2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Good News Translation (GNT)
3 It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives.
4 The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds. We destroy false arguments;
5 we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.
Good morning, this is my first attempt of sharing part of my journey as a prison wife. It is April 2013 and I am enjoying another day that God has made! My name is Genie Ojemann, I am a newly wed as my husband and I have only been married for two short months. As if being newly weds is not enough of a challenge, I accepted my beloved’s proposal of marriage while he was finishing up 11 months in jail and had just signed for 18 years in prison. Yes I have a warrior spirit, however that is not the reason I said yes. I accepted my beloved’s proposal because of his love for me (of course) but more importantly God’s love for us.
You see it was God who brought my beloved and I together. He was the one who orchestrated our “chance” meeting in January 2012 on a Sunday morning after our worship service at church. God used his parents to introduce my beloved to “the missionary” at our church. It was God who healed my broken, bruised and hardened heart so that I could even begin to love the man He was preparing for me.
It was God who kindled the passion of desire between us, not just for each other in the natural sense, but to share God’s Word, God’s Dreams and our experiences in Christ with one another. With God as our matchmaker, it was an easy yes to his proposal of marriage.
However today, I am not going to talk about our God romance (when the time is right I will write), I am going to share about my personal challenge and cross I bear in how to walk in love. Not love toward or with my husband – but toward outsiders. Outsiders are everyone else – parents, in-laws, adult children, family members, friends, Christians, non-believers and anybody in between. Yep, me and my man and our God against the world – not a very Christ-like attitude, yet I am a Christian…
You see I was raised up and taught through both word and deed that you fight for and defend what you love and or believe in – against all odds, take no prisoners, someone else started it I will finish it. Doesn’t matter who is coming against me, all foes – family, friends and enemies. For more than 40 years this is how I have lived my life – as a Christian and as someone who knew of God but was not willing to follow after Christ in the walk of loving peace.
This is the reason I could be called a Warrior Bride, I have my weapons out, sharpened to a blood-letting point or locked and loaded with one in the chamber. Ready to shoot flaming arrows from afar should I see even a small fire of animosity brewing in the distance, no one and I mean no one messes with my loved ones!
This past Thursday, things began to change. As my husband and I were talking on the phone (of which I thank God for this communication tool) he began to share with me a more excellent way to walk in love. Because he is my husband, the man I love and adore and my best friend, he is able to speak not just to my ears but to my heart. He has taken the time to get to know me and really speak to me where I am. My husband has access to me, Genie his wife – he knows me intimately, he does not have to run the ramparts and try to get past the guards and my arsenal of weapons to speak with me, even when the words spoken can be hard to hear. He spoke with me gently, yet firm showing me that my sword wielding, arrow shooting, gun toting, take no prisoners’ attitude and demeanor are me yielding to the lust of the flesh and weapons from the devil. He the evil one alone comes to kill, steal and destroy – I am a child of God, a daughter of the most High King and for me there is a more excellent way by walking in the Spirit of God. He shared with me that this “natural” way that I have lived spreads pain and hurts others, it is not love (though in name defending love) and definitely not God’s love.
During the hour that we spoke on the phone God spoke to my heart thru my husband. He talked about walking in love coupled with forgiveness. As God’s love poured over me in the timber of my husbands voice, a dam was broken, way down deep within me as I began to weep. God’s healing balm was soothing my own heart that has been battered, bruised and hardened through the years.
Tears came in uncontrollable waves over me, sadness yes after being a follower of Christ for so many years, not realizing that I was using weapons of the enemy of my very own soul in my arsenal. Knowing that we are fighting a Spiritual Battle yet using the weapons of evil to assist in the good fight of The Faith! Yes God was speaking to my heart and it is my responsibility to listen to His admonishment and begin to walk in complete submission to His ways.
Now upon reading this last part, some of you may think – “Oh He is being too hard on her, she married him of course she needs to fight for what she believes…” or “That can’t be God speaking to her because he wants us to defend others and stand up for what is right…” Full disclosure time – the reason that my husband spoke to me about a more excellent way on this night, during our conversation he repeated a statement that he heard in court from someone in authority during his case – when I heard the statement though I am well aware of it and have read it for myself.
That night, that Thursday night just days after Easter when we are all celebrating God’s love and forgiveness – something in me snapped and I spoke very harshly to the very man I love, my husband, my best friend, the very person I was “defending”. The tone of my voice, the very dart I threw was directed at my husband, the man I love.
You see when you use weapons from the enemy’s arsenal – they are only made to harm, kill and destroy, weapons of evil don’t care who you hurt as long as you hurt. It was not the words used; it was the spirit of anger in which I spoke them that alerted my husband to a spiritual problem that needed to be addressed. God allowed my husband to use this event as a teaching moment to love me and encourage me in a more excellent way.
“Honey, I understand what you are telling me. I am not hurt by the words you used. What hurts is the tone of voice and attitude that you spoke with. Have I ever raised my voice to you? Have I ever spoken to you with a tone in my voice or disrespect? I know that you love me and didn’t mean to hurt me, but you need to weigh your words carefully. When you feel your emotions rising, stop and just be quiet, pray and ask God what He would want you to say and how to say it, in that moment.”
Now mind you this is what I “heard” my loving husband say – though they may not be his exact words to me. The lesson he was sharing with me is that God’s weapons bring healing, love and life.
Now the following Saturday, we were blessed to have our date time. Yep me and my beloved, sitting across the table from one another, holding hands and eyes full of love, my beloved spoke to my heart with God’s love and wisdom. He spoke to me some more about speaking in love and to be careful with my words, not to speak out of my emotions; shooting fiery arrows as I run forward, deciding what other weapons I may need to pull out. To truly know and understand that with God as our defense, every word spoken to us or about us does not need a reply, every question asked does not need an answer (at least not immediately).
As children of our God most high, our faith and trust fully in Him, we need not defend our lives, position on topics or our beliefs. We need only speak in truth, love and forgiveness, our God is righteous and wanting that none parish – we are His ambassadors of love here on this earth. God has called us to serve Him, though others may not understand our calling, we only need answer Him and do His bidding. He loves us and has plans for our lives, our marriage and our ministry – our only duty is to serve Him and love everyone.
As I left the prison facility and drove home time seemed to stand still – reflecting on my husbands love for me, his words of wisdom that could only come from our Heavenly Father rebuilding my heart as only God can when there has been deep tissue damage – I was already back in Houston – when life hit me in the face!
No not a day later, a week later – the same day, just hours after a wonderful God filled, loving date! Hugh, really? Really? In talking with a family member, I had just called to check in and let them know I was back in town – a barrage of “if I were you…” comments started to flood my ears, I could feel my blood pressure begin to rise, I could feel my heart wanting to close and harden to protect itself as it has in the past.
I was praying silently in my head but it did not seem to help stop the flood that was coming in over the phone of negativity, un-forgiveness and a barrage of ungodly “suggestions” that I did NOT solicit! I heard myself speaking “that is between them and God! – I am choosing to love and forgive!… what you are suggesting for me to do is NOT who I am – you of all people should know that!” OOOPPPSS – yep Flaming Arrows landing and hitting their mark yet another time, on someone I love dearly and I know loves me.
God help me, I really need You right now! There was some silence on the phone, however this time I kept my mouth shut and let the silence talk, the conversation slowly began on a different topic that was not confrontational and we were able to end it pleasantly though my blood was still running hot, real hot!
God help me – I heard clearly what you have been showing me and sharing with me through my husband, but how after 40+ years do I change my arsenal that apparently I have in large volume and ready access? How do I change them out for your weapons of love, kindness, a soft word, etc? My mind “knows them” but my mouth shot off without even a warning flare!
As my day progressed I could feel myself not cooling down but gearing up for battle, laying out my plan of action and proceeded to put the first steps in place. In my heart and mind saying, I know how I am gonna fix this – Offense is the best defense let me call the battle and see if everyone is really ready for war!
Then that evening my loving husband called to ensure I had made it home safely and to share his feelings about our morning date. I heard the surprise in his response when he heard the news of my pending battle plans and what options I had for weapons and the possible counter-attack. (Good thing for me God has blessed my husband with great patience.) He spoke softly and with great love as he told me his concerns and feelings, asked if he had not called would I have even shared about these new developments or would I have just plunged forward into battle without his knowledge?
Talk about a sobering moment – my cheerleading squad that had been urging me on was suddenly silent. My heart softened by my husband’s kindness and patience towards me and his reiteration about us walking in love and forgiveness – NOT in army boots and arsenal of deadly weapons.
He talked to me about how we (not I) can walk thru the current challenges we face with me in the free world and him incarcerated. That he is with me and will go with me thru the storm, but more importantly God is with us and wants us to only bring His weapons to battle – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, forgiveness, self-control. With my natural warring spirit now calmed down and directed towards the Lord’s desires and compassion and mercy I was able to fall asleep in peace. God can calm the storm of even a Warriors heart.
Does this mean I’m completely healed? Does this mean I won’t shoot you first and ask questions later? Lord knows I don’t want you to cross the battle lines I have drawn up right now today and see. (Remember it is my war and only I can see where the battle lines are!)
I have hurt enough people in my past – my grave yard is pretty full with the dead, wounded and severely maimed. It has been said by some of my closest friends – I want to be on Genie’s good side never against her! This is not how I want to be known.
The questions I must ask myself daily – Am I reflecting Christ’s love? Am I reflecting Christ’s forgiveness? Some days I sure don’t feel like it, but know that is what I have been called to do. I know that God will be pleased with me if I resemble His Son. In reading I Corinthians 13 it tells me that if I don’t have love I am nothing.
Here is Nothing, daughter of Bernard & Lugenia Parham, wife of Donnie W Ojemann, mother of Keith and Jacob Evans, died without the love of Christ.
Is this what I want on the epitaph of my life? It doesn’t matter to me about accolades or recognition from men – is God pleased with my coming and going? Is God pleased with my conversation? Am I living my life in such a way that it draws others closer to Him? I want to live my life in such a way that I hear from God my Father, “Well done my good and faithful servant, welcome home!”
When others look at me, do they really see Jesus or just a warrior bride defending her love?
When I go on reading I Corinthians 13 – it shows what love really is. God’s love has power, it changing people and circumstances, it is how Jesus taught us to live when He was here on the earth but it is not an example of the kind of love I have been exhibiting in my life.
I want God’s love to shine out from within me – I want to be a beacon of His love to others. I have some growing and learning to do! I hope you join me. I hope that I have encouraged someone today and that you will follow me as I learn to follow Christ more completely. I will be learning and sharing about the kind of weapons that God wants us to have in our arsenal as we fight the good fight of faith!
Sincerely Warrior Bride of Christ,
Mrs. Donnie W. Ojemann,
All I am, All For HIM!