The man who finds a wife finds a treasure,
and he receives favor from the Lord. – Provs. 18:22, NLT

The above verse is an incredible reality that intensifies in its manifestation to and for me each day I am married to Mrs. Patricia K Butler. There are many ways my wife has proven to be a treasure gift from Heaven sent to me and as such the presence of God’s loving favor in my life. I could not begin to enumerate everything in this post. Furthermore it would take many posts. However, I would like to share something with you about the way my wife has been a divine treasure and God’s expression of His favor in and on my life. I pray this encourages people in every relational stage (and other stages too) of life, but especially those of you who are, were and desiring to be married, and those of you dealing with the sandpaper side of the refinement of purpose and destiny. Let me caution you. This may be a little too transparent for some tastes. However, it’s difficult for you to identify with the validity of my victory when you cannot verify how I overcame the victimization that preceded it. So here it is…

December 2, 2012, I went into a financial wilderness. I lost 95% of my income in obedience to the will of God for the church I have been privileged to pioneer and pastor. For 12 years, our church had been meeting in the afternoons, subletting from another church. In the beginning of 2012, God made it apparent that if we were going to get to the next level, we would have to move to a morning slot for our Sunday Worship Encounter. So, I began to diligently search for a place for us to move to. Simultaneously, I also began to search for a different source of income. You see, my source of income was derived from having the privilege of working on Sunday mornings. Consequently, if we are meeting Sunday mornings, then I would not be able to continue working Sunday mornings and shepherd the Lord’s flock with regards to the ministry of the Word. So, while I was looking for a new location, I was also looking for a new source of income because I saw the handwriting on the wall. Well, we found a location the end of the summer (our present location) and negotiated to begin meeting there in December. However, I still had not found the replacement source of income. I LOOKED EVERYWHERE AND AT EVERYTHING, INCLUDING MENIAL JOBS. BUT NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, CAME THROUGH. Relocation day came and our church moved and had its first-ever Sunday Morning Worship Encounter. But that income WAS GONE. 1 month turned to 2; 2 to 4, 4 to 8, and then we were at 12 months where that income was not replaced. Again, I CONTINUED TO LOOK EVERYWHERE AND AT EVERYTHING INCLUDING MENIAL JOBS. NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WOULD HIRE ME. Broken and dejected, I accepted that for whatever reason, THIS WAS THE WILL OF GOD FOR MY LIFE AT THE TIME.

This kind of experience is extremely demoralizing for a man. MEN are hard-wired by God to measure our effectiveness and worth by TANGIBILITIES. The absence of a substantial physical paycheck was emotionally draining, spiritually challenging and at times painful. I put up as good as an exterior as I could but, inside I was in incredible turmoil. More months became more years. I got used to it and somewhat accepted it. And I really learned how to worship a life through it and not just sing songs of worship in it. (That’s another teaching and revelation!) Three things kept me; My sincere desire to please God (although I don’t always like what He does); a supportive church family; AND…THE ‘WORDS-ARE-NOT-GOOD-ENOUGH-TO-DESCRIBE- woman I am married to. Through this woman, Patricia K Butler, God ministered to me many days during that season. First, she took on the very arduous task of being the primary (in some instances SOLE) breadwinner of the family. Second, she never COMPLAINED, NOT ONCE. Third, she never CASTRATED ME AS A MAN AND HER HUSBAND. Whenever I would express my despondency, discouragement, disillusionment and defeat, SHE WOULD COME ALONGSIDE ME AND SAY, “OH NO BROTHER – WE ARE NOT GOING THERE. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP ON GOD AND GET US IN TROUBLE THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE. YOU ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE FOLLOWING GOD AND THAT IS OUR SAFETY ZONE. GOD’S GOT US. WE ARE NOT HOMELESS, HUNGRY NOR NAKED. I AM WITH YOU DARREN, YOU ARE A REAL MAN AND EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE.” At times I would literally be frightened. But this woman, unbeknownst to her, would encourage the fear out of me. She would do things purposely to build my manhood – I NOTICED. And she refused to let me be embarrassed or humiliated. Fourth, I experienced some physical challenges because of the stress. And guess what? SHE LOVED ME AND SUPPORTED ME THROUGH THAT TOO! Many people have walked out on their spouses for a whole lot less. BUT THIS WOMAN STAYED!

Well, the end of August, I began to see daylight at the end of the tunnel. God lifted the veto and allowed me to secure Part-time work. And then, In October, He literally sent a full-time job to look for me AND IT FOUND ME, PRAISE GOD- LOL!

Seriously though, this Thanksgiving is extremely special to me because of the joy and honor I have of celebrating it with the INDIVIDUAL who has been my BFF, confidante, encourager, advisor, supporter, and BIGGEST cheerleader even though I felt like a loser after almost 5 years of the most difficult season in my life. Babe, you are A HUGE reason why THANKSGIVING DAY is a holiday, EVERYDAY in my life. I AM SSSSOOOOO THANKFUL THAT GOD ALLOWED ME TO BE YOUR HUSBAND AND THAT HE GAVE YOU TO ME AS MY WIFE. I am praying for the continued favor of the Lord so that I can be the husband that you more than deserve. Social Media is used for a lot of interesting things. I wanted to use it to tell the world how grateful and appreciative I am to God for blessing me with you. I pledge my love to you always and forever! HAPPY THANKSGIVING SWEETNESS!

With Much Love – Your Husband,
Darren Ellis