Wives, You Are Jael

The following is from Chapter 9 of Mike Genung’s book, The Wife’s Heart, Healing from Your Husband’s Porn and Adultery:

You Are Jael

Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. He said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died.
—Judges 4:17–21

You, your husband, and your family are at war with the spiritual forces of darkness. Satan comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10).

If he can’t drive your marriage to divorce, he’ll work to keep it crippled. If your husband recovers from sexual sin, the enemy will focus on keeping you trapped in pain, bitterness, and discouragement, just as he will attack your husband with lust.

It’s not just the husband and wife he’s after. Many men were exposed to porn by their fathers; some of those dads were pastors. When a boy or girl gets their first exposure to porn from Dad, it can have a debilitating effect on their belief in God and what sex is about.

The adversary is after more than a broken family. If the husband falls hard and long enough into sexual sin, the enemy tells him God doesn’t hear his prayers and freedom is hopeless, so he might as well give up and walk away from God.

The enemy attacks you with fear and anxiety, does all he can to fan your anger into rage, and then works to harden your heart. If you spiral so deeply into discouragement that you lose hope, or your heart goes cold, he will try to convince you that God has abandoned you so you might as well walk away from Him.

Many of today’s movies portray men as the only ones who do the fighting; women are weak damsels in distress. Feminists come off as semi-masculine anger-machines who are out to tear God’s plan for marriage apart. Neither of these align with Scripture.

Look at how Jael handled the battle with Sisera in Judges 4. She didn’t scream at Sisera or charge him like an Amazon. She didn’t cower in fear, run, or hide. She had her emotions under control in what must have been a frightening situation. Sisera was a warrior who could have raped and killed her.

She approached Sisera calmly and invited him into her tent. He would have barged in anyway so she took the initiative and engaged him on her terms. Jael won the battle with wisdom, courage, waiting for the right moment, and taking brutal action.

Though you may not feel like it, you are Jael, beloved daughter of the living God, empowered with the Holy Spirit, given every blessing in heaven (Ephesians 1:3), and armed with powerful spiritual weapons that destroy strongholds (II Corinthians 10:4) and change lives. You have access to the same everlasting well of wisdom and power that Jael did, even more so because you’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Maybe you’re thinking, “None of this comes close to how I feel today. I’m a mess. My heart is torn up, my husband is abusive, my faith is weak, and I have no idea what I’m doing. What you just wrote about me being Jael sounds unreal—how can it be true for me? I’ve given in to fear, anxiety, anger, and discouragement so many times that I don’t know how to fight.”

Training camp for spiritual warrior-ettes begins now.

First, if you put all of your focus on your emotions, the chances are high you will lose and give in to fear, anger, or whatever is tormenting you. You may not feel strong, but how you feel is irrelevant to being an overcomer. The key is to take the right actions and use the weapons God has placed at your disposal, regardless of how you feel.

In 2009, I was in an intense trial that had been going on for three years. Fear and anxiety had been overwhelming me to the point of panic attacks. I spent a lot of time with doctors and made several visits to the emergency room. None of the medications they gave me worked; in fact, they made it worse.

I went to the church for answers, even some who had experience with spiritual warfare, with the same results. Every time I turned to people for help, it blew up in my face.

As I later understood, a big part of my problem was that I had been putting all of my hope in people for help and answers. God allowed everything they did to fail in order to force me to make Him my only hope. Once we allow fear to drive us—which is what I had been doing—we’re apt to take our eyes off God and put our hope in what can be seen. When you’re in a spiritual battle, that which is in the physical realm cannot overcome the forces in the spiritual realm through physical means.

I want to make a disclaimer here that not every problem is spiritual. There are times when we need healing emotionally (which we’ll get into later in this book) or when our body chemistry is off and medication is required. If you’ve been through a lot of stress for an extended period, your serotonin or adrenal levels may be so off that you need the help of medication, at least temporarily. There’s nothing wrong with medication in the proper context. In my case, the Lord was showing me that turning to man for help wasn’t going to work.

One morning in November 2009, as I was alone in my office, a force of evil filled the room with such intensity that I felt it physically. There was a heavy sense of pressure in the room, as if I were being squeezed in a vise of fear.

Up to that time, when I’d been hit with overwhelming fear or a panic attack, I’d run to man for help. It dawned on me that morning that if I ran again, I would give the force in the room what it wanted: to give in to fear again and allow it to drive me, and I would be in a far worse place than before.

I didn’t know what to do. Fighting a demonic force that strong wasn’t anything I had experience with, and I was certainly no expert in spiritual warfare. I cried out to God and told Him if He wanted my life, He could have it.

He didn’t take it. As the pressure mounted, I grabbed a Bible, opened it to the Psalms, and started praying the verses. I put all of my hope in God and held on for life; He was all I had.

After fifteen minutes of praying through the Psalms, the evil presence began to fade. A tiny seed of faith, God, and His word were enough to provide the breakthrough. Not once during the battle did I feel brave, like I knew what I was doing, or strong. I had no idea if I was going to pull through and what that even looked like. Relief came after the battle had been won.

Fast-forward three years. It’s 2012, and I’m in the second day of a five-day Daniel fast. I’m in much better shape; the anxiety and panic attacks have been gone since 2009, my faith is strong, and my belief in who I am in Christ is growing.

From the time I woke up that morning, my mind was assaulted with dark thoughts. I can usually tell when I’m getting hit with a spiritual attack versus a set of random thoughts fluttering through my mind because the thoughts are evil and keep coming. There is a sense I’m being wailed on.

Which is what happened that morning. I prayed through Scripture like I did in 2009, but this time, the assault kept coming. As I drove on the way to the office, I got angry and at the top of my voice, I shouted, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I who am a citizen of heaven, seated with Christ in heaven, command any evil spirits that are messing with me in any way to stop, leave my presence, and go where Jesus sends you to go!”

Instant silence. The assault was over. This time, I needed to take up my authority in Christ to overcome.

I shared these stories to provide a picture of the intensity of the battles you will face and what being victorious looks like. Most of you may not encounter battles that fierce, but the fight will still be difficult.

Not long ago, I had an appointment scheduled to counsel a wife over the phone who needed help coping with her husband’s sexual sin. When we got on the phone, she told me she’d experienced a sharp stab of fear that morning that she couldn’t explain. Her day had been going fine and she hadn’t been thinking about anything prior to that moment that could have caused it. She said she realized it was an attack of the enemy, probably to keep her from the call.

In both of my stories, I was alone; so was Jael when she encountered Sisera. While there may have been someone praying for me, I had to stand up and fight. God is enough to get you through every battle, temptation, and trigger. He is always there to help you (Hebrews 13:5).

Each battle is different; there is no cookie-cutter approach that works every time. Christmas morning of 2009, I was being assaulted again with dark thoughts. My wife and four kids were around me. Bringing them into my situation didn’t feel right; I didn’t want them thinking I was crazy. I silently asked the Lord what to do, and the word praise came to my mind. In my heart, I began praising God; within minutes, I had peace. Bring God into every battle, and ask Him what to do.

The word of God is another weapon in your arsenal. Let’s say you’re hit with a barrage of fear-thoughts that your husband might be viewing porn. You bring the Lord into battle in prayer, then go back to a verse that you can stand on in His word, such as Isaiah 41:10 or Deuteronomy 31:6. Say the verse aloud if you want to. God is with you and you will never be alone. He is with you in this temptation to give in to fear and He will see you through. Then go to Proverbs 3:5–6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

In obedience to Proverbs 3:5–6, you release your husband and his recovery to the Lord. When you’re able to do what God’s word says and not just say the verses, victory will come quicker, which leads us back to:

Obedience. There may be times when God is calling you to take an action step. If, after praying and getting the counsel of a trusted, safe friend, you feel there’s something you believe the Lord is calling you to do, no matter how hard it is, proceed. I’ve never regretted obeying God, even when He asked me to do something that took me out of my comfort zone and sounded crazy to others.

There have been several instances when I asked my Christian friends for their feedback on what I thought God wanted me to do and they disagreed with me; yet the more I prayed, the more I was convicted that I had to proceed. In the end, doing what I believed God was calling me to do turned out to be the right move. If Abraham had sought the counsel of others when the Lord told him to sacrifice Isaac, I bet all of them would have said Abraham was nuts. If you know God is calling you to obey in an area, move forward—just make sure your heart is aligned with His and you know you’ve clearly heard from Him and it’s not your flesh or the enemy.

You will be at war until the day you die. This doesn’t mean you’ll be fighting twenty-four-seven, but there will be times when you get hit and need to go at it. Passivity and apathy will keep you bound in defeat. If I would have done nothing that morning in 2009 in my office, the battle would have intensified to the point where I had a panic attack, then who knows what might have happened. If you allow fear or rage to wash over you unchecked, it will keep going until it sends you over the edge, or you ram a spiritual stake through its head.

Prayer is your most powerful weapon. I believe that prayer alone is enough to carry me through every temptation. The most powerful spiritual battle in history may have been at the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus wrestled with the pull to walk away from the cross.

These were His instructions to His disciples for the battle ahead:

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

—Matthew 26:40–41

The only weapon He gave them was prayer. While there will be times when you might need to take up your authority in Christ or pray though God’s word, it’s in prayer where the Lord will reveal the next step to you. My pastor has said that “Satan laughs when we have a Bible study, but he trembles when we pray.” As we send prayer upward, God responds with His answer.

Pray when you wake up, during the day, when you get hit with trials, and before you go to bed at night. A prayerless Christian is powerless, just as a prayer-saturated believer is strong in the Spirit.

Many Christians have a weak to nonexistent prayer life; so do many churches (when is the last time your church spent twenty minutes or more in prayer on a Sunday morning?). Prayer takes effort, focus, and time. Firing off “God bless me” is about self and checking off a box, not God. Effective prayer focuses on the Lord, not the self or its desires. It involves listening as well as talking—an exchange that can be marked by silence as well as praise, petition, and thanksgiving.

There will be battles when you have to press in and keep praying until there is a breakthrough. I’ve heard Christians complain that “I prayed, and God didn’t answer me.” This is a one-and-done approach. They get hit with temptation, offer one weak prayer, then cave. That’s not prevailing prayer, which is to keep going until the battle is won. If someone came at your kids and you shot the attacker once but they kept coming, you would keep firing until they dropped. It’s the same with prayer.

The answer to prayer doesn’t always come at once. While there have been instances when God spoke immediately to me, relief or answers sometimes arrived hours or days later. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. He might want you to pray once or twice, then wait for Him to come through.

Prayer plays a critical role in the healing of your marriage. Pray with your husband once daily, no matter what you’re going through. Bring God into your relationship consistently. There have been instances when Michelle and I felt distant from each other, but after we prayed the gap closed.

Even though you may feel like your husband is your enemy because he’s hurt you, he’s not your enemy. Satan is. The Devil wants to keep you and your husband fighting against each other instead of with each other against him. Remember who your true enemy is. If your husband is raging or blaming you, it’s because he’s spiritually blind. Remove the blinders, and he will instantly see that you’re the most precious gift God has given him, next to his salvation.

In your solo moments with the Lord, pray for your husband every day. I value my wife’s prayers above all others, because she sees my weaknesses and knows what I need at a deep level. In the same way, you are your husband’s most valuable intercessor.

Saturate your mind in God’s word daily. The best way to counter Satan’s lies is with the truth, which you can’t do if you don’t know it. God’s word will shape your character, give light to your decisions, strengthen your faith, and give you the wisdom to know how to stand in the truth.

As you notch victories in your belt, store what God has taught you and how He’s brought you through in your faith arsenal. Remembrance of God’s faithfulness in tough times is a faith-builder. Since He’s helped you before, He will do so again; His character doesn’t change. When the enemy slings the stones of doubt at you, hold on to the anchors of faithfulness from your victories of the past.

You are not a victim. Satan has tried to convince you that you are weak and helpless, without hope, and alone. These are all lies. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Just as I had more weapons at my disposal than I knew that morning in my office in 2009, so do you. You just needed to be made aware of all that God has given you and how to use it.

Always stand firm on who you are: you are Jael, beloved daughter of God; a woman of uncommon, Holy Spirit-fired strength, who can face any foe and come through victorious, because greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world (I John 4:4). You are given Christ’s authority, and armed with everything you need to overcome the enemy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).

I suggest that you read through the book of Ephesians. The first two chapters provide insight into your authority in Christ and what God has done for you. Ephesians 6 deals with spiritual warfare.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
—Ephesians 6:10–13

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5 responses to “Wives, You Are Jael”

  1. My husband had at least 3 ling term affairs with different wimen. He was still texting, calling & seeing the last one when I discovered it. He was still lying to me about various things…all the while claiming to be a Christian and active in the church. He died from cancer less than 3 years after I discovered his infidelity. I had prayed for my husband on a daily basis all the years prior & loved him with all my heart. This destroyed me.. My confidence as a woman is destroyed. I was such a naive fool & never really knew him at all. How do I heal from this?

    • Oh, wow Diane, I’m heart broken to read of what you’ve been through.
      Pieces of your healing process will include:
      * Allowing yourself to grieve what was lost. This might include journaling, praying it out to God, or talking to a friend.
      * You might consider participating in our wife’s group so that other women who understand what you went through with your husband when he was alive can give you support.
      * Taking care of yourself, rest, doing fun things. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but you want to allow yourself time to do these things and not just immerse yourself in grief.
      * Helping other people.
      * Releasing your husband to God, if you haven’t already.
      * Forgiving your husband. This is a part of the releasing process.
      * If you’re angry at God, working through that with Him and others.

      Praying for your healing.

  2. Thank you for your inspirational words. Knowing I’m not the only one having to deal with what my husband chose to do to his family provides me with a small bit of comfort. My family is currently dealing with my husbands betrayal. I came to find out the entire 5 years of our marriage my husband was living in sexual sin. It has destroyed my soul. The love and warmth I use to feel in my heart no longer exists. I look at myself in the mirror wondering how I let it go on for so long. Why I chose to challenge him and his behaviors now? I was lost, feeling emotionally empty! I have good days and bad days, but I’m currently working on autopilot. My story, like many others is sad.

  3. Dear Mike,

    thank you for your books. I’m from Germany and your books are my medicine. Please tell Phil Poeschl to translate this one, too. It would be easier to understand it for Germans.

    I discovered my husbands pornaddiction in August 17. He says sorry and that he would change. Now, three month later nothing happens. He doesn’t masturbate anymore or watches porn, but he did not search for help in mengroups or didnot even read your books , except your biography. I bought all your books that are available in German and I pleased so many time my husband to read them, but he does nothing. You write that I have to forgive him, otherwise my heart will be full of bitterness. I think he does not earn my forgiveness…but on the other hand, i dont want to stay in the darkness of my feelings… So, what should I do?
    He says he will do it alone, that he doesnt need any mengroups or therapy and that he prays every evening on his own. He says that he has no sexual daydreams or thoughts….. I cannot believe that.
    Can I help my husband to find his way to god? I hope that he will find his way to god through your books but he doesnt read them. He also does not read the bible… He reads none religious books ….

    In June I gave birth to our second daughter. I am totally bonded to my husband financially. I do not want our daughters get fatherwound due to divorce… I am so upset. Maybe you have the right words for my heart and soul.

    God bless you and your family.

    • Hi Inga –

      Thank you for writing. Comments on your post –
      Phil is working on translating The Wife’s Heart into German now. 🙂
      Regarding forgiveness, trust and forgiveness are 2 different issues. While forgiveness needs to be granted to keep you away from a bitter heart, you never have to trust him until he’s earned that trust. This happens as he takes consistent action steps to recovery over an extended period of time. Isolation, hiding and lying always accompany sexual sin so a part of the recovery process must involve recovery groups or an accountability partner. Without this I would have a hard time trusting him.
      On the side of his sexual sin, at some point you will need to set boundaries for your expectations, meaning that he needs to get help.
      If he doesn’t agree then you would need to consider appropriate consequences. I go into detail about this in the book.
      For your heart, it’s key that you have another woman you can walk with who can support, encourage, and pray for you and your husband during this time. You don’t want to “stay in the darkness of your feelings,” as you mentioned, and so having another woman who will walk with you in this journey is critical.
      If you don’t have someone there, we would be happy to get you connected with one of the ladies here.

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