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My Struggles Today – Part 2 (of Has This Journey Gotten Easier for Me?)

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Yesterday, I posted part 1 of this series. And I am EXTREMELY thankful for Kayla’s post two days ago. I always learn so much from her. God uses her and all of the other wives here (and husbands, too) to sharpen me. I love sharing the stories and different perspectives of as many wives as I can. Each person reflects and shines something of Christ in his/her own unique way that is precious and priceless.

Do I have struggles?

YEP!

I don’t really think of a lot of these things as struggles. But – I guess you could call them that. I don’t think of myself as having a super hard life right now. I am not facing a terminal illness, or severe crisis in my family or life threatening persecution or poverty the way many people are all over the world right now. But there are potential temptations for me. Sometimes some of these issues can be struggles at times.

Here is a shocker – you may want to all sit down.  I am human!!!!!!!!!!  I am nowhere near perfect. I have thousands of miles to go on this journey and so much to learn that it is going to take me the rest of my life to learn it! And even then, I won’t have learned anywhere near a fraction of all there is to learn about God and about living for Him.

The struggles have changed somewhat as I have continued on this journey.  I no longer agonize about how to respect my husband and biblically submit to Him and to God.  I have learned God is trustworthy and developed a new history of practicing trusting Him and Greg. So, in my view, trusting them has become “easier” the more I have practiced trusting them. Most of my temptations no longer revolve around disrespecting Greg or God or trying to control them. There are other challenges and obstacles, including some new ones I didn’t have before.

My primary temptations/struggles now would probably be:

  • BALANCING my time wisely between God, my family, my job, my home and ministry.
  • I have to be SO careful to keep God central, then my husband and children and not let ministry overtake everything.
  • Being still before God. I have to force myself and quiet myself and make myself turn off any distractions (have to mute the computer so I don’t hear emails come in) and just be in complete silence with just me, God’s Word, a pen, my notebook and maybe some coffee and oatmeal or french toast. 🙂 I LOVE that time with Him. But I can be so easily distracted.
  • Remembering that I cannot open anyone’s eyes. Sometimes I get frustrated when someone’s eyes are not opening… and not opening… and not opening. I tend to not want to “give up” on anyone and keep trying to explain and explain and explain.

But – I am not the Holy Spirit. I have to remind myself of that OFTEN! I have to totally depend on God for that part!

  • Usually, I am able to lay the weight of someone’s very burdensome situation at Jesus’ feet and not pick it back up. But there are times when I obsess for a few days about particular people and I struggle with laying them down.
  • God must greatly increase and I must greatly decrease, that can be a struggle!
  • Resting and relaxing – Greg says I have done much better the past week! WOOHOO!
  • I am looking at a much more global scale than just my marriage now. I am also always mindful that everything I think, say and do is an example to thousands of other women (not to mention my own two precious children).  I try to share when I sin or when I have struggles so that y’all can see I am human, not some perfect wife who is “better than” anyone. I am definitely not better than anyone!!!! I am but dust. And I am the chief of sinners. Any good in me is totally a God thing. I know that SO MUCH MORE hangs in the balance than I was ever aware of years ago when my only concern was my way, my will and my happiness.
  • I have to remember I do this only to please God, not people. I SURE wouldn’t write about these things if my goal was to have the approval of people!
  • I don’t always know what a wife should do in certain situations. I don’t have the perfect answers to everything. My ideas and opinions are fallible.
  • Wives don’t need my advice and suggestions nearly as much as they need to be plugged in and sensitive to God’s Spirit and obedient to His Word and to understand biblical principles.
  • I cannot allow pride to creep in and deceive me that I have all of this mastered. I do not. It is only GOD’s power that allows me to do anything. “Pride comes before a fall.” I am always aware that something could throw me in 5 minutes that I didn’t expect. I am not a “super wife” and I am not above sin.
  • I am not always very good at predicting how other women may interpret what I say. I am sometimes very shocked at how differently people take what I write from my intentions. Sometimes, communicating by writing without being face to face can be extra challenging!! That is probably why I get pretty OCD and edit dozens and dozens and dozens of times on each post, trying to be sure I think of every possible angle. But – I don’t always do this well. I appreciate the feedback of wives because otherwise I assume we are all on the same page.
  • I don’t have experience with abuse and severe situations (with drug/alcohol addictions, uncontrolled mental disorders, demon-possession situation even, infidelity) and I hate to think that women in those situations might try to apply my words to situations I am not writing about. That scares me. God’s Word applies to all of us in every situation, but my words do not.
  • I know I am accountable to God for every single word on my blogs, comments and emails. That is a lot of weight and responsibility that I do not take lightly! I don’t ever want to mess up the tiniest little thing or misspeak one word about God. But I am sure that I have and don’t realize it. I pray often that God will reveal anything to me that could be misconstrued so that I can speak only His truth. And I pray people will forget anything I say that is not of God and that His Spirit might speak powerfully here in spite of my fallibility, frailty, sinfulness and weakness.
  • I tend to veer towards being overly responsible for women. That is not a gift to them! I want so much to help and bless women – but it HAS to be God’s way, not my way. I want to see them out of pain and misery and experiencing God’s peace, joy and abundant life – and I want that ASAP for everyone. I have to be very careful that I am pointing them only to Jesus not to myself.
  • I also have to be careful not to try to rush people but allow them to take this journey at the pace they need to take it. It is SO HARD to watch people destroying themselves and to see the truth and to know what miracles God would do for them if they trust Him and then to watch them reject Jesus. I have a REALLY tough time accepting that outcome! I have so much to learn about being a godly mentor. I am learning as I go. I stumble and fall often.
  • It is REALLY, REALLY hard for me to listen to people talk trash about God. I can’t stand to hear anyone disrespect Jesus, God or the Bible. It’s one thing if you insult me, but if you insult my Lord????  Ooooh! That gets me fired up like nothing else! When people act like God is evil, wimpy, untrustworthy, incompetent, unjust, etc… Whew! And if someone blasphemes God – GOODNESS! I am NOT a happy camper!!!! But, I thought a lot of these same lies and wrong things about God, too, in the past when I was deceived myself. So – I pray that God might use me to speak truth and give grace to these precious people for whom Jesus died  and that He might open their eyes so they can come to Him.
  • I love my brothers in Christ. It breaks my heart to see men feeling disrespected by their wives, knowing how they could blossom and grow so much stronger if they had their wives’ respect – and, especially, if they had the power of God’s Spirit full blast in their lives. I understand a lot more now about what they need as men than I ever have in my life. But I cannot be the one to give them this feminine respect. I must very diligently guard my heart and seek to honor Greg, God, our marriage, other people’s marriages. I can give a very small amount of respect (as believers we are to show proper respect to everyone). But I have to keep the “respect volume knob” WAY DOWN LOW and minimize my contact with them. I do always copy Greg on any emails with men. But I don’t email men much at all – it is just so much better for me that way. I know the enemy would love to take me down here. I try to immediately share any concerns or temptations or issues with Greg and with my prayer team. I pray God would take me home before I would so dishonor Him!
  • A year and a half ago, I was writing posts for men – when God convicted me that I have no scriptural authority to teach men. So, I repented to everyone and took down the posts. Men do come to me for advice. I will sometimes share what I have learned about myself and other wives. But I try so hard not to “tell them what to do.” I have seen God use my blog to bless and bring healing to many husbands (and their wives through them) – but there is a line there that I don’t want to cross out of reverence for God and His Word.
  • Being patient when we are running late as a family.
  • I really hate mess and disorganization. I used to be pretty perfectionistic about that. I try to let a lot of things go now because they are just not eternally important – but on my PMS days, I definitely get a lot of cleaning done!  Now, I try to remember that people and God are much more important than a super clean and spotless house. I used to get SO UPSET about this kind of stuff. Now, I still don’t like it. But I am able to overlook it and remember I won’t have my husband and children with me forever.
  • Having too much stuff and clutter makes me feel smothered. I like getting rid of stuff and having lots of empty space. Of course, Greg loves finding great deals at the flea market and bringing home lots of stuff. That can be a struggle.
  • Responding firmly but still gently when my children are not obeying – if I am going to lose my temper, it will usually be about this! I try to whisper or sing when I get frustrated to keep myself from raising my voice if at all possible!
  • Hearing women bash their men/disrespect them/try to control them is REALLY a struggle for me!
  • If I ever see anyone disrespect my own husband, I have an extremely hard time with that.
  • I have some medical issues that present challenges at times.  Chronic, incurable sinusitis, some extremely bizarre tummy issues, severe allergies (sometimes asthma), eye problems, severe menstrual cramps, a sun allergy. Yep. I am allergic to the sun and break out in itchy whelps if I am even in the sun for a minute or two in the spring, summer and fall. I feel kind of like a vampire – it’s only safe for me to go out at night! 🙂 When I am not feeling well, my attitude can be a struggle. I usually don’t complain (or argue) these days – which is a God thing. I try to tell Greg, hopefully just once, when I am not feeling well. But there can be temptations to be grumpy and irritable. I so don’t want to go there!
  • If Greg asks me to do something, I almost always have to write it down or I will forget. My memory is not very good sometimes.
  • I have insomnia, and have for over 8 years. I slept 6 hours a handful of nights last year. Most nights, I sleep 4-5 hours. Sometimes less. It can get tempting to be irritable and to feel “justified” to be grumpy. But even though sin is definitely more tempting when I am exhausted, it is still sin. God is able to give me victory over these temptations, too.
  • I don’t handle super high stress jobs very well.
  • I ALWAYS have to check for pride or self-righteousness and “crucify my old sinful self” as soon as I see it rear its head, then I have to turn to Christ immediately in repentance. I have to have the hammer and nails ready all the time.
  • If I allow myself to get way out of balance and try to give too much of myself without being filled with God – I will crash and burn. I CANNOT DO THIS ON MY OWN! I HAVE HAVE HAVE to be filled up with God! If I start to feel overwhelmed, that is a good sign to me that I need to stop talking to anyone and go be still before God. I struggle because I am human and have limitations, and I don’t like it!!
  • Handling people who are very hateful can be a challenge sometimes. My husband says to “not waste your time” on people that are extremely verbally abusive and spend time on the people who want to learn. I tend to want to try to reach out to them and share the love of Christ and hope with them. I want so much to bless them (and every single person on the planet) with the power of God. So, I do struggle with how exactly to respond at times when people attack me and vehemently oppose me – particularly when they completely misunderstand me and misrepresent me and my husband and our marriage and make all kinds of false accusations and wrong assumptions. That hurts. I want very much to honor Christ and Greg in the way I respond.
  • PMS is so much better now than it used to be for me. Sometimes, I will have a day or two where I am quite emotional and I have to be sure not to give weight to my feelings those days. I do have to be careful not to let evil thoughts get a foot in the door, especially on those hormonal days. I haven’t hit peri-menopause yet. That will probably be an extra special long term challenge!
  • One of my closest friends will not talk with me about her marriage or read my blog. That is humbling and helps me remember that people need God, not me. And her situation is very different from mine, so my slant is not helpful for her.  That is good for me to know.
  • If there is constructive criticism, I am usually open to learning and being sharpened and thankful for it. But it definitely takes the power of God to respond in a godly way even to constructive criticism.
  • I wouldn’t own a TV if it were up to me. TV is Greg’s favorite pastime. I watch TV with him, and sometimes struggle a bit because that is definitely not my thing. But, I try to sit and cuddle with him and relax because it means a lot to him. I used to get REALLY upset about the TV being on. I don’t anymore. I ask about doing other things sometimes. And, now, if I ask, Greg will usually turn off the TV if there is something major I want to talk about. I don’t ask for him to do that often, but I can say that he NEVER turned off the TV for me when I was disrespectful! And, unlike before, Greg is almost always open to having conversations with me even when the TV is on now.
  • I don’t watch romantic movies or read romantic books. It is too easy for me to feel jealous or to want that fictional romantic connection. But even more than that – now – there are just more important things I would rather do!
  • I cannot read about what husbands “should” do. That is just a disaster waiting to happen for me. I can’t read about a husband’s “super godly leadership” – it knocks me off balance if I do that. I have to keep my mind on Philippians 4:8 things and being thankful for what I have, trusting God to work in my husband’s heart for His will and His glory in His way and His timing.
  • God has not answered all of my prayers for my marriage yet. That’s ok. I wait and trust Him and seek Him with all my heart!

Praise God He is not done with me! I love living in His joy and peace daily. I am completely addicted to Him. It is my prayer that each of you might experience the abundant life Christ has for you.

Much love, my precious sisters!

RELATED:

HisHelper Reflects on Her Journey This Far

Kayla’s follow up post to her post this week, “Easy?”

12 thoughts on “My Struggles Today – Part 2 (of Has This Journey Gotten Easier for Me?)

  1. April, your honesty is super refreshing. I laughed a bit on some of what you pointed out, not because they are laughable or ridiculous but because I could almost imagine you cringing at some stuff or really trying soooo hard in others. 🙂 I love that about you. You are willing to share with us your “ugliest” innermost thoughts and struggles, just so that we can focus on God and not you. It is such a temptation to create an online persona of perfection, since all of us are virtual strangers to each other anyway, but you constantly remind us that this is all about Him, not you… so you constantly show us your imperfections, which make us feel good about ours and which make us admire you more. 🙂

    Lest I be accused of being part of the April Fans’ Club (which I could very well start hehe), just wanted to thank you, dear sister, for giving your heart and soul to this blog. What a legacy you have written here! When you are long gone and have gone Home, it will still reverberate to other women from all across the globe. You are such a blessing! 🙂

    God bless you more.

    Love,

    Nikka

  2. Ooh! Here is one I almost forgot!
    I really hate mess and disorganization. I used to be pretty perfectionistic about that. I try to let a lot of things go now because they are just not eternally important – but on my PMS days, I definitely get a lot of cleaning done! Now, I try to remember that people and God are much more important than a super clean and spotless house. I used to get SO UPSET about this kind of stuff. Now, I still don’t like it. But I am able to overlook it and remember I won’t have my husband and children with me forever.

  3. Your posts have really opened my eyes! It’s good to see you being so honest and not setting yourself up as something unattainable! I appreciate everything you are doing with this ministry of yours! As I go through my own struggles, God reminds me that I have to trust my husband and you are the reason God was able to get through to me about this!

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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