3 Ways to Wait While God Restores My Marriage

How long do I have to wait for God to restore my marriage? 

This is a question I’ve heard quite a bit, recently. I’ve read it in blog comments, emails, and from people in my personal life.

The truth is, waiting on your marriage to be restored is hard work. It involves trust in God and His timing, laying aside our own wants and desires, and holding onto hope despite the world screaming loudly to just let go.

Getting up each day to face a situation that we don’t like is so difficult, but the unknown of how it will turn out – and when we might see restoration – adds to that difficulty.

So how do you press on, day by day, as you wait for God to restore and redeem your marriage?

I’m sharing some tips from my own life today, in no particular order.

3 Ways to Wait While God Restores My Marriage

I'm taking steps of faith while God restores my marriage. Here are 3 ways to wait on God as we trust Him for restoration of our marriages.

1. Shake It Up 

I love routines. I am a creature of habit, and I don’t like change, especially when that change is out of my control.

Waiting on a spouse to decide they do want to stay in the marriage is certainly out of our control.

During the hardest times in my marriage, it was easy for me to fall back on those routines. After a while, though, I noticed something else starting to happen.

While going through my daily routines, the doubts, the negative thoughts and the heartache crept in easily, often without me noticing it. I’d go through several days wondering why I was feeling so down. That’s when I noticed the negative feelings creeping in to my heart with my daily routines.

So – I had to shake it up!

I started to change my routines so that my thoughts wouldn’t be so automatic as they were with my regular routines. As doubts crept in, I worked hard to notice them and then I prayed. I simply prayed the name of Jesus over and over. His name was the only prayer strong enough to combat my worries and fears.

2. Jesus – Early and Often 

My morning routine was to wake up, wash my face and drink my coffee. Usually, I eased into my day, did schoolwork with the kids, went to work, completed housework and went to sleep. Early on, I realized that this would not work; I would not survive the impact of our marital issues without Jesus, so I had to start at the beginning of the day.

To be honest, in-depth Bible study was difficult, simply because it was hard to focus on large chunks of reading. I decided to work on smaller chunks of the Bible and wrote out some verses to memorize.

My day needed to start with Jesus, so I placed these verses in strategic locations where I would be reminded of God’s grace even before my day started. I made it a point to sit on the side of my bed each morning, look out at the back yard and thank God for a new day. I turned the chore of washing dishes into an opportunity to pray. Folding laundry became an opportunity to thank God for each family member. Even social media turned into a way to gather favorite verses all in one place.

As I intentionally took Jesus through every part of my day, it became easier to focus on Him instead of being completely devoured by my problems.

3. Move Ahead

“Moving ahead” does not seem like a way to wait while God restores my marriage, but the reality is that it’s another step of faith and trust in Him.

When our situation got to the point where it was completely out of my control, I realized that I had a few options:
*Divorce my husband and need to hit the ground running to provide for my family
*Stay in bed and watch my life fade away
*Begin to put one foot in front of the other and trust that God would do what He said

I came to the point where I realized that either I had to trust God, believe He would care for me, have faith that He would lead me – OR – I had to throw in the towel on my faith and close the door on God.

While divorce was an option, I wasn’t ready to take my kids from their father if there was any other way. The option to stay in bed and watch my life pass by was viable and for a while I did that.

Moving forward, though, stepping back into life, was scary. I had no guarantee that anything would get better. God asked me to wait, but I was not sure how things would ultimately turn out. I realized the only way out of my situation was to get through it, so I determined to move ahead. I told God that if my marriage was to be saved, He was going to have to do it.

Over the years He has done that, but I really believe it’s because I decided to move forward in faith with Him.

Psalm 16:8 became a verse I clung to –

I have set the LORD always before me:
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Friends, we have a calling on our lives, each one of us.

The marital issues we struggle with are a small part of the entirety of our lives. I know they seem all-consuming right now, but consider them in the scope of your entire life. I’ll explain it as I heard it from Christine Caine at a women’s conference that I went to:

I will turn 42 this coming Saturday. While the story of my marital issues is the main story of my life right now, it’s not my whole life. It started 3 years ago, and Lord willing, it will come to an end soon. I have 39 years before these issues were a part of my story, and I hope to have many years after this where my marital issues will no longer be a part of my story. They will take up a small portion of my entire life, so why would I camp out in that tragedy rather than living in the years of blessing that God has given?

Isn’t that an interesting perspective? It reminds me of Romans 8:18 –

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Waiting while God restores your marriage can be difficult. We can wait in stress, in frustration, full of anxiety, or we can wait in proactive ways that keep us stepping out in faith with the Lord.

How are you waiting while God restores your marriage? 

 

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

Sharing at Grace & TruthKelly BalarieHolley GerthDance with JesusLiveFree#HeartEncouragement, Salt & Light, #MomentsofHope, #TellHisStory

Stand For Your Marriage…Together!

I have something exciting that I’m eager to share with you! I love to be able to offer support to you as you’re walking through some of the darkest times of your life. It’s such an honor to stand beside you as you stand for your marriage. If you’re new here, or haven’t poked around much on the site, you need to know a couple things up front. I believe in the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, and I believe in redemption in marriage. That’s why I write, and that’s my goal in sharing my heart and additional resources with you.

Today I have a brand new (free!) marriage resource that I’d like to offer to you. 

Are you taking a stand for your marriage? Try this practical resource for support and encouragement in your stand for marriage.

A couple months ago, I met another Christian blogger who writes about marriage, particularly from the angle of standing for your marriage. I was so excited to find someone else who shares my passion for this topic. As we got to talking, she invited me to join a group on Facebook dedicated to wives who are standing for their marriages. I joined her group and have been completely amazed at the strength and fortitude of these women who have endured some incredibly tough situations.

Since joining, and at the leader’s suggestion, I’ve offered this group to a couple of readers who have emailed me recently, just to see how they like it and if they have the same experience I’ve had so far. One sweet lady was ready to file for divorce – she had the papers, but didn’t feel that it was the right time. As she shared her story, I was so in awe of how God was working in her specific situation. It was simply amazing!

I’ve been asked to be a co-leader in this group because of my own background and because my marriage is basically restored – though we realize we will always be a work in progress.

After talking with the other leader, we’re ready to open the group to you women who are standing for your marriage. 

This group is specifically for the woman who is struggling in a relationship with her husband. 

**For the men who are here, feel free to skip ahead – there are resources for you listed below.

**For a woman who is legally divorced and whose husband has remarried – we recommend Rejoice Ministries. Our current group is devoted to women whose spouses have not yet remarried. We know that God can work in amazing ways – ways we can’t begin to understand – but we don’t wish to play any part in breaking up another marriage. We will pray with you and for you, but we have to know the limits of what we feel is appropriate for us to deal with, and what we need to hand off to people with a greater background in counseling.

Stand for your marriage – together.

Here are the details to be added to the group, ladies: 

1. Click this link and fill out the form. Your responses are private and will stay with me.
*The response to this group has been so overwhelming that we’ve felt the need to be sure we’re adding people for whom this group is a good fit. This is a good problem to have!
We’ve also had a few people request to join and they simply don’t fit our model of wives standing for their marriage, or trusting God to work in their life and their husband’s life. 

2. Once I’ve seen your response come in, I will reply to you with my Facebook url. You will need to add me as a friend in order for me to add you to the secret group.
*This is the only way to be added to a secret group on Facebook. 

3. Once you’re in the group, I will delete you as a friend so that you can keep your privacy.
*You will remain in the group, we just won’t be connected as Facebook friends. 

For those of you who are not on Facebook, or who struggle with using Facebook due to hurtful things you see posted by your spouse, please consider this option to be able to join us in the group:

Use the app that is just for Facebook Groups so that you don’t have to get into Facebook to find the group and risk seeing anything that will cause hurt. We have a few women in our group who join us this way and they’ve said it makes a big difference since they don’t have to see the regular happenings on Facebook.

Questions?

Feel free to comment or email me – seems many people are choosing email to communicate now and that’s perfectly fine. I can certainly appreciate the desire to keep things a little more private.

You can also find a list of some of my favorite resources here

Resources for men:

And, gentlemen, I didn’t want to share this post without having resources for you as well.

Are you taking a stand for your marriage? Try this practical resource for support and encouragement in your stand for marriage.

I just learned of Jason’s blog from my friend, Beth. He shares the journey he and his wife, Tiffani, have been on. He shares their story and offers hope and encouragement from a man’s perspective. You’ll find the links to their social media accounts.

I reached out to Jason and Tiffani last night and was pleasantly surprised to get a quick response. I’m adding in this message from Jason –

“When new folks ask me which post tells our story in the most direct way possible, this one is definitely it. In the early days of SongSix3, there were things I definitely wasn’t ready to share yet. It had to cook for awhile in my heart before I could open up and tell certain parts.” Read – Keeping Short Accounts

In exchanging messages with them, Jason asked me to let you know that you’re welcome at their Facebook page, and he’d be happy to interact with you on the page or through Facebook messaging. You can also find them on Twitter.

I think this is an excellent opportunity for you to interact with someone who knows the journey from your perspective, men!

You can also find a few of my favorite resources here

The truth is –

Whether you’re brand new to a struggling marriage, or if you’ve walked this path for a while, we all need support.

I hope you’ll take this opportunity to get involved in accepting support from others who have walked this road. You might even find that you can encourage someone else.

It’s a tough road, but we’ll make it together! 

 

Sharing with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart

Psalms of Hope

Do you have a favorite verse about hope? 

A few friends and I shared some of our favorite verses recently, and I want to share some of them with you. It can be refreshing nice to have a reminder of how God is at work.

Many of us are experiencing struggles right now – some in their marriage, some with regular day-to-day life, others with job and family issues. In some cases it seems these struggles are due to the enemy ratcheting up the spiritual warfare that people are dealing with.

These verses will encourage you as you walk through your various struggles. Let’s remember that no matter what happens, God is in control and He has our best interests at heart.

This post is different than the usual posts because I just want to share these verses of hope with you. I’m not sharing any stories this time, no great insights, rather I’m giving you something better – a fresh look at God’s Word!

As I compiled this list of hope verses, I realized several verses were in the book of Psalms, so this list is focused on just a few verses from Psalms.

At the end of the post there is a way to sign up for subscriber freebies that I share. I’m including a free printable of these psalms of hope. You guys, this is the first one I’ve ever created, so *if* for some reason, it doesn’t work well, please be gracious! 🙂

If you are already signed up, you should get the link to download the printable in your email. (Be sure to check all your folders as sometimes emails don’t show up in the Inbox as they should.) 

5 psalms of hope to remember that God is in control.

 

Psalms of Hope 

 

Psalm 25:3a

No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame….

 

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

 

Psalm 71:5 

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.

 

Psalm 71:14 

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

 

Psalm 91:2 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

 

Would you like to be able to print all of these verses and keep them with you?

I’ve created a printable for you to do just that! 

Be sure to sign up to get the posts delivered to your email. Along with the free eBooks about marriage, you’ll have the link to download the printable that has all five of these verses. The image below shows you what it looks like.

When you sign up you will get an email back from me to confirm your subscription. That email has the link to download your freebies, including a pdf file of these verses.

Five Psalms of Hope - 2

I hope these will encourage you!

 

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

Can One Person Really Make a Difference?

This post contains affiliate links. See the disclosure policy here

Do you believe one person can make a difference?

Don’t just say yes – really take a moment and think about it.

Do you truly believe that just one person can make a difference in their world?

No one comes away unchanged, from this battle for their marriage. Can one person really make a difference?

One of my favorite articles talks about making a difference. The article is the text of the commencement address by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven to the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014. I have referenced this article before, and I’ll tell you, it’s one that I re-read several times each year.

Why?

Because I want to believe I’m making a difference. 

In his commencement address, Admiral McRaven tells the almost 8,000 graduates that –

“…if every one of you changed the lives of just ten people—and each one of those folks changed the lives of another ten people—just ten—then in five generations—125 years—the class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people.

800 million people—think of it—over twice the population of the United States. Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world—8 billion people.

If you think it’s hard to change the lives of ten people—change their lives forever—you’re wrong.

I saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A young Army officer makes a decision to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad and the ten soldiers in his squad are saved from close-in ambush.

In Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a non-commissioned officer from the Female Engagement Team senses something isn’t right and directs the infantry platoon away from a 500 pound IED, saving the lives of a dozen soldiers.

But, if you think about it, not only were these soldiers saved by the decisions of one person, but their children yet unborn—were also saved. And their children’s children—were saved.

Generations were saved by one decision—by one person.

But changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.

Individually, we aren’t going to impact 800 million lives. But we may never fully know how our choices will impact generations to come, even eternity.

My husband and I were talking about this exact thing recently.

That right there – that sentence – is one way that my decisions are changing a life.

My marriage has been through pretty much the very worst that could happen. For a long time, I did not know what to do. God kept speaking, reminding me of redemption. My choice to stay has impacted my family forever.

My choice to stay has impacted my life, the lives of the 4 others in this house, and our extended family. If we follow the Admiral’s speech, I can tell you that my choice has impacted more than 10 people. 

Back to the conversation my husband and I had, because we discussed another way we’re impacting people who are impacting people.

Our oldest son is 16, almost 17 years old. We both chuckled last night as we agreed that he’s “an old soul”. He is not your typical 16 year old. He graduated high school last June, just after his 16th birthday. He worked hard, had almost all A’s (just one B in high school) and he discussed his plans with us.

He is a pianist. He attends a local university where he is a Piano Performance Major. He attends classes, he does his homework, and then he practices piano. He practices some at school, and some at home. On days when his schedule is very full, he tries to get in at least 4 hours of piano. So he’s certainly not just sitting down to practice a piece once, and then walking away. He’s got an astounding work ethic.

Our choice to help him pursue his dreams is impacting those around him. He’s tackled a piece that is very recognizable to most of us (you may know the tune to Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody even if you don’t know the name). The problem is that while we all probably know the tune, apparently what we know varies greatly from what Liszt actually wrote. So our son has gone back to the foundations of the piece – playing what the composer actually wrote.

His reward? Well, one of his professors said that yes, the tune is very recognizable, and it’s a large, grandiose piece. But, he also said that he finds it very refreshing to hear the piece as it was written, rather than in some variation that is available today, and he’s impressed with our guy’s work on it. Our son’s own Piano professor has said something similar, but just yesterday, after a makeup lesson, he said that the piece is ready to be performed. He said that the piece needs to be out for public consumption and that people need to start talking about it.

Our son’s hard work is impacting the people he interacts with, and in turn, they are heaping encouragement upon him – what a reward for his day-to-day hard work and effort!

But how about us, those of us struggling in our marriages? 

No one comes away unchanged, from this battle for their marriage. Can one person really make a difference?

Well, first of all, please know that I’m not promising that fighting for your marriage is going to bring your spouse back, though I sincerely hope it does!

What I am saying, though, is that the process of fighting for your marriage, or even wrestling with God to determine His will for your life, is going to impact someone. It’s going to impact you.

And it’s going to make a difference in the lives of the people in your inner circle.

No one comes away from this kind of battle unchanged. 

But that’s just it: no one – no one – comes away from this kind of battle unchanged. They stand with us, they watch our choices and actions, and then they have an opportunity to go bless and impact more people, and they carry our story with them. Perhaps, ultimately, our story doesn’t end in the redemption of our marriage, though we pray it does. But it ends with God’s faithfulness to us, His leading us through the storm, and His perfect plan for us, despite how others may fail us.

These choices are part of the legacy we leave – for our children, our family, our friends, our co-workers, our acquaintances.

I want to leave a good and godly legacy, don’t you?

My friend, Leah, has re-released one of her Bible studies after a massive redesign. Not only is the book beautiful, it’s full of great lessons on leaving a godly legacy. These are truths that we can apply to our lives as Christians, but even more – as women who are drawing a line in the sand and letting God know that we stand with Him. What an awesome legacy to be able to pass on!

I’d encourage you to take a look at her Bible study.

“When all is said and done, the legacy you leave for those who come after you will be a result of the choices you make each day…choices regarding your faith, character, and holiness.” -Leah C. Adams, author

Please check out Legacy – I think you’ll find it’s a great encouragement for this journey! Click here: Legacy – or click the image below.

Legacy

Can one person really make a difference?

The answer is simple – the answer is yes! 

Just consider a few examples from the Bible:
Elijah, taking on the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18)
Naomi, allowing Ruth to go with her after the loss of Naomi’s sons and husband (Ruth 1)
Mary, carrying the baby who would save the world (Luke 1:26-38)
Paul, who endured so much and penned the words we’re familiar with in Philippians 3:14.
Jesus, sent from heaven, fully God yet fully man, enduring death on the cross for our sins.

Friend, one person can make a difference. Yes, these are big examples, but there is no reason our faith cannot be as big as that of Elijah, Naomi, Mary, Paul and countless others in the Bible.

Consider your situation and look ahead to the legacy that you can leave, because your life truly does make a difference!

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out a short form for the Facebook group.

 

No one comes away unchanged, from this battle for their marriage. Can one person really make a difference?


Sharing at Grace & Truth, with Alisa Nicaud at Salt & Light, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, with June at Wise Woman Linkup

Hope for the Hurting Wife

 

UPDATED March 1, 2017:
Hope for the Hurting Wife 
was a free resource that we offered for the month of February, 2017.
If you did not receive your copy, don’t worry! We’re planning something special!

Starting today, we’re working to expand the book into a full 30-day devotional!

Here’s how you can help: 
If you received your copy, we are looking for reader feedback to use as testimonials for the new 30-day version.
If you’d like to submit your feedback, please email me at rmhallberg@gmail.com and share how the book impacted you.

If you haven’t yet read Hope for the Hurting Wife, hang on for just a little while and you’ll start to see information on the new 30-day version, which will include content that has not been published before.

We’re excited about where God is leading us, and how He is using our stories to encourage others.


I’d like to take just a moment and share a little about the books being offered here and why it’s so important to me to share them with you.

I entered marriage having gone through premarital counseling, thinking I knew my spouse well. We communicated often and had those in-depth conversations that people need to have – whether or not we’d have kids, our goals and dreams, where we felt God was leading us as individuals and together.

Things were good – not always perfect, but they eventually got better. And such was the whole of my married life – a lot of good, some tough spots, and then things would work out.

Until one day when the bottom fell out. The knock at the door changed everything. Life changed from basically just going about my day-to-day life, to deciding whether or not I would (or could) stand up against the enemy’s attacks and the struggles my husband was now going to have to confront, head on.

Any of the marriage posts written on this site have come after the pain of that particular day – the day they knocked at the door.

God has really dealt with me in the past few years, teaching me grace, answering my pleas for mercy, and reminding me that all of life is to be held loosely because in the end, it’s all His.

 

Hope for the Hurting Wife is a compilation of writings from Jen and me. Jen blogs at Being Confident of This, and she and I have taken turns writing for each other’s blogs, mostly on the topic of marriage. We’ve both struggled in our marriages and we’re joining forces to offer a resource that we think is going to be beneficial to you. We share from our own experiences of when marriage is hard, as wives who have experienced the hurt, but are still fighting for our marriage.

You’ll find encouragement and support for the real-life problems that arise when marriage becomes difficult. You’ll find hope for the journey of standing for your marriage, an understanding of the times when you pass through the deep waters of discouragement and fear. And you’ll find that we aren’t perfect in our fight for marriage – we’re two women who share the hurt, but also the hope from drawing close to Jesus in this time. And you’ll be reminded that no matter what happens, God has a plan for your life.

It’s our desire that this book is a blessing to others who are in similar situations. To get this book, (and the ones below) for free, I simply ask that you sign up for the email list. I don’t inundate you with emails. In fact, you’ll only get an email from me if I have a new post to share, or sporadically in between posts if I have something to share with you.

Marriage resources for when you're looking to strengthen and improve your marriage.

To sign up for the email list and get 3 free books about marriage,
simply click this link.

(Hope for the Hurting Wife is not currently included in our subscriber freebies.) 

Signing up for emails also means that in the future when I have freebies,
you’ll have access to them right away since you already signed up.

*          *          *          *          *

At the time I became aware of the problems  in my marriage, I was writing for a larger website and the owner began to host these 31 day series on marriage. Ironically, I told God that I’d never write about marriage. There are so many other websites that cover that topic. But God kept laying it on my heart to participate and He hasn’t let me walk away from writing about marriage yet, though I do share a few other kinds of posts from time to time.

After each series, we, the authors, were each given permission to share these eBooks with our subscribers. So that’s what I’ve been doing with these eBooks – offering them in exchange for subscription to the blog here.

I know that being allowed into someone’s Inbox is a precious gift. The posts I write are often reflective of where my own heart is in this journey of trying to do my part to work on my marriage. I’m a work in progress, grasping for redemption in my own life when I thought I’d be content just telling others’ redemption stories.

As painful as it’s been, I’m grateful that God has dealt mercifully with my husband and me. Our story is not over, though I’m positive that the devil thought it would be the day I found out about our struggles. I don’t know what’s ahead, but we are both committed to our marriage, to pressing on for redemption and for what God will do through all of this.

These books are a wonderful resource and I hope they bless you as it blessed all of us who participated in writing it.

And just in case you need more resources right away,
please check the related posts at the bottom of this post. 

31 Days to a Better Marriage - Subscriber Freebies

*****

31 Days to a Better Marriage - Subscriber Freebie

*****

Free e-book for subscribers || rebekahmhallberg.com

If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below, or hit the Contact page for my email address.

Thank you, friends! And if this is a blessing, would you consider sharing it with their friends? We would love to share the books with as many people as need it.

 

Sharing at Grace and Truth 

 

When You Just Need to Sleep

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more in the Disclosure Policy

 

We all progress through struggles at our own rate – you know this, right? We can’t compare our progress (or even our perceived progress) with someone else’s because even if the situation is exactly the same, we were all created differently, uniquely.

I’ve shared that I finally feel like I’m coming out from the very worst of my struggle. I’m pretty sure the struggle was intended to produce death – to kill…either me, my husband, or our marriage.

But it didn’t!

At the end of December, I was intending to launch into Grace Goals, feeling like I was at a good place in life. My marriage seemed strong, I had transitioned home full-time after working full-time the previous school year, my kids didn’t require as much one-on-one attention, and I felt quite settled.

Enter my friend, Ruthie. 😉

No, actually Ruthie is fantastic! I know her through blogging, and through Arabah Joy, who put Grace Goals together.

Ruthie was starting a challenge at the beginning of January and I thought it would pair beautifully with Grace Goals.

Ruthie’s challenge was called “31 Days to a Clutter-Free Mind“. I read her post (you’re going to want to also) and I realized how much it would help me with Grace Goals and with just starting to get back on track.

I was right – it’s helping tremendously!

But…

God jumped in and said, “Good! Now you’ve got all the tools that you’re going to need; let’s do this.”

Over the first couple days of January, I realized what God wanted me to do.

I wanted to say no, I wanted to protect that last little nook of what I thought was self-preservation.

And as I worked through Ruthie’s clutter-free mind challenge, I realized I had to do what God was asking.

Have you ever asked, even begged for something,
only to receive it and then sort of toss it aside? 

Okay, I didn’t do that exactly, but sort of.

I had asked God to restore and redeem my marriage – and He’s doing it!

I had pushed away a lot of fears about the things that had gone wrong. I prayed against them, but they ganged up on me.

And sometimes it’s just easier to rip off the band-aid, so here goes: 

I was not regularly sleeping in my bed anymore

Sleep can be tough after trauma, especially in marriage. These practical tools will help combat worry and anxiety because we all need to sleep.

I had asked God to restore my marriage, and then I decided to sleep on the couch (not always, but more often than not). I see my husband pretty regularly, but with 3 kids and various activities for each, we can be pretty busy. And I was willingly giving up the time in the bed each night because I was more concerned about the “what-ifs” that probably aren’t going to happen.

As I told Ruthie, I was more content to cozy up with Fear each night than to sleep with my husband.

Man, that realization made me feel ridiculous. No, I hadn’t cheated on my husband, but I sure put something else ahead of our relationship – the same relationship that I begged God to restore.

Now, with regards to the bed, I can tell you that we probably need a new mattress and that would be true. I can tell you that I was waking up in pain, and that would be 100% true.

But the fear of what might happen was bigger than the mattress issue.

When God said, “You need to start sleeping in your own bed again,” I knew there was no fighting it. I had Grace Goals and “31 Days to a Clutter-Free Mind” challenge. Ruthie’s course prompted me through making a plan for the things I needed to focus on.

Knowing myself, I know that plan needed to be detailed – from early morning all the way to bedtime. I knew I couldn’t leave myself a way out.

While I like to plan on making changes in my life, I can have trouble carrying them out. So what would sort of “force” me to carry out my plans? Accountability.

So before I could talk myself out of it, I sent my entire plan to a lady who knows my story and is pulling for my marriage. I asked if I could email her each morning, just to let her know if I was successful or not. And I knew that if I could do this for all of January (which coincides with the timing for Ruthie’s challenge), then I would be over this hurdle.

Because of the traumatic nature of what happened, there are still things that will trigger fear, worry and anxiety in my heart, and all of those were preventing me from climbing the stairs each night and sleeping in my own bed. So my plan included ways to combat all of that as well.

Each morning I email my friend and share how my night went, and she answers with encouragement every day! I’ve learned a lot through this process – mostly that if I stick to the plan I made, then I’m going to make it. When I start to deviate…well, those have been the tougher nights.

“So, how’s it going?” you might wonder.

Today is Day 18 since I started working my plan, so I’ve had 17 nights to work my plan. I’ve slept in my bed for 15 of the last 17 nights. I’ve only missed two nights – and I worked through each of those to determine what to do differently.

So what about the mattress issues? Well, we probably still need to buy a new mattress at some point, but I’m not waking up in pain. A few aches from time to time, but they’re gone with a few stretches. It turns out that the fear and anxiety I was dealing with (or, rather not dealing with as well as I should have) might have done more to cause me pain than the actual mattress.

And it turns out, I actually enjoy sleeping in my bed. That sounds silly, but after the crazy things that have happened here the past few years, I actually like sleeping in my bed.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. But I think that’s actually the real reason – in order to be honest.

See, we all get a glimpse of each other – of the good times, the struggles, the joys, the hurts. And when you’re on this kind of a journey, sometimes you need to know the reality – the nitty-gritty – that we all heal at our own pace.

I’d love for you to take a look at Ruthie’s challenge – it’s free, it’s helpful, and she simply lays out a plan to cut things from your schedule in order to de-clutter your brain. And what she offers is just a strategy – you can tweak it to your needs, or to whatever God speaks into your heart.

Whatever you’re working on, no matter how big it might seem, God is ready and willing to work with you.

The verse that keeps coming to mind through all of this is Psalm 4:8 –

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

What a beautiful verse, and a precious reminder that I’m not the one who has to do the work of self-preservation. God provides the safety – even when I’m sleeping.

I hope this is a blessing to someone. Even if you’re going through a different situation, I pray that God would fill you with peace and give you rest!

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

Sharing at Grace and Truth 

Moving Beyond Fear in the New Year

It’s the end of another year and there’s so much that could be said as we look back over the year, and then ahead to a new year. To be honest, for the past few years, I’ve just been thankful to close the calendar at the end of each year. I haven’t done much looking back – some, but not much. What I have done is simply hoped for something better for the year ahead.

Last night I was on Facebook for a few minutes and saw a video that someone had posted. It was one of those videos where Facebook pulls your “most-liked” images and compiles them. It was late, and I decided to let Facebook “compile” mine while the muffins I made finished baking.

I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe a reflection of how I feel the past few years have been: messy, ugly, fearful.

Now we all know that people really only share their “highlights reels” on social media, right? 

For those of us who have endured a trauma, it turns out that a “highlights reel” might be a blessing in disguise!

As I sat and watched my video of 2016, do you know what I found?

ALL THE GOOD STUFF!

All of it – from the benefit concert that my son hosted, to the reminder of things that are “staples” in our lives (piano lessons), to my daughter turning 10, to my 17th wedding anniversary.

Do you know what was missing from my video?

All of the struggles I remembered from this year. 

That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, but it also reminded me that I can choose to release them.

I thought back to other years – the past couple years, in fact, that have seemed the most painful. While I could remember the details of the darkest moments, I also realized that I had let go of them somewhere along the way. (What a beautiful realization!)

I’ve recently started using a truth journaling process – it really helps me to focus on the truth in a tough situation and it helps me get “unstuck” from my perception of what’s going on. This technique has come in handy when I get in a situation where I feel my own fear or anxiety rising up. I’ve been thinking back over the past couple of years and viewing my perceptions and fears, and then “writing” over them with truth. For example, I can now look back at situations where I felt fear. I’m able to see why the situation happened, and tell myself the truth (not the fear) about what was happening. This has been so important in my ability to heal. You can read more about the truth journaling here.

This morning on Instagram, I read the following quote:

When you face a struggle in your marriage, remind yourself that the struggle will become a story someday. It will either be a story about why you divorced or a story about how you worked together to build a stronger marriage. You get to decide which story comes true. – DaveWillis.org

We get to decide which story comes true. We get the opportunity to stand and fight for our marriageI realize that it takes both spouses to make the marriage work, but let’s be sure we’re doing our part. 

Friends, the key here is that we choose what we take into the new year with us.

What do you want the year ahead to look like? What do you want to remember from this year?

What do you want?

Do you remember the story of “Blind Bartimaeus”? (Mark 10:46-52)

Bartimaeus was a beggar who sat by the side of the road. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he shouted out to Him, begging for mercy. Many people told him to be quiet, but he called out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and called for Bartimaeus. Now Bartimaeus was blind…couldn’t see…needed his sight.

But what does Jesus do? He could have healed him on the spot. He could have healed him before Bartimaeus even got to Him. He could have healed Bartimaeus from afar. He doesn’t do any of those things right away, though.

Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

It’s obvious, right? Bartimaeus is B L I N D.

But Jesus puts the ball back in Bartimaeus’ court. He asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.'”

I want to see! 

What do you want for the new year? I'm moving beyond fear - and you can, too.

 

I think I’ve known my word for 2017 for some time now, but I haven’t been able to work out how to get from where I was to where I knew I needed to be.

A couple weeks ago, a new word dropped into my heart, but it made no sense with what I thought my word would be for the new year. I’ve spent time really praying through both words, not sure if I should be combining them, thinking about both, or if I really just needed more sleep!

You know that, as a general rule, when you go through a trauma there are often triggers that can bring up some of those emotions again. I still struggle with some of those – not as badly, they’re going away, but there are still a few triggers that bring up the fear and anxiety. And if I named them, they would seem silly – a knock at the door, a car parked across the street. But these are parts of my story that bring up a moment of panic.

Last night, I asked my husband when he thought I’d be free from those triggers. I have prayed about them, I have found ways to sort of move forward, but really want to be done with them.

His answer surprised me. He said, “I wonder if it’s kind of up to you. Like you decide today is the day you will move forward.”

Maybe when I’m ready to release the fear, I’ll move forward.

The word that has dropped into my heart the past couple weeks is the word RELEASE. 

What do you want for the new year? I'm moving beyond fear - and you can, too.

My husband didn’t know that – I hadn’t told him.

But his answer to me had to do with my own releasing of my feelings.

Why do I have to release those feelings?

Because I want to see!

I want to see JOY in my life again – true, deep joy!

My word for the new year is JOY!

What do you want for the new year? I'm moving beyond fear - and you can, too.

Over the past few years, as the Lord has given new words each year, I’ve learned about the word – the meaning, the use, verses to go with each one. But I’ve also learned the word by experiencing the opposite of each word.

HOPE – this was the word for 2014, after the most hopeless situation in 2013.
REDEMPTION – from 2015, after truly understanding that our actions carry consequences.
OVERCOME – the word for 2016, after thinking I had been buried, only to find I’d been planted.
JOY – for 2017, knowing that God has carried me through what I hope is the very worst, what could have killed me, yet He’s cared for me each step of the way and is breathing life back into me again.

As I look at the words the Lord has given me, I can see a definite pattern in the words, and how they’ve been leading to my healing. Beyond that, though, these words have applied in many areas in my life – not just in my marriage. It’s been a blessing to see how God is using these words.

What is it that you need from the Lord? What is it that you want to carry into the new year? 

If the Lord was standing before you, and He asked, “What do you want me to do for you,” what would your answer be? Be honest – no matter how obvious the answer seems. After all, Bartimaeus was blind. 

What do you want?

I’d love if you’d share your answers in the comments or in an email.

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

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We Just Need to Survive

This week my family went to Valley Forge for the evening commemoration of when Washington’s troops marched in to Valley Forge on December 19, 1777. Our guide for the walk out to the encampment area explained the historical aspect of the war in terms that really made sense to me, especially as many of try to heal and move forward in life.

The British army that came to fight in America were well-trained, tactically excellent, and probably pretty angry at losing part of their control of lands and people in the world.

By contrast, the Americans were scrappy – not really different than any of us.

{Take a minute – imagine a group of us preparing to go to battle – actual battle – against the United States Army. No really, just take a minute – wives, mothers, a few fathers, some business professionals, some older, some quite young, all from various backgrounds – fighting against the US Army. What a sight we would be!}

That’s the state of Washington’s army at that time. They were just average people with no real knowledge of war. How would a rag-tag army win against the British? Well, they probably wouldn’t.

Here’s the thing, though –

They didn’t have to win. 

Washington chose Valley Forge at this point in the war because it gave him a great advantage. Valley Forge is up on a hill, you can see for miles around. A rag-tag army fights with scrappy methods, so they needed any advantage they could get.

The guide said that many of the Americans, when faced with the charging British, would turn and run. {Um, I’m pretty sure you and I would do the same thing if the Army was chasing us, right?} 

But then –

Washington’s troops would get up to fight again the next day.

Our guide said, “Do you know what happens when you have to continually fight the enemy?” And I thought, “Yeah, you lose lives.”

His answer was –

“The more a rag-tag group has to fight, the more they learn how to fight.”

Just read that again and think about it for a minute.

The troops wouldn’t get up on a Tuesday just to run away like they did on Monday. If they ran away on Monday and were hiding in the woods, they would see what the enemy was doing. They’d see weak spots. They’d see how the enemy prepared. They would spot the guy who wasn’t paying attention. Then on Tuesday, they’d be able to use what they learned on Monday to their advantage.

By the time Washington got to Valley Forge in 1777, the Declaration of Independence had already been signed. The Americans weren’t fighting to win independence – they were fighting to survive to fight another day

They were fighting to survive to fight another day.

A unique lesson on spiritual warfare that we can apply to our lives and our marriages. We don't need to win; we just need to survive.

It’s the same with us – we’re already overcomers. We know how the story will end. We know Who has already won.

I’m reminded of the story of Gideon where God decreased the size of the army from 32,000 to 300. It didn’t seem they could win with just 300 people – at least, not in the traditional manner of military battle. Even the 32,000 men were considered a small force against the Midianite army.

But what did God do? He sent Gideon down to camp to overhear a conversation that would strengthen and encourage him. Then God had Gideon’s army attack the Midianites using a rather unique tactic, and at a time when the Midianites were vulnerable – at night. Go read Judges 7!

Surely an army of 300 men wouldn’t beat an army of more than 32,000. I wonder how many really just hoped to survive. Look how God helped them to not just survive, but to overcome!

We just need to survive. 

And as we survive, we learn more of the enemy’s tactics. We see how he comes after us, what areas he thinks are weak in our lives.

But we can also learn his weaknesses.

In my life, I’m beginning to recognize when the spiritual attacks are coming. They often begin when I’m tired, or when I’m not really paying attention to what I’m thinking – sort of just floating through my day.

So those are areas where I have to make changes. I have to be intentional in “closing those open doors” in my life.

I’ve learned these specifics simply by survival. As I survive, I have time to think about how and why the enemy continues to attack. I’ve paid attention to his tactics. And I’ve used that the next day when I get up to fight him again.

Friends, we don’t need to win. That’s not our job.

The battle belongs to the Lord, the victory is already His!

We just need to survive!

Take just a moment for some self-reflection.
Can you see tactics the enemy is using in battle against you?
In what area(s) can you make some changes and stand up against him?
Here is a resource I’m using to work on making some of those changes.

If you’re up to sharing the areas where you are trying to change, I’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, or send an email anytime.

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

Sharing at
Grace & Truth, Fresh Market Friday 

Grace Goals {to take those first steps forward}

This post uses affiliate links – view the policy here

 

As we near the end of this year, I wanted to share something that I hope will be a blessing to you. I know many of you feel stuck in your current situations – I have seen your emails, read your comments on blog posts, and have prayed over your requests. I truly know how you are feeling.

I know how hard it can be to cook a meal for your family, to put a load of laundry in to wash, to expend the energy to clean up a bathroom. And the expectations are so great at this time of the year with the holidays, school activities, and general family issues to keep up with.

That’s why I want to share Grace Goals with you. I really don’t want it to be one more thing you add to your to-do list, though, because I know how difficult that can be. In fact, when I first tried Grace Goals, I was still in a constant daily struggle of just getting through a day.

But…

If you are at a spot where you’re ready to try small steps to set new goals, to take care of your own heart, then you might be ready for Grace Goals.

Grace Goals for when you're ready to slowly begin moving ahead, regardless of what is going on in your marriage.

I can tell you about Grace Goals, and I’ll certainly do a little of that, but for you who are here in a situation similar to mine, I want you to know more. I want you to know the heart behind Grace Goals.

Arabah Joy, who created Grace Goals, is a blogger who I’ve been reading for a number of years. At one point after the heartache in my life, I got brave for just a moment and shared my whole story with her. She didn’t push me away. She didn’t make me feel like my story was too ugly. In fact, from time to time, I’ll get an email from her saying, “Have you considered trying ____?” And whatever is in the blank seems like such a breath of fresh air, a reassurance, sometimes even a confirmation of what I feel God is putting on my heart.

Fast forward to this month…. I had the privilege of traveling to Florida over the weekend to meet Arabah Joy. We spent some time discussing the work and ministry of blogging, but more than that, we just talked. We shared about our lives, our families, and how God is bringing healing in my life, among so many other things.

What I want you to know is that you can feel safe and secure with Arabah Joy, and particularly with Grace Goals. That’s the key for us, isn’t it? Safety, security. Our world can be tumultuous, but you’ll find refuge with her.

So, if you’re ready to try to set a few goals for your own life, for your own heart, Grace Goals is an excellent place to start. If you’re looking for a way to move forward, even to jumpstart your own heart, you’ll find what you need with this great resource.

In my own life, I’m in a different place this year than I was last year, so I’m going to be working through Grace Goals as well. I would welcome emails and interaction with you as we work through this together.

Here are some of the ways that Grace Goals will benefit us:

>> Set practical, godly goals
>> Be confident of God’s favor and power in your endeavors
>> Develop a doable, personal plan for change
>> Learn why grace is the enablement you need
>> Begin to recognize and appropriate grace in your daily life
>> Receive encouragement in the Facebook group (optional!)

And…You’re invited to be part of Grace Goals! For a limited time, if you grab Grace Goals here, you’ll automatically be invited to a LIVE workshop with Arabah Joy and other Grace Goals participants on Wednesday, December 28, where there will be a short devotional, we’ll share our goals, pray together, and have a time of Q&A.

Grace Goals for when you're ready to slowly begin moving ahead, regardless of what is going on in your marriage.

What do you think? Are you interested in trying this with me? Maybe you’re curious as to some of the things I’m going to be working on….

Well, after really taking the time to get through a lot of what has come my way, I’m ready to be intentional in Bible study and home organization in the new year. These goals are not going to *just happen* in my life because if they were, I’d not have a need for Grace Goals…or grace…or goals. 

Perhaps you just need a plan to survive the day, to remember God loves you. Your goals don’t have to be lofty, they don’t have to be world-changing, they just need to be a decision between you and the Lord about what seems the most beneficial right now. For me, my goals signify putting my life back together. For you, they may simply be for the sake of survival – I’ve been there. The great news is, you’re already succeeding at that one! You realize that, right? You are succeeding at survival!

I heard this song on Sunday as Arabah Joy and I watched a church service. The words never cease to stir my heart. I pray you’ll take a few minutes to listen to this song and to let it resonate as we look ahead to a new year.

So let’s work through Grace Goals together, and with the Lord, and see what He will do in our hearts as we make a plan to move forward!

Please note – if you purchase Grace Goals through the links in this post, I receive a percentage of the sale.
Affiliate links provide a way to help offset the costs associated with running this blog. 

Where Are You, Women of Faith?

Friends, it’s been a tough couple of weeks in Christian circles.

  • A major speaker/author came out in support of gay and lesbian marriages and that sent shock waves through both sides of that debate.
  • A (female) blogger announced her divorce not long ago, and is now dating a woman.
  • A Christian blogger with quite a large platform has announced that her husband divorced her.

And it drove home the reminder that none of us are exempt from Satan trying to stir up strife. None of us.

For the purposes of this post, I’m just focusing on the marriage and divorce issue. I’ve heard from so many of you that marriage is tough. It’s not the white picket fence and perfect family and beautiful flower-lined sidewalks that we want it to be. The Hollywood depiction of marriage and family is so unfamiliar to so many of us.

The reality is messy. It’s hurried schedules, family dinners on occasion, two jobs (or more), kids in a variety of activities, and barely time to connect with your spouse, let alone focus on growing a relationship.

And as soon as the enemy finds an “in” you know he’s going to jump on it.

My husband and I have to be intentional in making time just to talk. It’s so easy to let the moments slip by, and before long, moments turn into a day…or two…then three, and before we know it, we’re snapping at each other, wondering why the other is reacting out of frustration.

The blogger who I mentioned above was married for a long time – to someone she had known for over 20 years. That’s a long time. But the enemy still found a way to mess with them and her husband chose divorce.

My husband and I have been married over 17  years and are still struggling through the results of his poor choices and actions.

And more than ever, I believe that we – you and I – have been put here, for such a time as this.

Biblically, our husbands are the head of the home and we, as wives, are in the role of helpmeet. If your marriage is anything like ours, then these roles can get blurred, they can be frustrating, and can lead to some hurt feelings as each tries to fulfill their role.

Today, we need to set our feelings aside.

Today, we need to take up a new challenge – with courage, intentionally, with great faith.

Calling on women of faith to take a stand for their marriage, to decide that they will be intentional in praying for their marriage.

It’s time to rise up and step into the position that God has created us for.

It’s time to pray.

WHAT DO WE NEED TO PRAY FOR?

The list can be tailored to fit your specific circumstances, but here is a list of things to pray over. (And the list is not all-inclusive.)

His job, his co-workers, his manager/boss, favor in the workplace
His friends, his circle of influence, the random people with whom he crosses paths
His family, his parents & siblings, his children, his wife
His free time, where he chooses to let his mind go during down time, his hobbies
His ministry, his leadership, his church roles

These are just a few ideas of what to pray for.

HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?

  • We need to pray with intention.

Set a reminder on your phone.
Write it on a sticky note and post it on the window above your kitchen sink.
Ask your kids to remind you.
Find a friend – today, or as soon as possible – and hold each other accountable.
Write it on your family calendar. It’s okay if he knows you’re praying for him! 

  • We need to pray specifically.

Take one of those ideas from up above – or even an entire line. Pray through each of those.
Make a list of specifics personalized to your situation.
Ask him how you can be praying.
Don’t just say, “Please bless him, Lord.” Tell God his specific needs. Ask God for exactly what you want.

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time,
he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
John 5:6

It was obvious that the man needed healing – but Jesus’ question was, “Do you want healing?”

So pray specifically – tell the Lord exactly what it is that you want.

  • We need to pray consistently.

When I’m saying to step up and pray for your husband, I don’t mean just for today.
I mean for the long haul. Make a commitment. Make it a priority.  
Don’t stop when you get upset at him about something.
Don’t stop because life gets busy; re-prioritize and PUT HIM FIRST.
If our marriages are going to last, we have to realize that the spiritual battle isn’t just for today. It’s forever.

It’s time to rise up, women of faith!

It’s time to call this what it is: a battle.

And here’s a hint: the other side is willing to fight to the death – the death of your marriage.

The question is, are we willing to fight to the death?

Are we willing to pray as if our marriage depended on it?

Because – it does.

The strength of our marriage is not going to happen by accident. It’s not going to happen because we plant flowers by a white picket fence and put on a happy show.

No, our marriage will grow only as we invest in it.

The question is, how much are you willing to invest?

Chances are, when you said your vows at your wedding, you used some form of
for better or worse 
for richer or poorer 
in sickness and in health. 

From one extreme to the other – better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

Today I’m drawing my line in the sand. I’m committing to pray for my husband more than before, and I will not back away from this line.

I’m waiting here for God to meet me. I’m choosing to wait for His answers, not seeking my own desires, but seeking Him for the strength of my marriage.

I commit to praying each day for my husband – intentionally, specifically and consistently. 

I’m preparing my heart, asking God to work through me, and I’m waiting for God to answer.

And I’m prepared to wait here until God answers. 

I’m waiting for God to send the rain.

Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3

Who’s with me? 

Support for women who are standing for their marriage, trusting God to restore and redeem.

Click this link to fill out the short form for the Facebook group.

If you’re looking for more encouragement in your marriage,
check out these posts

Check out these resources for strengthening your marriage.
(Scroll to the bottom of the post.)

Take a look through these gifts of hope
for the women in your life who are fighting for their marriage.

Calling on women of faith to take a stand for their marriage, to decide that they will be intentional in praying for their marriage.

Sharing at
Moments of Hope
Grace and Truth
Counting My Blessings