Today’s episode touches our heart for a plethora of reasons. This first time Kait heard the story of today’s guests she was brought to total and complete tears. It moved Kait so deeply the vast amount of trauma they had been through but were able to OVERCOME
So today Kait interviews the amazing Gerard and Jeannie Long. Gerard has an extensive banking career background that eventually led him to actually leaving this career to join ALPHA USA. He is married to the lovely Jeannie and together they live in Malibu.
They also recently launched the TRIUMPH FOR MARRIAGE COURSR which is an e-learning course strengthening couples. It’s SO AMAZING and powerful.
Gerard and Jeannie have an incredible story of devastation, heartbreak, grief and then restoration and HOPE and love. Today they share about their tragically beautiful story and how they conquered it together with ultimate LOVE and SACRIFICE and SURRENDER through overwhelming healing and STRENGTHENING from God.
Friends the reason why their message is so pivotal is that we believe this lie that relationships are about making us happy. We focus on how the other person can serve our needs and once it gets hard we often see that as a red flag and usually LEAVE for the next thing.
The fact of the matter is AND what Jeannie and Gerard’s story shows us is that life is SO much more than just being happy. The storms will come, the unexpected will happen, and at the end of the day you might be left in shambles with your spouse. This is where we have to admit that having a partner to see you through life’s biggest hardship is SO PIVOTAL.
We hope you will listen to todays episode with an open heart, the reality is LIFE will probably get ugly, and painful and hard and sometimes tragic…. so who is it you want standing by your side when that happens?
Highlights of Gerard & Jeannie's story:
- Gerard and Jeannie met in a time when they were not super close to the Lord in the UK. But in 1980 Gerard had a profound encounter with the Lord which completely shaped his life. From that moment he surrendered ALL to make God his LORD and Savior. Gerard calls it a moment of true “liquid love” that took over his heart.
- Gerard and Jeannie got married at 23 years old and at the time Gerard was a banker as he also co-led a church with Jeannie. This is when they started ALPHA in the UK.
- While this was going on they had 3 beautiful children: Rebecca, Ben and Alex who all 3 came to know Jesus.
- God made it clear to them in 2001 that they were going to move to the US which was a huge transformation for them.
- At this point in their life they were truly on the top of the mountain with life, faith, career, family… all of it seemed absolutely glorious.
- Soon after that in 2005, Gerard said “it was like Job. It was like Satan had been released on our family.” and one thing after the other in that year…
- In November 2005, their son Alex, 17 at the time, a bright brilliant athlete, was trying to help a troubled friend at school, but he ended up taking a drug with the boy which led him to committing suicide.
- At this point it was as though their world completely fell a part. Jeannie herself when from “shock to horror to anger to hatred and then to bitterness”. Their beautiful love and relationship turned to hatred and blame.
- Gerard said during this time, “I knew God was calling me to lay my life down. To love Jeannie in her brokenness and in her darkness.”… which he did.
- After this time of grieving the loss of their son Alex, it was put so clearly on Gerard’s heart to start leading ALPHA USA, as he felt a clear call to help save souls. Alpha is a safe place to help people have open dialogue about the questions they have about faith and Jesus.
- Their daughter Rebecca joined Gerard on this mission to lead Alpha and they even had many opportunities to join together in speaking.
- On the 7th of May 2014 Rebecca went on a run one morning in Chicago, she went down to the lake to cool off, she had blood sugar issues and they think she may have fainted. She fell into the lake and she could not get out to where she had fallen in. The water was 37 degrees… and though people called for help Rebecca ended up tragically drowning.
- Jeannie shares that in this time of grief she had an encounter with God that changed her life. She at the time became suicidal and in her encounter with God her heart was filled with SO MUCH JOY that she was able to see clearly the spiritual battle that we are in.
How did you make it through?
- Jeannie really talks about the fact that Gerard truly put God FIRST during this time through his example of sacrificial love.
- She said, “A wise woman who puts God first. Who puts God before them.”
- Gerard says when we live for the ways of Jesus and the storms come, it was the foundation of God’s promises that they could cling to in the brokenness to give him NEW and FRESH love that was unending. He says, "i was an agape love that he was giving to me that I could then pass on to Jeannie",
- You cannot do this in your natural love, it is only by supernatural love and holding truly on God’s promises.
- Gerard saysm "Character and a person of God is of much greater value than just someone you are attracted to.”
- We must BUILD on solid rock. Even if that means waiting we should wait to build on solid rock than have a relationship NOT build on that solid rock.
- Sacrificial love COSTS. If you want to follow Jesus you must take up your cross DAILY.
How do we practically be MORE sacrificial to one another in relationships?
- The FIRST question we should ask when coming into dating is “Lord what do YOU want?” This means putting yourself OUT of the ask and asking what God wants first and that means thinking how can I bless my partner? There will be times where it will be uncomfortable, but you have to put yourself out… that is the WAY of the Kingdom of God.
- We have to come back to and learn about the THRONE of grace. In brokenness we can offload our pain and suffering and truly come to this THRONE OF GRACE. In doing so, God gives us His life and His love. It is a beautiful transfer that happens.
- Gerard says, “He will give us more LOVE, more strength, more wisdom more strength… whatever you need to do His will. That is what Grace is."
You mention that “you don’t believe anything is random anymore”, why is that?
- Jeannie references Psalm 139 and how our time is IN God’s hands. Jeannie speaks about the fact that God is TRULY over our lives “he is pruning us and drawing us in onto himself.” He is close to the brokenhearted and goes BEFORE US to know exactly the plans.
What is your final nugget of dating advice?
- The two of them stress that it is WORTH waiting until you find someone.
- We are written into God’s story and in that story is great joy and great peace and great love. Don’t go off on your own script, KEEP PATIENT. Make sure you make the most of what God is saying to you by not being DISTRACTED. He wants us to be faithful in every season to what He wants to show us and what He has ultimately planned for us.
Join Gerard and Jeannie's Triump for MARRIAGE course HERE.
Follow Gerard & Jeannie's journey on Instagram HERE.