How Holy Spirit Brought Karen Wheaton’s Prodigal Daughter Back Home
By Larry Sparks for Charisma Magazine
This is one of the most powerful miracle testimonies I’ve ever followed. It’s especially powerful to me because I know many of the key parties involved—namely, Karen Wheaton, the mother of the author, Lindsey Wheaton-Doss.
I share this on my blog because I believe Lindsey’s story carries an impartation for hope and supernatural breakthrough. Read her words carefully. I encourage you to pick up her new book, The Way Home. I believe there’s a powerful anointing on her story. She doesn’t try to clean things up, sanitizing the testimony. It’s real, raw and highly relatable to any reader who: 1) is praying for a family member, spouse or child to come back to the Lord or 2) who is currently in the same place Lindsey was in, under the tyranny of the enemy’s lies and accusations.
Lindsey Doss is the real deal. I wholeheartedly endorse her and her story, once again emphasizing that there is an impartation of breakthrough on this. The key is letting it get into your spirit and compel you to believe that if God could supernaturally transform Lindsey’s life and marriage, He can do the same for you!
Finding My Way Home
by Lindsey Doss
I Hated Divorce
Divorce was not on the agenda when I said, “I do.”
After all, I hated divorce more than anyone. It destroyed my family as a child, and I was determined to never take the same path.
However, life does not always turn out as planned.
Most stories of divorce and restoration are told from the pen of the hero. My story is different. It is told from the heart of the villain.
I was that villain.
I was the one who destroyed my marriage, and I was also the one who had to try to find my way back home before it was too late.
I was raised in church my entire life. My family had faithfully served God for generations. My mother, Karen Wheaton, is a world-renowned gospel singer who has ministered to hundreds of thousands of people, and I will never forget the example of righteousness she set for my sister and me. I married my husband, Casey, when I was 18 years old, on Valentine’s Day, 2005. The following years included us bringing our two beautiful daughters into the world. Life was perfect. Casey served in a pastoral leadership role for The Ramp, and I was in charge of the performing arts department. The future seemed so bright.
The Breaking Point
However, regardless of my godly upbringing and our picture-perfect marriage, there was a monster lurking deep within me. Growing up in a home without a father leaves an open wound that can go unchecked for years, and you never realize it. Due to the destruction of my own family, the pain festering inside me turned into a breeding ground for disaster. I do not know if it was the responsibility I put on Casey for “healing” me or if it was an identity crisis from being a broken child with “daddy issues.” Truthfully, it was the combination of a number of things that drove me to the breaking point. Once I finally faced this conflict within myself, I decided to run as fast and hard as I could down a road I thought would lead one way, but it turned out to lead someplace radically different.
For years, I had allowed the voice of deception to slowly plant lies into my life. Those seeds established deep roots in my heart, and before I could detect the impact it was having on me, I was too far gone. Even after visiting prayer altars countless times and having these things “broken off” of me, I still clung to my pain, never allowing it to be dealt with by the only one who could really heal me: Holy Spirit.
The ‘Other Man’ and Emotional Affair
So, it was 2010 when he came into my life.
No, not Holy Spirit, but another man.
You never intend for affairs to happen. You usually do not see them coming. By the time you realize you are entangled emotionally with someone else, you are so deep you do not want out. It is the church’s way of having an affair without having an “affair.” Most people living in this type of adultery do not consider it being unfaithful. After all, they have not been intimate, right? Perhaps they have not crossed any physical lines, but their hearts are gone from their spouse, and they are longing to spend their time with someone else. They dress in ways the other person finds attractive. They talk about them constantly, act like them and are seen with them everywhere they go. You do not have to have sex to commit adultery. If you are doing something as simple as hiding and deleting text messages, you are already there. This is the emotional affair. All the warning signs were there for me and everyone saw it. Everyone except me.
For three years, Casey begged me to cut it off. For three years, I denied it was happening. But eventually, your sin will find you out. By the time my affair was exposed, I wanted out of the marriage. I knew I could not leave and people still accept me if they knew I had been the unfaithful one. So I lied and manipulated in every way I could to try and make my husband look like the one at fault. I tried my dead-level best to destroy his reputation and ministry. I stopped at nothing to make him look bad, justify the relationship I was in and walk away not only with a clean slate, but with people feeling sorry enough for me to support my horrific decision.
Deception, Decisions, Divorce, Near Destruction
Did I know I was lying about and slandering my husband while it was happening? Of course I did, the whole time. But I so desperately wanted the other relationship that I was willing to do whatever it took. I wanted to get away from all responsibility, to pursue my dreams with zero obligation, and to keep my young, single friends who constantly reassured me that “I should be free” and “God wants me to be happy above anything else.” Simply put, I wanted the affair.
So, in the spring of 2014, I left and filed for divorce. My family was shattered. I turned my back on the ministry where we were both employed, which happened to be led by my mother. Our two beautiful girls were confused, hurt and tossed back and forth between two homes. They watched on the sideline as their mother turned into a bitter, angry woman they did not know. My mother was torn between her baby girl and shielding the ministry and Casey from the torrent of lies hitting them on every side. With broken hearts, the people who loved me the most could do nothing but watch while I destroyed my life. They could do nothing but pray.
Most divorces are final after a few weeks. Ours took almost two years. During that time, I lost not only my husband, but our ministry, the adulterous relationship, my friends and more than anything, myself. I went from the free-spirited, loving, sanguine woman to a hateful, resentful, shell of who I once was. Once a passionate, godly mother, I was now spending my time in and out of bars, cities and boyfriends. Not only had I given myself away emotionally, but now also physically. I hated my life and blamed everyone else for what I had become.
As time passed, I began to realize more and more that this “freedom” I had found was not what I thought it was going to be. The sin did not satisfy anymore. Actually, it left me emptier than ever. My dreams, my family, my life—it was all gone. It was in this pigpen moment I realized something had to change. With our divorce being settled, and nothing left to do but for the judge to sign, I knew I was running out of time.
Going back home would require that I take ownership for the lies, the sin and the affairs. I would have to face my family, my husband and my failures. But after two years of pure hell, I did not care. I made up my mind. I was going home.
It was a cold, January morning in 2016 when I finally made my decision. In my tiny apartment, I felt the presence of God fill my room. I felt Him drawing me back to truth and back to Him.
“God,” I said from my small, cold bedroom full of tears and fear, “My answer is yes.”
In that one moment, with that one “yes,” everything changed. All those past hurts washed away. All the pain, all the shame, everything—it was gone. I did not know what I would happen. I did not know if Casey would even give me a second chance. Heaven knows I did not deserve one. But I was so determined to make things right that even if he said no, I determined not to quit until I got a yes. It might take a year, maybe two or maybe 50. I did not care anymore. I was going to do whatever I had to do to heal my family. The more I prayed, the more irrelevant people’s opinions became. I knew people would be angry about my lies. I knew people would look at me as “the one who cheated on her husband.” And I did not care. I was ready to take ownership and repent. I was ready to be right with God and get my life back. No matter what.
I emailed my husband, asking for a meeting and apologizing for having ever left him. I was not sure if he would respond, but to my surprise and joy, he did. Three days later, I found myself in his living room for six hours, pouring out my heart. I repented for everything. I owned everything. There was no excuse or defense I could use. I was wrong, plain and simple.
I knew he would probably not be open to restoration, in fact I had already convinced myself that would be the case. But again, I didn’t care. I was going to keep trying. To my astonishment, I was not met with “No.” Instead, it was a resounding “Yes.” I had found a love and forgiveness I did not deserve. I knew the path to winning back his trust was still ahead of me, but I was up to the challenge. I had finally found my way back home.
It has been almost two years since I returned. God is faithful, true and more than anything, He is forgiving. He redeems back exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ask, dream or imagine. I wake up every day in awe of His mercy to me.
There’s Hope for Your Turnaround
If you have found yourself in the pigpen and you are trying to get home, it starts with returning to the Father. Open your heart to truth and shut the mouth of deception. Run as fast as you can to the road of life. If you are believing for a prodigal to come home, do not give up. Please know, I cannot promise that they will return. Only God has that answer.
But can they return? Can God really reach your loved one who has become a different person right in front of your eyes? Can He still change them after everything they have done, after all the lines they have crossed, after they have said and done things you never dreamed they would say and do?
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