Couple shares their story of repentence and redemption
by Larry and Jane King
God worked in miraculous ways in the lives of Larry and Jane King, pictured right, during the three years following their marriage and divorce as young adults. Taken together, these two testimonires are a story of love, repentence and restoration.
By Larry King
My high school sweetheart and I were married in 1971 and divorced 18 months later. My jealousy, anger and mistrust smothered the one I loved, and I was devastated. In an effort to run away from our failures, Jane fled, moving to Colorado and then Alaska.
Although divorced, Jane and I continued to care about one another. I received notes from her about things that were happening in her life. In her 1974 card, Jane wrote that she had given her heart to Jesus, was experiencing his love and forgiveness in her life and was attending church regularly.
Meanwhile, I was in a relationship and was trying to set my life back on track. While at my girlfriend’s parents’ home, I picked up a copy of the Living Bible and couldn't put it down. As I read, the Lord began to reveal himself to me. I soon found myself at a crossroads, knowing that I could not continue to live with my girlfriend and grow in my relationship with Jesus.
Struggling with God's direction
Jane was visiting her family in Kansas and contacted me. We met to catch up and to share what God was doing in our lives. I shared with her my desire to lead my girlfriend to the Lord and then to marry her. Jane listened, offered encouragement and returned to Alaska a few days later. But she didn't leave my heart or my mind.
In the next weeks I began to sense that the Lord wanted to restore my marriage with Jane, but I could not see how that would happen. Who in their right mind would ever walk back into a marriage that had failed? Who would again expose their heart to the nightmarish pain of going through the possibility of another divorce? We were so very different and so very wounded. I was very young in the Lord but was quickly learning that no one who wrestles with the Lord walks away without a limp. But I tried.
In my turmoil I wanted to find someone who would side with me and agree that I was free to marry my girlfriend once she gave her life to the Lord. So on a warm spring day I climbed on my Harley Davidson and rode to meet with one of my closest friends. While neither my friend nor his wife knew the Lord or his Word at this time, they knew me well and cared for my happiness. Surely I would find the answer I was looking for.
That afternoon I laid out my case as best I could. But after hearing my story and my plans my friend said to me, “You have only one problem here. The divorce was the sin—not your marriage.”
I crawled on my motorcycle and rode the whole way back home with tears in my eyes. What if Jane thought this whole thing was crazy? What if she wanted no part of it? What was God doing in my life?
Reconneting with Jane
Some 5,000 miles away Jane was waiting on the Lord for direction in her own life. She was standing in a worship service in her church in Alaska, and God spoke to her: “Go back to Kansas!”
Jane and I began to communicate and eventually told each other about our experiences and what we believed God was directing us to do. Yes, all the “what ifs” were awkward.
On June 25, 1975, I picked Jane up from the Wichita, Kan., airport and drove her to her parents’ farm where she told them what we were about to do. They were shocked. That next Saturday Jane and I were remarried in a simple ceremony with Christian friends surrounding us. What God had put together let no man put asunder.
To this day we still celebrate our anniversary on February 14, our original wedding day. We believe that God had a plan for us and it took tearing us apart and breaking our hearts to prepare us for the things to come. This February we will celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary, give or take a few years. We have raised three wonderful children and served in a pastoral role for 25 years. As for God's plan, it is still unfolding. He is not through with us yet.
Larry and Jane King attend Hillsboro (Kan.) MB Church after serving for several years as the pastoral couple of Good News Fellowship, the USMB congregation in Marion, Kan.
By Jane King
Mine is a story of repentance, forgiveness and restoration.
I was in high school in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War. My high school sweetheart was drafted and left for military training. I graduated at age 17 and went to nurses training. Some three years later we were finally together again and resumed our plans of marriage. But we found ourselves to be two very different people who had traveled down two very different paths.
In 1971 we were married after a time of separation and soul searching. The marriage that we had dreamed of for so long was an emotional disaster. After 18 months, the only thing I could think to do was run as far away as I could get. We divorced, and I became a prodigal daughter. I had been raised in a wonderful Kansas farm family and regularly attended the local Methodist church. I had loved God from an early age but didn’t see how even God could fix my broken marriage. My mother stormed the gates of heaven with prayers for her runaway daughter.
Life as a prodigal daugther
The 70s were dangerous times to run away from everything and everyone. I cut a wide swath to dull the pain in my heart, to the point of not feeling a thing. I had no fear. I felt no bonds. The Jane everyone knew as a child disappeared. I was a stranger in strange lands. I learned to manipulate my circumstances to get what I wanted or needed. I did not use drugs because as a nurse I had taken the Florence Nightingale Pledge, but the hippy world around me did.
My one saving grace was that I loved being a nurse. I worked many hours and sought knowledge and experience in the art of healing. The one person I couldn’t heal was myself. I was dying inside, and it haunted me.
Through a series of miraculous events God met me as I strained at the end of my chain. I was living near Anchorage, Alaska. Mom had stuck a Bible in my pickup before I left home. The darkness of Alaska wintertime was approaching, and I sensed I needed to do some soul searching. I felt a pull deep inside to find myself or it would be too late. I was 23 years old and empty. I was being drawn into the darkness around me. In that cabin in Alaska I reluctantly began reading the Gospels and remembered the dear stories that I learned as a child.
Overwhelmed by God's forgiveness
1 John was the book that grabbed my heart. 1 John 4 says, “He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.” I remember feeling this deep, mind-blowing revelation that God himself is love. I needed to find him to find myself, if it was not too late. I put the Bible down and walked outside.
I cried out to God that I had failed. As I looked to heaven, my protective brick walls came crashing down. Something like a bolt of light hit the top of my head and shot down through my body. I felt something warm like honey pouring through me. My heart was breaking. Stone was turned to flesh, and I took a deep breath and life literally flowed back into me. I could feel it happening!
I felt deeply convicted of my sins and confessed my rebellion and ungodly behavior. God’s forgiveness overwhelmed me and in those moments I was changed. I was so excited to feel like me again. I realized that I had been very lost and now I wasn’t. God found me! I felt new and clean. I had been given another chance. Right then and there I told the Lord that I was his now and that my steps were his — he just needed to guide me.
It was very humbling. Psalm 51:17 says: “True sacrifice to God is a broken spirit. A broken and chastened heart, God… you will not despise.” He wanted me to lay down my strong will and turn to him. Thankfully I chose to turn! I deserved a hammer from God, but I received gentle kindness and forgiveness.
This encounter was a major turning point in my life. I did a 180-degree turn and never looked back. I broke off friendships, moved to an apartment in town, started dressing appropriately and waited for divine direction.
The journey to restoration
The Lord led me to a great church in Anchorage filled with people who sought God and helped me learn and grow. I submitted myself to godly counsel and accountability and to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I spent much time in the Word, and it became a foundation for the rest of my life. I could write a book describing the many miracles that happened in that next year. One miracle was reconnecting with my ex-husband who was also being drawn to the Lord in his own set of complicated circumstances.
The rest of my story is one of restoration. It was a journey of long-needed inner healing. I needed to be restored to my parents, my family, my roots and myself. After three and a half years of being apart, my husband and I followed the Lord’s leading and remarried. This time instead of growing apart, we were growing together as broken vessels to be used for God’s service.
Life is not always easy and the road to righteousness is narrow. As problems arise, Larry and I meet at the foot of the cross. Many, many times I have had to say, “What would Jesus do?” Being in the center of God’s will is our common denominator. We have learned to trust and obey, sometimes the hard way. We have raised three incredible kids and have eight grandchildren. As we approach retirement, we continue to marvel at God’s goodness and grace.
Larry and Jane King attend Hillsboro (Kan.) MB Church and served for several years as the pastorl couple of Good News Fellowship, the USMB congregation in Marion, Kan.
Larry's testimony was printed in the July/Aug 2016 issue and was originally published in the HMBC newsletter. Jane tells her story in this online testimony based on the testimony she shared Easter Sunday 2016.