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 unique devotional in which Bob shared about celebrating Thanksgiving.
I made one of the biggest mistakes in my life and spiritual walk by allowing my anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness to control me by not inviting Bob to our first Thanksgiving dinner without him during our separation. If only I had listened to my Lord’s wooing and died to my carnal flesh, showing unconditional love to my husband. Even if you are separated or divorced, ask the Lord what you should do about inviting your spouse to your holiday events. You may get rejected at that moment, but I have seen spouses call up later and say, “Can I still come over to dinner?” Never doubt what the Holy Spirit can do.
I am praying that many estranged and prodigal spouses will accept a sincere invitation to “Come home for Thanksgiving dinner.” – Charlyne
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 three consecutive Thanksgivings in my life with you. 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. It was the least expensive place I could find. It wasn’t much. I envisioned living happily ever after with a co-worker when I left home. 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 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 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. 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. 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 may be bombarded with thoughts of home, holidays, and happiness. We prodigals simply cannot run far enough to get away from the memories or from 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,