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Be Still, My Bitter Heart

Today’s post is a guest post by my dear sister in Christ, Selena, at www.joyfullysubmitted.com.  Thank you, Selena, for allowing me to share this post!  I pray that it will bless and edify many for the glory of God.

For the past week, some friends and I have been experiencing what it feels like to have our hearts turned inside out and upside down.  The Lord has used the isolated experience of one as an amazing tool to cleanse the hearts of us all, of some known, but mostly unknown and unrepented of bitterness and ghastly unforgiveness!  We have had the sinful contents of our bitter hearts, ever so gently shaken loose, so that we could choose to either acknowledge the presence of sin and repent of it, or continue to ignore its contents and go on growing more and more removed from God.  For some of us, the existence of bitterness was no shock! We had a moderate awareness on some level of its existence.  But for others, this revelation broke our hearts, and brought agony to our souls as these evils were revealed under the all illuminating light of God’s Word…

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For most of the week, I have remained silent…reading the emails that have gone back and forth as one thing after another was revealed or exposed…as one realization after another pierced the hearts of those of us impacted.  What God revealed to one, He revealed to another, and with each revelation of the depth of the darkness still lurking in our hearts, we prayed all the more…and with each prayer came another level of confession and repentance… and the more we confessed and repented, the more healing took place.

UNEARTHING BITTERNESS

The biggest hurt/most humbling thing for me was realizing that I had NOT forgiven as I thought I had.  Or rather, that I had not forgiven at all.  And that bitterness is just the tip of a very evil, ugly iceberg!  The root of bitterness is unforgiveness…and the root of unforgiveness is and has ALWAYS  BEEN PRIIIIIDE!!!!!! (That was me yelling at myself) Foolish pride. Evil pride. Ugly pride. God offending pride.  And after all of the years that I have known the Lord, it is still found in me… in my heart.  Some may ask why is this such a big deal, after all, we’re only human right. Wrong! We are women of faith! And not just a faith but THE faith. We have placed our faith in the One True and Living God and in His Son Jesus the Christ! We have been changed … trans-formed! (This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Cor.5:17)  Because we are His we no longer desire the things of this world!!! We no longer want to be like the world!!! And we no longer are ok with the world being in us!!! We want it out!! Out of our hearts!!! Out of our minds!!! Out of our families!!! When speaking of people of the same Faith that we profess, the Book of Hebrews said the following;

“How much more do I need to say? … They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” Hebrews 11:32-40

This experience…this full recognition of the evil pride that repeatedly spawns bitterness in the hearts of Gods people everywhere, including in my own heart, has worked to revive the fight in me.  Hebrews has reminded me of the spiritual stock that we all come from…of the cloth that we’re cut from.  We are ‘more than conquerors’ (Romans 8:37), and that means that we can, by the power of the life-giving Spirit that now abides in us, conquer even bitterness…pride… envy…jealousy…and all of their ugly relatives!!!!

The healing that began in the hearts of our small prayer group is just the beginning!!! We are able to overcome bitterness, and through our testimonies, help others to overcome and experience healing too!!! God’s mercy has empowered us to not “just pretend to love others. [but to] Really love them. [to really]Hate what is wrong. [to truly]Hold tightly to what is good. [to] Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other… [to] Bless those who persecute [us]. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think [we] know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead,“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:9-21)

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BITTERNESS YIELDS POISONED FRUIT

You see, pride says that I deserve better…in my case, that I deserved to be treated better than they treated me, 20 years ago as well as off and on throughout the years. Unforgiveness sets in because I want God to punish them and to do it quickly and visibly, where I can see that they got ‘in trouble’ for wronging wonderful me!! Bitterness sets in over time when the punishment never seems to come, and the wrong never seems to be made right.

Over time these evil emotions begin to feel normal, and comfortable, and we begin to feel justified, and pride begins to grow and gain strength.  And eventually, our refusal to forgive becomes justifiable, and bitterness becomes our friend. We don’t even realize that we are now living in a prison of our own making, and while pride has convinced us that we are right, its true evil is camouflaged…hidden from our view, and the absolute distortion of the image of Christ being perfected in us is now all that is visible. Bitterness makes us unattractive…it manipulates us, our responses or reactions.  Where we should be acting in the love of God and displaying His mercy, when bitterness takes our hearts captive, we become the puppets of the enemy of our souls.  And the name of our God is defamed….

“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

CHRIST WON’T LEAVE US IN OUR SIN

I am going to wrap this up with one more thing that I was reminded of this week; Ephesians 5 tells us that Christ not only loved the church, but that he

“gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” 

This past week my beautiful prayer sisters and I experienced that ‘washing of water by the word’, and it was painfully glorious!!! Bitterness no longer reigns in the most holy place of our hearts! We now know what it looks like and smells like and sounds like…and how it feels!!! And we know most of all that it is an overwhelming offense to the presence of our merciful, forgiving and gracious God.  More than ANYTHING we want to honor Him!!!! More than ANYTHING we want our lives to bring Him glory!!! More than ANYTHING we want to hear Him say ‘Well done!’!!!!! We are choosing daily to forgive. we are choosing daily to love. We are FIGHTING MINUTE BY MINUTE to remain humble.  And by the power of His life-giving Spirit we will be VICTORIOUS!!! Won’t you join us??? Forgive today…resist the self-imposed prison of bitterness that the enemy is trying to sneak into your hearts under the guise of justifiable anger or wisdom…choose today to love with Gods love, and let it heal our hearts together….

15 thoughts on “Be Still, My Bitter Heart

  1. I’m not a part of this prayer group yet God has moved thru me the same way a few weeks ago. I actually have a draft waiting for me to post about this too! Rise up ye worshippers, my Sisters in Christ!!

  2. Hi April. I’m new to this whole peaceful wife journey. I don’t know where to begin. First though I guess I am one who battles with bitterness towards my spouse. He has allowed so many hurtful things in our marriage. I just don’t see him the same anymore. I feel at times he puts work before me. He is the one I talk too meaning being the only adult around me. He does not understand that I just like his company and heta upset when I tell him how I feel. I say to him I’ll be quiet from now on and he still gets mad. I don’t know what to do. I’m a stay at home mom and at times I get so lonely and bored with myself. O don’t have any female friends and its just me and my children the majority of the time. How do I overcome this? Every time I put my trust in my husband I just get let down again. We were suppose to spend time together today because he was off work but then his job calls and he goes in. So how am I suppose to feel about that? Any advice would be good. We are both Christians.

    1. Submissive,

      How is your walk with Christ, my precious sister?

      Is there any possibility of other moms at church being able to get together?

      Is it realistic to expect your husband to meet all of your emotional needs for companionship?

      Men do not tend to have the same need to emotionally and verbally connect that women do. I would like for you to read For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn if possible to have a better understanding of your husband.

      How do you treat him when he doesn’t do what you want him to do?

      How do you tell him how you feel? What do you say specifically, my friend?

      How much is he working?

      Do you ever thank him for providing so well for the family and acknowledge that this is probably the biggest way he shows his love for you?

      What do you respect about him?

      You get let down because he ends up working more? How is your trust being let down exactly, if you are free to discuss it?

      Much love to you!

      1. Hi April. My walk with Christ could be much better in all honesty. I battle with negative thoughts about God due to people who were lying prophets poured out some very bad things about me. I have such an unhealthy fear toward God. Its not realistic for my husband to fulfill my emotional needs. We don’t go to church due to the false doctrines that are being taught. As far as books my husband won’t allow me to read it. He says just read the bible for counsel. I agree but at some point I do need some encouragement from older woman. I give him the cold shoulder when he doesn’t do simple things I ask but we are working on that.I tell him that he puts his work before me and others as well. I feel he treats others better than me too. I feel he rejects me just like the other people on my life and that makes me feel God will reject me too.at times I do thank him because he does work hard to provide for us but at times I feel he doesn’t understand my position as a stay at home mom.

        1. submissive,

          I invite you to read a post about taking your thoughts captive for Christ.
          I think it would be great to do a study about God’s character. You can google “character of God” and find verses at http://www.biblehub.com, for instance.
          If you have lies that have become fixed beliefs in your mind and heart about God and yourself, those must each be carefully written down and then you will need to replace them with the truth of God’s Word, and any time you start to think that lie or that fear, you will consciously replace it with truth.

          Has your husband talked about the false doctrines that were being taught? Are you finding another church?

          How much does he work?

          Why do you believe he puts his work ahead of you?

          Are you pleasant to be around when he is home?

          Is it possible that he works to provide as his primary way of showing his love for you?
          He may not understand your position as a stay at home mom, but you can be a blessing to him and you can know your value in Christ and receive all of your security, fulfillment, acceptance, love, purpose, peace and satisfaction in Jesus. When you know who He really is, He can melt away your fears. 🙂

          You can also search on my home page for:

          – discontentment
          – contentment
          – insecurity
          – security
          – respect
          – idol
          – idolatry

          What is your plan when he doesn’t do things you ask him to do at this time?

          How do you ask him?

          Why do you believe he treats others better than he treats you?

          Please also read:

          “What Does God Say about Me?”

          Much love to you!

          1. Hi April. I will read the mentioned post and also do a study. He has spoken to about false doctrine and we are currently praying for fellowship with like minded people. At times I can be cranky after dealing with two little ones. He works sometimesc5-6 days a week but he does it because he has only one income coming in. I think I that maybe because I don’t have friends I am expect him to be always there. When he doesn’t do things I ask I just do it my self especially when it comes to studying the bible. I teach my children the bible because I feel he’s always busy

          2. Submissive,
            Is it possible that maybe trying to have your husband meet all of your emotional and social needs might be unrealistic? Maybe we can pray for some godly girlfriends for you? Maybe who are moms, too?

            What does your quiet time look like usually and what do you pray for?

            Much love!
            April

          3. Yea I guess you can so its unrealistic in a way. Yes that would be good to pray for some godly moms:) thank you. My quiet time is not really all that quiet. Its usually full of clutter in all honesty. I pray for other people like the persecuted church, my husband, children, and just trying to live holy are things I pray for. I really want to please God in everything I do.

          4. Submissive,
            My suggestion is to pray and seek to get some serious alone time with God. If you don’t have that – you won’t have His power and strength and His Spirit flooding your soul to equip and enable you to be the woman, wife and mom that God calls you to be. He is the key here! 🙂

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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