A New Year’s Eve Wedding

By P. J. Stratton

Happy New Year, 2024!
Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
What a fast year 2023 has been as it breezed by us leaving lots of adversity in its wake, however, here in North Texas we continue to believe Yeshua for His good gifts always.

Growing up in Texas, I recall very few times that it actually snowed during the holidays. Every year it was certainly hoped for to see the beauty of the white snow-covered blanket over the landscapes and softly draping the trees. We also wanted to have snowball fights, but seldom did the weather cooperate in Texas.
We were well informed by viewing the daily newscasts, on three TV channels back then, of the snowing blizzards going on in the Northeast. That’s not to say we didn’t have ice storms in January or February which shut the entire DFW metropolis down and we were thrilled to stay home from school, warming ourselves in front of a crackling fireplace with hot chocolate in hand.

For many of us the holidays may represent a romantic time complete with singing Christmas carols, playing in the snow, and jingle bells all the way. In many Hollywood movies the holidays featured our favorite film stars in romantic weddings or eloping on New Year’s Eve. Not to mention, all the fairy tales of Cinderella and Prince Charming kissing at the stroke of midnight.
Speaking of a New Year’s Eve wedding scenario, my last wedding was one of those ‘romantic notions'. I had met a distinguished gentleman and fellow student at Rhema Bible College in Broken Arrow, OK. He was from Winter Park, Florida where he had been a successful commercial portrait and bridal photographer.
We had much in common since we were both students, born-again Christians, enjoyed sports, films, and cooking. He was extremely witty, fun to be around and very easy on the eyes. However, his main focus when I met him was going to school and raising his two teenage children. He had been their primary parent since they were toddlers and there appeared to be no room for anyone else! I was viewed as an intruder by his kids, and they were sabotaging me by being manipulative and untruthful. I was wondering if this would every change. After four years of more tears than joy and continual on and off with him, I finally ended the relationship and moved back to Texas. He and his children moved back to Florida and that was that. I was so relieved to be free of these shackles and to see what Yeshua had for me in future ministry! I built a new life and loved every minute of it.

Six months later, he called my mom out of the blue in Texas and left a message for me to call. I should have thrown it away; however, my curiosity got the best of me. He repented for how he treated me, invited me to spend Christmas in Winter Park and refused to take no for an answer. Before I knew what was happening, I was on a plane to Florida.
He proposed on Christmas Eve and insisted I stay in Florida until we were married. In other words, he wouldn’t allow me leave town until we were. At the time, I had lingering doubts he had truly changed his dominating and controlling misogynistic behavior because he was holding my hostage! His father was Russian and Hungarian; his mother was French and Canadian bloodline, so he had a quick trigger, hot temper and a was a very sharp-tongued man! He was also a very sharp dressed man, so appearances were quite deceiving.
Since we began dating in Summer 1991, my parents, sons, close friends and ministry counsel did not like this man and cautioned me against marrying him. In fact, one particular prophetic word emphasized I would die. More about that later.
He appeared to be sincere in his 'change', professing love for me and wanted to make things right with God by marrying me. I said yes and he called his Pastor, a renowned Grammy award-winning artist and songwriter, to marry us at his New Years Eve church service. As our wedding day approached things were calm with him and he was attentive to his fiancée', so I remained focused on preparing for our wedding.

New Year's Eve arrived and so did we to the church. During the service we waited in an adjoining room dressed to the nines, until it was our time to walk down the aisle. Our cue was when Pastor Clint told our story to the congregation and called us to the altar for a surprise wedding.
I had a bright idea to marry at the stroke of midnight and we did just that in front of the church choir, a huge audience and television cameras capturing our entire wedding memory on film.
This wedding was a romantic dream most girls imagine but as the reality unfolded before my eyes it became surreal and deep down in my heart, I felt like I should be a bolt of lightning out of there and run to Texas in a blaze of glory. To bolt while walking down the aisle, would cause embarrassment and rage in every relationship present, so I journeyed on hoping and praying this was truly God's will. It was a lovely evening filled with love, candles, well wishes and a Happy New Year 1997.
After the wedding, we held our wedding reception in his home that his mother had gifted him many years before with his grown children and mother and stepfather present. His mother’s wedding gift to us was a Honeymoon at the Hilton Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. We truly enjoyed a relaxing week of sun, sand and surf with our dog, Rocky. As we were leaving our hotel to return to Winter Park, Florida, the actor Lee Majors walked in. It’s a very small world indeed.
As the proverbial dust settled and reality set in, my husband refused to get a job or rebuild his fantastic photography business and said he was called to be a Pastor. Then he began to pressure me to hand over all my financial assets. It was quite a fight, but I held my ground and refused. This was a warning shot!
He went to his mom for financial support so he could start a church and began to hold church services in our living room with the four of us: him, me and his two teenage children. Two weeks later he verbally and physically abused me in front of his children. I was considered his property now that we were married. As his wife, I was silenced and relegated to a chair. He was not going to allow his wife to fulfill her calling as an evangelist or outshine him (in his mind) under the anointing. I was to cook, clean and do his bidding under all circumstances.
Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverences her husband.
My husband was a truly gifted man, but it became apparent he preferred to siphon from his inheritance to bring a pastoral goal to pass. His grandfather had founded a prestigious financial services company in the Northeast. By 1997 his mother's portfolio was valued at four million, so her children and their children pulled on her heart strings for their college educations, cars and homes. She wanted to give them a good start in life, but in actuality she was spoiling them into entitlement. I didn't care who his grandfather or mother were because my concern was building a happy Christian marriage and ministry.
Revelation 14:15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, thrust in thy sickle, and reap for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
While my husband was comfortable from his mother's allowance, he refused to support his wife. I obtained a position with a well-known ministry as Product Purchasing Manager over 800 products and its components, handled all the international shipping of products to and from every ministry conference, and functioned as liaison to foreign ministry offices in Canada, London and Australia.
My husband was off the rails mad if I wasn't home fifteen minutes after five o'clock and he had no sympathy for the mental stress I was enduring. I loved my work although it was a three-person job I was doing alone and quite a pressure cooker of internal politics. My managerial position was important to the ministry which included weekly meetings with chief executives and its ministry head. I was alone in this spiritual fight at work while my husband began to heap more at home by terrorizing me with jealousy, criticism and threats. It didn't help he was charging me rent and utilities to live in the home his mother had given him!

By the end of the year, I was laid off from my job and my marriage was in shreds. Three weeks before our first anniversary, my husband threw me out of our home at midnight because I refused to be raped by him. (There it is again!) Here I was, an abused wife, unemployed and homeless fifteen hundred miles from my family and had no friends in Orlando.
But God! Yeshua showed up and began putting things into place for me. An acquaintance took me in, I secured a job to support myself, a wonderful ministry to receive counseling for the marital abuse, and found a studio to live in. There was light at the end of tunnel until the looming shadow of my abusive husband showed up trying to get his 'property' back. He agreed to get counseling at the ministry I was working at, but the Ph.D.'s there gave little hope our marriage could be saved with his selfish, misogynist, narcissistic and egotistical mindset.

I tried everything in my power to save my marriage until he spit in my face and called me a four-letter word in my home. The night before he showed up at my work and grabbed my arm to force his estranged 'wife' out of the building. He had behaved the same way at the ministry I worked as an event coordinator. Our staff was working until midnight the night before one of our annual banquets and he showed up screaming for his wife to get home.
What is it about the hour of midnight which provokes the enemy to strike? I had enough of this stranglehold and made plans to escape back home to Texas. My husband was angry when he found I was gone for good and could no longer abuse me verbally, physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually.
He showed up a year later in divorce court and attempted to badger the Judge, who put him in his place right away. I loved seeing someone intercede on my behalf to prevent his bullying. That was twenty years ago and since then neither one of us has remarried. His mother passed away in 2017 leaving her high seven-figure portfolio of stocks, investment properties and cash to him and his sister who now have to tolerate each other (after a lifelong rivalry). Yeshua has a great sense of humor!
Several years ago, I read his testimony of literally dodging bullets one night after Sunday evening church services. Two men broke through a screen door, robbing him and a parishioner at gunpoint, then smashing brass knuckles into their faces and shooting at them.  Bullets careened through the air and by the grace of God no one was seriously hurt. The other man's wife had been under a blanket on the sofa and was shaken but unharmed. Had I remained married to my husband, I would have been at the table and the one shot. Praise Yeshua for His amazing grace and the confirming prophetic words from Christian men and women in 1991! Remember, it's better to obey than sacrifice!
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Yes, I will always cherish the memory of my romantic New Year's Eve wedding to my Prince Charming at the stroke of midnight. I pray for Yeshua to forgive him for smashing my glass slippers. But it was a glorious and beautiful New Years Eve wedding and I praise Him to be alive!
In His Love, Pamela Jean
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1. Listen to the Holy Spirit, your gut feelings and the wise counsel to whom you are accountable. If your parents, family, friends, pastoral or doctoral counsel do not like your prospective mate. LISTEN! Do not wait until the stroke of midnight to wake up!
2. If a man or woman abuses you in a friendship or dating situation, they will continue this behavior into a marriage relationship. Do not be deceived or jeopardize your future children's safety/well-being with your choices. A marital abuser will terrorize your children.
3. Ask Yeshua for forgiveness and forgive yourself for falling for an abuser, narcistic, sociopath or misogynist. Remember, even Eve was lured by satan in the Garden of Eden. Believing the best in your mate or that Yeshua will deliver them is foolish. Our Heavenly Father gives good gifts to His children always. Never will He give you an unbelieving abuser.
4. If you are currently in a relationship with an abuser and need help, seek counsel asap!