We experienced the Holy Spirit in a way we never had before – together.
I didn’t know marriage could be like this.
I discovered my wife in a new way.
I became more powerful and began to love stronger as a man.
I saw the woman I married being restored to her joy and true personality.
For far too long, Satan has taken sex and made it something dirty. Satan deceives people into thinking sexuality is a topic for the world, but not for the church. Many Christians have responded by hiding from talking about it at all.
As Barry and Lori brought truth and talked openly about sex, the enemy’s powers of perversion and shame were diminished. Husbands and wives throughout the week felt safe to discuss and pray through some very difficult things together — adultery, homosexuality, pornography, sexual abuse, divorce, spouses who hadn’t enjoyed sexual intimacy in years. The works of the enemy were exposed and there was no shame.
The atmosphere of grace, power, forgiveness, love, and healing was indescribable. It was like heaven invading our marriages. There is nothing Jesus can’t overcome in our lives if we’re willing to face it with Him.
For us, though, the week didn’t start off easy.
During our 12 hour trip there, Jen and I fought the whole way.
After the first day of the seminar, Jen felt so much anxiety, we considered coming home (by the way, just because you’re not feeling “peace”, don’t immediately assume it’s the Lord leading you not to do something. It’s possible the enemy is attacking you from committing and fighting through a stronghold in your life. Learn to know the difference.) Jen woke me up at 3:30am to say she wanted to go home. The swirl of emotions and demonic activity was too much. After talking awhile, we finally went back to sleep, deciding to wait until morning. Then I had a dream.
In the dream, Jen was painting a beautiful picture. It was a picture of Jesus. Jesus was standing on the bow of a ship with his arms stretched wide. The waves and the storm were cresting like mountains all around the boat. There was Jesus, the icon of security, peace, and power, telling the storm, “Peace. Be still.” And the waves were parting from His very words.
It was the most beautiful and powerful painting I’d ever seen. It was like the painting was real, glowing, and emanating power.
As I complimented Jen on her painting, she began to doubt herself. She wondered if she really could have painted such a beautiful picture. She called her parents to ask them about it. Her parents began to tell her that she didn’t really paint the picture. As she listened to these doubts, the painting of Jesus suddenly began to crumble apart. Then the dream ended.
When I woke up, I immediately felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
God conceived Jesus inside of Mary. God gave dreams to Joseph to protect Mary and Jesus. Mary couldn’t fulfill her destiny without Joseph. Husbands – we have “Mary’s” to protect. Our wives carry something from God that can’t be released without us. And we carry something that can’t be released without them.
I needed to fight for my wife. I told Jen the dream and she agreed to stay another day. I’m glad we did.
Immediately when we walked in the conference room that morning, something was different. Jen leaned over to me and said, “What was I thinking? I feel like I was completely under the influence of something that was clouding my thinking.”
That day, God began to heal both of us from wounds in our hearts and in our marriage. God gently revealed some significant areas of abuse Jen had experienced as a little girl she had never remembered before. The memories were suppressed. He gently and powerfully brought love and healing to these places.
Jen and my experience of oneness and intimacy soared – spiritual, emotional, and sexual.
Another crazy thing? As Jen and I became more intimate and one in spirit and body, the power of the Holy Spirit began flowing through us TOGETHER.
One night during the gathering, after receiving some healing ministry, the Spirit of the Lord fell on Jen. The Byrne’s had Jen come forward. Jen began to call all those in the room who had experienced sexual abuse to stand up if they could and were willing to face it and ask for healing and freedom. Half the room stood. Tears started streaming down faces. Some doubled over weeping. Healing from Jesus started flowing.
The Spirit of the Lord then came on me. I began to call the spouses of those who had been abused to stand up. I challenged them to answer the call to “Pursue your spouse with the love of Hosea. Then love her like Jesus”. Hosea showed the love of God to a woman who had been abused and broken – to show what the love of the Father is like for His people. Jesus laid down His crown , His life, His “ministry” — all to show His Bride how committed His love was. He saved His bride and rescued her.
“Go again, love a woman…just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel…” (Hosea 3:1)
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
Husbands are to love like this. That kind of love will change the world.
Later that week, Jen continued to receive words of knowledge and prophetic words for people. Although she’d experienced this before, the Holy Spirit started flowing through her in greater measure as our intimacy strengthened.
One day, a man came forward for some counseling ministry with the Byrne’s. He had experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a grandfather. He tried to tell a catholic priest about what happened in confessional. The priest started abusing him, too.
As the man came forward, Jen felt a “punch” in her stomach. She later asked him, “Do you have stomach problems?” The man answered, “I’ve had stomach problems my whole life.” We laid hands on him and prayed for healing. I believe it happened, though we didn’t confirm with him afterward.
I recently watched the movie Tangled, an adaption of the Rapunzel story. In the theatre, I felt like I met God. It was like the Holy Spirit was saying, “This is a prophetic picture of what I want to do in your marriage.” Like the story of Rapunzel, I get to lay down my personal agenda to pursue an adventure together greater than either of us could have on our own. My job is to pursue my wife and fight for her freedom — while she finds the courage to let down her hair and let me in her castle.
I don’t want a good marriage anymore. I want a supernatural marriage. I am not just married to a flesh and blood woman, I’m married to a supernatural, spiritual woman. She is beautiful. She is complex. She’s a mystery and a treasure. She believes in me. I fight for her. The more I love her, the more beautiful and powerful she becomes. The greater the man I become.
We become one.
I want to free Jen to paint a picture of Jesus the world has yet to see.
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