Gifts of Hope

Chances are we all know someone in need of a little hope – or perhaps you’re the one in need of hope. I truly understand how that feels. I wanted to put together a post with what I think are gifts of hope – gifts that will comfort, provide encouragement, and help us to remember the true reason for our hope – Jesus.

Going through my own marital issues has also shown me, personally, just how much we need hope. And those of us going through this kind of journey are often looking for items of comfort – something tangible that reminds us that we can keep on going each day.

So here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order. I pray that these are a blessing to you or to the one you choose to bless with a gift of hope this year.

Just click the product to view the details.

Gifts of hope for someone you know who could use some hope today.

 

The gifts listed below contain my affiliate links.
If you purchase through any of those links, I receive a small commission.

Hope has been a word I continue to cling to as my husband and I work on our marriage.
I love the simplicity of this mug.
The back reads: “Hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. Heb. 6:19”

hope mug

A journal – for your prayers, your questions, your favorite verses, for truths that God plants deep in your heart.
The journal reads:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. -Hebrews 6:19
The charm reads:
God will be with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

 I have candle holders very similar to these. It’s so easy to pop a candle in and see the word illuminated.
It’s a calm reassurance that we can have faith, hope, or love when wee need it.

How about this pillow? Sometimes we all need the simple reminder that we are loved.
(This product is pillowcase only – no pillow included.
If you need a pillow of this size, you can purchase that here.) 

A soft and cozy throw blanket is just the thing for those cool evenings or crisp mornings.
I still have a couple of favorite blankets that I’ll curl up with.
I like the feeling of security that comes in a comfy, warm blanket.
(There are other colors to choose from.)

I particularly liked this brand of Epsom salt.
I’m not a huge fan of lavender scent, but there were some nights where sleep was hard to come by.
I could draw a warm bath, use a little of the lavender-scented Epsom salt and sleep a little better.
Combined with the candles above, this is a very relaxing combination to end a day. 

There is one other place where I want to suggest you look for gifts of hope. I am not an affiliate and won’t receive anything for any purchases you make through sharing the link to this lady’s shop.

I think I first came across her on Instagram, but I’m not sure. If you visit her Instagram or Facebook page you’ll find that she has a real heart for the Lord and for creating beautiful pieces that will encourage others in their walk of faith. (You can find links to her social media pages on her shop’s page.)

So – visit Dandelions in December. I’m sure you’ll find something beautiful there. If you click the link to Jewelry and don’t immediately find something you love, there are options for creating your own necklace or bracelet, so you can choose something that will be meaningful to you. You may want to order early, though, as a blessing to her and to you – so that she isn’t swamped with last minute orders, and so that you can be sure to get your order in time if it’s a gift for someone. Dandelions in December – you’ll love her products!

I hope these gift ideas have been helpful,
or that they have helped you think of other gifts that might be appropriate
for the people on your list who could use some Gifts of Hope this year.

Gifts of hope for holidays or everyday - find just the right gift for the people on your list who could use some hope today.

 

Sharing at
Crystal Twaddell

Standing by My Husband through an Addiction

This week, I’m honored to share a post form Angela. She reached out to me after reading one of my posts and said she had something similar. I’m so excited to introduce you to her, and I pray that her story is a blessing to you.

At the end of the post, she has a beautiful free gift for you, so be sure to hop over and visit her!

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When I first met my husband I was immediately taken by how fun and wild he was. Such a kind and loving spirit, he quickly became my best friend and I knew he was the one I wanted to marry. I knew early on that he was using drugs, but to me it wasn’t anything major. His job was physically demanding and he suffered from chronic pain. So the pills were no big deal. Neither of us were living particularly spiritual lives, and our first two years together could serve as evidence of that.

For the most part it was an off limits subject. He didn’t appear to be using an excessive amount, and I didn’t want to nag. So for the next three years we carried on as normal. I suspect that things were pretty average for a young married couple. Mingled in with happy times were moments of conflict which tended to happen during financial hardship. There never seemed to be enough money to go around for all our bills and we were quickly falling behind. As many couples could relate to, we got snippy with each other.

God sheds a light.

God knows all and sees all, and when it’s time to shed a light on something his timing is perfect.

Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord; who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know? –Isaiah 29:15.

The day my husband finally revealed me how bad the addiction had gotten our heat had been disconnected. I hadn’t been able to pay the bill, and early January in Michigan was a cold time with no heat and two small kids in the house. When my husband realized that our bills were not getting paid because of his addiction, he confessed to me that things had gotten out of control. 

Standing by my husband - One woman's brave redemption story of staying with her husband through an addiction.

Something happened to my husband that day – a healing in his body that could only have been a miracle. He was able to quit and have no withdrawals. On many occasions he told me that what kept him going was the word of God. Daily reading and prayer had kept the withdrawals and temptation at bay. But after time, the urge begins to come back. Every day got harder. Friends, this is where the real work as partners begins.

Take your stance as his wife.

Wives, the Lord made us as helpers to our husbands. My human flesh wanted to make him sorry for the secrets he’d been keeping. But the Lord says to forgive your spouse.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
–Ephesians 4:32
.  

There were certainly things I had asked the Lord, and my husband, to forgive me for. So I forgave him, and I began to pray.  

One thing my husband told me was most encouraging was the prayer area I set up in our bedroom. It’s a small wooden desk I’ve had since high school, some candles and post it notes. I began writing out prayers for my husband and posting them to the wall. My prayers were some like “Lord, show Andrew how much you love him” and “Lord, please give Andrew strength.” Reading those prayers helped remind him that even though he had made mistakes, he was made new in the Lord and washed clean.

This part helped with the guilt. When a husband realizes that he was doing something that was hurting his family, he is plagued with guilt that can quickly slide into depression. Our prayers are our best aid in helping them through the droughts of faith.

Without a doubt there is one big secret to standing by your husband through an addiction. You will need to continuously forgive your husband. This is not typically a onetime fixes all type of situation. He is guaranteed to have hard days while he is recovering, even years later. And he might slip up once or twice. Forgive him, pray for him, and surrender your marriage to the Lord.

Two years later.

There are still days my husband struggles, but they are becoming less regular. I am proud of the strength he’s shown and I know from where that power flows. He has a fierce love for the Lord, and to be honest, I’m grateful that we have shared this experience. Without challenge there is no room for growth, and no glory for the Lord. 

Standing by my husband - One woman's brave redemption story of staying with her husband through an addiction.

 

Angela Tyler

My name is Angela Tyler. I’m a wife and mother of two beautiful kids. Reading scripture and other literature has been a core part of understanding the profound love of our Father, and helped me to live a happier and more fulfilled life. My heart’s desire is to contribute to some of the amazing literature available to wives and mothers everywhere. 

I’d like to thank you for reading; it’s a true blessing to be a part of your growth with the Lord.

For an exclusive freebie printable for vising my page, please click this link:
Free Printable Prayer Cards 

Visit Angela’s blog or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

 

Sharing at 
Grace & Truth

3 Ways to Overcome in a Troubled Marriage

When my life first turned upside down, my prayer was that God would somehow take my story – a troubled marriage – and use it to minister to others. I’m amazed at the many ways God is honoring that prayer. Alisa approached me about sharing a post in her Overcome series, and I said yes because the Scripture she based the series on has had such a special place in my life.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony….
Revelation 12:11

The stories we live through, the things that God does in our lives – they can be used by God to encourage others. I know that personally, I’d rather avoid the struggles and trials, but if God an use what I’m going through to help someone else, I feel like I can be a little stronger.

Throughout the stresses, upheavals and trials in my marriage for the past 3 years, my prayer has been that God would (somehow!) use my story to encourage others. That’s what motivates me to write – the fact that there may be another wife out there who needs to know that she can stay, she can fight, for her marriage.

But, how do you overcome in a marriage riddled with deceit and addiction,
leading to pain and intense shame?

How do you fight the battle that you never wanted? 

I'm sharing 3 ways to overcome in a troubled marriage, because it really is possible!

I hope you’ll join me at Alisa’s blog for 3 ways to overcome in a troubled marriage.

If you’re fighting a battle for your marriage, I would love to hear from you so that I can be praying with you and for you.

 

Sharing at 

Christian Blogger Community
Grace & Truth 

4 Promises for a Broken Heart

I just told a friend that I wasn’t sure what God was doing – blogging here isn’t reaching people like it used to. I haven’t posted as much, but that was because of my crazy work schedule. I told this friend that maybe my niche was actually too small. After all, statistically, half of marriages end in divorce, and most people certainly don’t stay in a marriage that has significant issues, let alone biblical reasons to divorce.

That was less than 48 hours ago.

Today I received 3 emails from women at various stages of working through issues, on their way to redemption.

Today I heard fresh hurt, broken hearts, questions – wondering why? and why would God let this happen?

I have first hand experience in all of this.  I started this blog to encourage others who are searching for redemption in their marriage. So, selfishly, I couldn’t figure out why it’s been so quiet here. Today I realized that it’s quiet here when God is working in other ways – and ultimately, that’s the main purpose here: His glory, His will.

But when I start hearing from people, I know they’re here for a reason. They’re here because of those questions, those hurts. And I fully understand.

It’s one thing to have pain – to lose a loved one, to say good-bye to a dear friend moving away, to feel the hurt from the wound of a friend.

If you are struggling with a broken heart, here is encouragement from God's Word.

But how do you survive the betrayal of a spouse?

There is no “right way”; there is no prescribed method (though that would make it so much easier).

If you choose to stay with your spouse, then God is going to work in your marriage in the way that He needs to – for the good of both of you.

4 PROMISES FOR A BROKEN HEART:

 

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
-Psalm 91:1

Friend, if you are hurting today – whether from a fresh wound or just a fresh wave of grief, take some time to abide in Jesus’ presence.

Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
-Hebrews 13:5b

I know how it feels to watch the world walk out – most of your support system just…gone! They can’t believe what’s happened, but they also can’t believe you’re staying. 

…But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
-Proverbs 18:24

You’ll need that friend – the closer-than-a-brother, understands-your-heart kind of friend.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
-Psalm 139:13

That friend from Proverbs 18:24, the one who sticks closer than a brother, He knows your heart. He created your heart and gave you the emotions you feel. He knows the inner-workings of what makes you who you are. And He’s never going to leave you or forsake you.

If you find yourself in need of these promises today, if your heart is broken, hold tight to these promises.

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting more support and encouragement for those of us who know and understand a broken heart.

If you’re looking for some tangible encouragement, these are a few products that have been a tremendous blessing to me. (Click the image for more information.)

 

This calendar (or any similar calendar) is beneficial because it gives a promise a day. Books can be a little overwhelming to read when your heart is heavy, but this offers a verse to encourage your heart.

While I don’t have this exact mug, I have several favorite mugs. Whether it’s my morning coffee, or a cup of tea through the day, the sayings or images on the mugs remind me to slow down and rest in Jesus.

Throw blankets have become one of my very favorite possessions. On a cool evening, it’s nice to be snuggled under another layer of warmth and security.

I hope you’re able to find some peace among these promises of God. The tangible “extras” are just that – extra. Sometimes it helps, even as adults, to have our security objects in the face of a troubled situation.

Please know that I’m praying for you – for us – for redemption.

I’ll be writing some new posts so be watching for those. If you’ve signed up to get the posts delivered to your Inbox, you’ll have them as soon as the post goes live. (You can use the bar at the top of the page or the pop-up box that comes up to sign up for the emails.)

In the meantime, check these posts for more encouragement for a struggling marriage.

Sharing at Grace & Truth

I Want to be Left Alone

Have you ever shared something with a friend, only to have it come back to convict you? I shared the following post with Jen, then realized that I’ve been convicted by my own words. I hope that what I’m sharing here is more encouraging than convicting for you.

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The truth is, I just wanted to be left alone. After all, we weren’t getting along, we were bickering about everything – or so it seemed, and the last thing I wanted was to have to spend time with him. I didn’t want his usual greeting of a hug and kiss. I just wanted him to go away.

As I watched him walk away, shoulders drooped due to my cold shoulder, I felt a twinge of guilt and remorse. Then I remembered the stress he’d caused me, the fear he’d brought into our home, and I pushed the guilt aside. This mess was his fault, and he needed to fix it.

Even in marriage, there are times when my pride takes over and I want to be left alone.

Sadly this has happened in my marriage – too many times. And though this particular situation isn’t recent, these same kinds of things continue to happen. I’m asking God to work in my life, to encourage my husband rather than to be selfish.

Join me over at Jen’s blog as I’m sharing about times when I want to be left alone.

Stepping Into the Light

Walking into the darkness can be difficult – whether it’s a physical, emotional, or spiritual darkness. Going from the light and having to adjust to the darkness takes some effort. We can’t move quickly, for fear of stumbling. Darkness, by nature, forces us to slow down, to move cautiously.

We consider it easier to maneuver in the light – for obvious reasons: we can see where we’re going, we can see stumbling blocks, and God is showing us the way.

Have you ever been in a prolonged darkness? Maybe you’ve spent the night with a child who did not want to be alone. Perhaps you’ve weathered a storm that took out power for a couple days and realized just how quickly the darkness sets in as evening rolls around.

When the light finally comes, it can be hard to adjust – we’re so used to the darkness, to how we have to manage in the darkness. The light can seem almost painful – we’ve all seen people shielding their eyes, or reaching for sunglasses or a hat on the brightest of days. We’ve seen people squint as the light comes on in a dark room.

I’ve been living in a darkness for almost 3 years. I wrote a post one day, not realizing that just a few days later those words would be for me – that my entire world would turn upside down, my heart would be completely broken, and I’d find out just how much of my life had been a lie.

What do you do after a trauma occurs? 

I think we all retreat, in some manner. I gathered my favorite blanket and sat on the end of my couch. I just sat. Sometimes I would lie down, but mostly I sat. From time to time I would sleep a little longer. Other times I would watch TV, or put on a movie – anything to protect me from what I was feeling.

I changed my schedule, my sleep habits completely changed, and I started to realize that life would never ever be the same.

I spent time asking God the obvious question: Why?

I waited and listened for His answer: This isn’t about you, it’s about him (my husband).

Almost 3 years have passed.

In fact, as of this writing, 1,082 days have passed. 

I found this image the other night and shared a teaser post on Facebook (the image, minus the text on it). I promised a post to go with this image. Since then, we’ve had a car accident that threatened to derail my faith in what God is currently doing in our lives. But after several days of working through what is currently happening, I’ve determined that it would be a shame to throw away 1,082 days of faith in God over a car accident. Mind you, it has possible financial ramifications, of course. We’ve recently made some choices that are necessary for our family, and we’re having to trust God with the finances. I came back to this image, to the fact that it represents all that God has done, and I’m unwilling to go back to the darkness of the tunnel for what is hopefully just a temporary setback.

Words of encouragement for those stepping into the light

 

It’s been almost three years since the original trauma. And while that seems to be a long time, I’m sure we all know that grief takes its time. There is no set amount of time until – poof! – grief is magically gone. No. In fact, I’m sure we all carry scars of many different hurts from years past.

I’ve written about life in the valley; I know what it is to wake up, get up and fight the enemy each day. I know what it is to pray so desperately that there are no words to express my longings.

I’ve been pretty sure that this was what might ultimately do me in – this mess that my family is in because of the choices my husband made, and because of my choice to support him in getting the help he needs. I’d prepared myself to never know a “normal” life again. I’d pretty much accepted my “new normal” as being far from what it was, and even farther from what I’d ever hoped.

Which is why I was surprised to find myself writing these words to a friend the other day:

I look around at 3 happy kids, a husband on the way to being whole,
a house filled with love and laughter and good memories despite all the garbage that’s happened,
and I realize that somehow, slowly, I’ve managed to climb out of the pit I was in.

 

Words of encouragement for those stepping into the light

Not only have I climbed out of the pit, or maybe made it to the end of the tunnel, but I realize that God has faithfully carried me every step of the way.

I’m reminded of a few verses that have helped me on this journey:

Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back.
Deuteronomy 30:4

No matter where we are, no matter what our situation, no matter how lost or forgotten we feel, God has never once lost track of us. He knows where we are, how we got there, and He is caring for us even in the midst of our situation.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
I Peter 5:10-11

God, in His grace, will restore us, no matter what we’ve endured. He will make our footing sure. 

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14

This last one has been the hardest to grasp hold of. It’s easy to read the promises of what God and what He will do, but this verse in Psalm 71 struck me because of the writer’s words – I will praise you more and more.

How do we hold onto hope in the tough times? How do we continue to get up each morning and trust that God is going to do what He says?

It’s truly a moment-by-moment decision to trust.

As we trust God for today, let’s not forget to give thanks for the many things that He has done to get us to this point.

What did He do for you yesterday that encourages you to trust Him still today?
What did He do a year ago that causes you to have hope and trust even still?
Have you thanked Him today for those things?

I found a quote/saying some time back that reads:

What if we woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?

Friend, even in the midst of struggles, we can find things to thank God for. You can make your own list of 1,000 Gifts. Not only will it give you something to focus on – finding blessings – it will also give your mind something to do instead of worry, instead of fearing your situation.

The devil wants a foothold – just a foothold. It’s our job to know where we belong – safe under God’s care (Psalm 91), and it’s our job to take our thoughts captive so that the enemy doesn’t even get the slightest opening to our heart.

Friends, if you’re going through a tunnel, if you’re stuck in a pit, I’m certainly not here to promise that you’re going to get what you ask of God, though I sincerely wish I could promise that.

I am here to say, though, that God is still about redemption. His desire is still for us to be with Him. That doesn’t change whether you’re on the mountaintop or in the dark and dank pit.

“God is always doing 10,000 things in  your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”
-John Piper-

If you’re in a pit, God is there.
If you’re in a pit because of someone else’s actions, God knows all the details.
If you’re in a pit, perhaps God is at work in ways He has not revealed yet – keep trusting Him.

Wherever you are today, please know that there is hope. There IS hope. His name is Jesus. Keep trusting, keep worshiping, keep believing that He will redeem and restore. Then step boldly into the light.

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Morning

I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed, feeling a little grumpy and a lot groggy. It was one of those dreary, rain-filled starts to the day that left much to be desired.

I struggled to get out of bed, I struggled to get off of the couch, and I struggled to get out of my pajamas. What I really wanted to do was curl up in my soft bed with a good book and read away the day, but I have two preschoolers at home (the older two were at school) who required attention and a mountain of laundry that spilled ominously over the sides of the baskets.

I knew that if I didn’t kick it into gear immediately, I would waste away the day!

So what is a non-coffee-drinking, busy mom of four to do on a dreary morning such as this?

Let’s be honest; it’s the starting that is so difficult. Often if I can get myself going on just the first task in a long list of stuff to be done, I find the energy to do even more! Here are my favorite ways to get started in the morning.

*This post makes use of affiliate links. For more information on the Being Confident of This’s affiliate link usage, please visit the About page here.

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Morning

1. Go to bed earlier the night before! I know, I know – that’s the most obvious advice ever. But it’s true. When the twins were infants, I forced myself to go to bed not long after they did. I knew that if I didn’t go to bed right away, the next day would be miserable and difficult. However, now that they are a little older, I’ve gotten out of the habit of early bedtime. It’s too easy to give in to the thought, “Just a few more minutes of me-time.” One of my work-in-progress goals is to go to bed earlier so that I can get out of bed earlier the next morning, (emphasis on the work-in-progress)!

2. Shower (or at least splash some cold water on your face). I know there are many mornings that showering first thing just isn’t an option, especially if you have little ones in the house. I have found that on the days when I have to wait for my shower (or even go without), washing my face goes a long way toward helping my sleepy eyes stay open.

10 surefire ways to jumpstart your morning when you lack energy and struggle with motivation.

 

3. Spend time with the Lord. Rarely do I have time for a full quiet time first thing in the morning; I save that for the quiet of nap time. However, whenever possible I try to at least offer a quick prayer of thankfulness for a new day and a request for assistance. I pray for strength, patience, and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading. Taking just a minute or so to focus my eyes on Jesus really changes my attitude. How can we expect to exhibit the spiritual fruits of love, patience, kindess, etc. if we don’t stay connected to the vine?

4.Change into real clothes. Did you know that simply changing out of your pajamas into your everyday clothes sends a signal to your body that it’s time to wake up? (Just look up circadian rhythms on google.) What a simple and quick way to jumpstart your morning.

5. Turn on the lights. Just as changing our clothes sends a signal to our bodies, exposing ourselves to light also signals that it is wake-up time. Open the curtains or blinds; if it’s dreary outside, turn on the lights!

6. Eat breakfast! When the twins were infants, I often found myself eating meals hours after I normally would, which left me feeling tired and grouchy. Your metabolism needs to be nudged in the mornings, and a healthy breakfast is the way to do it. If I don’t have time for a full breakfast, I grab a protein granola bar or some greek yogurt. They make a great way to jumpstart your morning when you need to be on the go.

7. Drink one to two full glasses of water. Just as eating breakfast turns up the metabolism heat, drinking water also revs up your bodies’ energy engine. Additionally, it makes up for any dehydration you may be experiencing after the nighttime hours of not drinking. Dehydration can cause drowsiness, foggy brain function, memory lapses, and more.

8. Get physically active! I am learning this particular nugget of advice works wonders for me. If I go from my bed to the couch or even a chair, that groggy feeling is going to persist much longer! Sometimes I purposefully eat my breakfast standing up. However, the best mornings take place when I have time to do 20 minutes of pilates or a quick Leslie Sansone 1-mile walk. A mere fifteen minutes of exercise boosts the metabolism, enhances my mood, and gives me energy all at the same time. Win, win, win! However, in our busy household, I often lack time for exercise first thing in the morning. I’ve found that even doing some housework at a quick pace works. Just get moving!

9. Turn up the tunes. No, not the tv, but the radio! Jumpstart your morning with music. This is my favorite way to lift a grumpy mood and energize my body, no matter what time of day. Find your favorite upbeat station and turn the volume up!! Not only will you enjoy the music, but your children (if you have any at home) will love it, too. I tend to listen to a lot of contemporary Christian music because in addition to the musical beat, the biblical truth in the lyrics sets my heart on a good path, too. In fact, on mornings when everyone seems to have been bitten by the grumpy bug during the night, blasting some music can transform the entire household.

10. Keep in mind that every day is a gift from God, even if today doesn’t “feel” like a gift! I’ll be honest; some days I wake up dreading the hard work or busy schedule ahead. But on those days when I remember that life is a gift, that serving the Lord is a gift, too, even the busiest schedule becomes manageable.

These verses encourage me to make the most of my days:

“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.” Exodus 15:2

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

You woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and apparently the little people who live with you did, too. All you want is a few more minutes of sleep, but the to-do list beckons. How will you overcome the rough start? Try one of these 10 tips to jumpstart your morning!

Don’t be disheartened by a dreary start to the morning, friends.

Instead, ask the Lord to help you see the potential in the day that lies ahead, or ask Him for grace and strength to endure the tough ones.

Rejoice in the new day He has given you!

Jen 🙂

Being Confident of This is a website devoted to grace for the work-in-progress woman. Jen is learning to let go of perfection so she can fully embrace grace. She desires to help women from all walks of life understand their identity in Christ and find freedom in it!

 

I’d love to hear from you: what methods do you use to get going on those sleepy mornings? What verses encourage you to make a good start to the day? Share a tip in the comments to help the rest of us sleepy moms!

 

What if God Actually Answered My Prayer

His words caught me totally by surprise. I looked up from what I was doing to be sure I’d heard him. My husband has never been very definitive about anything, especially pertaining to our marriage, so his matter-of-fact response caught me off guard.

My husband and I have had a rough few years. We’ve had legal, financial and marital issues, to name just a few. The trauma we’ve dealt with has been almost unbearable. My husband has had to deal with some very difficult issues, and while we’ve tried to navigate them together, ultimately they have been his demons to wrestle while I prayed.

I was frustrated at where we were in our relationship – seemingly stuck. The struggles that we faced took us on very different roads than I ever intended. Navigating them has not been easy for me.

I think I said something like, “I don’t like where we are. I want to feel like we’re moving forward. I want to feel unstuck.”

He answered that we won’t be in this position forever. I won’t always feel stuck. No, someday this will be behind us.

“You want to move forward? Then we start today. We start here. We may not know where we are going to end up, but we can start right here and move forward together.”

Friends, I have prayed for this moment. I have prayed for my husband to step into the position to want to lead our family, our marriage.

And there I stood, surprised, uncertain, not sure what to do.

What if… What if God actually answered my prayer

 

His words startled me. Could be be that God actually answered my prayer?

 

Join me at Jen’s blog this week as I share about those moments when I realize that God has answered my prayer.

How to Survive a Spiritual Landmine

It’s nights like this when we’re still transitioning to Daddy’s second-shift job, so this mama is taking care of all the homework, all the practices, all the kid needs and pet needs and food needs.

All. The. Things.

And of course, Daddy forgot to put the soccer equipment back where it goes, and he didn’t tell us where the middle boy’s practice is actually taking place, and he hasn’t answered his phone yet. Nevertheless, the mama and the kiddos make it to soccer practice on time, and after practice is over, they make it home safely.

Just as they pull in the driveway, she dares to think for one second that maybe this won’t be so bad – that the Lord is helping her through – that she can do it! She can handle this second-shift switch. She has the Lord with her and in her, and with His help, she is able!

Then it comes, the attack.

The kids disobey repeatedly one right after the other, requiring discipline and delaying bedtime, the dog eats food from someone’s plate, and then, the straw that breaks the mama’s back, the dog poops. Inside the house.

And this mama, she’s sorely tempted to throw a little temper tantrum; a few tears do leak down her face as she wavers between right and wrong. But instead of giving up, she cries, “Mercy! Have mercy on me Lord.” Because in a matter of seconds, she’s been reminded of how great her need is, how quickly she is prone to sin.

He’s there.

She knows He is there.

She believes He is there.

She has faith that He is there.

I can’t, Lord. I just can’t, she silently pleads.

I know, daughter. That’s exactly the point. You can’t, but I can. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world! The Father whispers back.

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NASB)

Have you noticed that just as soon as all seems well, and you believe you’ve won the victory, that’s the moment, the moment when the enemy strikes.

And we rarely see it coming when we’re on those mountaintops, do we? That’s what makes the blow so hard, the sudden severity of it all, from calm to chaos with little to no warning. It feels like the blast from a spiritual landmine that was inadvertently stepped on.

Practical advice for when you're tempted to throw in the towel because the spiritual attack seems too great.

 

The key to surviving that blast, to weathering the storm well, is to remember that we are not alone.

We are not alone in being tempted.

We are not alone in our struggles.

We are not the only ones suffering on this Earth.

It’s hard to throw yourself a pity party when you remember the suffering of others, isn’t it? Or when we remember the suffering of Christ?

I share this with you because maybe you’re there tonight, too, friend. Maybe you’re wondering how to survive the latest blast.

Maybe your proverbial back has been broken, but you are fighting like mad not to let your spirit be broken, too. Maybe it’s more than just one bad night for you. Maybe you’ve had all you can take, and you just want to rage against the heavens. Maybe you’re just plain weary of life in general, and you’ve resigned yourself to a hopeless, joyless existence.

If so, I want you to know that He’s only a prayer away, and that He won’t leave us alone to face all the hard things. Just as Paul wrote to the church at Corinth,

we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NASB)

Did you catch that, friend? We carry the dying of Jesus so that we may also display the life of Jesus, the victory of Jesus! The tough times hurt – oh, yes they do – but they bring with them life!

We must keep in mind that the pain bears a purpose that will one day be revealed to us, even if that unveiling happens on the other side of glory. And that in the meantime, He’s working those tough things together for our good, drawing us near to Him, refining our faith, creating new life in us.

Like a child’s growing pains, the work in progress is painful but life-giving.

That spiritual landmine is not the end of you, friend! You may be weary of survival mode or even recovery mode, but the key to real victory is not arriving on the other side. The key to real victory is just to keep fighting the good fight, no matter how difficult.

Your God is with you, and He wants desperately to carry you through!

Will you cry out to Jesus tonight?

Jen 🙂

Being Confident of This is a website devoted to grace for the work-in-progress woman. Jen is learning to let go of perfection so she can fully embrace grace. She desires to help women from all walks of life understand their identity in Christ and find freedom in it!

If Your Light Has Gone Out {and you’re pondering divorce}

I haven’t written much lately because I’ve been struggling to process something that I read. Let me start this post by saying that I fully realize that we all approach our decision-making differently, and God calls us all to different paths, and honestly, I don’t expect this post to win me too many new friends. That being said, the Bible is very clear about a lot of things, especially divorce.

I read an article a few weeks ago, called “My Light Went Out” about a lady who was pondering a divorce. According to the post, she begged God to let her know what she should do.

I took from that statement that she’s a Christian, but maybe I’m wrong.

The article goes on to detail her marriage, and according to her admission, there were
*3 boys
*no black eyes
*no adultery (in fact she called him a kind man and a good father)
*no gambling
yet she was dying inside. She was lonely. Her friends told her that her light went out. 

So she was pondering divorce, and against the advice of friends and family, she left her marriage and chose herself. (Her words, not mine.)

After the decision was made, she shares that she heard what she needed to hear from her favorite author. Basically the advice was a list of reasons that someone might leave their husband. The end of the excerpt she shared reads,
“Go, because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.”

Not only that, but she was able to find the good in the situation. She has a list of “10 gifts of a messy divorce”.

If you find yourself pondering divorce, if you feel that your light has gone out, please read this encouragement first.

Friends, hold on tight….

*She begged God to tell her what to do.
*There had been, according to her admission, no adultery, so therefore no biblical reason to divorce.
*Yet her favorite author wrote a long list of reasons as to why someone should leave their marriage and she accepted that.

Excuse me…. If you’re begging God to tell you what to do, have you tried reading your Bible?

Shouldn’t God be your favorite author?

I realize that we all have authors we like to read, our own list of favorite books.

But, I also realize that it’s easier to take the advice we want instead of the advice that is actually right, which often seems more difficult.

This article has been on my mind for several weeks. I cannot get it out of my head.

I think I’m mad at the author. It has really bothered me that she described her “perfect life” (her words, not mine) and then goes on to say that she chose herself, and as a result her children are happier because they have a mother who is happy.

*     *     *     *     * 

I know that God gives a way out in certain situations in marriage. Not everyone will stay. I almost didn’t.

I don’t expect everyone to want to stay in a marriage where there has been difficulty. (And if you’re experiencing abuse, you should certainly do what you need to in order to get some distance and safety.)

But if we are calling ourselves Christians, then we need to be following what God tells us in His Word. 

Not only that, but God doesn’t force us out of our troubled marriages. The guidelines are there for if someone chooses to leave their marriage. They are not there because someone has to leave their marriage if there are problems.

In my specific situation, I really felt like this was the last (final) option for my husband to get his life straightened out.

So while the Bible very clearly gave me a way out, I chose not to take it.

Why?

Redemption

No, not mine. My husband’s.

I have a husband who has struggled severely with some major issues and this is his chance to get it right – to learn that a life isn’t lost because of mistakes, to learn that God can bring beauty from the ashes.

This has been the toughest fight of my life.

Believe me when I tell you that I feel like my light went out.

I might be able to understand where the author was coming from…if she had troubles in her marriage.
(Please note – that comment is based on reading her article, where she lists loneliness as the major issue, and 6 years of marriage counseling hadn’t fixed it.) But by all accounts, including hers, it was a good life.

I’m glad she’s happy – please don’t misunderstand that.

But I’m disappointed for her, that she had to leave the will of God in order to find happiness.

Friends, God will never EVER take us outside of His will and His truth in order for us to find happiness. It just won’t happen.

So while this article has really stayed in my head, I’m ready to let it go.

Why?

Redemption. 

No, not mine. The unbeliever’s.

Friends, we serve a God who can.
Plain and simple.
He can. 

Yes, He may choose to answer differently than we hope, but I have to count on the promises of God.

And so, though it’s not the popular choice, I choose to stand for redemption.

Though I may stand alone at times, I stand for redemption.

Though my family’s situation is “too messy” for some to want to deal with, I stand for redemption.

Why?

Because I know what’s at stake. I know what comes at the end of it all.

Heaven or hell. Life or death.

Maybe you’re struggling in your marriage right now. Can I just encourage you to please, please spend time with the Lord. Search the Scripture. Take time – take days, weeks, however long it takes – until you are sure that you have a solid answer from God.

Meanwhile, though others may take the easy way out, the selfish way out – even though it’s not justified biblically – I’ll be here, standing for redemption.

Because no sin is too great, and no sinner is too lost.

I came across this quote recently, and all I can say is, YES.

Spurgeon quote

I hope you’ve been around here enough to know my heart – to know that I understand the struggles of marriage. I know the hurt and pain that a spouse can cause. I am fully aware that there are long “dry patches” in a marriage where a spouse is struggling or unhappy.

I know the pain that can be caused by years of secrets. I know the trauma that is induced when life suddenly falls apart on a perfectly normal Wednesday.

I also know that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” -Romans 8:18

I believe God created us for a purpose. I believe He longs for us to have full joy in and through Him.

And that’s precisely why this article has bothered me so much – this lady has purposely stepped outside the will of God. While she might be happy for now, I don’t think she’s where God wants her.

If her post is completely truthful, then I believe she’s in the wrong. I do not believe that she should have gotten a divorce – just like most everyone else, according to her article.

Friends, we have to wake up. Complacency is a slow, quiet killer. I know because I struggle there, too.

We’ve had to start attending a new church – because according to some people, some sins are just too messy to deal with. My kids struggle to transition to the new church. The times are not what we’re used to. The service is different from what we’re accustomed to, AND we don’t have many friends there yet. It’s very challenging. And often, it’s easier to just stay home.

So I know the struggle with complacency. I know the struggle with those times when things just seem to never go your way.

But, friends, please hear me, please hear my heart:

Stepping outside of God’s boundaries may bring happiness temporarily, but it is sin.

It is sin packaged in “happiness” but it’s still sin.

God hasn’t called me to win the world to Him. He’s called me to be faithful inside my home – to walk this road with my husband (though it’s dark and scary), and to help in raising our children.

He’s called me to follow Him. To be obedient. To share redemption.

I’m thankful for the quote from Spurgeon, to be able to share just how strongly I feel about this.

I don’t have a huge platform, but I have faith.

Friend, if you are contemplating divorce, or if you know someone who is, be sure – be so very sure – that you are within God’s will. I don’t expect that He will call us all to stay.

But I don’t want to miss this opportunity to remind you – and me – to stay in God’s will.

Obey Him. Even if it’s not what you want to do. Even if your favorite author writes a beautiful, flowing list of why you should leave. Even if your light has gone out.

Sometimes we need to survive that temporary darkness and let God meet us there, so that we don’t have to endure an eternal darkness.

 

Sharing at Grace & Truth