Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” —Matthew 19:6
Our ministry verse has been “With my mouth (also with my pen and my computer) I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations.” (Psalm 89:1) My husband and I are not alone in this, and proclaiming God’s faithfulness in the midst of marital turmoil, illness, deployments and war, fear of failure, doubt and confusion, and rebellion of children—to name but a few challenges—is a privilege. Our dear friends in the Lord and in ministry, Steve and Carleene, also have that calling on their hearts and lives.
So it was no surprise that Steve and Carleene would make themselves available to tell their story at a PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) conference recently. With their permission, here it is:
“From Carleene—‘Another Saturday night alone at Fort Bragg, NC, exhausted from another day alone with toddlers, alone without a husband to talk to, the kids without their daddy . . .I had been ruminating for months about giving up. I could not stand the stony silences on the one hand, and the sharp retorts, the anger, the constant fighting when he was home. Is this what marriage was supposed to be?’
‘As I sat on the couch, the tears started to flow . . . the thoughts of failure cropped up once again . . . I have failed at this thing called marriage . . . both sets of parents said we were too young to get married, and when I walk away from this marriage I will prove them right . . . could I face this failure? Did I really want to be a single parent all the time?
‘I sighed and more tears came . . .this time, I had this thought and memory from my wedding day: ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’ God, well, where was God in all of this? Did He really care about me? He always seemed so far away running the Universe and all that. I looked up from the couch and noticed a Bible in the bookcase. It was a small, black non-descript book that I really never noticed before. It seemed to have a light shining on it. Oh well, what the heck. I took it off the shelf and opened it; it practically fell open to these words from Psalm 40:
‘I waited patiently for the LORD;
(well, that got my attention)
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
(I’m crying right now)
He lifted me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
(my marriage is in the pit, and my name is Myer!)
He set my feet upon a rock
(wow, what is Jesus doing in the Old Testament – the rock)
And gave me a firm place to stand.
(are you saying You, LORD, want control of this mess I’m in?)
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.’
‘Yes, My daughter, give me control of your life and I will keep My promises that nothing, ‘no man,’ will put asunder what I have put together and blessed!’
‘From Steve—God was dealing with me, Steve, in a similar way at the same time, 3,000 miles away at the National Training Center. He revealed Himself to me in the desert and simply, but powerfully reminded me that His name is ‘I AM’, and He was near, very near and not some faraway God. He revealed His love for us and centered our lives together on His Song. From that day we knew that we were secure in God and in our marriage. Our journey together headed in a new direction and ever since we have had a passion for military marriages.’
‘From both Steve and Carleene—That was over 30 years ago, and God has kept His promises to us although life has not been easy (4 kids, 18 moves around the world—you know the scenario!) There is still plenty in this world to ‘put us asunder’ . . . but from Psalm 5: But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. For surely, O LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with favor as with a shield.”
Are you wondering about “the rest of the story!?” I asked Carleene what “next steps” she and Steve made after they committed their lives and their marriage to the Lord. Carleene answered, “Steve went to speak to his Bn Chaplain and we started going to the BDE chapel. Because it was a small group, the service was a combined Sunday school and we learned the basics—like ‘Who sits on the throne of your life?’ And the chaplain’s wife had a ladies’ Bible study that I attended. Slowly we learned forgiveness, because of the amazing forgiveness Christ has for us! We started to teach our children about Christ’s unconditional love as we began to know His love.”
Our God is so gentle, and so merciful. He takes us where we are, and He leads ever-so-gently, step-by-step. Because of the way that God uses them in ministry, hearts are touched and lives are changed in marriages around the world. They lead small-group Bible studies, seminars, offer retreat time for the war-weary at their lakeside home, and never cease to build “the basics” and hope into military marriages so that others can finish strong.
The Myers also believe in the power of prayer, and faithfully pray for many on the field of battle in Iraq and Afghanistan (including their son during his deployments) and for those on the home front. When I think back to that lonely night at Ft. Bragg, 30 years ago, when Carleene noticed the Bible on the book shelf that seemed to have a light shining on it—I believe that someone had been praying for her. And at the same time Steve was touched by the presence of God, reminding Steve of His love and plan for his life. Someone was praying for them—Praying perhaps that they would have eyes to see what God could do in their life together, and ears to hear what He would say to them about the redemption of their marriage through Jesus Christ.
Is God there in the room with a lonely, frustrated wife at Ft. Bragg? Yes.
Is God there in training with a lonely, frustrated husband 3000 miles from home and 30 years ago? Yes.
Is God with you where you are? Yes, because He is faithful and His Word is true!
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:1
Questions to Share:
1. In what ways does Steve and Carleene’s story ring true in your life?
2. What would have been their legacy had Steve and Carleene given up on their marriage?
3. Read Psalm 40 and pray for God to speak to you. Pray for others you know who are struggling in their marriages because they do not know the Lord.