I could sit here for hours trying to think of an easy or soft way to tell you what I have to tell you, but maybe there is no better way than to just say it: My wife has divorced me. I am sorry to have to start this communication to you as bluntly as that, but it is that blunt, that tragic, that cold, and that heartbreaking. I am still in shock over it. After only 16 months of marriage, the woman I was married to has quit our life together, as well as the ministry. In fact, she is now attempting to erase nearly all evidence from every public venue that we ever existed as a couple.
There was nothing I could do to stop it. If I could have, I would have. Divorce is spiritually and morally repulsive to me. It always has been, and always will be. To me, it is a sentence worse than death, and I am living that death every day. I still love her and am conciliated to her in my heart. God has given me agape love for her. All she would need do is return to me, and I would receive her back with open arms. I marry for life, and love for life.
To me, marriage is about love, commitment, grace and forgiveness. It is worthy and valuable. (To some, apparently, it is cheap and easily disposable.) To quit a marriage after only two months of struggle is, to me, unthinkable. Body of Christ members are to be married for life; this is my conviction, and the clear teaching of 1 Corinthians, chapter 7. Thus, this divorce, executed in secret--I
didn't even know it was coming--without any consultation of, or counseling from, the body of Christ, who love us dearly, is a tragedy to us personally, to the faith, to the message we heralded together, and to the cause of Christ.
Some people, it seems, don't care about any of that. I care deeply about all of it.
There are no Scriptural grounds for this divorce--none whatsoever. (There are not even worldly grounds.) This is all about pain from the past, and fear. I know that is cryptic, but I'm being this way, in this email, purposely. I desire to protect my wife and her story from casual onlookers. (Notwithstanding the fact she made it public herself in two of my newsletters.) Those of you who know and love us will have opportunity to hear what has really happened; you deserve to know, and I want you to know.
There is a very specific reason this happened.
There are lessons to be learned through this, all of which will be forthcoming. There are lessons to be learned about marriage; about love; about commitment; about the purpose of married believers and their testimony to the world. There are lessons to be learned about Satan's tactics to silence the testimony of Paul's gospel and destroy the lives and reputations of those heralding it (it is no accident that evil things began occurring immediately after the publication of The First Idiot in Heaven); there are lessons to be learned about slander, innuendo, and outright lies--and how Satan uses the most unwitting and unconscious vessels to hurl these against God's messengers.
I am currently living with Clyde Pilkington and his wonderful family in Windber,
Pennsylvania. I am finding healing, grace, fellowship, and sanity here. I am progressing through the stages of grieving over--and mourning for--what feels like the death of my wife. I am thankful for this landing place. I do not know what my future holds. My life, at present, is open-ended. I am taking one day at a time. Today, I am supposed to be here. Tomorrow? It will take care of itself. All I know is that I am to be heralding the Word. I was born to do it, and I will do it. By the grace of God, I will be fully engaged in this work at the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ. For now, I have been thrown for a loop, to say the least. I am behind on my correspondence and my thank-you notes. (For four months, I have worked to understand what was happening with my marriage and with my wife, and to save my marriage.) In fact, I am behind on everything. I am trying, once again, to find my life. It is a vast struggle.
Thank you for your continued care--financial and otherwise--of this ministry. I need it. By the grace of God, I am finally getting back to heralding. The re-start of the Zender/Sheridan show is me putting on a brave face. The re-launch of the blog is the same. These outreaches have stumbled of late with the advent of new and related trials, but I am determined that the show must go on. And go on, it will. Clyde and I have plans for you. New videos and new books are on the horizon. I need to recover my balance, and am still working on that. I have only recently recovered my will to live, so this will take time.
For those wishing to know what in the world happened to a marriage publicly proclaimed as one of grace, peace, love, evangelism, and truth, I have prepared a 13-page letter for you. To receive it, simply respond to this email at: email@example.com, and I will automatically send it to you--unless you tell me not to.
I want to tell you what happened.
Please do not succumb to gossip, slander, or innuendo. Please avoid discussing this matter on public forums. This is a test, not only of me, but of the body of Christ. If your heart becomes troubled, please do the Scriptural thing and contact me. I am willing, even, to give out my telephone number. Now, may God bless you all richly. Love one another. Love His appearing.
In grace, Martin
My street address is: Martin Zender, Pilkington & Sons Booksellers, 412 Bedford St. Windber, PA, 15963. (Please send no more mail to Colorado Springs, thank you.) I would love to hear from you.