Charlyne Cares is a daily reminder that God cares and that we care about your marriage. Each morning Charlyne sends a devotional and Bob does a Prodigal Perspective on Tuesdays. These come from someone who has experienced the tragedy of divorce and the triumph of a family restored by God speaking to Charlyne's heart not to give up on their marriage after she divorced Bob.
In this one-of-a-kind book, returned prodigal Bob Steinkamp answers the questions about what he was thinking and doing while he and his wife were divorced, and then as God was restoring their marriage. You will search far for a book that is this open about the prodigal experience.
Was it when I was driving away from our home, with my possessions crammed in the old blue Dodge, en route to a motel 20 miles away? My sobbing wife could not see it, nor can you, but the pull homeward for a prodigal spouse becomes stronger with each trip we make to our vehicle, removing our possessions from the home where they should be. Nevertheless, like a determined swimmer, working against the tide, we push on.
Was it when I witnessed an accident on that same trip to the motel? Traffic was light on Stirling Road, and no one else had stopped, so I pulled over to render aid. Was it when the victim asked for someone to call his wife, and I realized that I would have no wife to call? Was it when the investigating officer asked for my address, and I had to dig out the motel's card? Was it a week later when I received a thank you card from the wife of that recovering victim?
Did I first think about going home after I had moved into room 104 at Cavey’s Motel when I moved the bed so that light at night would come through the window, just like it did in our bedroom at home?
Was my first thought about going home later that same day when I called the female co-worker with whom I had become too close, and discovered she had other plans that night? Was it when I ate alone? Was it when I tossed and turned, attempting to fall asleep, alone in a strange place?
Did I first think about going home when I became involved in sin? Fun for a moment, but then I had to endure hearing the Holy Spirit call my name.
“And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” Job 26:14
Did I consider going home that next morning when the thought of where I was living, and the family I had rejected, hit me like a dull thud as I awoke? Did I think about home while I was searching for the least-wrinkled white shirt, since I had no iron?
Did I first think about going home that day when something happened at work and my first reaction was to call Charlyne and share it with her, until I realized less than 24 hours before I had said there would be no more Charlyne?
Did I think about going home that day at lunch when that female co-worker reminded me how different we were, and that we had no long-term future together?
Did I think about going home that evening when I exited I-95 and headed for my motel, where a darkened room awaited me, instead of continuing on north to a home with dinner in the oven and where a loving and faithful wife and three great kids could be found?
Yes, my friend, I thought about going home at each of those times, and I suspect many more that I cannot recall, and these examples were all in the first 24 hours of a two-year plus journey of separation and divorce through the “far country.” Yes, your absent mate is also thinking about going home.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. Obadiah 1:3-4
There are some “bad words” in marriage ministry that you need to learn to avoid. One of these is “should.” No one except for Jesus Christ can tell you precisely what you should or should not do.
Two other words are “looks” and “seems.” Your prodigal is not nearly as happy and their life is not nearly as content as it looks to you. Do you know the innermost thoughts of the one you love? Only the Lord does. So let's leave how things look and seem up to Him. Do not base your stand for marriage restoration on how things look or seem.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. Psalm 139:1-4
Another no-no word for standers might be “say.” Do not base your stand on what you hear your prodigal say. Yes, the defense of the one you love is to “say” they are happy, or to “say” that the other person has you beat by a mile. They may “say” divorce is on the way, and things may even go that way, but weekly we hear about prodigals who cannot go through with the divorce they initiated. Do you suppose that deep down they are thinking about going home?
My conclusion, based on personal experience, and many years of hearing from other prodigals, is that we all think about going home over and over and over. Then why don't we? Because we have been taken captive and our thoughts are not our own.
Thinking about going home might be like a bag of popcorn popping. At first, a pop now and then. As things heat up, the pops become more frequent, almost endless. If you will continue to stand and to pray, there will come a time when the timer of Heaven sounds and your mate will realize they have no option, but to come home.
Now that you can see how much your prodigal is thinking about coming home, may you make your life a spiritual incubator where a hurting mate would find comfort and the peace they seek. You are standing with our Lord God. Daily you are becoming more like Him. Daily you should be asking the Lord to protect and touch your prodigal, and bring them home to God and to you.
When did I first think about going home? Deep inside, I never stopped thinking about it. Yes, my words were different, as were my actions, but something within never let go of that one flesh relationship. May you do everything that the Lord has for you to do to pave the way home for your prodigal spouse with the unconditional love of Christ and total forgiveness. Yes, the Holy Spirit brought me home, but Charlyne had the door open.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:7
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
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Google© Website Translator
"My husband came home, thanks to many prayers. I, as well as others, had prayed for the Lord to send someone to speak with my husband and the Lord used several. One of my prayers has been for us to worship together again. When he returned to church with me, the front of the bulletin had a picture of a married couple with a scripture from Psalms." (Georgia)
“My husband went into the far country and was involved with another woman. I felt lost but knew in my heart the Lord was calling me to stand. The Lord got me through. He gave me so many promises and so many people saw His miracles including me moving back home. I am truly blessed and know the Lord is still working in our hearts. Today my husband asked if we were going to do the ‘Love Dare.’ Victory is won. Praise the Lord.” (Washington)