Manuela Dieleman

Utrecht, Netherlands

Jesus found me


Loving Jesus – cost and joy

My very first memory is how I loved Jesus. At that time I was about 3 years old. Thank You, Father, you have drawn me to You and Your Son from my mother's womb! I had a picture of Him, with children in His lap. Oh, how I longed to sit there also!

My father was preacher in a strict reformed church; he died when I was 11. He loved Jesus too, but most of the other preachers of his denomination were more dogmatic. I prayed a lot te be sure to have this exceptional, real fath. "Be aware you may betray yourself!"

At the age of 21 I married a boy of 23 and the Lord gave us three sons and three daughters in twelve years time. How I felt blessed! And how I enjoyed to make sure everyone was happy and well each day! But sometimes I wondered if I did not love my husband more dearly than Jesus….

And after fifteen happy years my husband became mentally ill. He started to abuse me day after day and so put a heavy yoke on our once happy family. I prayed and prayed, but during the years it became worse and worse… He had two personalities: on the one hand (outside the house) he was a believing, nice and sensitive man, on the other (at home) he was a lying, humiliating, scoffing and hitting tyrant. Especially when the love and comfort of the Lord made me glad, he became furious. Apart from my children only God knew my sufferings during ten terrible years. And how the Lord sustained me! In the dark of pain and loneliness the love of Jesus was as a shining light. He even once came down to strengthen me!

At the end, when I was suffering of several physical problems because of the stress, the almighty Lord provided a full time teaching job and made me to leave the house during the day. He gave me all the strength I needed for it! And a few time later He even provided another house! Here I and my two youngest children, who were still at home, finally found peace.

Now I lived separated from my husband – "separated from table and bed" – and I hoped and prayed he would become aware of his behaviour and be sorry. But the opposite happened. He told me: "I will cause your entire family to hate you" and though I thought my mother, brothers and sisters loved me, it happened. Nearly nobody came to visit us, during seven long and hard years. Nearly nobody called for my birthday or sent a Christmas card back. It was so grieving! And to my great dismay the same happened with all our friends. They believed everything my husband told them.

But again the love of Jesus was my strength and light. How I cherished His loving words! He really is the bright Morningstar in a total black sky!  And how faithful our heavenly Father cares and the Holy Spirit comforts! In Dutch we sing: "Gods goedheid gaat het al te boven." ("God's goodness goes beyond all grief.") That's true!  And also the children I was teaching were a joy to me.

After two years with the three of us, the Lord told me to go to Jerusalem, to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This first time my second son also agreed to go with us. And from that time on Israel became my own dear destination every holiday during five years. I was "comforted in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 66:13).

My husband divorced me, without my support, and my children, who were all grown-ups at this time, cared for their dad. I felt so abandoned! But then the Lord made it possible for me to leave Holland and to move to Jerusalem, to start a Dutch school there, in the holy city! How wonderful He acts!

For twelve years I lived in this beautiful place. My heavenly Father made me so happy! He really gave me 100% in return for all the sorrow I had suffered because of my love for Jesus!

At the age of 65 however I had to go back to Holland. How faithful the Lord once more provided for me! We don't trust Him in vain! Again I had to leave my furniture and most of my belongings behind to go to an empty house. But friends that were going to stay in Israel gave me half of their things. So I was able to set up house in Holland again.

Yeshua, You are really alive and I am so thankful You died for my sins and in this way made it possible for me to receive God's blessings!

During my stay in Jerusalem my ex-husband died and slowly my children one by one started to respond in a nice way to my love. The last time I returned from Israel thy welcomed me at the airport and the next year they visited me on my birthday.     

Recently my mother passed away and during this process the Lord gave me better relations again with most of my brothers and sisters. How extremely faithful is our Lord! Not one of His good promises fail!                         

Still a short period and I will see Jesus and with Him I will be in the presence of our dear Father, who lifts me up everytime when I am a bit sad and who loves me with everlasting love. How I long to sit at the feet of Yeshua, to look upon His face, to hear His words and to make music and sing for ever and ever!

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