It was Elaine’s passion for reading the Word that first drew me into friendship with her. We met through CWO’s Facebook group and began chatting on the topic of “What have you read in the Word lately?” I discovered that when you ask Elaine Bateman that question, you always get an enthusiastic response.
As I’ve come to know this woman a little more over recent months, I’ve learned that a zeal for serving Christ is a large part–if not the entire part–of who this woman is. One other thing I’ve learned–her zeal is contagious!
I hope you enjoy getting to know this wonderful woman of faith as I have. She’s Jesus first–all else second–and she’s here to share her testimony of faith with you…
Elaine, it’s such a privilege to have you here with us this month. I’ve read your testimony before, and I’m sure that many of our readers would be interested in hearing it too. So thank you for this opportunity, of once again peering into your life.
Let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell us where you grew up?
I grew up in an American camp/base in Venezuela, South America.
How old were you when you first accepted Christ?
I was nine years old when I accepted the Lord. I truly began a relationship with my Savior later on in life.
What type of Christian upbringing did you have?
It was very conservative. I was raised in a fundamental Baptist home, with a lot of do’s and don’ts, instead of teaching a strong relationship with Jesus. I had more of a religion than a relationship.
You’ve said that at a young age, you felt called to be a missionary. What stopped you?
I felt called to be a missionary to Venezuela when I was attending Bob Jones University. At that time in my life I had just broken off an engagement. My family wasn’t in agreement with my breaking up the engagement, and so they asked different people from my church (including the Pastor) to visit me. They urged me to reconsider, and to follow my commitment of marriage. I was told even at that age what to do, so I obeyed and married at 21.
Let’s talk about your father for a minute, since he was such an important part of your life. His story is both interesting and tragic; can you tell us a bit about that?
My father was an incredible Godly man. He lived a life that honored the Lord, and will be forever in my heart and mind. My Dad sacrificed everything to make sure he was with us growing up. He played with the farm league in the Yankee’s team and later was offered to go with that team. He turned it down, because it took so much time away from us. He was very traditional. I will never forget when he took us out of a church service because the band was playing a set of drums! He was funny and was loved by many.
In 1982, after retiring from the United States government, he was working as a part time manager in a Hotel/gas station in Palmetto, GA. While working there, he was murdered by an angered ex-employee. He was shot four times.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Elaine. How have you dealt with his death?
Darlene, I don’t think you really ever deal with a dear one’s death, but rather it is a day-by-day healing by the faith and truth in my Savior, Jesus Christ. I can’t even fathom how people can handle the death of a loved one without the hope of seeing them again. I will miss my dad always but forever will have the joy and peace of reuniting with him again, soon!
In your testimony I read that you became the mother of four children. You said, “We looked like the perfect family on the outside.” What did you mean?
We looked polished on the outside. We knew the mechanics of what a “good Christian couple” should look like and act. I was stay at home mom, home schooled, and had a home daycare. I was also a deacon’s wife but something was missing in my life, and in my marriage.
You told me, “I committed the sin I said I would never do.” Please tell us about that.
I really don’t want to play the martyr here, so please understand that even if my husband didn’t show me love, or respect, or committed adultery through pornography, it didn’t give me the right to sin against my beautiful and merciful Savior.
Psalm 51:4 reads, ” Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight.”
When my husband sinned I decided to listen to outside sources, including popular talk shows. I didn’t study God’s Word to depend on it when the hard times came. This is why I am so in love with Him, and His Word, and really mentor women to read and study His Word! When you are not in His Word that is the time that Satan sends something beautiful before your eyes.
I had problems, but at this time I didn’t share them with anyone other than a “young man” that had been a friend of our family for a while. I was a very judgmental person. I knew of a young lady that had been committing adultery, and thought I’ll never do that!
Two years later I had fallen into that sin. My marriage was in shambles. I repented and was broken. I went forward in the church and asked forgiveness. Only 2 people out of 200 came and said they forgave me; others just walked out and carried on with their lives. I was humiliated and alone. My husband used that act of sin and attacked me with everyone I knew and fellowshipped with.
Where did that leave you and your children?
I needed time. I wanted professional counseling, but he said no. He used his power to tell me I had to, and will submit to him. I was frightened and lost.
My children and I found shelter in my mom’s house. I just needed a place to rest. Not searching for a divorce, but rather to get help. Two weeks later my brother had me evicted from my mom’s house, but I found a home elsewhere before the eviction happened.
How did you handle the shame and the guilt?
Romans 8:1 ” There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” I remember crying because of my sin, and I realized that my Savior is my best friend who has always been by my side. His love is unconditional and His mercy is everlasting. Our marriage failed. It was a time of sadness and pain, with the children between parents. Pride prevailed but our Savior took me by the hand and has never let go since.
When and how did you meet the wonderful man that you’re married to now?
I actually heard his testimony in a “Singles Again” service in 1994. I met him face to face in February of ’95 in the Baptist church where he mentored young men and young women. I thought I’d never marry again and had no interest, especially after realizing he had custody of his four boys.
At that time I was studying the book of Hosea, and when I heard my husband’s testimony, he reminded of Hosea. That is when I realized that I was falling in love with him.
How is this relationship different than the last?
My relationship and marriage is totally different because my relationship and commitment to my Savior is real! I love Him with all of my heart, spirit and soul. My commitment to Jesus Christ is not the relationship I had with Him before. Because of my relationship with Christ, the relationship to my beautiful husband is an indescribable durable and lasting one. This is incredible because both of us love and are commitment to Christ first, and then to each other. My previous relationship was based on rules, not love for Christ.
What has it been like being the mother of, 8 children and 7 dogs?!
We have an incredible home with his, mine, and ours. We had eight children when we first married, but since we have two more daughters and one son. We have never had a honeymoon; the day after our wedding we started our blended family.
We have acquired about ten more kids since that day in ’95. We have a home that is opened for young adults who want to change their lives for Christ. For the most part these kids have never had a godly father figure in their lives and have never experienced what a family is. We have two children that are with the Lord. Sometimes our home can be quite chaotic, but then isn’t’ our Christian walk like that sometimes? I have to run this home with a schedule and much love. Everyone works together, even helping with our 6 Jack Russells. We are a team and no one is an island to himself. The boys in our home treat the girls with much respect. It is really an incredible home with Christ in the center!
Elaine, I’d love to be the fly on the wall, it sounds like a wonderfully busy place full of love and service to God. What ministries is your family involved in?
Our whole family is involved in many aspects of ministry. We have a very unique calling. We serve the fellowship of believers. We go where we are needed. Right now our kids lead worship at Calvary Chapel. We are missionaries here in Brunswick. We have home Bible Study every night of the week. We eat together with believers and study, and reason together in Bible study.
My husband and I speak when asked too. I speak to women in conferences, retreats, or brunches. I love sharing my testimony when asked. My husband and I also do marriage counseling and mentor couples. The Lord has allowed us to comfort others, as we were comforted in our time of need. Our ministry really began in our home and is extended into our city! It is amazing to see what our Savior is doing!
While my husband is teaching men, I am teaching women how to be Godly and use the beauty the Lord has given them from the inside out–1 Peter 3. I also use Ruth, and Esther to mentor young women in their walk with the Lord!
I would also like to mention briefly that my husband will be hiking the Appalachian Trail on behalf of fathers. He wants to bring awareness to the importance of the role of fathers. He is also sharing the gospel on the trail as a missionary–a unique calling. We are staying behind in support of this journey. To know more about this please visit www.hike4fathers.com
Bible study every night! That’s awesome! Can you leave us with a scripture that God has recently laid on your heart?
We have been studying the book of Ecclesiastes and this verse has been very dear to my heart. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
This is truly the conclusion of our lives. I’d also like to encourage you to hang on. For all this will pass away, but what we do for our Savior is what will last.
I am so in love with Christ. Let’s enjoy our walk with Him, so our testimony will let others know who we belong to! We have such a peace during the hard times, that others want to know how we do it!