Today at lunch we sat, in our usual fashion, around the conference table that doubles as our lunch table, and talked about life. You know how it goes when you eat with friends chatting like hens in the hen house… A subject comes up.
Today we were giving commentary on the move of God in the lives of women of a particular denomination when the name Stormy O’Martian came up.
DISCLAIMER: I have her books. I love her story and her writing. I believe she is a powerful witness to women in every denomination. BUT, what I shared must be heard in context. This is a cautionary tale that is not true in every circumstance, but sadly is not isolated to Stormie’s books. It also happens with the Bible, preachers, and well it is the primary run of rumors… Taking things out of context.
The world stands full of hurting and wounded people. It remains one of the most heartbreaking facts I encounter every day in the service of ministry. They long desperately to be free, see change in their own lives and the lives of their families, but often don’t know where to start the journey of becoming free.
A number of years ago I observed the journey of a woman, we’ll call her Janet, who struggled in her relationships with her children and husband. She and another woman began to read and pray according to the principles of “The Power of a Praying Parent” as she understood them.
She spent hours on the phone talking and praying. She often raved about how wonderful it was to pray these things over her husband because she knew God was going to change HIM for her. At times it felt like she was saying God would avenge her pain through changing her husband and children.
Legally, in a purely biblical sense, the words she prayed were right. After all, there is sound doctrine and biblical principle behind the writing of Stormie O’Martian.
Still, somehow in all of that – her heart was not right. You see – no matter what the book, the process, the plan or the idea you pursue – if you do not have a humble heart, praying the very best of God for those around you… There is a chance you could miss the mark.
She convinced herself that she should not only pray this over her children, but also over her husband who did not have parents praying over him. His parents, though living, could be found to blame for the ill she suffered from her husband.
Did you get that?
She prayed “The Power of a Praying Parent” over her husband as well as her children.
Can you see a train wreck coming?
The results were devastating. She became more and more resigned to her position of victim and martyr. She determined in her heart that God would not let her down because she was praying “in agreement with Him” all the good things in Stormie’s book. She was certain he would vindicate her against them. She wanted them to come to an awareness of how bad they hurt her and feel her pain with her.
She continually spoke negatives things over and about her husband and children… And, often attributed the worst things to demonic activity. She preached and harped on her children (who were either near or living in adulthood) about the wickedness of their ways. In short, she sucked all the life out of her home with negative attitudes, negative speech and selfish motives.
Does this sound harsh? Remember… I said this is a cautionary tale!
A year after she began to pray this book over her family and her household, she was shocked by her family coming to her and saying, “You are toxic. You are hurting us and we want you to move out.”
Not just her husband, but her children as well.
She is now divorced after more than 25 years of marriage and estranged from her children by their choice. She remains wounded, but resolved that God will change her family’s heart toward her. And, in a lot of ways, the entire experience has changed her.
She speaks less negatives and has cut out things in her life that she did to escape the pain of her reality. But, in a lot of ways, she is still convinced all those months she spent praying she did what God wanted her to do. Only God knows if that is true.
So what went wrong?
She failed to realize the point of “The Power of a Praying Parent” is meant to be prayed over your children, not your husband. Because of her wounded perspective, she failed to realize that the book was not just about praying change into the lives of those around her, but the intention of the book was meant to change the heart of the mother toward her children and out of that heart the change would overflow into the lives of her kids.
And in the long run, she became so legalistic in her opinions and her attitudes about what her family wasn’t that she herself would “PRAY” them into… She lost sight of the power of God to grow them up in a heartbeat if she would simply move out of His way.
Cautionary tales always have a…
Moral of the story:
Speak Life & Focus on What God is Doing in YOU!
As I consider all of this, I think of something my daughter said to me around Valentine’s Day. I had purchased two cards for my husband that day. This is a tradition in my life. He often will receive two cards because I find it hard to choose.
I brought them in and looked them over in her presence. Both of the sentiments were extremely complimentary and flattering. But, after reading them several times I realized that one of the cards rang very true to our relationship, and the other card spoke to some things I desired in our relationship but had not yet come to pass. I spoke aloud, but mostly to myself… “I’ll just give him this one, which sounds most like him today and I will save the other one for next year. In the meantime, I will spend the next year praying these things over him so that when I give it to him they will be true.”
My daughter ha-rumped in disgust. I showed her the cards and explained my thoughts. She said, “Momma, that’s just mean.”
I said, “Wait…”
She said, “You ARE NOT going to tell him that are you? “
“Oh, No!” I said, “I wouldn’t tell him that.”
THE. OLD. SELF. She would have lorded it over him like a legal document. But this girl, the one who writes about it today she would not dare tell him about it. She would only give him the card next year and pray that he knows she loves him with all her heart and prays God’s best for him every single day.
What I realized today as I wrote these words has blessed me beyond measure. God doesn’t just want me to pray these things over my husband. He wants me to “Call things that are not as though they were…” (Romans 4:17). He wants me to call my husband a gift, a wonderful husband, a man who is thoughtful and kind, who gives humbly and reflects the gentle strength of the Lord… To tell him he is a friend who listens with his heart and understands the importance of just being there with a hug and a smile, a companion who leads with love, integrity and faith, making it a joy and an honor to stand beside him because he is my love, my friend, and my companion. And even now, as I wait – I thank God for him each and every day.
Some of these things are true of my husband already. And some of these things lie in wait for the moment when God awakens his heart to them. I am content to have the promise and the opportunity to call forth the greatness and love of God into my husband’s life by being a wife who speaks life over him in my heart, in my words and in my prayers.
Lord, Open the eyes of my heart to see my husband as you see him.
Visit my friend Bridgit and her post on a similar subject: Wearing Someone Else’s Armor