Jenell, for those that may not be familiar with the Wilsons, tell our readers a little bit about you and your husband.
Several years ago God led Darren on a journey to capture God on ﬁlm. His ﬁrst movie is Finger of God, which explores miracles—if God still does them and, ultimately, why He does them. The interest in this ﬁlm shocked Darren and me, and its success opened the door for Darren to continue exploring God’s nature through ﬁlm with Furious Love and Father of Lights. He has sold hundreds of thousands of his ﬁlms, and testimonies come in constantly of lives that have been radically changed by them.
I support him, raise our three kids, and work two part-time jobs as well, as the Compassion Ministry assistant at Harvest Bible Chapel, and the executive director of the Wanderlust Foundation.
The topic we will be exploring in this interview, “Trusting God with Your Spouse,” is relevant to readers whether they are single or married. But before we dive in, can you give a brief snapshot of your journey from singlehood to marriage?
I met Darren very shortly after starting college and just after being saved. God called me to abstain from relationships for several months right before meeting Darren. I believe God called me to abstinence so I would not be with anyone when I met Darren.
Some people believe life gets easier when you find somebody to share it with. Did you find that to be the case? How did the challenges you dealt with as a single continue to manifest into marriage?
The joy of marriage is a deep, intimate connection in which you can face the challenges of life together. The trial of marriage, however, is how that deep, intimate connection also draws out our personal weaknesses. Darren and I married very young and were immature in many ways. Our ﬁrst years were a whirlwind of past sins that we never dealt with, and a downpour of spiritual brokenness that was thrown into our faces at breakneck speed. Marriage is like a gigantic, glorious magnifying glass!
How does the concept of “Trusting God with Your Spouse” play itself out in the “magnifying glass” of marriage? Was it more challenging to trust God in this area before marriage or in marriage? Why?
In my opinion, this is one of the most important things a woman needs to understand. To the level a woman is able to trust God with the life of her husband, is the same level at which she can love him, live at peace and help open the door for God to do great things within him. This was especially a challenge for me because, when we got married, Darren was not very interested in knowing or serving God; he was nominal about it all. This was heartbreaking for me, because all I wanted was to live life radically for God. Trusting God to shepherd my husband was no easy task and one I did not always do well.
That is part of what makes its importance so obvious: the constant battle in a woman’s soul is to surrender, trust God, and resist the great temptation to the opposite: to judge, to fear and to control. A wife is entrusted with what I would call “the great divide.” We are given the inside view of the chasm in our husband’s life between who they are and who they could be. More than anyone else in their life, God entrusts the wife to stand with her husband in the midst of that great divide.
This is a task entrusted to us with all people, whether we are single or married. That means we need the ability to learn and practice this art of trust, long before we meet our spouse. We can practice how to live in “the great divide” with our friends, parents and co-workers. This prepares our hearts to be able to do it with our future spouse; and thus, by default, we can love our spouse even before we meet him or her!
Tell us about your prayer life from the context of living in the place of the “great divide” as it relates to your relationship with Darren. What have you learned about the power of a praying wife?
I know books are written to help guide women in prayers for their husband, which is a sweet thing for any wife to undertake. But honestly, I can’t imagine a book inspiring me to pray for my husband. Those books would be on the opposite end of the spectrum of what my prayers have been like for my husband. My prayers were a life-line. My prayers were raw; some were prayed over and over like a mantra in my soul. Some were screamed to God in anger. Some came directly out of fear, while others were spoken gently as I held his hand and declared good things for his life. But all of my prayers—all of them—were heard by our Maker. All of them were honored. All of the prayers I’ve sowed have been and continue to be answered in God’s own way and own time.
One of the most loving acts I can imagine is for people to pray for their spouses before they even know them. I was very much personally invested in Darren’s life because we were one, and each one of his choices directly affected me. That is different than someone praying for someone they haven’t even met yet, simply for the other’s beneﬁt. That is a way to sow selﬂess love into that future marriage, love that says even apart from me, I want the best for you.
Speaking of prayer, most of us are familiar with the verse in Proverbs 18 that states the “power of life and death is in the tongue.” What is your experience with this proverb as it has played out in your relationship?
I love reality shows; they are one of my guilty pleasures. One thing that fascinates me is watching people who appear beautiful, but then they open their mouths and … not so beautiful anymore. The saying that beauty is only skin deep is so true. When we honor and bless people with our tongue, we become radiant, attractive and a joy to the world.
Just as trusting your husband to God is one of a wife’s great callings in life, speaking in light of the reality of the power of the tongue is another. The wife that speaks life over her husband, no matter what, is one of the most beautiful wives possible. The wife sees “the great divide” in her husband, so how she speaks to him in the midst of that focus carries great power. Will I see my husband the way God sees him or the way the enemy tells me to see him? And again, this applies not just with husbands and wives, but with all people we are in relationship with. We give power to that which we speak.
In relation to trusting God with your husband, what do you ﬁnd to be the biggest lie from the enemy? What has God shown you about how to combat these lies?
The biggest lie the enemy says is that there is no hope. God is the God of all hope, and everything is possible with Him. But the enemy likes to hold the present reality in our face and tell a different story: Not only will things not change, but they will probably get worse.
In addition to that lie is the one that makes you feel as though your husband’s spiritual potential is dependent on him and the level of his hunger for God, when the truth is that his heart is in the Father’s hands. And you have the power to agree with the enemy, or agree with the Father.
The verse that struck my heart in relation to my husband was Isaiah 65:1:
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’”
That verse resonates so strongly within my heart because that was Darren in the beginning of our marriage—a man uninterested in God. This promise from God made clear that Darren’s complacency would not limit His inﬂuence in Darren’s life. And years and years later, after I prayed this scripture over my husband, he ended up making a movie called Father of Lights that would bring glory to God throughout the world. In that movie he quoted only one scripture, and what do think that one scripture was? Unbeknownst to him, he quoted the scripture that was my hope for him: Isaiah 65:1. No one else in the world knew the signiﬁcance of that, no one but me. God reminded me: “I heard your cries, I heard your prayers, I have done the impossible and I have fulﬁlled my promise to you.”
Brothers and sisters … God hears you. He hears your prayers for your spouse—even if you haven’t met yet. God knows who that person is, and He hears your prayers. He WILL answer you, and He is worthy of your trust. You can trust God with your spouse.