I did not press her to tell me what she knew.
The next morning at breakfast, I accosted her. We were alone as her mother had stayed in the room getting ready for the day’s meetings. I asked her what she knew. She made me promise it would not destroy our friendship. I promised.
She said, “John does not love you like a man loves a woman.” I stared in astonishment. My friend had been single all her life; I felt certain she knew this only through the Holy Spirit. “Furthermore, there are three spirits involved in John’s life. One is the spirit of homosexuality, another is the spirit of self-love, and the third is the hatred of women. These three spirits, Marty, have been dominating and controlling your life.”
She went on to tell me how hard these three are to get rid of, as they are the strongest in the spiritual realm. Not only were they strong, but the individuals in that kind of spiritual bondage do not want to come out of homosexuality because they enjoy being in love with themselves, and they cannot see that they are hurting anybody. In their fantasies, they can have sex and be self-contained. Satan comes on them and has sex with them. Every time they masturbate, she went on to say, they are making love to a demon. I asked her what she thought I should do, and she said she had no idea.
Again, at that Christian rally, the Lord told me He was going to take John away. This time I didn’t cry. I also encountered a friend of mine from Rhema attending the rally. I hadn’t seen her since graduation but had heard she had gotten engaged. When I approached to congratulate her, she took me aside in tears.
She pulled a hanky from her purse, “I was engaged, but I broke it off.”
“Oh, no,” I put my hand on her arm with concern. “What happened?”
She could barely speak. “His ex-lover called me.” She looked at me with large tears overflowing her eyelashes, “A man!” My friend broke down completely, and we huddled in the corner of the auditorium hiding her distress.
“Your fiancé was gay?” I amazed myself by not being surprised. My friend nodded while snuffling into her tissue. “Did you have any idea?” I asked.
“No!” she insisted. “I was completely side-winded.”
“I presume you confronted him,” I suggested.
“Of course! He said he was over that; it had just been a phase in his life.” My stomach turned to hear her say that. “So, I suggested we needed counseling if we were going to proceed with our marriage, and he said no, he didn’t need that.” My friend was whining by now.
“So, what happened?” I prodded.
“I finally got him to go to counseling. With the therapist’s encouragement, I tried very hard to make it work. But he didn’t try at all. He scoffed at all the things the therapist wanted him to do, like write me a love letter every day.” She wiped her eyes and sniffed up her nose. “You’d think someone in love wouldn’t mind writing a love letter.”
I waited for her to continue. “The therapist helped me see my future husband had no respect for women and was still possessed by homosexuality. He had no enthusiasm to grapple with the situation and overcome it, and I finally came to terms with the fact I was fighting a losing battle. So, I sent the ring back.” With that my friend broke down again.
I saw in her story the same fight I had undertaken with the same dismal ending. Failure. For me, John was no longer the equivalent of a Mongoloid child. He became something to contend with, and I saw the hazard to my life. That hazard loomed over me, daring me to defeat it.
I remembered many occasions of waking up in the middle of the night because of a vivid sensation of someone beating me as if wearing big boxing gloves. Nothing visible attended me. Or having terrible thoughts, as I lay there beside John, of my insignificance and worthlessness, whereas in a working day I liked myself just fine.
Sometimes I woke up gasping for breath with the sensation of something suffocating me, like hands closing around my neck. Each time I would rebuke the occurrence in the name of Jesus, and it would subside. And so, I pondered what I learned and wondered how the Lord could ever let me succeed in church work if these spirits were by my side working as well.
I dreaded going home after that rally, but God’s mercy prevailed. I didn’t have to stay long. In April, I traveled in France. Since we left, I have taken two short-term mission trips a year to France in order to find my heart. It’s there. I spent most of my time with my friends Charles and Barbara, Pastors in Bordeaux, and told them about John. They were very sympathetic and said they would pray for and love us both.
As we prayed together, Charles saw into the Spirit-realm and said, ‘There are three spirits operating in John’s life, but homosexuality is the smallest of the three. The bigger ones hide behind homosexuality so no one will see the real power operating there. The big one is Self-Love. Look in Romans and Second Timothy, and you’ll find your answer.” Charles didn’t see the third spirit.
I looked in my Bible right away. It talks of unrighteous, unloving men seeking themselves, being lovers of themselves, and God allowing them to chase after their abominable quest. To be a lover of yourself means that God is not your ideal, not the one you love the most, but you have become your own god. The one who loves himself more than anything or anyone judges all things by himself. God, being God, is seen by a normal person to be better than he is but the self-lover sees God as being less than himself.
All this input inundated me; I went out of control. Flopping about, I couldn’t figure out my life. It was not a clear matter to me of do I leave him, or do I stay. It was determining what it all meant. Was I married to this man for a purpose? What did God want of me, and why choose me for this duty? I drove myself crazy trying to answer questions that had no divine answer. Daily, I rode an emotional roller coaster.
My dear friend, Nancy, joined me in France. We traveled together often, ministering together and usually had a high time, but this time she found me on the verge of a breakdown. I told her. My self-imposed prison was beginning to crumble. She prayed for me, and my turmoil lifted enough so that I could finish my ministry in France, but I did not want to go home.
However, returning to the States, the Lord immediately put me on the road. Invitations from churches came inviting me to minister. One of the invitations came from a pastor in northern Illinois. After the service, some of the members of the church took me aside and confided they thought their pastor was a homosexual. Armed with a new boldness, I confronted him about his homosexuality, saying I recognized it because of my own husband. It was my first public acknowledgement about John. The pastor confessed.
“Trust me,” he said, “I have never had a homosexual encounter, but I know what I am. I know what I want. I want another man’s body, and I know that’s wrong. I want out of this condition. If you can help me, then please help me.”
“Is it your thought life that burdens you?” I asked solicitously.
“Well, of course! My thought life leads me to homosexual pornography.” He unlocked a drawer and pulled out the mentioned magazines. “I get on the Internet and pore over the homosexual web sites. I don’t want to do it, but I can’t stop myself.”
“And you really have no physical ramifications of these desires?” I asked incredulously.
“No, I didn’t say that. I said I haven’t had any homosexual encounters. But I compulsively masturbate, sometimes two and three times a day.” He hung his head in shame.
Muffling my repulsion, I responded, “I’m honored you are confiding in me. Have you tried any avenues of deliverance?”
He nodded his head vigorously. “I’ve investigated every one. But I haven’t been delivered. I’ve interviewed all the famous ones who claim they’ve been delivered, and in private they all confessed they were not free. But their national ministries demand that they keep up the pretense.”
I wondered if this pastor wasn’t reading his own interpretation into their private confessions to maintain his own dilemma. “Have you gone to the headquarters of your ministry for help?”
He sighed deeply. “Yes, I went to the President himself. He said he would try to find a way out, but until then, just keep it quiet.”
As I listened, I realized I had no answers for this man, and I determined I would take the problem to Ken and Jamie, the heads of my ministry. I said, “Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me your story. I know there is deliverance because God is faithful. When I find something helpful, I’ll let you know.”
Finding a solution had become paramount. There had to be an answer, there had to be an escape for these men. This horrific condition in life could not continue. Many months passed because of traveling to minister before I had occasion to talk to Jamie. I dumped it all on her. I said there has to be a solution. We’ve found Scriptures to stand on for healing. Scriptures to stand on for prosperity. Scriptures to stand on for our children. There have to be Scriptures to stand on for deliverance from homosexuality.
“Jamie,” I interjected, “there are men who are not practicing homosexuals, but living it internally. They say they want out. Who can help them?”
Jamie shook her head in sorrow. “You would not believe how big a problem this is. It’s far more widespread than I ever imagined. But we have to remember that the Bible says, in the last days men will be lovers of themselves. And these are the last days. Just recently, a minister with a lovely wife and fine children told Ken he would give anything to feel the way he did when he was young and having homosexual interactions.”
We sat in silence for a moment, both of us mourning over the situation. Then she said, “Marty, it’s almost like you’ve been sleeping with demons.”
Gulping, I agreed. “You’re right. I need help. These demons are the toughest kind to get rid of, and I can’t do it alone. You and Ken are like my spiritual parents! Please help me find the answers.”
She said she would and walked me to the door, solemnly like filing past a coffin. A few days later, she wrote me a note saying she had been sitting on a plane contemplating the enormity of these homosexual spirits when the Holy Spirit opened her eyes. What I read felt like a glass of ice water being thrown in my face. She said those three spirits living with John were no more difficult to get rid of than any other spirit, and those three had deceived me into thinking they were hard spirits and that it was up to me to take care of the situation.
She was absolutely right! All demonic spirits are under my feet! One is not harder for me to contend with than another because the blood of Jesus has already defeated them! If I don’t allow it, they can’t touch me. Victory belongs to me!
One thing puzzled me, though. I knew I could get them to leave me alone, but could I get them out of John’s life? Was his will too hard to change? He willed them into his being in the first place, and now could only he will them out of his being? Did he have to want it to happen bad enough to stand against them, or could I do it for him? If he did it, he would have to take his will to Jesus, ask for divine help, and together they would overcome the enemy. How to get John to that point remained a mystery. As for me, standing before such an enormous task terrified me. I had a hard-enough time changing myself, much less changing someone else!
Her letter continued saying I must set limits on John. Eli did not restrict his sons, and all of them died. So, I must set limits and let God be the judge. I hurried to my Bible, and sure enough, Eli did not restrain his sons from their sins, in fact, he enjoyed the bounty they brought home. They robbed the people of their offerings to God and brought them home to eat. Eli lapped up the food; the Bible said he was very fat. They raped the women, too, but it doesn’t say he participated in that. Even though his participation amounted to little, Eli and his two sons died on the same day.
What bounty did I enjoy, I wondered. Well, I enjoyed the bounty of John’s money, which we were rapidly running out of. I enjoyed the bounty of having a husband, as this is a couple’s world. I enjoyed the bounty of the things he took care of, like the car, the finances, the cooking. I was just as bad as Eli was.
I sat John down and put some restrictions on his life by telling him he had to get rid of the demons in the house. I couldn’t live with them any longer; there wasn’t enough room for them and me. As for our daughter, the restriction I put on him meant he had to change his attitude and his behavior toward her. Perhaps my restrictions were insufficient, but having no experience, I didn’t know how to set boundaries. I didn’t know how to establish consequences, and so my restrictions went limp.
Shortly after my talk with Jamie, John traveled with me to a meeting in Florida because he wanted to see some friends there. On the road he realized he did not have a certain paper with him, so he called Jo to go to our house and look for it. As she looked from place to place in his desk, in our filing cabinet, he spoke to her as if she were the stupidest person on the earth, growling at her, calling her names, and I began pacing the floor in distress. He lost the paper, not her. She was doing him a favor. Yet this was the way he treated our daughter all the time.
When he got off the phone, my distress erupted like a volcano. I shouted at him about the way he had treated her and told him he could never treat her like that again, and if he did, I would get up in the middle of the night, take our cast-iron skillet, and bean him with it until his skull cracked. He didn’t laugh and neither did I. We both knew I was deadly serious. I knew I was twenty-five years late in making that restriction and giving that consequence, and oh how it grieved me! My daughter is too, too wonderful to be treated that way!
Writing has been in my blood, so to speak, but when I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and He told me to write, all my trepidations rolled away and I began in earnest! After all, if God Almighty says it was His idea that I be a writer, who am I to stand in His way? My hope is that you not only like what I write, but that your life is moved by it, and that your party to Jesus and with Jesus turns your life into days of Heaven on Earth.