For almost sixty days I waited in jail. During that time, I met various people that I was able to share my faith with, but by the time I emerged from jail, after two long months of virtual non-stop living in a cement block, I had never been so grateful for freedom.
I remember that early summer evening so well. The sky, a pink gauze, painted with just a few threads of wispy clouds, yawned so wide above me. I walked down a quiet street leading away from the jail, and the air seemed so still, so incredibly peaceful. A few birds chirped, and I silently thanked Yah for pulling me through that adversity.
A half hour later, my landlord, Michael, picked me up and treated me to a nice dinner.
I had become utterly convinced that Annika had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, that there was no chance for her to repent. But, upon retrospect, I think perhaps this was just my only way of dealing with the incredible pain that wracked my heart.
Cut off from my children, I would now need to go through the long process of filing court hearings just so that I could be able to see them. When Annika had divorced me, I had not considered custody to be a high priority because I was certain that we were eventually going to work things out and custody would become a moot point. I knew the task was going to be even harder now that I had this arrest on my record for violating the restraining order.
So now I entered a period of months in which a protective shell grew over my heart. All I knew was I needed to fight for my children. Somehow, amazingly and miraculously, Yah sustained me through this time. While I was saddened by not seeing my children, I was not reduced to sobbing grief, because it was as if Yah had shut off a part of my heart. I think this was His way of protecting me. Along with this shutting off of my heart, I nurtured the conviction that Annika had completely and totally turned away from Yah, and that reconciliation would be impossible. However, little did I know, this self-protective belief would begin to change . . .
* * *
During the latter half of 2009, any form of ministry completely ground to a halt. I had been cut off from my children, lost my wife, and had no money to hire a lawyer. I was certainly not depressed -- in fact I would say Yah helped keep me going with a supernaturally driven optimism, but to do any form of ministry seemed too awesome a job at the time.
Tabernacles of 2009 would lay the foundation for a coming change.
I had spent the summer filing a no-cause order to try and get some sort of custody of my children, only to find out, after waiting a couple months for the hearing, that I could not legally seek custody while a restraining order was in place. So now I had to file a new court order, one to modify the restraining order, just so I could see the children.
Tabernacles of 2009 was a welcome selah from this seemingly never-ending battle. Michael Rood, for the first time, was holding a large celebration at the Canby campgrounds just south of Portland.
The fresh green pine needles, the surprisingly good weather, the hours of teaching, dancing, singing and feasting -- it was exactly what my soul needed. I had never attended a Sukkot celebration so large -- over 300 believers, like minded in so many ways.
About a week after this celebration, still stoked by the spiritual renewal the feast provided, I signed up to join an online forum that Rood had on his website. At first I remained quiet, mainly just browsing what others had to contribute.
As Hannukah of 2009 approached, some friends that I had met at the Sukkot celebration invited me out to the coast. The husband and wife owned a quaint costal restaurant consisting of an art gallery on one end, and the actual eatery on the other.
Always loving a time at the coast, I was blown away by the immense glassed wall of the restaurant that provided a sweeping view of the water. On that Hannukah evening, the last of the red sun dipped below the rim of the Pacific Ocean, turning the waters into a cauldron of fire. It was one of those rare times the sun made its appearance during the stormy winter season.
After lighting the menorahs, we had a festive meal. We had also hooked up a stereo system into a computer so that we could watch Michael Rood’s Hannukah presentation.
But even as a fresh rain storm began to howl outside, a storm of a different kind began to swell on the online forum.
For several weeks, I had silently watched one person after another voice a distrust of Apostle Paul. Although I knew the moderators of the forum avidly supported Apostle Paul, it seemed this did little to silence his critics.
Then, one morning, a young woman posted on the forum that she did not even think a Messiah was needed for salvation. That the Torah, and its blood sacrifices, were enough to atone for sin. The forum seemed strangely quiet in light of the post.
A fire burned deep within me -- a familiar fire of fighting for the Truth -- and though many months of ministry silence had filled my life -- I had to speak up. This was an outrage.
I posted a short, fiery, to the point article that demanded to know why a forum, in which the Saints were supposed to find like minded fellowship and support, had to tolerate such anti-Messiah and anti-Paul drivel. The post caused howls of protest from some on the forum who thought my words were too biting. But the moderators left my post untouched for about 3 days. Eventually they removed my post and the anti-Messiah drivel. But they also established new guidelines, emphatically stressing that anti-Messiah and anti-Paul sentiments were not welcome on the forum.
Elated, fired up for the Truth, I returned back to Portland with a renewed sense of direction. Maybe Satan had taken almost everything away from me. But now it was time to fight back. And fight hard.
As 2010 dawned, I made a vow to YHVH. I told Him that from January until the end of the Spring quarter, I would go down to PSU once a week -- every Wednesday, to open air preach -- come rain or shine.
My second time back at PSU, the soggy sky soaking me in rain, I preached my heart out only for a disgruntled student to punch me in the back of my head. As soon as I hit the pavement, a holy surge of the Ruach filled me, and I jumped to my feet, declaring to the student that I loved him and he needed to give his heart to YahShua.
The man smirked at me, laughed and said sarcastically, “I love you too.”
“No, you don’t know what love is,” I said and began preaching on the true nature of Yahweh’s love -- that it always seeks to give without expecting anything in return.
Dizzy and my head aching, I posted a report of the preaching on the online forum, and several started praying for me. As I drove home, the pain literally lifted right off my head, and I was completely healed. That night, I sat down at my computer, and I noticed somebody had posted a youtube on the forum for me with the simple words -- “Daniel, Yah put in my heart to send a blessing for you.”
The youtube was called “We are the Followers of Elohim” and can be found at this link:
As I watched that video, the Spirit powerfully ministered to me, encouraging me as I had never been encouraged before.
I would later discover that a woman named Anca had posted the youtube. Anca and her husband had been actively following my preaching reports and were very edified by the ministry Yah had given me.
The following week, weary after a day of preaching, I heard this incredibly piercing song on the radio called, “Love Never Fails”. I posted the song on the forum. Anca, while praying for a breakthrough in her own life, heard those very same words. Another poster, seeing the song I had posted, confirmed that Yah had spoken to his heart as well. In the coming months, this theme -- “Love Never Fails” -- would eventually inspire me to write this book.
The last gift I had given my wife before the divorce was a simple, rugged granite sign, etched with the words from I Corinthians 13 -- that love never fails. Now, Yah was bringing this back to my heart and mind in a powerful way.
Over the next several weeks, I would call Anca and her husband every other night, as Yah began to knit our hearts together.
Right around the same time, I finally had a major breakthrough in court. After having been cut off from my children for almost a year, I was going to be able to see them again.
As my six children stepped into the room, their bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks and infectious smiles filled my world. In a rush of emotion, I fiercely hugged them, tears rolling down my eyes. For months Yah had shut down a part of my heart -- but now it was fully unplugged, raw, and wonderful.
How can I describe this single-most happiest day of my life? I think, in some small way, I experienced what YahShua will feel when He at last returns for His Bride. I could not hold back my tears or my laughter -- all I knew was I could now be with my children, and everything seemed right with the world.
I presented to my children these six poems to express how much I had missed them:
Isaiah Matthew Lee
How I have missed you so
Your blonde hair
Your wide grin
That glitter in your beautiful eyes
Yah bless you, my oldest son
For I know He watches you every day
Stay true to His Word
And Yah will always be close
Wrestling with you on the bed
I’ve missed these many many months
But now we get to play again
And laugh and hug and jump
You are not just a son to me
You are my friend
Isaiah Matthew Lee
Although your small (not so small are you anymore, eh?
Yah hears your call
Isaiah Matthew Lee!
Elijah Thomas Lee
Elijah, my beautiful son!
With your wonderful curly hair!
How I miss your paintings and drawings
I want to see the creative things you do!
I still have your drawings on my wall
That you gave me long ago
Fun filled Elijah!
I know how you love to play the plant game!
Remember plant hands?
Plants hands, plant hands
Tiny little plant hands,
Eat you up, yum yum yum!
We will play this again
What fun we will have
I love you so much
My tender little Elijah
Miriam Abigail Lee
My beautiful oldest girl!
Your wide blue eyes
Your big big smile!
How I love you so much!
When I tickle you
Your laugh is so wondrous!
And your hands around my neck
Fill me with such joy!
Miriam, my princess
You are so sweet
I remember when you
Would always want to clean dishes
What help you always are
We would play the game
Where I would hold you high
Your long hair flying!
My sweet Miriam
I love you so!
Naomi Priscilla Lee
Dada loves you so!
My little ballerina
And dancer too!
I held you so long
In my arms where you were a baby
Or as you say – bebe!
Your curly dark hair
Your round blue eyes
How gorgeous you are to me!
I know you like to play the V game
Remember how that went?
Rocking back and forth
And hugging you with all my might
Naomi, my little girl
I love you so
So glad I can see you
And hold you again!
Malachi James Lee
How I love your red hair!
Your wide grin
Oh, I love your twinkle and joy!
My dapper little man
What joy it is to hug you
And hold you high in my arms
When you would say, “Dada!”
How my heart would leap!
You make me so happy
Just to hear your precious voice
I love you my Malachi
Love you so much
My small little boy
Who has a big big heart
And a bigger love even than that!
Simon Timothy Lee
My little baby!
How precious you are!
I was there when you were born
And what a small, tender man you were!
I know you’ve grown a lot
Since I’ve seen you last
But I can’t wait to hold you, love you and snuggle
Tickle your belly and cradle you close
When I knew you would be born
I was so happy and filled with joy
For child number 6
Means there is still room for more!
You have so many brothers and sisters
To watch over you now
But now I’m so glad
Your Dada can be with you again!
I love you Simon
And when you can read this for yourself
I will hug you close
And hold you dear
As Spring of 2010 began, Anca and her husband, who had become a virtual family to me, asked if I would be willing to fly out to eastern Canada and teach them how to keep Passover. I told them I would be thrilled to have such an honor.
But now I must take a break in the narrative. Because, as I mentioned earlier, something very fundamental was beginning to change in my heart.
This couple from eastern Canada, whom Yah had so unexpectedly brought into my life, questioned whether or not Annika had really blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and challenged me with one very simple resolution -- why not pray for her to completely surrender to the Messiah, and for a full reconciliation of the family?
Seeing all that Yah had been doing in setting my life ablaze for His glory, I knew that what I had previously seen as impossible, was definitely possible for the One who had died for me.
But in praying for such a thing, something I had completely shut my heart against for over a year, the pain and heart-ache would also return. It is, after all, much easier to close off your heart, then to open it up once again to both love and hurt.
But this time it was different.
This time, I was not alone.
For Yah had sent me a spiritual family who lived a continent away to bear with me in my burdens.
And into the brightest days of my life, did I enter.