Mike and Lesley have a story they can no longer keep to themselves. If you dare to continue reading you risk their story penetrating your heart and settling deep within your soul. It has lingered long enough in my own to know better than to shake free of it. You won’t want to either. For if you did you only rob God the opportunity to do what He longs to do in your life and has begun to do in my own—restore and redeem. It is with humble gratitude and great honor to retell the story of these treasured people I call friends. -Laura Krämer
Making his way through the sanctuary he found his place within the pews. The heavenly sounds played the melody of hope. He stood, hands stretched out, and heart expectant. The songs of hope swirled in the air and flowed through his very spirit. Sobs escaped the back of his throat as holy acceptance overwhelmed the great void of his soul. His heart began to heal, transform, and restore. With each word from the Father that echoed from heaven, his soul, like a newborn babe, was alive and whole.
Slowly she entered her art room. Something—Someone was pulling her here. Taking a seat she looked around. Clutching a pair of scissors in her hand she took a piece of paper—and cut. This common tool became an instrument of severing strongholds on her heart. There was no project to create, no task to complete. As the blade cut through the paper something deeper was cutting to her heart. Her soul began to rise, to heal, and renew. With each scrap of paper that fell to the ground, her soul, like the wings of a bird, began to fly to freedom.
One husband, one wife—two broken souls longing for a love to heal. Out of the deep cries of hurt, betrayal, and rejection the overflow of God’s healing waters soothed their aching hearts. Touched by God’s extravagant love, Mike and Lesley Glenn returned to one another redeemed and restored.
This is their story.
Hopes and dreams danced in Mike and Lesley’s eyes as rings were exchanged and promises made. It was September 11, 1991, only seven months following their initial blind date. Now standing at the marriage altar their lives from this day forward became a sacrifice of self to together pursue the call of God on their lives. Together they held the pen of destiny and wrote the story of their life.
Even with a life of purpose, as with any couple, baggage and brokenness came alongside their hopes and dreams. Mike grew up in Seattle, Washington and knew full well the taste of being poor. Raised by a single working mom he remembers countless meals of watery macaroni and cheese prepared by the babysitter. Without a father figure or very much accountability he became involved with drugs and alcohol. At the age of 19, Mike experienced a supernatural deliverance that radically altered his life. He dropped out of community college and enrolled in Bible College where he submitted to strict discipleship. Several years later he left that controlled environment and settled in to a body of believers who extended the authentic love and grace of Jesus.
Mike and Lesley knew their lives and their union had purpose. Soon after they married the couple relocated to Southern California to join an old friend who pastored a church. Within a few years they were raising three children and passionately pursuing ministry opportunities. Over the years Lesley seemed to easily find her place and flourish in ministry roles. However, each opportunity handed to Mike seemed to slip through his fingers and fall flat to the ground. The assignment to pastor a church—died. His leading of prophetic ministry nights—shut down. And his hope to plant a church—halted. This was more than enough for Mike to feel not only resentment, but rejection stir deep within his soul. During this time Lesley felt the weariness of her staff position as children’s ministry director. They mutually decided it was time to leave and seek refreshment from God and a new community of believers. They sought the covering of a new home church where Lesley was again hired on staff while Mike sat defeated in the bleachers half-heartedly supporting his wife.
At the end of 2003, just two years into their new church Lesley again needed rest from her demanding staff position. Already disconnected, Mike’s wounds of rejection flared up in an infectious virus in his spirit. He was hurting and looking for reasons to justify leaving the church. Such an occasion came about when they both opposed a leadership decision. Masking their departure under the virtuous intentions of spending more time with family the Glenn’s walked away from the Body and blindly into enemy territory.
In the few years that followed, Mike and Lesley slowly and even intentionally disconnected from God. Their children extremely involved in their activities gave them cause to keep busy and distant. Sunday mornings became just another day of the week and authentic community was absent. Drinking became a pastime as their souls quickly down spiraled. Sitting at his dining table, Mike reflects back on that time. “When there is a call of God on your life and you turn your back on it. The enemy wants to take [destiny] from you.” And the enemy’s scoreboard was showing he was in fact winning this battle. Not only did their pursuit in ministry take a back seat, but their once passionate faith became complacent and soon nonexistent. They were not only growing further away from God, but also from each other. The ink of destiny ran dry as the enemy picked up where hope faded and wrote devastation as the theme of the story of their life.
One afternoon in 2008, Lesley found proof of what her heart was trying to ignore. Throwing the evidence in Mike’s face she trembled from anger and demanded an explanation. He was caught. Although he initially denied the affairs he felt the relief to no longer live a double life. He had grown weary of constantly grasping for someone, anyone to affirm and accept him. Seeking attention outside the parameters of his covenant was a result of unhealed wounds from the church combined with unmet needs in his marriage. It was a dangerous path to walk—one that threatened to eliminate what was left of their marriage. At Lesley’s request Mike packed his bags and left. Knowing the mess he made of his marriage—he sought help.
Left alone the shock of her new reality overwhelmed Lesley. Memories of her parent’s marriage flashed before her eyes. She knew what unfaithfulness looked like—now she knew what it felt like. Over the next month Lesley experienced emotions she never knew she would feel. She wanted to work on her marriage, but her heart hurt too much. Completely disconnected from God her hurt and anger over the betrayal manifested in seeking revenge. Seeking only to bring pain to Mike for his unfaithfulness Lesley soon began an affair with a younger married man. What was meant to be strictly physical soon became emotional—her heart was hooked.
Mike was genuinely repentant and seeking help for his struggles through recovery groups and church. But no one could have prepared him for the emotional pain he would experience from Lesley’s infidelity. Mike now knew firsthand of his wife’s pain from his own affairs. Unable to sleep or eat for many days his heart was tormented over the devastation of his marriage. He grieved knowing Lesley’s affair was a result of the severe damage he had done to her. His heart broke over their lifeless marriage.
Through the vicious cycle of hurt, pain, and rejection this husband and wife no longer wrote their story together. They obliterated the pages of each other’s hearts only to find themselves flat lining in the marriage ER. The hinges of the coffin squeaked as the lid was brought down to a close. There would be a memorial, a burial, a time of grieving. There was no question about it—this marriage was dead.
Or so they thought.
God never gave up on Mike and Lesley. The extravagant and reckless love of God was in pursuit to fully capture their hearts. He would not relent until He had them completely—to heal and make them whole.
Mike was the first to yield to the Holy Spirit. “I had an epiphany, I saw my kids and wife five years from now, broken and devastated because of my decisions. The Lord showed me I needed to break the cycle…I needed to be a real Christian—I needed to forgive.”
He convinced Lesley to meet with their former pastor in hopes of salvaging their marriage. She resisted believing she was happy with the other man. Mike’s persistence resulted in her agreeing to one meeting with the pastor. Noticing her reluctant heart the pastor challenged her to give God three months to revive her marriage. She agreed secretly hoping the counseling would result in a release of her marriage covenant. Along with counseling, their pastor further asked her to choose a trusted friend to walk alongside her in the journey. This was a significant strategy to reconnect Lesley to authentic community. “She walked the whole affair with me without judging me at all. She never said one mean thing to me. I had this friend loving me through the midst of all of this.” This friend was steadfast in her demonstration of God’s unconditional love.
As much as Lesley’s hurting heart tried to not engage in counseling, her husband was transforming before her eyes. The depth of his pain and brokenness cried out to the great depth of God’s redeeming love. Everything Mike knew intellectually of the fullness of God’s love became a reality within his very soul. The healing touch of Father God’s all consuming affirmation and acceptance of Mike became a time of exponential growth and restoration. A change not motivated to win his wife back, but to receive the fullness of his true identity and become whole again. His transformation also brought revelation about the desperate need of his wife’s heart that changed his strategy to resuscitate his dead marriage. “She needed to be pursued. I wrote poems; I did all these things [to pursue her].” Even though Lesley tried to ignore it, Mike continued to pursue her as he opened his own heart more and more to God’s powerful restoration. The turning point for Lesley was the simple statement her counselor said at the end of a session. He validated her life was different then what she had planned and then said,
“The Lord wants you to know He has paved the way out.”
These words resonated deeply within her and stopped her in her tracks. “He paved the way [out] for me. I didn’t have to do anything but turn around and walk. I didn’t have to dig myself out. I didn’t have to clean the mess. Just turn around and come back. I didn’t have to do anything but say yes to Him.” This truth alone healed deep places within her. Not only did her husband pursue her, but her God did as well. “They both pursued me…You can not help but turn around and embrace them.” Lesley said “yes” to God and He immediately began a new work in her. As a result her heart began to long deeply for Mike. She ended the affair and never looked back. She felt her healing intensify when she sat in her art room. Restoration came through the soothing strokes of art. God’s identity was impressed deeply within her heart and destiny splashed new colors on the canvas of her life. She was born again.
Making his way through the pews he stood near the altar. The heavenly sounds played the melody of hope. He interceded, faith increasing, and heart expectant. The songs of hope swirled in the air as he prayed for those who came to him. Tears fell down their cheeks as he prayed holy love to overwhelm the great void of their soul. Their hearts began to heal, transform, and restore. With each word he spoke from the Father in heaven, their souls and bodies were healed and made whole.
Slowly the women entered the art room. Something—Someone was pulling them here. Taking a seat they saw her. Handing paintbrushes to the women she gave them a verbal prompt—and waited. This common art tool became an instrument to brush vivid colors over the darkness of their hurting hearts. There was no perfection to obtain, no contest to win. As the bristles touched the puddles of paint something deeper was touching their hearts. Their souls began to rise, heal, and renew. With each color that filled the empty canvas, their souls, like a wide open space, began to run in freedom.
One husband, one wife—two souls restored by a Love that heals. Out of the deep cries of hurt, betrayal, and rejection the overflow of God’s healing waters soothed their aching hearts. Touched by God’s extravagant love, Mike and Lesley Glenn write their story of miraculous redemption.
This is that story.