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

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!

 

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.

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!

*          *          *          *          *          *

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.

 

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.

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.

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 

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? 

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.

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.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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 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.

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