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Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;  but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22:31‭-‬32 NASB

I was given this text days ago and wasn’t sure the message He wanted me to share behind it until just now. 

Last night I felt led to share some of the trials that my husband and I are currently (see here) in. As I was writing I knew this would bless others as well as honor God with what He’s doing in our lives. 

God is good. Always. He is working ALL things for GOOD, for those who love Him and are called for His purpose (paraphrase Romans 8:28). 

My marriage has absolutely been through a season of sifting and after reading about how they sifted wheat in the old days I couldn’t be more positive that this passage is genuinely what we’ve been going through. And if I am to be His Light and Shine His love to others lost in the darkness then I’ve got to get real when I’m knee deep in the muck and mire. 

Not in anger or pain but in gratitude that no matter what this flesh tries to bind me to my eyes and heart are always going to refocus and get back on my God. And because of that I TRUST in HIM and HIS promises. So I share. I share so others lost in the muck see that they too can find their hope in Christ, even though it seems they may have failed Him. 

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 NASB

If you are currently in the muck know that I have prayed for you to focus your eyes back on your Father. Focus your heart back on Him who Loves you. 

God is Good. Always. Trust Him. You have not been forsaken. 

He listens to me 

​I love the Lord , because He hears My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.

Psalms 116:1‭-‬2 NASB

It was so easy for me to fall in love with God. He listens to me. He would answer my broken cries in ways that were so personal and direct that I couldn’t deny His Presence in my life. 

As the youngest child, and the only girl. I lived an internal life growing up. No one quite understanding who I was or taking the time to hear what I had to say. 

As a teenager I was an overly emotional kid. And this only grew my internal struggle. As a young wife and mother in a relationship that started on so many troubled levels. I always strived to be accepted and heard that I again lost my voice. 

As I came to the Lord I knew deep down that I desired for my children and other women to be HEARD. 

For me it’s the most painful scars I have. One that I guard fiercly. 

Not being heard. 

It provokes my flesh like no other within my current marriage. 

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:11‭-‬12 NASB 

Although my mind knows our battles are the devils schemes, and he is not a gentlemen and will use this pain as a weapon to destroy, it makes my ache no less painful. 

My scars are REAL. My pain is REAL. And my battle needs to be real as well. By knowing how the devil is using my pain as a weapon helps to arm me with the TRUTH of this pain. Its my flesh. And my flesh will always be hostile towards God. So when the enemy can get me to focus on myself and my pain then he steals my joy. Like John 10:10 says He will. 

So what do we do in times like this? Just act as if nothing’s happened? No. Denying it makes it grow. Face it. Make your spouse aware that they’re being used by the enemy to hurt you. Pray that your spouse begins to guard himself and his words by seeking God. Period. That’s how you defeat this enemy is by seeking God. Apologies are good, but if your anything like me your rather action be the apology as words can be empty when not followed up with action. 

Then you get your heart into God’s hands and embrace the TRUTH that He listens to you and He loves you completely, as you are His bride. 

For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.

Isaiah 54:5 NASB

After you’ve both allowed God to speak to your hearts then come together and let God guide your conversations. Always Seek God. 

Your husband is your Maker….

image

‘For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5

I’ve quoted this a lot these past few weeks. Especially when talking about the relationship between me and my husband. (pictured above)

There is a quote that one of my friends sent me years ago, before I ever fell in love with God. It says: “A woman must be so lost in God that any man must go through Him in order to find her.” This quote really changed me and my heart over the years. Today I send this same quote to my single girl friends, in hope they will see the TRUTH that lies within.

When Chadd an I were first married we were both on fire for the Lord. Then life began to snatch away the Word and put out our fire. I resented my husband and our relationship. As time went on God began to slowly reveal to me that I was in fact the problem, not Chadd. I put too much pressure on him, I expected too much from him as my husband and the father of my children. Eventually everything broke and I learned that my husband is in fact my Maker.

When I no longer put the expectation on Chadd to fill me, I was able to find fulfillment from the ONLY one capable of filling me, God. Then Chadd was able to add to the ‘overflow’ and I was able to love him exactly where he was. Which this caused him to become the man that I have yearned for all along.

This past weekend I realized just how much I truly love this man. He was away for a mens retreat and I missed him terribly. I also realized while he was away that I haven’t allowed myself to really love him. I’ve kept him at a distance, afraid that he would disappoint me. And last night when we were laying in bed, guess what happened….I felt disappointed. I became angry and hurt. What does this mean? Well it means that I didn’t get what I wanted. James 4:1,2 tell us that we quarrel because we do not get what we want. So when I begin to argue with my husband, Holy Spirit reminds me of this and I begin to allow Wisdom to bring me understanding. As Proverbs 8 describes Wisdom to be a woman, she is very gentle in the way she reminds me that I am not here to be served but to serve, and my husband in the flesh is not here to serve me but to serve others. We are a unit yes, but ultimately we are here to help bring the Kingdom of God here, not to fulfill our fleshly desires.

Ladies, I want to first pray for you. Ask that God pour out the Holy Spirit within your hearts and allow Wisdom and Understanding to come to you as it has me, gently and lovingly. God knows what we need and He does lavish us with love and affection, sometimes through a song, a friend, a book. But when the time comes He will lavish us with the fleshly love we desire. I believe it’s up to us to continue to seek God first and allow the love that others give us to be an overflow.

Remember, our Maker is our Husband.

Have you settled for less?

If I knew back then what I know now I would never have gotten married. Don’t get me wrong I know my children and all that God has done in my past is part of my purpose. But to be able to devote my entire life to God…..sigh bliss. I will raise my children to be Kingdom focused and I am praying for their spouse to also be Kingdom focused. I will prepare them to seek out Gods calling on their life and to know the importance of being yoked with another that has the same calling. Marriage is a gift. And I know that a married couple equally yoked working for God will advance the kingdom in fierce ways, that many single people can’t. A chord of 3 cannot be broken. Marriage shows beautifully what it’s like to be yoked with Christ. If done properly.

Jesus died to bring me to God. A man is to love a woman as Christ loved the church. To love someone so much you devote your entire life preparing, building up, and then binding that relationship with the sacrificial love. When our order within a marriage is off…eventually the kingdom you’ve created will break. Its can run pretty well for awhile, but everything not done the way God intended will break. And the true purpose for the union will not be reached. I think of how Paul said to Timothy finish the race. I’m envisioning this couple running around the course in three legged race. At times when they are in sync with God’s design your unable to determine whose leg is in control of the third, (which one has dominant controls) then there’s the other couple. The dominate one is easy to see bc they’re carrying the other….until they’re unable to anymore and then they need to rest. Which means they stop the race collect their strength and then begin again. Can they advance Gods kingdom absolutely God’s word will not return void. So finishing the race still earns them a ribbon for participation. But they forfeit any prizes associated with the winners who placed in the race.

Which marriage represents yours? Are you running the race with excellence?  Or have you settled to just finish satisfied with the ribbon? 

~sometimes I just gotta write~

Apologizing When You’ve Done Nothing Wrong

This has blessed me and my tattered heart. May her words heal you also.

Written by: Laura Polk

“Apologizing does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.”—Positive Outlooks

It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me.

I repeated the mantra in my head over and over again. I set it to a tune. I hummed it in my mind. But it still wasn’t sinking in. It felt like it was about me. In fact, it felt like I was under attack. Being falsely accused of something I didn’t do.

But, it didn’t matter.

It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me.

It wasn’t about me. There was a larger story at play. The one of my family, especially my children, suffering the consequences of an argument that I didn’t start, and couldn’t seem to end. It had gone on for years, and my attempts to get anyone to even acknowledge my viewpoint, were futile.

David struggled with this as well. In Psalm 69, he calls out to God in the midst of his accusers:

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”

He was forced to restore what he did not steal. Accused of things he did not do.

Relationships are messy. And Jesus clearly understood. In fact, he specifically instructed us on what to do should we find ourselves in a disagreement with others. In Matthew 5:23-24, He said:

“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.”

I love how this doesn’t specify who is at fault. To God, who is at fault is not the question. It is about making things right, regardless of who is at fault. It doesn’t mean that we are taking the blame, but instead, taking the initiative to live in peace with that person. I know—it seems impossible. But, as believers, we are called to a higher standard. Called to love others as we would like to be loved—not as we are loved. A much different thing.

The truth is, there is an art to disagreeing. And, like most art, it’s not always easy to understand at first glance. The meaning, and the methods used, may not be clear in the beginning.

When it’s time to apologize:

The relationship with the other person is one that has lifelong potential, such as a family member, spouse, or long-time friend, and you value the relationship in spite of the disagreement.
You have approached them in love, and been refused.
You have tried to find a common ground, willing to give in, and been refused.
When you approach the person who has offended you, there is a rehashing of what happened—as if it just happened—instead of a willingness to find resolution.
The matter is affecting other people who were not part of the original disagreement.
You avoid gatherings where the person might be.
You have prayed about the situation and don’t feel the need to create a permanent boundary (you should not compromise in situations that involve physical or mental abuse of any kind).
You feel certain that if you apologize, the matter will end.
How to get your mind around apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong:

You can show regret for the feelings the other person has incurred as a result of the situation without taking blame for the situation itself. This assumes that you did not intend to hurt feelings, or that the original action was intended for good and had unforeseen consequences for which you were not responsible. When doing this, make sure that you apologize with no caveats. Instead of “I’m sorry if you were offended by something I said” (putting the reaction back on them), say something like “I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you” (putting the responsibility on you).
Decide what you are apologizing for, and state it plainly. An open-ended apology that makes you feel exposed to accepting something you did not do, will not end the disagreement. More than likely, it will cause bitterness that may escalate it. Instead, you can show grace to the person who offended you, and apologize for the part you played in the situation that followed the offense (such as: isolation from that person, bad feelings towards that person, etc.)
Don’t dwell on the truth. In many cases, the truth will lie between you, the offender, and God alone. In long standing disputes, the truth doesn’t matter as much as the separation it has caused.
Don’t make excuses for the person who caused the offense. Instead, offer mercy, knowing that you are freeing yourself as much as you are freeing them. They don’t have to answer to you for their actions, but you do have to answer to God.
Agree not to discuss it again. When both parties have been hurt, and an agreement of wrongdoing cannot be settled, it is best to let the situation go. In order to move forward, both parties need to agree that it is forgiven, and that it is best not to discuss it for the sake of the relationship.
In long standing disagreements, it’s not really about who is right or wrong, but who is willing to listen to the other person, and show understanding toward them. Most people don’t want conflict between themselves and others, but pride keeps them from admitting wrongdoing. Often, the person who suffered the mistreatment will be the one who is forced to end the argument with no apology from the other side. Showing grace and mercy to another who has offended you is not only an incredible gift to that person, but a living testimony of how your Savior would treat you. And, that alone, sisters, is enough to break the silence.

Article taken from LauraPolk.org

~sometimes I just gotta write~

Marriage reflects my relationship with God. Who knew?

The knowledge that “nothing you ever do will make God love you less” should bring peace to your life. How does your life reflect that kind of peace?

To my surprise God has been revealing to me over and over just how true the statement is that marriage reflects our relationship with God. The question asked here is how does my life reflect this, and instantly I thought of my marriage to Chadd. He has seen the worst of me and knows every disgusting thought I have ever had, and STILL he loves me completely. We have our “off” times and there are times when I have my “off” times with God. But its in those moments that I am to focus on what is true, honorable, pleasing, and by doing so I am choosing to love him despite of our “off” time. To honor God is a choice, not a feeling. To honor your marriage is a choice, not a feeling.

This is such a radical change for me. If only you knew how many times I have wanted to divorce Chadd, and how many times I have kicked him out. To see all that God has done in this last year inside of my heart and life, makes me fall deeper in love with His Majesty. God is such an amazing Creator, such a LOVING, and righteous being. And to know that He dwells within ME……well, it simply blows my mind

to wives…

I have to admit that even though many people have been hurt by my honesty, as I have been hurt by many others honesty. One thing that I will never deny is, if this ‘honesty’ was delivered by someone that has a grasp on who I am, where I’ve been, and cares about me, although if delivered horribly, I will still hear what it is they’re saying and of course pray about why it hurt so bad. Before I became a Christian I still would ask myself (more like interrogate) “Are they right?” If I don’t think they are….I’ll ask myself then…well what the heck happened then? Is it possible they have issues? Well, that one is easy YES…. 🙂 This observation however true still did not solve the problem or mend our relationship. Thus the interrogation begins.

My high school friends can attest to this when I say “I was (still am) highly emotional”. I’m pretty sure I still have some old notes that say just that. Back then my best of friends and I would have our on and off again moments. Some would last a day and others have lasted years. It is never easy to hear someone you love, someone you have trusted with your true self tell you there is something wrong with your actions, your way of thinking or even yourself. One thing that God gifted me with was the gift of interrogation. The determination to solve the issue, whatever it may be there has to be a solution and I am going to find it. Seems like a great gift doesn’t it? It is definitely one that keeps my mind going, and going, and going and well you get the picture. Seemingly we would all agree that finding a solution to a problem is a good thing. To quote C. S. Lewis “The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs”

Let me try to explain how this fits into the point I am eventually going to get to. Earlier I wrote how God gave me a gift of interrogation. Imagine a movie you may have seen where there is a bad guy being interrogated by a police officer. There usually isn’t any unjust thoughts that come racing to your mind, we all are behind the officer and want the child abuser punished for what they have done. What about when there is an innocent person being interrogated by a crooked cop? Who then are we wanting to stand behind? Right, the innocent person. Now watching a movie it’s easy to know who is to be punished and who is to be let go. We get to see both sides of the story. In our own lives we all know the old saying “there are 3 sides to every story, his, hers and the Truth.” As I typed these last few lines, I chuckled inside because as a Christian I know that God is in all things. Do you see where He is in that sentence?

God is the only one that is able to solve any conflict. Yes, I know God can do all things, but this isn’t the point I am trying to make. I am trying to prove to myself mind you, that God is the only one that knows how to solve the problems that keep me up throughout the night, the ones that I can consume myself obsessing over trying to find a solution that leaves everyone either happy or equally upset. My divorce mediator said it perfectly when he warned my ex husband and I that the point of mediation wasn’t to make either of us happy and if we both equally come out unhappy then he did his job. Not something, a single struggling mother of two wants to hear from a man that is handling the outcome of her children’s financial future. On the other hand how fair would it have been if my ex-husband had been taken to the cleaners and began to resent our children because he couldn’t even afford to pay his bills?

I have over the years begun to look at conflicts from both points of views; no matter how the outcome is unfair to me I want to think about how this is going to effect tomorrow. Recently I had a short discussion with someone that repeated scripture to me about not worrying about tomorrow, because it’s already planned for us and God is in control. All very true, and helpful in so many areas of my life. However, remember what C. S. Lewis said not to take any one thing and make it an absolute. If we are so quick to react to something, or not react because we are not to ‘worry’ about tomorrow, we are then like the man that was waiting on the roof of his house in a flood waiting for God. Refusing the 3 people sent to rescue him standing firm in waiting for God to rescue him. When he is then standing before the Lord, he asks him ‘why didn’t you deliver?” God replies “I sent three people to help, you refused to do your part.”

God cannot do our work here on Earth for us, well cannot isn’t the correct word. He can do all things, but as any parent knows if you continue to clean up your kids toys over and over again they will never learn how to do this for themselves. In the same sense, we have to learn how to do the work it takes here on earth to secure our kingdom.  We are still required to do the work and plan out our actions according to scripture, and then wait patiently for the Lord to deliver. I think this is where we get things all screwy. I believe when people have to do the work, we expect to be able to decide what it is that we are working for. We forget that we are to do the work ‘according to scripture’ not according to our wants. When we do this we are then working with the Lord and then He happily delivers, but remember in His time, not Ours. Again, an area we forget over and over again. So often I forget that even though I am doing ABC. There are so many other letters in between before we can get to XYZ Even if I know what XYZ will be; it’s not up to me to get the other person there any quicker than God wants them to.

Although I absolutely love the gifts that the Lord has given me and revealed to me, I am just like any other child that is given too much too soon, I am ill-equipped to handle such gifts correctly. I fall victim to pride and use these gifts to belittle someone. Sometimes directly, other times manipulatively (which btw is the most damaging in the end). When we decide how someone should ‘learn their lesson’ or ‘grow up’ we then take on the roll that was never ours to begin with. We tell God that our way is better than His. We tell God that we appreciate his help, but we got it from here. This is especially common with wives. We are the only ones in this world that know our husbands ‘issues’ and if we don’t make them aware of them we will never be able to move on with our happiness, future, or (my shameful admission) our God given Purpose.

If you’re like me then you may have read all of the books that tell us to Respect our husbands and to lift them up. To ‘submit’ to our husbands…which many of you see that as an insult. Recently I was able to hear it in a way that either one needed to hear because I am such a prideful, independent woman, or because it is absolutely true. Submission was not commanded to wives so the man can ‘rule’ over us. Side note really think about it for just a second before I tell you what the author of “Is there a Hero in your Husband” clarified. God first created man to rule over the land and all that it possessed. The land, animals, and so on. Why would He create woman to rule over us as well? Is that the God that you worship weekly? A God that created you simply because man was bored ruling everything else? No, it clearly says in the same book you and I read daily and get our everyday lessons, motivations, and answers from. He created woman to ‘help’ man. We are their helpers, we are capable of running the house, an office and still make dinner for the family all while preparing for the next 3 weeks activities for the family. Not because we are better, but because we are to help the men rule everything else.

Now on to the submission she explained. We are to submit to the power we have in controlling our husbands. There’s a joke that I’m sure many of you have heard “The husband may be the head of the house, but the wife controls the neck” Well again God is in everything. When we as wives, that can pretty much do it all if we were put in a position (that so many single mothers out there are….) feel things are going astray our human instincts kick in and we turn the auto pilot off and get us back on course. Seems innocent, I mean we have our future to protect. We are ‘helping’ them, which is what the bible says we are created for. (Dare I repeat Lewis?) When we allow our instincts to rule the way we interpret Gods Word we are taking things yet again into our own hands and although it seems Godly, we are not doing the will of God.

Remember when I mentioned the kids cleaning up their toys? Well if we as wives, ‘help’ our families avoid disaster time after time what tends to happen each time is this: Our respect for our husbands chips away, we begin to think there is something wrong with him, why in the world did we marry this person that is incapable of taking care of this family let alone himself? Didn’t anyone teach him how to be a man?

Well here it is ladies….the honest truth that even I don’t want to type. NO, no one has taught him how to be a man because you have been too busy focusing on yourself and your own capabilities, your own wants, your own future to do what it is that you were brought together to do all along. Which is to “help’ our husbands, that admittedly still act as children, become men by submitting to the power we have and allowing them to learn through the mistakes we are terrified to allow them to make.

That fear of them screwing things up is not from God, He is not a God that wants His creations to live in a state of fear and insecurity. He is a God that has a plan for us, a plan for our marriages, a plan for our future, a plan for our children. He has told us repeatedly in scripture that we will endure troubles; we will have trials of hardships when we live our earthly lives fulfilling his purpose. What we forget is, He tells us that it will be hard and we might not even see the rewards in this life. Over and over again I say to myself that I am willing to do as Paul says and lose my life so that I may find it. And as much as my mind believes this I have yet to change my heart to this. I have given my life over to the Lord, but I haven’t given my marriage over to Him and I fear that if I don’t I may lose sight of His purpose for my life all together.

When I started this I had intended on writing about how pleased I am to read authors that have cut out the crap and said it like it was. Like most of my writings as of lately God had a different idea in store. So as I said sometimes it takes the ones that truly love us to say the hardest things. Thank you Lord, for using my writings to speak to me when my mind won’t shut up long enough to hear you. My life is as it always has been, Yours and daily I repent of my selfish desires and humbly beg for You to forgive me, strengthen me to forgive myself, to place me on solid rock and put a new song in my mouth.  Remind me how to Love others the way You love them, help me to hear the words before they come out of my mouth as You would want them to be spoken. Forever in your debt, always thankful of your ways!