I have been impressed to write the story of how I initially heard God’s call to come to Thailand as a missionary nurse, and according to His guidance, devote my life to helping the Karen people in the jungle. I am being brutally honest in this story, with the prayer that it may strengthen and encourage you in the Lord, as you struggle to cope when the agony of a dreadful crisis comes upon you.
It was December 25, 2008 on Christmas day that my husband of 21 years told me he was leaving me. Then the truth came out which had been well hidden – he had been unfaithful to me for the past 2 years! I was horrifyingly, overwhelmingly, stunned, and shocked, as I had no idea. True, things had not been going really well, but I always thought that he would get over it if I worked harder to please him, taking good care of the home, the boys, the garden, the cooking etc. It amazes me that in only 5 seconds of time, and one short sentence, your entire life can be instantly destroyed. We lived on a beautiful 40 acre farm in Montana, and I remember running out to the huge round bales of hay far behind our house to cry out loud with the sudden grief and shattering truth of the moment. It felt as if my entire life had disintegrated and lay in a heap of a million pieces in the dirt.
My boys were ages 13 and 15, they needed a father, but the worst thought is that this man had chosen the broad path that leads to destruction! Somewhere along life’s pathway that we had chosen, with Family Retreats, Church leadership roles, family worships, and country living, where did he go astray? As a nurse I knew that the second phase of grief is anger. I prayed right then that the Lord would keep me from anger. I always only had love for my husband, he had so many wonderful talents, skills, and character traits. We have had such great history together. Praise the Lord, I never experienced anger or resentment, only deep pity and a longing for his soul.
In our grief and crisis hour we humans reach out for human support. A retired minister picked us up to try to help salvage our marriage which I desperately wanted, however, I had only just now found out about his decision to leave, when he had unfaithfully contemplated it for 2 years! This pastor used many wonderful Bible verses which I clung onto. He emphasized that I must forgive, forgive, forgive. I had no problem with forgiveness, I just wanted to help my husband to turn from his wicked ways using God’s strength. Over the next 4 months I knew it was not working. God made it stunningly obvious to me because at times when he was gone on business overnight, I would fearfully and tearfully call him on the phone. Mysteriously his phone would not ring, but just open up as if he had answered it, and I could hear what was going on with him and another in a motel room, -things that I didn’t want to hear. That happened a total of three times. I knew the truth, it was not working, and I was dying a little more each day. No it’s not working!
STRUCK BY HEAVEN’S LIGHT
I was walking amongst the hay bales one day 4 months later far behind our house. My husband was walking into the house ahead of me when suddenly I heard God’s voice in my right ear, louder and clearer than I have ever heard it before! This is what He shouted to me:
“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hosea 4:17
I stood transfixed. I knew that was God’s voice. Here, for the past 4 months I had been doing what the pastor told me and forgiving, praying, and longing for a reunited family, but in this instant it was made clear to me that was not God’s will. He was telling me to leave this man alone! But my mind raced. Where would I go? What should I do? How is this going to happen? Here is where faith is seen, when all is dark and you cannot see your way, trust God, He knows. He had told me already with a LOUD voice to stop, He won’t just walk away and leave me now – I’ll take the first step backward…
CS Lewis once said that God whispers to our conscience, speaks to our joys, and shouts to our pain. In my lifetime I have found that to be true, and now in my pain I needed the shout of God. How thankful I am for it!
That night at the kitchen table I sat up all night crying, reading, and praying. I had been dazzled by the light from heaven. The work that I had been engaged in to keep our marriage at all cost, was wrong. I must make a 180 degree turn around! I cried and prayed to God all night that night. Where do I go from here? During the wee hours of the morning my pen wrote a poem. It was not me writing but God’s hand that held the pen. In the past I never had been able to write a poem, the meters, the rhythm and rhyme were always wrong. I would cross out and write, cross out and write. But that night the poem flowed out of my pen easily without mistake:
OH DEAR JESUS TAKE CONTROL
Oh dear Jesus take control
Of struggles, fears and doubts.
When life’s fierce storms oppress my soul,
And I am tossed about.
Oh dear Jesus take control,
My life is but a thread
The skies are dark and billows roll,
And I am filled with dread.
Oh dear Jesus take control,
I see You through my tears.
Your look of love! You’re all-in-all,
Oh please forgive my fears.
Oh dear Jesus take control,
This long night has an end.
You’re always here, You’re in control,
On You I will depend!
Oh dear Jesus — my control,
The darkness You erase.
You guide my feet toward the goal!
You whisper: “By My grace!”
Oh dear Jesus — my control,
Through fiery trials You trace,
Your work for good, Your future plan,
To see me face to face!
Oh Lord I love you!
From that moment on, Jesus did take control of my life! He had held the pen. He had written the words! JESUS TAKE CONTROL has become the theme of my life! I use it for my email address: Jesustakecontrol@gmail.com
From that moment on, God did take control of my life. It was only 3 days later I received a call from my friend. She said:
“Gayle, we need you to go to Thailand to relieve some missionaries on the border of Thailand and Burma for 3 months while they go on furlough to America. You’d be perfect because you and your boys all have passports, and you are a nurse!”
In my mind were these thoughts: No, I am not at all perfect for that because I am a broken woman, this is the worst time of my life, I am a destitute woman, I am half dead, skinny as a rail and in a huge state of confusion. I knew this was the last thing that God wanted me to do! But out loud all I said to her was that I will pray about it.
Pray I did! The road around our house is a country block. One mile on each side. I am in the habit of running those 4 miles. So I ran 2 miles and prayed. The last 2 miles I listened, but I didn’t hear anything. However, when I opened the door to the house I heard God’s voice saying, “Ask God for the money if He wants you to go!” Oh, I thought, that’s a good idea because I don’t have any money. I did pray that if it was God’s will, he would send me the money. The next day as I was driving my car, my phone rang. It was my friend again saying excitedly: “You’ll never guess what? We have the money for you and your boys to go to Thailand round trip, and for your visas, and a box of medical supplies!” My mouth flew open, I stopped my car right there and exclaimed: “That WAS You Lord!”
In less than a month my boys and I were on an airplane heading to Thailand. I never came back to live in America. I fell in love with the Karen people and devoted my life to helping them. I lost all of my earthly possessions forever! I have nothing in America. I never looked back, but rejoiced in gaining so much more – an intimate relationship and companionship with Jesus and heaven!! In my darkest hour, He filled my hands with work to do for Him. You can read most of my missionary accounts here in these web pages of God’s miraculous leading, the tender lessons He has taught me, and the great rewards of leaving everything in faith and going into a strange country which is not my own, not knowing the future! Step by step He has faithfully upheld, protected, supplied my needs, and directed me. We can safely trust all to Him. I am not working for God, but He has taken me over in His enterprises. May each step simply be a carrying out of His master plan, in His will and in His way of reaching the lost! Oh glory to His name! Those who at last walk with Jesus in the heavenly places have been called, and chosen and faithful! Revelation 14:13. Let’s be faithful, by His grace alone, for He has called and chosen us!
“The consecration of Christ’s followers must be complete. Father, mother, wife, children, houses, lands, everything must be held secondary to the work and cause of God.” ST June 30, 1881
Lessons learned from this experience:
1. Counselors can give good advice, but only God knows what is best for your life, the use of your talents, and your influence on others.
2. You cannot go by your feelings. So many times I think something IS definitely God’s will and I find out it IS NOT, or I’m sure something IS NOT God’s will, but then I am shown it IS His will.
3. When you give God everything and He takes everything, you never look back, you do not miss it. You are not poor, but rich in the companionship of heaven and joy of service.
4. God came to heal the broken hearted and to bind up their wounds! And He doesn’t do a half-way job! When He begins a good work in you, He will finish it. He promises to perform it!
5. Put God first: God will help us to place our love and devotion to Him, far above everything that we hold dear on this earth. Even so far above our own family and loved ones, that in comparison the word, “Hate” is used to show the vast difference! See Luke 14:26
6. We must have our ears open to hear God’s voice. How sad when He is trying to speak to us, but we are hard of hearing and miss His words.