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Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Today’s devotional is from Bob who was a prodigal who returned home and was remarried to me for an additional 23 years before the Lord took him home to Heaven. Bob wrote 19 books from the prodigal’s perspective for more than two decades after our divorce and remarriage. This is a special devotional in which Bob shared about celebrating Thanksgivings. But first, I am going to share my perspective.
 
I made one of the biggest mistakes in my life and spiritual walk by allowing my hardness of heart, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness to control me by not inviting Bob to our first Thanksgiving dinner without him during our separation. Oh, if only I had listened to my Lord’s wooing and died to my carnal flesh, showing unconditional love to my husband as Jesus taught me after our divorce.
 
Regardless, if you are separated or divorced, ask the Lord what you should do about inviting your spouse to all your holiday events. Yes, you may get rejected at that moment, but we have had spouses call up later and say, “Can I still come over to dinner today or the special event tonight?” We have had others who just show up unannounced. Never doubt what the Holy Spirit can do!
 
We have been praying and many are fasting for this holiday season. Our staff and standers across America are praying that many estranged and prodigal spouses will accept a sincere invitation to “Come home for Thanksgiving dinner.”
 
Would you be thrilled for just one more chance to cook all those special dishes that you are known for? May each of us pray that many standers will be able to call up their spouse and the Holy Spirit will touch their prodigal’s heart as they ask them to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. Who knows, they may say “yes!” – Charlyne

THREE THANKSGIVINGS
 
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.  Psalm 26:6-7
 
I felt led by the Lord to share with you about three consecutive Thanksgivings in my life. Let’s call them holidays A, B, and C.
 
Thanksgiving A was about five months after our final separation. I was living in a motel. No, not an efficiency, but the least expensive place I could locate. It wasn’t much. When I left home, I envisioned living happily ever after with a co-worker. She had gone north to be with her family for Thanksgiving. My holiday meal that day was a TV dinner, eaten alone on a folding card table in my room. That year I had called Charlyne and asked if I could come to our Thanksgiving dinner. She declined my request, citing, “We are through pretending.” Charlyne had filed for divorce and had much anger toward what I had done to our family.
 
One year later, when Thanksgiving B arrived, I had met someone and was attempting to take the place of an absent father at a strange holiday table. The foods and traditions were far different than what I knew they would be at our home that day. Even over 20 years later, I can still recall wishing I was at home for Thanksgiving. Try as I did, I was still the square peg in a round hole at that Thanksgiving. Her parents knew, her children knew, and I knew. In fact, everyone around that table, including yours truly, knew I did not belong in that picture. Somehow, I imagined that God was overlooking my sin. I silently longed not only for Charlyne’s dishes, but also her presence.
 
The following year, at Thanksgiving C, I was living alone in a townhouse 100 miles from my family. Charlyne and I had begun to communicate a bit and I had commented about missing our family at Thanksgiving. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Charlyne loaded an entire Thanksgiving dinner and our three children into her old car and they brought Thanksgiving dinner to me. All five of us had a blessed day.
 
So that’s when you went home? No, God was calling, but I was still resisting. It took me almost seven months, another move, and much more heartache to “come to my senses,” and remarry my wife. I share about three Thanksgivings today not to illustrate the badness of Bob, but to give praise to the goodness of God. Your prodigal spouse, most likely, is either enduring or enjoying their own A, B, or C Thanksgiving. Often we must go through A and B to get to C.
 
Holidays are about families, and your prodigal’s mind is being bombarded with thoughts of home, holidays, and happiness. We prodigals simply cannot run far enough to get away from the memories or God.
 
This Thanksgiving and every day before the Christmas holidays, be especially sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Do not stand in the way of an A or B holiday becoming a C holiday.
 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:4-5
Because He lives,

Bob Steinkamp
Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.

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P.S. – Someone is going to call or email us and ask, “Should I invite my prodigal to Thanksgiving?” You need to do what God is nudging you to do, and not what people encourage you to do, or not to do. I wish I had been invited to Thanksgiving A, as described above. If I had, the entire Steinkamp story might have taken a different turn, away from divorce court. The one you love needs to know that God still loves them, and that you still love them also this Thanksgiving.

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