Over the years, I’ve received many emails and private messages from the spouses of Hebrew Roots followers and their stories are amazingly similar. One wife shares her story below. My prayer is that her story will be an encouragement for those who are walking the same path.
A Hebrew Roots Wife Speaks
A few years ago, my husband and I started to feel a stirring in our spirits and a growing discontent with the “status quo” we had experienced for many years in various churches. At that time, we had been very active in our church for 4 years, but as we began seeking the Lord, we felt an emotional disconnect happening and believed God was calling us out of our church. Through a series of events, we were drawn to a church about 35 minutes drive from our home. Just as I was settling in comfortably there, my husband decided out of curiosity to visit a “Messianic” congregation close to our home.
After his first visit, he came home all excited about how warm and accepting everyone had been, and said he wanted me to come with him the next week. So the following Friday evening, our whole family went to a meeting, followed by a potluck meal. The people were quite friendly, but it was all so foreign to me and not comfortable. The children did not enjoy it at all. I tried a couple of more times, but something was just feeling like red flags in my spirit. Some of the things I started hearing were very concerning to me.
In the beginning, my husband agreed. Things being taught did not sit right with him either. But he felt a sense of community, and continued to attend. It wasn’t long before he started becoming consumed with reading their materials, attending meetings Friday nights as well as most of the day on Saturdays, and watching DVDs by various Hebrew Roots teachers.
It was about this time that my husband lost his job. By then, he was calling himself a “Messianic Jew” (we are Gentiles), and had filed a request with his company to be excused from working Saturdays due to religious practice. Although there was no solid proof, I have my suspicions that this may have played a part in him being let go. He also began to grow his beard long and full, and started wearing tzi tzis, although for work he would tuck them inside his pants.
Pork and shellfish were out, and he began to scrutinize what I did around the house on Saturdays, as to what was “work” and what was “ok”. He asked me to start preparing our meals on Friday, so that they could just be warmed on Saturdays, and I would not need to cook. Our usual Saturday family time was now spent at home, and if we did go anywhere he wouldn’t spend any money. Stopping for an ice cream cone was now “wrong”.
My husband started becoming very negative towards churches, and I noticed a very judgmental attitude toward members of our previous churches. He no longer wanted to attend church with the children and me. Since he had no job, he would spend day after day watching videos about the Law and end-times prophecies. When I would question what he was doing to find another job, he would say the Lord would open a door at the right time, and that he was feeling blessed with a season of time to study. We were living off his retirement account and savings, and when those gave out, credit cards.
During the first year of his involvement with HRM, I must admit I was totally freaking out! We had numerous arguments as we discussed scripture. I felt like a yoke of slavery was being put around my neck; one that I had not asked for. But for keeping the peace I tried to work within his new “convictions”. I felt like my husband was becoming more of a stranger with every passing day.
He tried to ban Christmas that first year, but when he saw how upset the kids were, he backed down. He said we were free to do whatever, but he would have no part of it. Easter was the same. Many, many “discussions” of scripture would invariably turn to arguing again, to the point that my 11 yr old son asked me if we were going to divorce over the Bible! My teenage daughter had slipped into a deep depression, and started pulling away from God. She said she just didn’t know what to believe anymore, that things she had been raised to believe her whole life, now her father was saying were all wrong.
We eventually stopped going to church, because of so much conflict and me knowing how he felt about “Christian churches”. But after several months, I felt like I was spiritually parched and longed for fellowship again with like-minded believers. One particular Sunday, my husband asked me to go to Home Depot to pick up something he needed. On my way in the car alone, I just began to weep and cried out to the Lord. Another Sunday when I longed to be in church, and here we were, working on a toilet!!
I prayed, asking for direction about church for the kids and me. Ten minutes later, the associate in the plumbing department who was helping me mentioned something about his church. I asked him what church he belonged to and he said the name of the church that I had felt God lead us to at the beginning of all this mess. His experience of the presence of God there was identical to my own. (And incidentally when we first started attending there my husband said he strongly sensed the Holy Spirit.) I knew meeting this man was no fluke, and God had answered my prayer.
I went home and told my husband what happened, and that I intended to start going to church again, and that he was welcome to join us, but if not, the rest of the family would go. He said, “You can go anywhere you want, I know eventually the truth will come.” To that I said “Hallelujah, yes it will!”
After getting established again in this wonderful, spirit-led church, the kids began to stabilize emotionally and I started seeing spiritual fruit developing in their lives. My daughter had a powerful, life-changing experience at summer camp where she was delivered from the depression and her heart was stirred for worship ministry. A week later my son prayed with a youth leader on a mission project, and also had a healing experience.
As I began to FULLY put my hope and trust in God, a major shift occurred.
I no longer felt any need or desire to discuss scripture with my husband. I realized it was not my job to show him the truth. The Holy Spirit is the one who leads into all Truth.
I was also able to let go of trying to control the situation. When my husband would buy another DVD, instead of freaking out, I would just remind myself that God is bigger than any lie, and no matter what he watches or listens to, every lie will be made known. Every conversation my husband would take into another room when an HRM friend would call, I would give it to God and make a decision to let it go. I stopped peeking at his emails, or text messages on his phone.
Once I truly took my hands off and gave my husband’s salvation back to God, my peace skyrocketed, and I began to live above my circumstances.
Sure, there are days every so often,when I still get discouraged, but those days are fewer and farther between. God has also given me a wonderful friend that I can whine to, because she always turns me back around to God’s sufficiency.
Over the next year, my husband worked odd jobs, got hired with a company, and then lost his job again last summer. He eventually went to driving school to become a commercial truck driver. He now travels and is only home about 4-5 days a month. I found it curious, as divided as we are still in our marriage over our differing doctrines, that God would open a door for a job that physically separates us as well. I realize though, that the peace in our home has greatly increased. I really believe God took my husband out of the home to preserve our marriage. I don’t know if we would still be together if we had continued living in constant conflict. He still wants desperately to change me to believe as he believes. But now when he comes home, we don’t waste our precious little time on our differences! We spend it as a family, enjoying being together.
This has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through, but looking back over the last nearly 3 years, I am grateful for having gone through it. I have experience God moving in my life and meeting me in the depths of the pain in ways I would have never known in smooth sailing.
I have learned to let go of every need and expectation of what I thought a husband should be, and have begun to find these things in God alone. God is my constant companion. He is my provision, protector, one true lover of my soul.
It has also challenged me to seek out for myself what the scriptures really say about grace and the law.
I began to question things that I had learned in churches my whole life. And I have come away with a greater understanding that my salvation is in no way purchased or maintained by any doing of my own good works.
Much of what I believed before, was grace+works. That I was saved by the blood of Christ, but then my standing with the Father had everything to do with how good I was….how well I performed all the “dos” and kept from the “don’ts”. When I was disciplined with my Bible study time and prayer, surely God was in heaven smiling down on me. But when I lost my patience with one of the kids, I was on the Holy time-out chair.
My worth in my own eyes was directly tied to believing “do good, get good….do bad, get bad.”
Focusing on our own behavior will always puff us up when we think we’re doing pretty good, or condemn us when we know we’re not.
When I was challenged into digging deeper in the Word, and realized exactly what the finished work of Christ has done for me, I found a deeper level of freedom and joy in the Lord than I have ever known.
God is pleased with me because of Jesus!
And the blessings of Abraham are mine by faith!
I don’t have to earn my right relationship with the Father. It is a done deal, sealed with the Holy Spirit. What freedom – to seek the Father when the fear of punishment or disapproval is gone! Thank you HRM!! Haha
I don’t know why God has allowed this journey for us, but I do know that it has worked for my good. And I have faith that my husband is going to find this same freedom, in the timing and work of the Holy Spirit.
I know my husband was truly seeking for “more” when he stumbled into HRM, and still has a deep hunger for the Lord. I believe many in the HRM are sincerely seeking to go deeper in God, which is a target on their backs for the enemy of their souls, to come and try his best to render them useless to the Kingdom of God.
Those still seeking will eventually come to the truth. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; He will not lose any of his sheep. If your spouse is seeking Truth, s(he) will not find what they are looking for in HRM, and they WILL eventually come away empty from it. I take great comfort in this.
In the waiting, I am learning that He truly is all that I need, and He will never leave or forsake His own. Blessings to everyone reading this who is on this same journey.
Hold fast to Jesus! In a little while …
This account will also appear on the Testimonies Page. Many thanks to the above author for sharing with us her experiences, heart, and God’s faithfulness in her circumstances. I pray for her family as well as the others who are out there affected by the HRM belief system. You are not alone!
If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HRM), or a testimony about walking in relationship with someone who is in the HRM, please email me at joyfullygrowingingrace at gmail dot com. From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience. Many thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to contribute here.
Other articles of interest:
- Millennial Prophecy – Measuring Unrevealed Prophecies in Light of Revealed Truths
- Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley
- The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended
- Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ?
- 12 Undeniable Truths That Drive Law ‘Keepers’ Crazy
If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE. For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page. General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE. Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE. Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable. May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.
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