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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: The Covenant Keeper
By Crista Darr


The Covenant Keeper

The key turns in the lock. He sneaks into the house and creeps across the room as if he can somehow be hidden. I smell the cigarette smoke that lingers on his clothing. He refuses to look me in the eye and I know he has cheated again. Flickers of insanity dart from his black eyes as he disconnects the VCR for more drug money.

My hand clenches into a fist. I grit my teeth, resisting the urge to hit him, choking back the screams of condemnation rising in my throat.

As if reading my mind, he turns to look at me, daring me to say something. My mouth is unusually silent. This battle is not mine.

I wonder what Jesus wants me to do.

“I forgive you,” I say, but I don’t really mean it.

He ignores me, and walks back out the door. The truck roars to life again. I hope he never returns.

I fall on my face before the Lord. The unbearable heartache makes me long for death. My husband has broken covenant, and I want out. No matter how vehemently I plead for an escape from this marriage, the message is always clear, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31-NASB).

I search the Scriptures for guidance. 1 Peter 3:1-2 becomes my daily sustenance, “Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” (NASB)

How can I submit and be respectful to a husband in the grips of evil? How can I love a man that I only want to hate? I can do it by faith.

I struggle with my own sin. Self-righteousness rises up in me like a monster. Its talons of control and manipulation threaten to strangle my husband as I try to be his preacher, teacher, and Holy Spirit.

Months turn into years, and the battle rages on. My husband returns from another adulterous drug binge. His filthy clothes hang from his emaciated body. A blank stare looks out from glazed eyes, sunken into the black recesses of his skeletal face. He appears as a dead man, far gone and stinking. I remember Lazarus.

God gives me a vision, allowing me to glimpse deep into the soul of my husband. Beyond the demons staring back at me, I see a little boy with tears streaming down his face, whimpering like a hurting child.

Unconditional love and forgiveness pour out of my heart. I know these feelings are not my own. It is the power of Christ working in me. As the scene unfolds, I feel like only a spectator, watching the astounding transformation within me as if from a distance.

I embrace my husband. I look into his eyes and forgive him with all my heart. The hurting boy emerges; he breaks down in uncontrollable, shaking sobs.

Still, the madness continues. My breaking is not finished. My husband takes advantage of my willingness to submit, knowing that he can practice any kind of treachery, including adultery, and I will still be here, a doormat to wipe the filth of harlots on.

The pain is unbearable. The promise that a quiet, submissive spirit will win my husband seems a fleeting fairytale. My impulse is to jump out of this fiery furnace. God holds me with His gentle words, “Do you trust Me?”

Arising from prayer, I am filled with strength that is not my own. I cling to the hope within me. With God, all things are possible.

After years of infidelity and drug abuse, God remembers His promise. Then, as gradual and sure as the sunrise, light dawns in the heart of my husband.

Every day brings new joy as I live in victory with my godly husband, the dead man made alive and washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ – the covenant keeper.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21-NASB)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Kate Wells02/14/06
Powerful! Provocotive. I could feel the pain through your words. And the relief of the victory. Excellent.. my favorite line ~ "My impulse is to jump out of this fiery furnace."
Pat Guy 02/14/06
A difficult, wonderous read! This should be submitted somewhere to minister to others. And Wow! Powerful, honest and caring. You did an excellent job on such a sensitive subject. Great work!
Debbie OConnor02/14/06
An intimate, powerful look into the heart of a woman fully submitted to Christ. The power of this testimony will change lives. I praise God for the life it has already saved.
Chris Clement02/16/06
Powerful stuff. Wonderful and horrible at the same time. It is the edgy stories like these that are the most thought provoking. Very impressive.
Jan Ackerson 02/16/06
Wow, Crista! I'm blown away by the measure of grace you have been given. This is one awesome piece of writing.
Anita Neuman02/16/06
Okay, I'm sitting here bawling - for all you've been through, for your strength to endure, for God's amazing victory in your husband's life, and for your bravery in baring your soul like this. I pray that your story touches many lives, bringing hope to those who are suffering the same situation. Bless you!!
Maxx .02/17/06
Oh Christa .... oh Christa......

You told me in your email that this entry was so difficult for you to write. I can understand. Wish I could hold you ... but will trust that God did that.

I agree with your analysis in your hint. Once more time through to polish it up a bit more. Get rid of the alliteration type issues at the beginning, things like that. And I also agree that the ending could be a bit longer to provide a better balance.

That said, nothing can overshadow the strength of teh emotion that you poured onto the page. This is excellent excellent. Both message and method. You've done well.
Shari Armstrong 02/17/06
A very well done lesson - If more people had faith like the wife, maybe there would be fewer divorces.
Shari Armstrong 02/17/06
Oh wow - I hadn't seen your hint until after I read this (and the other comments). God is going to use this to really minister to others. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life.
Suzanne R02/18/06
The paragraph that I identified with most was this:

"Self-righteousness rises up in me like a monster. Its talons of control and manipulation threaten to strangle my husband as I try to be his preacher, teacher, and Holy Spirit."

What a precious piece of writing. We applaud you for your willingness to share this piece of yourself, and your (plural) breaking and remaking.

May the Covenant Keeper be glorified in your marriage ... and kudos to you, too, for what you've been enabled to endure. You're an example to many, both in writing (you know I love your writing) and life.
Julianne Jones02/24/06
Wow, I am in awe of the ability you have to use words and paint such a heartbreaking picture that draws the reader in so deeply that he/she feels that the story is theirs. There are so many lines where a well-chosen word or two has lifted it out of the ordinary:
"talons of control and manipulation", "a doormat to wipe the filth of harlots on." And the last paragraph I thought was perfect.
I hope you take the comments from others to heart and prayerfully consider submitting this somewhere. Even those in 'good' marriages have times when they would rather hate than love and can only show love because of God's grace. I firmly believe that this piece would bless all married persons.
Again, well done, Crista.

Carla Feagans02/27/06
Oh Crista...

I don't even know what to write. Just thank you.

How did I miss this one?

My tears are making this hard for me to type. You really touched me with this phenomenal piece. This needs to be shared to give hope to others who are where you been. This is exactly the kind of thing I have been searching for and have never found. God bless you.
Jean Elizabeth 04/19/06
Dear Crista! You have so eloquently captured the pain and despair of this woman. And also her very real faith and hope in the One who can heal all wounds. Heartwrenchingly honest! Captivating writing!