STRUCK DOWN BUT NOT DEFEATED!
By: Linda Martin West
"Look at the fallen pastors wife!" My reflection shouted at me from the mirror. I stared back, in horror, at the broken, defeated image. Surely this wasnt me...this couldnt possibly be me. Memories of the previous months whirled and danced in my mind, flinging their arrows of accusation and hopelessness like poisonous darts, into my heart.
In a split second the inquest was over and the verdict was in . . . "GUILTY WITHOUT HOPE!" I turned from the mirror and threw myself across the bed. I wept uncontrollably while the tide of guilt and despair spread quickly through my entire being. Condemnation announced the penalty...DEATH! Death was the only way out. "God," I pleaded "please be merciful and let me die." The silence was deafening. If God wouldnt let me die . . . Id have to figure some way myself!
I lived in anguish for the next months, desperately wishing for death. However, death wouldnt come. Life went on and on in unending moments of torment and despair. Throughout the following days, as I watched my life unravel, my mind demanded to know the answer to the same question: "How did I get to this point of despair and hopelessness?"
I was raised in a Bible preaching church and have served God since childhood. I began preaching at age 15. By the time I was 16, I was traveling and preaching in various churches. Upon graduation from high school I attended Bible College where I met and married my husband, James. As newly weds we entered the full time pastoral ministry. The years ahead were filled with a mixture of happiness, disappointment, stress and the toll of exhaustion which ministry takes upon ministers.
The path of ministry we chose to pursue led us through seventeen years of home missions ministry, during which we planted three churches and pastored another home missions work. Four healthy children (three boys and one girl) were born into our home.
Although our ministry was successful and rewarding in many ways, our personal lives began to crumble. Unfortunately, while tending to the vast needs of others, our own relationship was neglected and deteriorating. Anger and resentment began to brew while walls of isolation were erected. As the marital problems surfaced, James and I coped with them in individual ways. James poured himself deeper into the ministry, while I withdrew and sank into depression. After twenty years of marriage and ministry my heart became callused and I made terrible choices resulting in sin. Hurting and devoid of hope, I filed for divorce. My world had come crashing down around me. I felt like Humpty Dumpty. I had indeed tumbled off the wall and my life was shattered.
Hopelessness and despair became my constant companions. The enemy of my soul taunted me. "God wont forgive you" Satan shouted, "your sin is too horrible." In sin and disobedience, I tried to run from God but his unending mercy followed me. In fear and torment, I tried to hide from Him but His unconditional love found me.
I could not forgive myself so how could I expect God or anyone else to forgive me. For weeks I struggled with the idea that if only I could find a way to clean up the mess I had made of my life, I could go back to my Heavenly Father. Awe! Perhaps then He would welcome me. However, I was totally unable to change my own condition. Try as I might, I couldnt put my life back together again. Suddenly, the story of the Prodigal son came vividly to mind. The Prodigal didnt have to take a shower and clean up before he went home. He got up out of the pigpen and went back to his fathers house just the way he was . . . dirt, filth, stench and all.
The words to that old hymn rolled over and over in my memory: "Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, Oh Lamb of God, I come! I come!" The sweet Spirit of God whispered to my heart: "Linda, get up and come just as you are." By faith I placed all the broken pieces of my life back into Gods hands. Slowly and gently He began the healing process as He put the pieces of my life back together again.
My husband and I are remarried (to each other) and we went back in full time ministry. Our marriage was better than it was before. We learned to communicate, as well as the importance of keeping our priorities straight.
My husband has since died, and I am now remarried to another wonderful man of God. (You can learn more about it on our ministry website: http://www.humptydumptyministry.net/ )
Our world, the Church included, is full of hurting broken people who live in hopelessness and despair. I know, I have been there. It is true all the kings horses and all the kings men could never put Humpty Dumpty together again. However, the King of Kings will reach down and put the broken pieces of your life together again.
If you have fallen and are broken, you are not hopeless. You dont have to clean up the mess before you can come home. You can come JUST AS YOU ARE!! Your Heavenly Father stands ready to forgive and heal. There is hope for the broken . . . and His name is Jesus!!! If you would like to be reconciled to God today, please click here to learn how you can do that.
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JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
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Ministering hope and healing to the oppressed and the broken.
not against me, Oh my enemy; when I fall...
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR: Linda's anointed ministry offers hope and healing, to the oppressed and the broken. Her speaking flows from a rich background of ministry, Bible study, and personal experiences of healing from brokenness. She has been a speaker in Colorado, Southern New England, Arizona and Nevada for over twenty-five years.
As a victim of incest and product of an extremely dysfunctional home, she identifies with and ministers to those whose lives are in bondage to wounds from their past.
She also ministers hope and healing, from God’s word, to those whose lives have been shattered as a result of their own failures. Many in our society, the Church included, are broken and need to know there is hope, healing and forgiveness in the blood of Jesus. Society discards and rejects broken vessels, but Linda knows from personal experience, Gods grace can restore them. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, there is hope for them. The King of Kings will pick up the broken pieces, heal them by His blood, and lovingly put them together again.
Just as the prodigal son got up from the pig pen and went home to his father, our Heavenly Fathers invites those who have failed Him to come home... just as they are.
Linda is a wife, mother of four, and speaker. She has spoken at Womens Aglow meetings, Joy Fellowships and churches of various denominations. Her ministry embraces people from all walks of life. Although she has a special burden for women, she ministers effectively to the entire congregation.
You can learn more about Linda's ministry at her website: http://www.humptydumptyministry.net/
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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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