As a college student, Dale first met Jena at church and was smitten. After dating for four years through college, they married in June 1988. Both came from fine Christian homes and felt pretty secure about entering their married life. But by 1996 their marriage had reached an all-time low.
“There was no love, no joy, no relationship”
Ironically (but not surprisingly) throughout this time, both were very active in church. From the outside they seemed to have a perfect marriage, but looks were deceiving. The Forehand’s marriage was unraveling. Like so many couples today, Dale and Jena were hiding behind a mask, pretending everything was O.K. They were religiously active but not spiritually intimate.
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Their marriage, like so many, was revealing their personal brokenness, unresolved hurt, unrealistic expectations, and unmet needs. The more they looked to the marriage and one another to meet a need only Christ could fill, they remained empty. This emptiness meant two very unhappy people who took out their frustrations on each other.
Saturday in July 1996. Dale walks into their home, packs Jena’s bags and tells her to get out. The marriage was over.
Dale took the children and left Jena sobbing in the driveway. He headed to the golf course and left the children with his mother at the pool. Jena retrieved the children and went to her sister’s house.
"I called Dale and explained that we needed a time-out, for things to cool down and so I am going to stay away for a while until I felt safe to return,”
Unbeknownst to Jena, Dale goes to see a lawyer who says the children are just as much his as Jena's. One week later at Vacation Bible School, Dale comes and takes them from Jena. Dale disappeared for seven days. Unable to locate the kids, Jena finally called a lawyer who advised her that the only way she could get the kids back into the state was to file for divorce.
Both Dale and Jena wanted full custody of the kids, and both refused to leave the marital residence. The judge was left with no choice but to place them back into the house pending a divorce trial. It was an in-house prison. They lived separately and fought over everything. They began conducting themselves as if the other did not exist. Most conversations escalated into full-blown arguments. Their families and friends took sides.
"Sin is never neutral, it always splatters on someone else."
But the relief was short-lived as frustrations continued over having to communicate with each other about matters with the children.
“Every weekend, as we passed the children to the other, we felt as if our own hearts were physically being ripped apart."
Several weeks after the divorce, Dale and Jena got into another argument, but this time Jena did something very risky – she let her guard down and let Dale see her heart as she said: “Dale, what have we done? Why don’t you come get me, and let’s fix this thing.”
God had been preparing both Dale and Jena for this divine appointment.
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Through this conversation, the Holy Spirit began to move. Within minutes they were sharing and sobbing uncontrollably. The Forehands spent the next four months in frequent, intentional marriage counseling with a Christian counselor who walked them through the healing process. Though they worked through some very hard days, at the end of that time, they knew in their hearts that re-marriage was what God wanted for them.
“On December 21, 1997, we were remarried to the glory of God”
God worked a miracle in Dale and Jena personally, in their marriage, and in their family. As they look back over their journey, they clearly see the powerful hand of God.
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When they remarried, ministry to men, women, marriages, and family was not something they had ever considered. But God never wastes a hurt, He longs to take the pain we have experienced and turn it into a passion for Him.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [NIV]
This idea of comforting those in trouble became evident when Dale and Jena shared their story for the very first time on Valentine’s Day weekend in 1998. After sharing their story, a young woman came up to them and said, “Thank you so much for sharing what God did in your life. You see, I was two years old, just like your daughter, when my parents divorced. I’m in my 20’s now but I’m still not over it. Thank you for trusting God with your marriage.”
"It was at that moment that the Lord literally burned within our hearts a passion to inspire marriages and build up families."
In 2003, Dale and Jena founded Stained Glass Ministries®.
Dale and Jena Forehand know firsthand the brokenness of their marriage. God used their brokenness to birth confession. Confession created repentance. Repentance rekindled Lordship. Lordship led to Faith, Hope, and Love. They are examples of God’s grace. A grace that takes broken, fragmented, and stained lives and puts them back together to create a beautiful work of art.
This is the heart behind what they do as they travel around the country, leading conferences, speaking and partnering with the local Church, and coming alongside national ministries to Shed the Light of Christ on all of life's relationships.