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Worry – Part 1

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Hang on, ladies!  This is a painful one – but necessary.  It’s going to step on all our toes.  But we have to deal with some unpleasant and critical issues to get to the intimacy we long for with Christ and our husbands!  Please approach this post with a prayerful attitude of yieldedness and openness to God’s voice – asking God to expose any ungodly attitudes in our souls and uprooting them – making room for His Spirit to have full reign in our hearts!

WORRY IS DESTRUCTIVE TO ME

MANY of us are consumed by worry on a daily basis – maybe even every waking moment.  I used to be.  I would just bounce from one issue to another – worrying all the time.  It was AWFUL.  I hated it.  But I didn’t know how to stop.  It’s pretty awesome to be able to say that is how I WAS.  I praise God for changing me!  I sure couldn’t change myself.  Worry is a temptation at times for me now, but I don’t live with that worry channel on in my brain all the time anymore.  I know how to quickly flip the channel.  I didn’t realize  before how much choice I had about worrying and what message my worry sends to my husband and to God.  It actually is possible by the power of God’s Spirit for us to live without worry!!  What incredibly GOOD NEWS!

WORRY IS DESTRUCTIVE TO MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND MY HUSBAND

The bottom line is – when I worry, I am telling my husband and God that I don’t trust either of them and I need to take over myself.  I am living as if I think they are incompetent, irresponsible, weak, impotent, incapable and unable to handle things without my help.

The problem is –  a lot of things I would worry about were things that were actually out of my control.  Trying to control the uncontrollable is EXHAUSTING and extremely stressful!  I was overwhelmed and overburdened.  That made me irritable and grumpy on top of being worried.

A GENTLE, PEACEFUL SPIRIT THAT DOES NOT GIVE WAY TO HYSTERICAL FEAR

Now, God has developed in me a spirit of godly femininity that communicates to my husband and to God the messages:

  • I trust you
  • I have faith in you
  • I am confident in you.
  • I am not worried.
  • I am at peace because I know you have things under control.
  • I feel safe with you.
  • I know you have wisdom that I don’t understand and that’s ok.
  • I don’t have all the answers.
  • I’m going to lean on your wisdom and not depend on my feelings.
  • I’m going to run to the shelter of your protection and wait patiently to see what you decide to do.
  • I am willing to cooperate with your leadership.
  • I respect your decisions.
  • I will confidently tell you my feelings and desires and I trust you to make the best decision for me and our family based on your understanding of my needs, wants and what is best for all of us in the longrun.

WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT WORRY?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  … O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?”  or “What shall we wear?”  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:25-34
According to your faith will it be done to you.  Matthew 9:29
And (Jesus) did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.  Matthew 13:58
So worry is completely useless as far as doing anything positive or beneficial.  And it is destructive to our health and our relationship with God.
What Jesus wants us to do instead of worry?  SEEK HIM FIRST!!!!  That is where our effort, time, energy, strength, thoughts, words, minds and hearts need to be all the time!  He PROMISES to take care of the rest of our needs when we keep Him first in our hearts and minds.
PEACE
When we truly repent of all of our sins, even the ones we think are “small” like worry, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, pride, gossip, divisions, etc… then we open up the channel for the Spirit of God to fill us and His supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control begin to flood our lives on a daily basis.
Once you taste His Spirit – you know nothing else can satisfy! 🙂

58 thoughts on “Worry – Part 1

  1. That all sounds great, and very liberating, but I can’t for a second see this fitting every situation. Lovely as it would be to be able to rely upon your husband to cope, manage, take the initiative and Get Stuff Done, what about when he’s not able to due to illness? Worrying happens. Anxiety mounts up. Added to other concerns for the near future and disappointment about the present.

    God only promises to sort out what we need. He doesn’t promise it’ll all be OK, which is a very different thing.

    1. Considerer,

      The main one I am trusting and looking to is God. My faith is 100% in Him to provide for me, protect me, direct me, etc.
      As I put my faith in Christ, I will also be able to trust God to work for my good through my husband – even though my husband is an imperfect sinner. Obviously, if a husband has seriously breached trust, that would have to be re-established. But thankfully, for many wives, as they begin to show some faith in their husbands and some trust, many husbands will rise to the occasion. But even if my husband fails me, my trust and faith are in Christ and I can choose not to worry but to be filled with His Spirit and trust His direction and wisdom for my life.

      My ability not to worry has nothing to do with what my husband can or cannot do, but my faith ultimately in God.

      I don’t believe I said that everything would be “ok” – meaning, we would always get what we want. But God will work everything out ultimately for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. “Good” meaning – to make us more like CHrist. That is God’s definition of good.

      God commands us to be anxious for nothing. Jesus commands us not to worry. It is actually possible not to live in worry, even in the storms – because our faith is squarely in Christ. We must be full of God’s Spirit to do this – but this is the gentle, peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear and is of such great worth in God’s sight. This is the fruit of the Spirit – peace and joy – that are supernatural and don’t depend on circumstances.

      1. In which case I am finding the spirit hard to come by and difficult to tap into. This is the ‘peace that passes all understanding’, of which I have none.

        Sadly at the moment, God’s definition of ‘good’ in my life is ‘absolutely crap’ by anyone else’s standards. I feel as though I am learning nothing from it (bar how to cope with disappointment, hurt and loss) and as though if I could learn these lessons, perhaps I’d get a break (though I know this is also not how God operates).

        How have you managed to put your faith in Christ to this degree, that every day you know it’ll be fine? What about when it isn’t fine? Your post seems like a lovely ideal, but utterly unattainable for me.

        1. This is why I usually write long posts. 🙂 When I try to do them in parts and keep them short – they just aren’t thorough enough.

          If you have already accepted that you are a wretched sinner, as we all are, and have turned to Jesus as both Savior and Lord of everything in your life-
          There are several steps to having the Spirit full blast in your life:

          1. Ask God to show you every sin so that you can thoroughly and genuinely see your sin and hate it and see how ugly it is in God’s holy sight. This includes sins that we sometimes think are “little” but they are extremely offensive to God. For me it was things like
          – PRIDE – actually living as if I knew better than God and believing I was always right and my husband was always wrong. I had been 100% blind to my pride. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
          – self-righteousness – Jesus condemned this sin in the Pharisees. I looked down on my husband and others thinking I was spiritually superior to them instead of seeing that I am an equally wretched sinner as any murderer or criminal. To God, my level of sin was just as heinous as any other person’s on the planet.
          – idolatry – trying to find my identity in my husband, or expecting my husband to be God to me, or thinking I was actually in control of way more in my life and in others’ lives than I truly was, or seeking to have sovereignty over my own life instead of God, or seeking my way more than God’s way. (I had never seen or known that I had idols – that was a pretty shocking discovery) I had been breaking the first commandment in the 10 commandments every waking moment for decades. There is no worse sin in God’s eyes than idolatry.
          – disrespect – I had been treating my husband and many other people disrespectfully for years and didn’t even realize it. My tone of voice was sometimes just awful. I tried to control other people and thought I was justified to do so and would attack others verbally when they didn’t do things my way.
          – unforgiveness – I held on to bitterness and resentment and grudges. I wanted to forgive, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to. Jesus says if we don’t forgive others their sins, God won’t forgive us. Matthew 5:14
          – worry/anxiety/fear – this is the opposite of faith. I didn’t think I had a choice about worrying. I thought I had to worry. But I actually can choose faith in Christ over worry. I must choose one or the other, I can’t have both. When I can’t set worry down at Jesus’ feet and truly leave it there, worry means I don’t trust God.
          2. Turn from the sin and to God. (repent) This is a daily thing – or an hourly thing. Sometimes a minute by minute thing.
          3. Set my faith totally on Christ alone. To do this, I had to study His sovereignty. I had to come down in my own mind “thousands of notches” and I had to exalt Christ to His rightful place. The more I understood His great love and His sovereignty, the more I realized that I was so foolish to worry. Trying to be in charge myself was actually the most dangerous place on earth. Trusting fully in Christ is the safest place – because then I am in the center of God’s will and have His Spirit. As long as I am in God’s will and have His Spirit filling me – I know that I am going to be more than just fine – I know I will have access to all the spiritual treasures of heaven and the fruit of God’s Spirit – even if I should suffer, even if trials come, even during storms and grief and loss.

          I had to write down all of my fears and the things I worried about and then decide whether God was big enough to handle that thing if it were to happen.

          Worry is when I am trying to figure out how to handle trials and bad things all on my own. I don’t see God’s power being with me in the future, because I don’t have His power right now.

          So I take every thought captive for Christ – and compare it to His Word.

          And I focus on replacing fearful thoughts with Scripture. God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. I Tim 1:7

          I also focused on being THANKFUL and looking at the blessings and good things and focused on Philippians 4:8 about my husband and marriage and wrote down everything I could think of that I respected/admired about my husband and I focused on that list and meditated on it.

          God also taught me to live in His peace during uncertainty by sending me the same trial over and over every month for 6 months when I was learning this stuff. Eventually, I learned to rest and trust in God’s love and sovereignty and learned to live in His peace even when everything was up in the air and in limbo and nothing was certain.

          4. I seek to obey God’s Word in everything. If I am living in faith and obedience and not cherishing sin, God’s Spirit will fill me up. I can stay in constant communion with Him and He can and will and does empower me to obey Him and be the godly wife he wants me to be. I can’t be that wife in my own power.

          5. I totally submit myself 100% to Christ and hold back nothing. I give him all that I am and all that I have and I say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” I hold everything in life loosely except for Christ and His Word. I set Him clearly as LORD of everything in my life.
          It involves dying to self. Nailing the sinful nature to the cross. Laying down my will, my dreams, my goals, my plans, my desires, my wisdom, and all that is me – and picking up God’s will, His dreams, His goals, His priorities, His wisdom, His desires and loving what He loves and hating what He hates.

          God renews my mind and heart and changes it so that He forms the mind of Christ in me.

          Yes, it seems like a huge sacrifice at first to die to self. I no longer seek my way and my will. I give up myself as a sacrifice daily to CHrist. But when I do that, then He replaces my will and my way with His own and then I have His abundant life and His spiritual riches flooding through my soul. It turns out, the things I thought were such a huge sacrifice were trash compared with the life God gave me when I was willing to empty my hands of self and seek Him alone.

          I find my contentment only in Christ. Once I have His Spirit, I know that as long as I have Him – I can be full of joy and purpose. And I know that if I had everything in the world, but didn’t have His Spirit, I would have NOTHING.

          God’s Spirit is SO good. It’s the greatest “high” there is. Once you taste it, nothing else can satisfy.

          6. I embrace suffering from the hand of God – God uses suffering to make me more mature and complete and more like Christ.

          It is a process – and something each believer must hash through with God. It takes time to get to that place of trust. It feels scary at first, kind of like flinging myself off of a cliff – but then there was solid ground under my feet once I did take that leap of faith. And I could just kick myself for not trusting Him completely before!

          I hope this helps!

    2. God is a lot better than the church has given him credit for. Reread the new testament. Even after the resurrection people were being raised from the dead and miraculously healed! Dare to believe. He made everything ok on that cross. What did the cross accomplish? If you spend your life investigating that, it’ll never be the same. And no, you don’t already know, based on your post.

  2. I’m so with you on this. The Lord has been really working with me on this lately. Trusting in Him for all things brings such peace and freedom.
    Jeremiah 29:11 is a good one for that.

  3. I am working on this at the moment… actually im reading an entire book about worry that i came across at a second hand book store hehe… its quite good so far. It suggests to first work out whether the worry is productive (eg. did i put gas in the car?) or unproductive (eg. what if there is a sniper in Washingon?, or What if my spouse cheats on me?)

    It also talks about moving as quickly as possible form productive worry to figuring out solutions to the problem, carrying out the solutions and walla the worries should disappear.

    However, unproductive worry needs to be prayed over and either a situation needs to be accepted (when there is no solution) or the worrier needs to realise that it is very unlikely that this worry will come true and stop replaying this worry in their minds.

    He also talks about the need to accept uncertainty in our lives. We ALL deal with a level of uncertainty every day eg. each time we get in the car there is uncertainty about being in an accident, each time we talk on a cell phone there is uncertainty about whether that will lead to cancer etc. but we just accept a degree of uncertainty in our lives otherwise we wouldnt be able to function! similar thing with worrying about things that are uncertain, sometimes learning to accept uncertainty – that it its OK if i dont know RIGHT NOW – in itself can reduce worry.

    1. REM6782,
      YES! Part of the CHristian walk of faith is to rest in God’s peace in the uncertainty and storms. THen, life actually becomes a huge adventure, waiting to see what God will do each day and following Him no matter where He may lead – knowing He alone knows the way to His will and trusting Him to work in all circumstances to make me more like Jesus.

      Thankfully, God commands us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. So we don’t have to carry our burdens of fear and anxiety, we can lay them down and not pick them back up.

  4. I’ve been following for blog for several weeks now and really enjoy it. You’ve said a lot of things that have helped me. On the worry blog, could you tell me a little more on the steps you took from daily worry to being able to easily flip the switch. Thanks so much!
    Christina

  5. April, I agree with everything you have posted and I thank you for it.
    I have a question, however. What is your opinion on how to handle “worrying” when our husband is driving? Is that a lack of faith as well? I wonder about that because I try to mention things, now in a respectful way, when he’s driving that concern me and make me worried about my personal safety and the safety of my kids in the car. I know that I am naturally hypersensitive to things, but I also know that driving too close to other cars, not putting on your blinkers when your switching lanes-these things are a safety hazard. It always seems to feel like I’m “giving way to fear”, not like the I Peter wife I am trying to be. However, I feel it my duty to try and get him to slow down and drive more carefully for everyone’s safety. I’m much better than I used to be, mainly due to the fact that with smart phones, I bury my head in my phone if it seems like his driving is getting erratic.
    Can you put this in peaceful wife perspective for me?
    Thanks.

    1. Anonymous,

      Has your husband ever caused a wreck in the past?

      If not – then reading or closing your eyes or staying busy concentrating on something else might be a good distraction. Laura Doyle, author of “The Surrendered Wife” learned to close her eyes to keep from telling her husband how to drive. 🙂

      You can also gently say something like, “I know that you have things under control when you are driving. You probably have much better reaction times than I do, so I am sure you are keeping us safe. I know that is your highest priority. I am sure I am hyper-sensitive about this, but it would give me a lot of peace of mind if you would keep more distance between us and the next car. Thanks, Honey!”

      And then, let him think about it and decide what he wants to do.

      Here is an awesome post about a wife who used to be the Professional Parking Consultant.

  6. April, years ago I was *the* ultimate worrier. I worried everything to death! Finally I understood that the Lord was telling me that worrying about something did not change any of the details and only added to my stress levels.

    These days I may be concerned about something but I immediately take it to the cross and ask Jesus to help me handle it. I have several chronic pain illnesses and stress worsens some of the symptoms, so it definitely makes sense for me to stay as calm as possible and rely on the Lord for His strength.

    A bunch of years ago, the Lord gave me Isaiah 26:3 to pray and consider during times of confusion and worry: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I have written this on note paper and keep them all around the house plus I have it on my cell phone home page.

    Thank you for all your work and writing to help us be the best wives we can for our wonderful, God-given husbands!

    Blessings!
    ~Anna

  7. Wonderful post April!Worry can rob you of so much of the joy we can have In Christ.When I was at my lowest point in my life, I spent so much time trying to figure out how to “fix” things with me, my wife, my marriage…I came to the conclusion that I either believe He is in control or I don’t. If He is in control,He is in control of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.Even those who don’t follow Him.If He is not, then He can’t save me.It doesn’t change what He can or can’t do if I don’t believe and my life will be my life regardless.But I miss out on the joy of seeing Him working so wonderfully to take care of me.I say this so often I feel like a broken record, but almost everything depends on whether we insist on our point of view or God’s.

  8. IN the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. -(Psalm 94:19)
    In the times we do worry, doubt, fear, etc.. IN the midst of it Jesus wants to comfort us! Because His comforts will delight us.
    Delight : a high degree of gratification : joy ; also :extreme satisfaction 2 :something that gives great pleasure 
    :):):)
    When we worry or become anxious or struggle with anxiety. .yes we are only human so yes it could happn even to the strongest of us..all we truly want is someone to tell us it’s gonna be okay. Even when we believe it’s not, it can’t, it won’t. But God promises us to Delight our soul! Our heart may feel out of wack, but our soul can have peace and assurance. “In the multitude of my anxieties. .. Your comforts DELIGHT MY SOUL” : ) <3
    Who will you allow to comfort you?

  9. Just some really good verses I believe God used to speak into my soul..to comfort me..

    MAKE US GLAD according to the days in which You have AFFLICTED us… -(Psalm 90:15)

    He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will deliver him and honor him. -(Psalm 91:15)

    He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
    I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in Him will I trust.” -(Psalm 91:1-2)

    **And my personal FAVORITE verse!!**:
    The floods have lifted up, Oh Lord,
    The floods have lifted up their voice,
    The floods lift up their waves.
    The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, then the mighty waves of the sea. !!!:)
    -(Psalm 93:3-4)

    God Bless

  10. For many years I believed that as long as my husband did things the way I wanted them done, then there was no fear. But when he did things that, ‘made me worry’ — aka: made me fearful – I believed it was HIS fault. Silly huh. Imagine my surprise when God showed me that no one can put a feeling inside you. It was a choice that I voluntarily made. It was like I was saying to my husband: Don’t do things that make me afraid so that I won’t have to deal with my lack of trust in you and my lack of faith in God, because I don’t want to be responsible for my own emotions.

    Hard to deal with? Sure! But thank you Lord, there is much more peace in our home now!

    Loved, LOVED this one April!

    1. Robin – I really love that!

      It was like I was saying to my husband: Don’t do things that make me afraid so that I won’t have to deal with my lack of trust in you and my lack of faith in God, because I don’t want to be responsible for my own emotions.

      I don’t think I have ever thought of it in exactly those terms but YES! That is what I was doing, too!

      I’m SO THANKFUL God showed me His path to peace – even though it was extremely painful to lay down my fears and my illusion of control and learn to trust. Dying to self HURTS! But it is SO WORTH IT!

      Thanks, Robyn!

    2. Robyn,
      I absolutely love this: “Don’t do things that make me afraid so that I won’t have to deal with my lack of trust in you and my lack of faith in God, because I don’t want to be responsible for my own emotions.”

      That is priceless. Maybe I should make it into a big fridge magnet or something. Can I quote you?

      Trixie

  11. I feel so… This was definitely speaking to me. The Lord soothes my soul as He puts more into my life and the life I will soon share with my future husband.
    I trust God. I trust God to lead my fiance. Thus, I trust that my fiance will follow His calling in his life. If there is doubt, I trust God to fix it. The Lord has allowed me to just dump all my emotions onto a friend to listen to. Not for feedback, but to just get them out. I praise God for these outlets. Coming to Him and then my friend really allows me to sit back and think “Okay Lord. I know you have this situation. I’ll just do as I’m told.”
    🙂
    As I continue to breathe deeply while writing it. (The chaos happened this morning).

    Amen.

  12. Oh my, this is one of those posts I need to read daily along with all of the comments! As a newer wife (8 months!), this has been a very difficult issue for me that I definitely did not see coming. Pre-marriage worry was never a major weakness for me, so I do not think I properly prepared myself for how different it was going to be submitting my will and “control” to my husband- who might I add is the most patient man I know. This also exposed to me how much I still needed to work on giving EVERYTHING up to God. For a little history about us, my husband and I dated long-distance for three years- he was in Washington and I was in Kentucky- and I come from a large southern family pretty much all living in Georgia. So after three years of seeing each other shirt snippets of time throughout the year, I was suddenly living with him and a few thousand miles from all of my family. I started worrying about all kinds of things! That I was never going to make any friends or fit in out here… That one or both of my parents were going to fall I’ll and pass away…. That my sister’s baby will never really know me… And doubting my own capabilities of being the perfect wife. I have come a VERY long way since those first few months. My poor honey would try so hard to encourage me and remind me of my faith. I treated him as if he just couldn’t understand which makes me so sad in hindsight. It truly is amazing how the simple task of spending a little more time in God’s word can change everything, and by everything I mean ME. I certainy can spend much more time with Him, but little by little He has been remolding me and rebuilding my faith.
    I discovered your blog a month or two ago, and it has been such a blessing to me and our marriage. My husband has noticed a difference in how I have handled and responded to disagreements between us. I am happy to say I am no longer striving to appear to be the picture perfect wife, but to actually be a respectful, loving, and meek wife. Marriage has been the most amazing blessing to me in opening my eyes to my weaknesses, especially my need to control and my lack of true faith, and I delight in that I have such a gracious Father and husband to help me along the way.

    1. Amanda Rose,
      I praise God for your story!

      How I WISH I had begun to understand these things that early on in our marriage!

      Thank you for sharing! How wonderful!

  13. Dear April,
    Your blog is a great encouragement to me. Life brings me some difficult trials. At the moment, I live in a different country with my husband away from my parents and extended family, but the more time passes, the more I regret my decision to move.

    I know that my husband should be my first priority, and I care for him deeply, but I don’t seem to settle into his country properly. After 3 years of being there I still feel out of place, I don’t have a good and stable job, no friends who can really understand me (just some acquaintances), small apartment, so my husband’s good attitude towards me is the only thing that keeps me in that foreign country.

    On the other hand, I have a little niece back home and her mum (my sister) for some reason doesn’t seem to connect with her as mother-and-daughter. It wasn’t as bad when I first left, but now it’s getting worse and worse. My niece is a wonderful child, and I love her dearly, but whenever I come, it’s basically spending as much time as possible with her, showering her with love that she lacks from her mum. And it’s heartbreaking. My niece basically lives with my mum (her grandmother) at weekends now and she doesn’t want to go home. I am not saying that my sister neglects her daughter completely: she feeds, clothes her, spends loads of money on presents and vacations, but she is emotionally withdrawn and very cold.

    At first, when I came back after long stay away with my husband, my sister seemed to miss me and was glad to see me, whereas now she doesn’t seem to care, and what is worse, she started manipulating and blackmailing, using my niece, which I find down right outrageous. She seems to be jealous that niece really loves us and wants to be with us, but now whenever we do something against my sister’s will, she bans my niece from coming over to our house. Also, she starts shouting, and screaming, and cussing to the point that her husband is now completely passive, and doesn’t even seem to protect his own daughter.

    I am really worried. My niece has just turned 6, and she is such a sensitive girl. She tries all she can to please her mum, but my sister seems to be always dissatisfied. My niece’s self-esteem crubles at that, I already see a lot of negativity in her. I am worried that she can have many problems later on because of it as childhood is the crucial time of personality formation.

    I tell my niece about Jesus, I pray for her, but she really gets sad when I leave, and I get very sad also… I asked my husband to move back home with me, he doesn’t dismiss this idea completely, but not now, probably in a couple of years, but he can’t be sure.

    I pray, I try to give this situation to the Lord, but my heart literally break every time I see my niece crying, or seeing my sister, being disrespectful and rude to my parents. Now my gums bleed, and doctors keep telling me I should think about myself, I should stop worrying, as my hormones seem already to be out of balance, and I understand it, but it doesn’t seem to work: I feel my responsibility towards my husband and I take this situation with my niece very close to heart, and I am just plain homesick.

    1. Anna,

      I have heard from a number of wives who moved to another country to be with their new husbands who feel the same way. How about we pray for a job and some strong, solid, Christian girl friends for you! Do you have a good church? Do you have friends online where you can find support?

      What a painful mess with your niece. Let’s pray for God to intervene in your sister’s heart and for Him to give your mom, you and your husband His wisdom about how best to bless and encourage your niece and about how to handle your sister.

      Even if you were home – with your niece – you may not be able to fix that situation. Particularly if your sister keeps her from you. You can love her and hopefully send her letters and call her and face time her. You can try to see her when you are able to go home. But – you cannot swoop in and take your niece into custody as your own daughter. We can appeal to God to work in her situation! We can pray for spiritual healing for your sister and her husband and their marriage. That is my greatest concern.

      How is your walk with Christ going? Are you able to rest these concerns at His feet instead of carrying the weight yourself? What things do you have to be thankful for? What do you respect about your husband? What do you pray for yourself and your husband?

      Sending you a hug hug, my precious sister!!!!!!!!

      Much love,
      April

      1. April,

        Thank you very much for your reply. My husband’s country is generally not very welcome to foreigners, basically, I have to always (or mostly) stand up for myself, and, one one hand, it makes me tougher, but on the other hand, wears me out, as it’s a constant stress. Husband does help me, but he can’t be with me 24/7 and he can’t help me jobwise as he doesn’t have necessary connections.

        We do serve in church for students, but these students need help themselves, and there are some women of God, but they don’t understand (or don’t have time) to really grasp how bad I can feel there, as though a plant has been replanted, but doesn’t seem to grow any roots. I have never cried so much as during my past 3 years of staying away from home.

        I try to give this all to the Lord, but situation with my niece gets worse, my well-being gets worse, so, after temporary relief comes so much of an unbearable pain, that no matter how my husband good is, I just wish to get out of that stress, otherwise I am afraid I may end up in some hospital or mental institution 🙁

        1. Anna,

          My precious sister!

          Upon what does your well-being rest, my friend?

          Where is your trust?

          What is happening in your walk with Christ?

          I realize that your circumstances are stressful. You are most concerned for your niece. You feel out of place here.

          What might God desire to do in your life through these trials?

          Is it possible to rest in His sovereignty even now at this moment?

          Is it possible that He might be using these very things to draw you closer to Himself?

          Is it possible that He is sufficient even in your present circumstances?

          If His Spirit is filling your soul – I believe you can absolutely live in peace, joy, rest, purpose, and the highest level of spiritual and emotional fulfillment right here, right now, right where you are.

          I am praying for God to open your eyes to Himself and to the unlimited resources and supply of heaven that are at your disposal as a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

          How I pray that you might use this time and opportunity to seek after God with all your heart, to learn to trust Him fully and rely on Him completely, and to learn to live in a Spirit of supernatural joy and peace, finding all of your purpose and identity in Christ alone.

          I don’t believe that what is needed here is a change in your circumstances – but a change in your perspective and in your source of power.

          Let’s hash through this together!!!!

          Much love to you!

          1. Yes, but my heart is torn between two places. My niece begs me not to leave her, I calm her down, but when I am alone, I cry loads.

            Of course, God is sovereign, but He didn’t make me go to another country that was my voluntary choice, which didn’t turn out to be very wise as it seems in my case. I wasn’t prepared with what I had to deal with, and when I look at the mountain of obstacles that doesn’t seem to get less after 3 years, I just lose all hope.

            I know that the problem is lack of trust in God, but I just don’t know how to get out of all of it, and very often I just dream I could return to my familiar surroundgs, my comfort zone, where at least I would feel that I belong somewhere and have a support system.

          2. Anna,

            I know it is very easy to feel completely responsible for your niece’s wellbeing. And you CAN seek to bless, encourage, love, and support her. But – she cannot be the reason that you need to move home. Does that make sense? She is not your primary responsibility. She has other people in her life who are responsible for her, and you cannot be her mama. Yes, it is very painful to have to leave her. But you cannot adopt her at this point. And she does have your mom there to help her. I don’t want her to feel unloved or to be mistreated – and that is where we can use the power of prayer to appeal to God to work on her behalf in your sister and brother-in-law’s heart. It is possible to make yourself more responsible than you actually are because you love your niece so much. But you cannot change your sister or take your niece away right now. I think it is important to look at your limits and the boundaries to your responsibility in this situation for your own sanity. What do you believe your limits and responsibilities are for your niece? Let’s write them out and examine them.

            Maybe you chose to go there because God led you? Maybe He has you there to refine and grow your faith and dependence on Him? That is His greatest goal in our lives. He will use unpleasant and painful circumstances to do this. If He allowed you to go where you want to right now, guess what would happen? You wouldn’t need to depend on Him. You wouldn’t need to grow in your faith. Your relationship and trust in Him is infinitely more important to Him than your current circumstances. He wants your heart. He wants your faith and trust. Giving you what you want right now would keep you stunted in your walk with Him.

            Instead of dreaming of an easier, more comfortable life, how about let’s consider turning your thoughts to learning what God desires you to learn, to working out the reasons for your unbelief and lack of faith.

            What is holding you back from trusting God?

            What are your fears?

            What do you know about God’s sovereignty? Why can you not rest in His sovereignty and love for you at this point?

            You DO belong – to God. And you belong with your husband. If you were not learning this stuff through these trials right now, you would have to learn them through other trials in another place. God uses suffering to cause us to grow, to teach us to depend on Him, to purify our motives, to refine our faith. Those are very good things, much better things than our temporary happiness.

            When you decide to embrace your current situation and to embrace what God desires you to learn – you will begin to have His peace and joy. Even in these difficult circumstances. And you will begin to see your faith grow. It will be painful at times, Yes. But it is SO WORTH IT! You will begin to see God providing in miraculous ways and answering prayers in ways beyond your ability to fathom.

            THAT is what I want to see happen and I know that is God’s heart for you, too. He will not allow us to find contentment in our idols. He will only allow us to find contentment and rest in Himself alone – and that is a GIFT!

            I have MANY, MANY posts about these issues.

            If your hope is in circumstances, you have no reason to hope. None of us do. Circumstances change all the time. I want to see your hope in Christ alone. Let this be your total focus right now – your faith and your relationship with Christ and your obedience to Him. Allow Him total access to your heart and soul. Let His Spirt and His Word guide you to point out any sin in your life that needs to go that is grieving His heart and preventing His Spirit from filling you to the brim. Seek to be filled with His Spirit. Seek to know, desire, and love Him more. Seek His will far above your own. Lay down your dreams, your plans, your wisdom, your goals, your pain, your weakness, your inability, and your sin – and pick up His plans, His wisdom, His goals, His purposes, His power, His righteousness, His strength, His resources, His riches, and live a life fully devoted to Him alone, trusting Him to orchestrate your circumstances for your ultimate good and His ultimate glory.

          3. Anna,

            Let me also give you eyes to see the bigger picture at stake, as well.

            God is able to speak to your husband about where He desires you both to live. He can and does call your husband to be where He wants him to be – and He wants you there, too. What if God has plans to transform your faith, to transform your thinking, and for you to become very strong in Christ in this very place so that you can bless your husband there and so that you might bless many others there, as well. What if God has a mission field right here for you once you are spiritually whole and strong enough? What if God knows that you must be in this place where you have nothing else to cling to but Himself – in order for you to know Him and to grow? And what if He plans to bless many others through this time of great trial for you in the future?

            Here is something about God’s sovereignty to remember. He is perfectly capable of changing your circumstances at any moment. He can change your husband’s heart. He can change your sister’s heart. He can change your heart. He can prompt your husband to move. He can steer your husband’s will. You are not alone here. You are not abandoned. God is right here with you. But right now, I believe His greatest desire is to get you alone with Him and to reveal to you that HE is your greatest Treasure and to get your faith to a place where it is strong, healthy, and vibrant, not any longer in a coma and weak.

            If you are open to trusting God and hashing through your fears and doubts and you truly seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength – He will reveal Himself to you. He will empower you. And you will begin the greatest adventure of your life that doesn’t depend on your circumstances. It is all about your relationship with God! He uses the circumstances like a sculptor does to shape and mold you according to His will. You don’t have to panic. Everything doesn’t depend on you and getting what you think is best. It is all about Him!

            Much love, my precious, beautiful sister! I’m so glad we can walk this road together!

          4. Some inspiration for you, Anna…

            There are some prerequisites to answered prayer:
            1. A relationship with Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)
            2. Faith that God can and will answer your prayer. (Hebrews 11:6)
            3. Obedience to God’s Word and what He has clearly revealed for you to do. (John 14:23-24)
            4. Repentance of all known sin. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, God will not hear us. (Psalm 66:18)

            Sometimes, there is a delay in God’s answers to our prayer. These are times of testing our faith to prove and refine it. E. M. Bounds describes the importance of delay in his book Prayer and Faith:

            “Faith does not grow disheartened because prayer is not immediately honored. It takes God at His Word, and lets Him take what time He chooses in fulfilling His purposes, and in carrying on His work. There is bound to be much delay and long days of waiting for true faith, but faith accepts the conditions. It knows there will be delays in answering prayer, and regards such delays as times of testing. During that time it is privileged to show its mettle, and the unyielding stuff that it is made of…

            (description of the importance of Jesus’ delay in going to Lazarus when he was sick)

            Jesus’ delay was in the interests of a greater good.

            Fear not, O tempted and tried believer, Jesus will come, if patience is exercised and faith holds fast. His delay will serve to make His coming the more richly blessed. Pray on. Wait on. You cannot fail. If Christ delays, wait for Him. In His own good time, He will come, and will not tarry.

            How much patience is required when these times of testing come! Yet faith gathers strength by waiting and praying. Patience has its perfect work in the school of delay. In some instances, delay is the most essential part of the prayer. God has to do many things before He can give the final answer- things that are essential to the lasting good of the one who is requesting favor at His hands.”

          5. April,
            Thank you very much for your attention, and effort, and time that you have given me. I appreciate it a lot.

            The only thing that after these years I got really tired. Very often, it’s a struggle to get out of bed and live through the day. Even the simplest things become too hard. I have tried, and I am trying, and I hope to continue trying, but this just becomes too difficult for me to bear.

            I am afraid at times that things won’t get any better, that they could become even worse. Of course, God is sovereign, but I feel that I have got myself into some kind of a trap without a way out.

          6. Anna,

            God’s peace IS available to you, my precious sister. But you must trust Him. I believe that has to be your focus.

            The summer Greg and I got married, things began to go very wrong, in my view, within a week. I severely sprained my lower back. Greg decided to have us live somewhere I DID NOT want to go. He and his dad spent every night six nights a week fixing up the house for us for over 3 months until 1 am. There were major conflicts. Intimacy was impossible. Greg stopped talking to me. He was completely overwhelmed trying to work, find a new engineering job, fix up the house, there were issues with extended family. It took 6 years for him to get an engineering job. I cried all day every day for months. I dropped contact with all of my friends because I didn’t want them to know that I was so miserable.

            But you know what? God was sovereign over those things. I didn’t trust Him. Instead, I lashed out in anger and resentment at everyone around me and I tried to force my way. All I ended up doing was making things so much worse.

            These issues you have are not a surprise to God, and they are not out of His control. But you don’t trust Him and you don’t have faith in Him. That – you do control. This has to be your decision. You will have to wrestle through these thoughts of whether you can trust God or not. If you choose to not trust Him, you will continue to be super stressed the rest of your life no matter what your circumstances are. I promise. You can’t have peace when you don’t trust God. If you choose to trust Him, you can have His supernatural peace, contentment, and joy – even in your current circumstances. I promise that, too!

            The choice is yours.

            I know this will sound strange, but I believe the problem is not your circumstances but a lack of trust in God and the fact that you are not filled with His Spirit to give you His power, His perspective, His wisdom, His joy, and His peace.

            If you are willing to trust God, you won’t be so stressed out. But if you try to put yourself in place of God and trust self to make things work out and attempt to carry the sovereignty of God on your shoulders – you will have extreme anxiety. I sure did when I didn’t trust God but had self on the throne of my life. I did this for over 14 years in my marriage. I made myself and Greg so miserable. I was extremely anxious and stressed out and afraid a lot.

            Yes, it is scary to begin to trust God. But once you do trust Him, you realize that being in His arms is the best place in the universe to be, and that the scary thing is to trust anything or anyone else. AND, as an added bonus, when you trust God, you get to have peace instead of constant anxiety and stress! Plus, you don’t get to see His miracles and provision when you don’t trust Him. But when you do trust Him, you get to see answers to prayer and miracles that you could never imagine. IT IS A WIN/WIN!

            Much love!
            April

          7. Anna,

            I learned to be content when my husband was still completely shut down and unplugged and barely looked at me, talked with me, or touched me for a long, long time. It took him 3.5 YEARS into my journey to feel safe with me again. I learned to be content even when my husband wanted me to work more and I desperately wanted to be home with my children and the job where I was working was very stressful. I learned to be content with our children going to public school even though I preferred to homeschool them, because I learned to trust God to lead me through my husband. I learned to be content with no more children even though I wanted more – because of my own health issues. I am content with waiting on God to determine if we will adopt children. I want to adopt children, but I am trusting God to put that desire in my husband’s heart if it is His will for us. I can be content either way. I am content with many, many health problems including chronic, incurable sinusitis (I have it every single day) and being allergic to the sun and several foods and back issues and tummy problems. My husband has some health issues that increase his risk of a potentially fatal situation in the coming decade. I can be content even in the face of this, trusting God’s timing and sovereignty. My mother is facing potentially life-threatening health issues right now. I am content in Christ. I learned to be content while our house was in total shambles and chaos for 4 years while my husband and his dad remodeled it – even though I love order and hate chaos and messes. I may have a debilitating disease, haven’t had the testing done yet – but I am content even if I face that disease or any other. I am content in spite of the fact that I have almost no time with girl friends – on the phone or in person. Most of my friends are homeschooling moms and don’t have time to get together or they have moved away. But I am more content and fulfilled than I have ever been in my life! I know I will face tragedy, trials, and severe tests – but I know if I have God with me, I have everything I need!

            As I lay down my will and my desires and choose to seek God, His will and His desires – I can be content in any circumstances. The only circumstances in which I cannot be content would be situations where someone would want me to sin.

            Even if I or my husband make a wrong decision, or if someone attempts to harm us with evil motives – I can be content and rest in God’s sovereignty because I know He works ALL things together for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose. Read the story of Joseph in the Old Testament and see how God used what his brothers meant for evil to save the lives of many people 14 years later – even though it meant that Joseph was a slave and a prisoner during those 14 years.

            I know wives who have experienced God’s supernatural peace, contentment, and joy in the midst of their husbands having affairs and being separated from their husbands, with widows, and with women whose husbands divorced them. I know people who are dying with cancer who trust God and are joyful, peaceful, and content as they trust Him. I know moms who are living in contentment in Christ even after suffering miscarriages or the death of their young children. There is pain. They must wrestle through the painful things. But, we can still have joy as believers in Christ! How I pray God will help you to see this amazing miracle and be willing to trust Him for yourself!

            The circumstances are not the important thing. Trusting God and being filled with His Spirit is the important thing. Paul wrote Philippians from prison where He was in chains because of his faith. This passage below contains the secrets to you being content right now (you can also search “contentment” on my home page):

            Philippians 4:
            4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

            8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things….

            11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

          8. See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said:

            “Today, if you hear his voice,
            do not harden your hearts
            as you did in the rebellion.”
            Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Hebrews 3:12-19

            How I pray that none of us might be overcome by unbelief!!!!!!

            Unbelief is a most deadly sin, my precious sisters!

            E.M. Bounds writes in The Necessity of Prayer,

            “We need to guard against unbelief as we would against an enemy. Faith needs to be cultivated. We need to keep on praying, “Lord, increase our faith,” for faith is susceptible of increase… Faith is increased by exercise, by being put into use. It is nourished by painful trials… It would be well if all of us were to stop and ask ourselves, “Have I faith in God? Have I real faith – faith that keeps me in perfect peace about the things of earth and the things of heaven?”

          9. You are a star, darling, thank you! 🙂

            No matter that you are so, so far away, God comforted me through you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂 I even feel better.

            Let God bless you abundantly and no illnesses would harm either you, or your dear mother, or your husband, or your children. Let you always be under God’s protection!

          10. Anna,

            I am so grateful that God comforted you through me somehow. Isn’t He so GOOD!?!? 🙂

            You know what? I don’t want to suffer, or for my mom or husband to suffer, but my goal isn’t to keep us from suffering – my greatest desire is to bring glory to God. I am at peace with whatever path He decides is best for us. I fought him for many years. I made myself and my husband and others miserable. I don’t ever want to go back to the old sinful me that was filled with unbelief, worry, fear, anxiety, pride, idolatry of self/of feeling loved/of happiness/of my husband/of being in control.

            How I long for you to experience the freedom, weightlessness, overwhelming joy, indescribable peace that passes all understanding, and the Living Water that is Jesus!!!!! If it takes this time of trial to bring you to your knees, to trust in Him, to real faith in Him – it will be more than worth the pain. In fact, one day, you will be thankful for the pain that drew you to Christ. You will think of the trials as great blessings that were the path to the greatest treasures there are in the universe.

            I know I am under God’s protection always. He has promised – never will He leave me, never will He forsake me. I have in Him an eternal safety. And if He is for me, I can stand no matter who or what might be against me.

            I only pray that He might empower me to be faithful no matter how severe the trials.

            Much love to you!

          11. Also, I feel I am somehow stuck in limbo. My husband wishes for our family to grow to have children, I also wish to have children, but how can I have them when I am so stressed-out? I am afraid it will only make matters worse with additional pressure. I just wish to be in peace.
            I somehow didn’t think I would encounter such difficulties, I was naive. I really thought that my in-lwas would be welcoming, and my husband’s friends would be welcoming, I wouldn’t have problems findind a job, but in reality, my in-laws aren’t that welcoming at all and quite insensitive (my husband’s sister never invited me even for tea during all this time, although she leaves in a house right next to us); my husband’s friends are busy with their lives, and there are also porblems with a job that makes this all really sad, not even considering my situation back home.

  14. Hi April. This thread is two years old, so I am not sure you will see my comment, but I just wanted to say that I love you! This is exactly what I have been trying to verbalize and I thank our heavenly Father that you have written out the messages above so well. I love you because I have been with you for years. I used to email you and you would always email me back. I am pleased to say that I have gotten better at being a submissive wife, although I still have a long way to go. Our situation has gotten dire as of late, but I trust that the Father would never leave or forsake us and I trust Him to work through my husband.

    1. Emet,

      I’m so thankful that God continues to work in you and that you are seeking Him! That blesses my heart!

      But I am very sad to hear that things are so difficult. How can I pray for you, my dear sister?

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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