Skip to main content

Please, God! Ask Me for Anything But This!

image

From a dear single sister in Christ who is in her thirties, I so appreciate her willingness to share her story – and I believe that what God showed her is something He wants to show each of us as His followers:

I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.

He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.

I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.

At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.

I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.

He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.

  • First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
  • Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.

I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.

My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.

What dream have you cherished that God is asking you to release to Him?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This calling to give up our most precious dreams (and all of our dreams, really), is one that God calls all disciples of Christ to do.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

Yes, those of us who are married have husbands, and they may even have children. These are good gifts, but husbands and children cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. If we try to find our deepest needs met in other people, we – and the people we idolize – will be most miserable. People can never be God to us. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. If we only love God for what we can get from Him – that is not true love! Think about a woman you know who only stays with a man because of what he can give her, not because she really cares about him. Not a pretty picture.

God wants us to love Him – the Giver – far more than we love His gifts!!

God graciously never allows us to find ultimate contentment, fulfillment, joy, peace, purpose, and identity in anything but Himself – because these things can’t be found anywhere but in Him! HE, alone, is the Greatest Treasure!

Being married doesn’t guarantee a woman anything. She has no promise that nothing bad will happen to her husband, her children, or to her own health. Single and married women (and men) can hurt and hurt deeply. We all desperately need the absolute Lordship of Christ Jesus to give us Real Love and Real Life.

We must all ask ourselves:

I had to do exactly what my single friend had to do – and what God called Abraham to do in Genesis 22. I had to be willing to lay the most important dreams in my life on the altar and take my hands away, trusting God with whatever He decided was best in His sovereignty.

When you have never really trusted God with your deepest dreams before, this seems TERRIFYING. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff at first. But it is only when we are willing to give up the things in this world that mean the most to us, that we are truly following Christ.

Jesus is completely worthy of THIS level of devotion. In fact, anything less than all that we are and all that we have is not enough. He gave ALL for us, now we give ALL for Him.

We don’t know the ending when we agree to trust Him and to submit all to Him. We trust that He knows infinitely better than we do, and we lay it all down, willing to sign up for His will no matter what it might be, even if it might be painful, even if our deepest dreams are not realized. Paradoxically, yielding all that we are and all that we have to Jesus is the only path to true contentment, fulfillment, and joy.

We must decide whether we will be content with Christ alone. Then we have the opportunity to learn the sufficiency of Christ and what it means to make Him our ALL. Once we have done that, we know we will be ok as long as we have Him. Once you have experienced the supernatural joy, peace, power, and spiritual abundance of Jesus, nothing else really seems to matter as much. Once we truly taste Jesus, we realize that the scariest place to be is trusting self and clinging to our own dreams, and that the most blessed place in the world is to trust in Christ completely and to be open and vulnerable to His will and His plans for us.

Taste and see how very sufficient Jesus is, my sweet friends. He will never disappoint us! Then you can be content in Him no matter what your circumstances may be and you can be full of His joy and peace all day every day. It is SO WORTH IT!

64 thoughts on “Please, God! Ask Me for Anything But This!

    1. Arabella,
      Yep. It absolutely requires a lot of trust in God and courage. And faith. That is what following Christ is about, and somehow we have watered down what it means to be a Christian so much in our culture, it can be shocking to see what Jesus really asks us to do. But – following Him is the best place to be in the universe! I long for everyone to get to experience the sweet fellowship and the sufficiency of Christ Jesus and what a wonderful Lord and Treasure He is.

      Much love to you!

      (Thanks so much for catching that typo! Yikes!)

      1. I know this deep down in my heart, and I know I haven’t truly done it. In fact, I haven’t been a peaceful wife now in a few months. I’ve been fighting discontentment in my marriage, back to the same ‘ole feelings that only if my husband was different, if he loved me as I believe he should, etc….I don’t like being this way at all, and I certainly know he does not like it. Why can’t I just be quiet and trust the Lord….for some reason, I believe I have to make my husband aware of all these “so called problems” or things will never change, and then afterwards, I feel like I just need to be praying and let God be in control. Thank God for a new day and another chance to Trust Him. I want desperately to keep my eyes on Him and love my husband the way I should, no matter what. I don’t know when to share with him (which seems like complaining) and when to be quiet & pray.

        1. Rose,

          I understand this struggle very well, my precious sister! I can’t count all the times I ran ahead of God and tried to do things that I thought needed to be done in my own wisdom and my own strength and then just made a big mess of everything. When we put something other than Christ in the throne of our lives, we destroy that thing and that idol destroys us, too.

          I am really encouraged that you see what is going on. That is HUGE!!! Until God opens our eyes, we cannot see and we stay stuck.

          It takes a lot of wrestling with God and our flesh and the enemy to get to the place where we are willing to yield control fully to God. It feels really scary at first. I can still remember my fear right before deciding to trust God completely. I have never had such fear in my life.

          I would like to invite you to search my home page about a few things:

          – fear
          – when to speak
          – hold things loosely

          And, if you have ‘t read the post about idols, that may be good, too, you can search “idol” and “idolatry.”

          I’m here and glad to talk with you. I am praying for God to Empower you to take this next step. I know you will never regret it!!

          Much love!
          April

          1. I am struggling right now, too. I so understand Rose’s comments.

            April, have you posted about the fear that you had and how long you wrestled with that? Just curious, I think I would like to read if you have specifically spoken about your experience. I’ll search the terms you suggested when I have more time.

            I’m really struggling with feeling insecure and jealous and I think that some of that is from my own self, but some is a result of some things that have happened in my marriage. I’m struggling because it seems like I am supposed to just forgive and forget and not have those things affect me….but I don’t know how to *not* let it affect me. Even when I bring things up in a respectful way, he is not able to hear me or help me in my hurt….which just makes it all the more hurtful.

            I ask for any prayers on my behalf for wisdom and clarity. I feel like I’m confused as to whether I’ve been making things up in my head (about things that have happened in the past) or have they been real, but my husband doesn’t want to accept the responsibility? I’m starting to feel a little insane and that’s not such a good feeling. 🙂

            Thanks for listening.

          2. Hey Jennifer I could have written this. In my own experience the intense fear and insecurity is becuause I idolize my husband and am desperate for his love/ approval however badly he treats me. If you can start the process of uprooting your desire for your husband and replacing it with a desire for God I believe you’ll be on the right path. It is sooo painful, soo confusing but completely worth it. Unllike April my biggest fear was my husband’s rejection rather than making that leap to wholeheartedly trusting God. I want to trust God but it is hard uprooting the deep seated desire for another’s love and approval….I want to turn to God alone for that but it is hard figuring out how to do thAt. I have a long way to go but at least this journey has started.. I hope that encourages you.

          3. Jennifer,

            Hmm.. I know I have written about my fears a number of times. If you search “fear” in my home page, I am sure at least one or two of those posts are about that.

            Because your husband is not a believer at this time, I wonder how much he can help you in his hurt about his sin. Has he repented of it, as much as he can? Or is it ongoing? When was the last time this happened?

            There is a difference between forgiving and trusting. Have you seen my post about that? You can fully forgive him in the power of Christ, but trust may have to be rebuilt depending on what the issue was.

            Have you read the post at the top of my home page “When My Spouse Is Wrong”?

            praying for much wisdom for you!

          4. Thank you, April and Liz, for your responses.

            Liz, I definitely relate to what you said about fearing your husband’s rejection and also having a long way to go on this journey. But, yes! At least God has begun this good work in us and we know He will complete it!

            God has shown me again clearly this morning my pride and how I’ve been focused on my husband’s sins instead of my own sins/faults and walk with God. Once I see that, I can see that the hurt my husband has because of the ways I’ve failed him are just as deep as my hurts – and in the process, my hurt doesn’t feel nearly as bad, either!

            I haven’t seen your post, April, about forgiveness and trusting. I did look quickly yesterday for it, but didn’t see anything and haven’t looked again. At this point, I know that God has clearly told me a few things (some of these are not recent things — some He has told me about before, but I took my eyes off Jesus and went my own way for a week or two and that’s all it takes for things to crash!!!!) The things I feel God is/has been revealing to me are many….

            1). I need to stop assuming the worst about my husband, even if I’ve been hurt by him in certain areas. In my case, I believe my husband has been faithful to me and the problems that have been in the past have been minor compared to other people’s stories.
            2). I need to trust God to reveal anything that needs to be revealed in my marriage and not be worried in the meantime about possible scenarios or be looking for anything.
            3). I need to offer safety and acceptance to my husband so that if and when he needs or wants to share difficult things, he can.
            4). I need to stop thinking that because I’ve been respectful for __________ (fill in the blank with whatever time period) things are going to change right away. 🙂
            5). I’ve had a very deeply lodged-in belief for some time now that the only way my husband will come to Christ is if he does something horrible to me and I show him forgiveness (therefore, he sees Christ in me) Oh, my! Just typing that out sounds ridiculous, but yes…..this has been a HUGE belief of mine that has cast a lot of suspicion in my mind and caused a lot of fear in my life. For years, I’ve thought that this feeling or belief was from God and that He was preparing me for something to come. But, last week or so, I remembered that God’s words don’t cause fear, they bring peace. So, if these thoughts are causing fear and distrust, then they are not from my God. God will give grace to me for whatever circumstances He brings into my life and I can trust Him for that grace at that point, not worrying about getting it beforehand.
            6). I am idle and am not using my time properly. There are so many ways I could bless my husband and family at home and instead find ways to waste my time. 🙁 I’m heartbroken over this and know that only God can change me. I would welcome any prayers and advice or testimonies from others who have been in that place and have a story of how God changed that. I am always encouraged by testimonies the most, for some reason.

            Oh, yes, I have read the post “When My Spouse is Wrong”. It’s hard to read when you’re feeling hurt, but I know it is the truth.

            We were able to have a good conversation last night about my hurt and he was able to see some things that I’ve been trying to say. Usually, during these talks, it comes out that I’ve hurt him, too. So, we were both able to hear each other and give understanding and ask for forgiveness. Interestingly, before we got to that point, we were just roadblocking on everything and I just simply prayed that God would not let the enemy have his way in causing confusion and continued hurt in this. I prayed specifically that my husband would be able to respond to the last text I had sent in a way that wasn’t shutting me down more. I believe God really honored that simple prayer of belief as communication really opened up in a much better way from that point on and God gave me words to use in my communication that helped bring some clarity.

            There’s so much more, but those are the things on my heart and mind now. Now I need to get off of here and get some things done! 🙂

          5. Jennifer,
            THIS is awesome!!!! Thank you SO VERY much for sharing. I love what God is doing in your heart!!! I love the things He is showing you. What powerful lessons!

            I know your courage and willingness to share will greatly bless many other wives here, my sweet sister!

            Much love!
            April

  1. I’m currently reading a book called “disappointment with GOD” it’s a requirement for my biblical perspective class at the college. I’ve read chapter s 1-5 so far it’s a good read. A great book for the disappointed to get a better understanding (Content) 🙂

  2. As a single woman who will turn 40 very soon, this is a topic that hits close to home. It is also a bit confusing. I do need to make my desire to be married less of a priority. However, I am still confused about whether laying it down is the same as resigning myself to a fact of never being married. Does it mean – even if a godly, “appropriate” man were to start pursuing me, that I must say, “No. I am not to get married?”
    In my desire to be married, I’m not chasing men, acting inappropriately, or doing everything I can to meet someone. I do trust that God can orchestrate having me meet the right person – if it is in His will. Honestly, I haven’t always been like that, but a painful relationship a couple of years ago showed me that I shouldn’t try to make an inappropriate man into marriage material. Anyway, with a lot of things I read, I get the feeling that 30s and 40s are the magical time where a woman should just say, “I’m not married yet at this age, so obviously that’s not God’s plan for me.”
    Please understand that this is a painful topic. Personally, I do not want to love anything or person more than God. Have I perfected that? Has anyone? No, but the desire to have God in first place is there. And my awareness of how I fall short in that area is growing keener. And I *am* trying to make adjustment where needed.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this. And please, anyone reading this, please pray for me in this area.

    1. If I may chime in here?

      I was in my 30’s when I married. I have friends and family members who are single, much older than I was, and still desire marriage very much.

      There is nothing in Scripture that specifies that we must give up our desire or hope to be married at any age. I think the point of the post is finding contentment in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

      At the same time, being single has its own unique pain at times. I think it’s good to acknowledge that.

      I believe it’s what we do with the pain the matters.

      Yes, there is reason to always hope for marriage at any age, if that’s our desire. But entrusting God to still be your greatest joy, and to be content in His directing the timing of things in your life is to be our focus.

      Sometimes, if we ask ourselves if we are willing to give up our biggest dreams and desires, it’s a good test to where our hearts are. Is He still our greatest joy, or do we refuse to be content if our circumstances are not easy?

    2. Mipwin,

      Being willing to surrender and yield our dearest dreams to God is always painful. I can absolutely understand that. Yielding our dreams and laying them on the altar does not mean we will never receive our dreams, it means we allow God to determine if, when, and how we might receive our dreams and that we pursue Christ far above our dreams, that we can be content in Him whether we have these other things or not.

      I have seen women marry later than their 30s or 40s. So I am not sure I would say that every woman should decide they will never marry by a certain age. I think that this would require sensitivity to God’s Spirit for a woman to determine if or when she wants to mentally close the door on the idea of marriage.
      I love the idea of holding everything loosely and allowing God to give things and take things away according to His wisdom and His timing and my desire is for us all to be very sensitive to His voice and leading no matter what our circumstances, that we might walk closely to Him in obedience to Him.

      Abraham received Isaac back to himself, and didn’t ultimately have to sacrifice him. Sometimes God wants us to show him that we are willing to give things up for His sake. Then we trust Him with the outcome. I hope that makes sense. I don’t know who will receive their dreams, who may not, or how long someone may have to wait. But I do know that as we fully surrender to God without conditions, we are most content, joyful, and blessed in Christ.

      Much love to you!

      1. April,
        Thank you for your response. 🙂 it does make a lot of sense. I do try to make sure that my heart is in the right place, regarding trusting God with my marital status. In general, not just on marriage, I am learning to trust and surrender to Him more and more. And my love and worship have grown noticeably in recent times.

        Still, a lot of times when I read posts about singleness, they do kind of have a slant that almost makes me feel guilty for wanting to be married at all. Not that this post does this. 🙂 At times, though, I (mis)read that guilt message into anything I read about being a single Christian.

        1. Mipwin,
          I am so excited about your walk with Christ growing, and your trust and your surrender deepening to Christ. WOOHOO!!

          I am also glad you realize you may misread guilt messages where there shouldn’t be one. That is important to notice, so you can monitor your own filters before misunderstanding others.

          Yielding all to Christ is something God asks of us all. Ultimately, any “sacrifice” we make for Him, ends up not really looking like a sacrifice once we realize what we have in Him and all that He gives to us of Himself when we are fully submitted and yielded.

          Praying for you to know God more and more and to be overflowing with His Living Water, joy, peace, and abundant spiritual life!!

    3. Mipwin,
      I am 46 and still waiting for the husband God promised me 20 years ago. God has been preparing me for this man by putting it in my heart to utterly submit to Him and to have absolute dependence on Him for everything. He is my strength, and my portion. The Lord may be waiting on you to submit every area of your life to Him and to abide in Jesus alone. Our God is a jealous God, and at this point in your life He wants you all to Himself.

      There is a book called “appointment in Jerusalem”, and autobiography about an awesome woman of God named Lydia Prince. She married her husband Derek Prince when she was 55, and he was 30; AND, she had 8 adopted girls at the time!!! They were married for 30 years and loved each other dearly. But it was the will of God and they were brought together for ministry. We must never forget that God’s ultimate purpose for us, single or married, is to glorify Him. If it brings Him honor and glory to work through us by His grace while we are single, then let it be so.

      1. Renee, I do keep in mind that my purpose is to bring glory to the Lord. 🙂 With His strength, I am able to serve and be a witness to Him in this (temporary or permanent) time of singleness. If God has plans for me to be married, I can see very clearly the ways in which He has refined me to be able to live as a godly, unselfish wife. 🙂

  3. Here is how I look at yielding my dreams to God now.

    Lord,
    I would love to have this thing in my life if it is Your will. But I will be content with You no matter what my circumstances and no matter what Your will for me is. I need You. I want to know You more. I want all of Your will, even if it is painful. Whatever will bring You the most glory will bring me the most joy. I am up for whatever adventure You have in store for me and I can’t wait to draw closer and closer to You on the journey. Only empower me to be faithful!

  4. My story shortly can identify that subject I am married yet I am not married I mean my husband is totally involved with his parents in a way that made us doesn’t live as a married couple ..On our honey moon he was crying in the airport he is leaving them …he spends all the week at their house and come at night just to sleep with me ..we sleep in different rooms …he refuses sex and he doent want any children he cannot take care of his parents and a child …I am totally living bymyself …I tried ething prayed counseled everyone told me they are a strange family they are sick emotionally ….at last a i joined a group in church …A lady is helping me a lot praying encouraging me and helping me …I am better but what i found out that i was about to make marriage and children my idol ..i prayed desperately for a normal marriage just a normal ne but i was overtaken with greif that it is becoming worse and then i was saved by the idea that what i really want from God can i give him this marriage and the children and just ask his face to shine on me.And i was helped a lot and i am still learning I want God more ……
    Sorry for my English I am an Arabic speaking Believer living in Canada

    1. NancyGrace,

      Oh dear!!! That does not sound good. How long have you been married? Did you see before you were married that this was an issue with his relationship with his parents?

      I love that you have a prayer partner and that you are seeking to trust God and seek Him with all your heart!

      How is your relationship with your husband? How do you treat each other and talk to each other?

      Has he refused sex the entire marriage?

      I am praying for you both!!!

  5. Hey April,
    I think a lot about Abraham and Isaac. My wife and I “hung on” through the difficulties until she was forced to let go through running out of answers. That separation was the catalyst for me to change dramatically in ways I could never have imagined and to get through a lifetime of lies and deceit to a life of being able to trust myself, know Godly truth in me and true joy which i have never known.
    But it wasn’t voluntary and until now the Lord in His mercy has allowed me closer to Him so I will press forward to let go of more and more things. For me, He has allowed me to travel fifty years through some rough country to where I now understand that He wants my last one percent not the first ninety nine percent. The only way I can deal with that last one percent is to keep pressing in to Him more and more and then I keep finding more and more to let go…..
    I would love to say that the Lord had said to me “will you give up everything?” and I gave a hearty “yes” but still in His grace He somehow sees our hearts when we can’t…

    1. Gary,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, I love that you can see how God used a really difficult trial – separation from your wife – to wake you up and draw you to Himself. Praying for you and your wife!

  6. Can anyone explain WHY exactly God gives us certain dreams, like getting married or having children, but does not fulfill them on earth? Is it simply so that we will learn to value him more than anything? It seems that these are good desires, so it seems that they may indeed come from him (rather than Satan for example). It just seems like purposely not satisfying those desires is an slightly strange way that God uses to help us learn to value Himself (though God’s ways are definitely higher than mine!). Sometimes I wish he didn’t give me the desire to have kids in the first place, this would be a whole lot easier 🙂

    1. Daisy, I have been reading “Shattered Dreams” by Larry Crabb which has been a huge blessing and I think will answer this question for you (much better than I could). I highly recommend it. It has answered these types of questions for me and 100% points the reader to Christ.

    2. Daisy,

      God only makes good things. We all have desires for many things that are good – food, air, water, health, relationships, love, safety, acceptance, money, a place to live, etc…

      My desiring food is good. God gave me that appetite. It means I am alive and healthy. If I don’t desire food at all, I am probably very sick. But, if I put my desire for food above God, I will destroy myself with food. God made food for a purpose. But if I try to take food and put it in God’s proper place in my life, it is deatructive to me.

      If we can keep our desires in their proper place and perspective and if we are willing to wait for God’s timing and His way for our desires to be met, that can be a beautiful thing.

      But if we allow a desire for something other than God to be our source of greatest fulfillment, purpose, identity, etc… Rather than God being our Life and our Greatest Love, we will destroy ourselves with that desire or with that thing.

      God, in His great wisdom and sovereignty, knows what is best in ways we cannot begin to understand. He has remains for saying yes, no, or wait. They are good reasons. We don’t usually get to know them at the time.

      I love how God used barren women so many times in His plan. I have to believe that those women spending so many decades praying for a baby were much more appreciative of the babies they had when they did have them. And their faith was much stronger for having gone through those years of trials, which made them more godly mothers. Of course, some women never do have children. Sometimes, God gives them spiritual children instead. Or a ministry. Or some other calling.

      I don’t know God’s plans for you. I know that there have been times in history where there were great trials and suffering or intense persecution when God instructed some people not to marry and have children in order to spare them much suffering and pain.

      I know God is good. I know He is love. I know He is much wiser than any of us. I know He cannot have evil motives toward us. I know that He is sovereign. I know He is outside of time and space. I know He is already in the future.

      I also know He asks all of us to surrender our desires in order to receive His will and His desires for us.

      So, I cannot specifically answer why God might not give a particular person his or her desire at a specific time. But I do know we can trust God fully, and He will do what is ultimately best for us.

      I hope this might help somewhat.

      Much love!!

      1. Daisy,

        Oh! Thought of a few more things. I think this topic could be a book, in itself. So, I know my couple of paragraphs is inadequate, but may get us thinking…

        If we are willing to sin to try to meet our God-given desires – that is not ok. Or if we want to try to meet our God-given, good desires in an illegitimate way – that is a problem. That is what Satan is always tempting us to do – to take our good desires for food, sex, love, acceptance, comfort, contentment, etc… and to try to convince us to meet those desires outside of the will and plan of God.

        And sometimes, God does test us. With Abraham, Isaac was the child of the promise God gave to Abraham. He was the answer to Abraham’s prayer and he was the sign that God was going to honor His covenant that He initiated with Abraham. But God wanted Abraham to have the opportunity to show Him that God was first in his heart, not Isaac.

        The life of a follower of Christ does have self-denial in it many times. Sometimes it is temporary, sometimes it is permanent. Taking up our cross daily is going to mean different things for different believers at different times in our lives and in history. But Jesus is worthy of all of our devotion, love, adoration, praise, and honor. And He is worthy of every sacrifice we could possibly make. In the end, He will repay us for our sacrifices more than we can imagine. He wants to see us follow Him with great faith and total trust even when we don’t understand. We can lay our desires before Him, trusting Him to grant us the desires of our hearts in His timing, or for Him to know something that would be better for us. But He must be infinitely more precious and important to us than our desires for earthly things.

        I love how our single sister worded it –
        – First, I had to realize that God was not my greatest desire.
        – Then I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

        There is an element of wrestling that we cannot escape in our Christian walk – where we must lay down self and our will and our wisdom, totally trusting Jesus with the outcome, being content in Him whatever His will might be. When we can learn to rest in His peace and sovereignty in the middle of uncertainty, not knowing if we will receive the earthly things we desire, but being completely content in Him, that is the most amazing place to be spiritually. Each day is an adventure – we never know what surprises and miracles might be in store for us. These times of testing and trials build our faith and purify our motives and bring us to maturity in ways that getting everything we want when we want it just can’t ever accomplish.

        Much love!

    3. Wayne Grudem addresses this type of question in his book and podcasts Systematic Theology – in the sections on the attributes of God, the sovereignty of God, and the providence of God.

      1. Thank you so much April for taking the time to respond 🙂 I love my Systematic Theology book 🙂 I will continue to meditate on these words. It is a definite struggle here on Earth (I do what I do not want to do, like Paul!), but Revelations 22:3 says “No longer will there be any curse,” and so I also look forward to that day when either perhaps we will have our desires fulfilled in heaven, or we will be freed from those pesky desires nagging at us once and for all!

        1. Daisy,

          One thing that is amazing about God is that as we abide in Him and His Spirit floods our souls, He tends to change our desires to match His own. He may not give us things the way we expect Him to or in the timing we want Him to, but what He gives is always better than what we could have ever asked for, in the long run.

          I love you and am sending a big hug to you!!

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I actually stopped reading this blog for quite a while, but continued to receive emails. I felt I arrived as a “peaceful wife”. But I believe God told me not to delete and read this. This post forced me to look at myself beyond my daily duty as wife & mom. I believed the issues that are going on in my marriage were my husband’s fault. How could it be mine since I was being so ‘peaceful’. After considering separation/divorce, I prayed. That was not what I wanted. God revealed to me that I was not living to please Him, but living to please my husband in hopes he would love me how I felt he should lovs me. Developing a perfect marriage, with or without God, was my focus. It completely took my focus off of God. I didn’t trust Him to handle what was wrong in my marriage. I didnt trust Him with anything, not my heart, my kids, nor my husband. So I’m giving up my dreams of perfection, and putting it all in God’s hands. I will depend on Him to fulfill my needs ans desires. Once again thanks to the lady who shared her experience & to you for posting it

    1. Renee,

      I think you just answered Elizabeth’s question!

      This is beautiful!!!!! This is exactly where we must be spiritually to begin this journey and to truly make it all about God and what He wants.

      Thank you for sharing!!! 🙂 I pray for God to continue this good work in you and your family for His greatest glory, my dear sister!

  8. I guess I still do not understand how to make God my greatest desire. All of the Bible reading and the prayer in the world just hasn’t done it. it is hopeless and God has chosen not to answer that prayer

    1. Elizabeth,

      I believe it is a combination of God’s Spirit working in you and a willingness to yield yourself fully to God taht is involved.

      The process would look like this somewhat:

      1. Do some serious soul searching to figure out what your greatest desires are, what you think you deserve, want, and need to be happy. I suggest writing down everything you can think of.

      2. Then you make the decision to lay those desires, wants, and priorities aside and to choose to make God your greatest desire, trusting the other things to Him whether you ever get what you want or not.

      3. You release God of all of the “strings” attached to your love, worship, obedience, adoration, and trust. It is no longer, “God, I will love You IF,” or “God, I will love You WHEN,” it is just, “God, I love You and You alone are enough for me. I want to know You more. I don’t care if I get anything I want on this earth as long as I get to be with You, have Your Spirit, and Your Word. You are worthy of all that I have and all that I am and I yield all of myself to You to the best of my ability. Teach me Your ways! Let me know Your love, Your heart, and Your mind, more! I am totally depedent on You. There is no good in me. I am desperate for Christ and for all that He has done for me. How can I ever thank You enough for forgiving me for my billions of dollars worth of sin debt to You? I am forever in Your debt. I want to obey You just because I love You, just to please You, no matter what the cost to myself.”

      Praying for you, my dear sister!

  9. I’ve done that several times…written everything on a piece of paper and burned it. I’ve written everything you’ve said out before and yet I feel hopeless and abandoned.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Writing it is good. But it is possible to write these things and not mean them wholeheartedly. So, some questions to consider isn’t be:

      Did you mean these things with all your heart?
      Do you really trust God and want Him to be your greatest desire?
      Are there things you are holding back or that you trust more than God?
      Do you believe God’s Word over your feelings? Your feelings tell you that you are alone and abandoned, but what does God say? Which is the source of absolute truth? Your feelings or God’s Word?
      Are you willing to elevate God’s Word above your feelings and trust Him instead of your feelings?

      Much love to you!

      1. Elizabeth,
        This is not an easy thing I am describing, it often takes much intense wrestling with self and a through examination of your thoughts and fears and a very conscious massive voluntary shift of thinking and perspective. It is a totally tearing out of our old ways of thinking and a willingness to replace it all with Jesus.

  10. yes, I do believe in truth over feelings, but it is just so hard and like slogging through mud. For example, this morning my thoughts said that you are a monster. God hates you. Things are hopeless. So on the way to Walmart, i said to myself, no you are created in the image of God and deeply loved by him. You are God’s masterpiece. AS I was checking out there was a disabled employee who stopped to talk and the checker was so irritated with him.. I encouraged him and then I turned to her and encouraged her as well. I asked her questions and she had had a bad night. I told her I would pray for her to have a better night and said a prayer for her as I walked back to my car… A monster wouldn’t do that… I’m just so tired. I pray daily for God to just take me home because life is just too hard.

    1. Elizabeth,
      I know something of the despair that you are experiencing. There is an expression referred to as “the dark night of the soul” that every true believer will experience at some point in their walk with the Lord. It seems as if the heavens are brass. You don’t want to live, but you don’t want to die either. You can’t talk to anyone about it, you feel alone and abandoned. But please be encouraged, weeping may endure for a night, but joy does come in the morning. The Lord is teaching you to walk by faith and not by sight or feeling. You must have the faith of Job, who said “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (job 13:15). You are not alone sister, nor is your experience a strange thing. Many saints who have lived before us have gone through this and have come forth with unshakeable faith and power to prevail with God through prayer. Stay before Him, pour out your complaint to Him. Be honest with God – He can handle it. You will come forth as pure gold, a faith that has been tried and tested.

      Renee

    2. One more thing,
      The fact that God is using you to minister to others regardless of how you feel is a confirmation this is His power working through you, and not your own. You are becoming broken bread and poured-out wine for your Lord. Flowers must be crushed before their fragrance can be released. The Lord is with you, Elizabeth.

    3. Elizabeth,
      I am so proud of you for recognizing that those thoughts were not true and for replacing them with God’s Word!! That is awesome!!!!!!!! How beautiful, the way you ministered to others today. 🙂

      I wonder if you can do something to get some rest and to get away for a bit for some soul renewal?

  11. But I have been doing this for years: taking care of my father, my husband, my children…. I am way beyond tired. it is like trudging through mud to get through each day. I do it. But I am SO ready to FEEL loved and happy.

    1. Elizabeth, It sounds like the enemy has really beaten you down. I’m so sorry and can somewhat relate (I’m sure all of us can!)

      Some things that have helped me when I get into dark places in my life are when I actually do realize that the enemy is doing a number on me. It’s like I wake up and realize that and then I can see a little more clearly. Another thing that helps is having one or two other believers that I can confess that to and have them pray over me, hands laid on me. That has been very powerful for me before.

      Two other huge things that I think would be helpful for you right now:

      1). Determine to thank God for every single thing that comes your way, good or bad. The good stuff will be easy to offer thankfulness for – the hard things, at first, will not be. But you offer up that thank you to God as a sacrifice, as a humble attitude that He is in control of every single event that comes your way and that He is not out to get you, but to use every thing in your life for good. You have to, have to, have to believe that He loves you and is for you. Otherwise, the painful moments make no sense at all.

      2). Take every thought captive. In my darkest moments, I have had to battle against the constant barrage of negative thoughts or replaying old memories, etc. Instead, I have to get to a place where I choose to refuse to think about them. As soon as the Spirit shows me what I’m doing, I reject that thought and literally put my eyes on Christ. I used to get too tangled up on what that meant (setting my eyes on Christ), but lately, I’ve just imagined myself resting in the arms of Jesus, surrounded by His love. It feels like hard work at first, taking those thoughts captive and putting your mind on Christ but after just a little while, you will be amazed at the peace and joy you start experiencing. You could choose anything about Jesus that God gives you to focus on – it might be His death for you, His life in you, His gentleness, His unconditional love, etc.

      Kay Warren has a book called Choose Joy that sounds really good and I know there are other books that are geared toward this topic of choosing joy or being grateful in all circumstances. I just did a quick search on amazon and another one that looks good is by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy.

      Praying for you now that God will renew your joy and hope and that you will be able to tangibly feel His presence and love for you.

  12. Hi April,
    wow what a timely post for me; I believe God has been talking to me about laying “my Isaac” on the altar, in those exact terms so how providential to find that this is this week’s post, thank you for talking about this.

    I have been willing to sin to have whatever this is that I just have to have and cannot live without and have done so, resulting in nearly destroying myself and others in the process. I think things like severe attachment issues and relationship/person addiction and perhaps even a form of religious ocd, are part of my particular idol categories/life issues. I think its an obsession that can overtake anyone who has the right openings in their life. Regarding the religious ocd, catholic folks call it scrupulosity; my understanding of it so far is that its like an alternative faith full of punishment, fear, torment, and atonement rituals and self testing, punishing and rewarding rituals, in which you cope with and keep at bay all the guilt and fear you are suffering over whatever the relevant issues are in your life.

    I have never felt such debilitating fear, indeed, sheer terror in all of my life and am really struggling with the things that are being wrestled with right now. It’s resulting in a steep plunge into darkness, shut my life down to minimal functionality and dragged me away from even wanting to serve God. I remember once that God had shown me that my particiular brand of faith, in which i had thought all the reactions I had to other people and their sin was because I was walking right and they weren’t, were in fact based in fear, and that I was using my “faith” to fence out all the things I was terrified of, especially when it had to do with situations that contained triggers, like people drinking and getting drunk around me. It resulted in my treating other people like they were worthless and beneath me and as though I might be infected with their “impurity”; other people were “dirty” to me. So much more so if they hurt or offended me somehow. My reactions were intense, wild, retaliatory. I honestly thought these things were a function of my imagined genuine faith and had no idea what they were really about. I was in such bondage and the enemy was very much interacting with these issues so that I was doing to others what was happening to me.

    Then I left my first marriage in a blaze of bitterness, hate, revenge and hurt and sought to find my own life, feeling abandoned though in fact it was me doing the abandoning, as much as he was, I just didn’t see it. My ex husband had similar issues and had in fact, been on the same pursuit as I was far as demanding that someone be for him what HE wanted and needed them to be, and validate what a great guy he was, yet without respect for the boundaries and rights of the other, or for what God would think.

    When you’ve grown up in homes destroyed with violence, control and tryannical selfishness, with folks who have no idea what love is, you dont know how warped your ideas of what love, family or authority is and he also had these issues in spades just as I did. I moved out and turned to Christ in the midst of great torment. Although I had initially turned to Christ, I think I ran from facing the truth of my life and wound up falling right back into this horrible soup and basically repeating all the wrong things I had done, being snagged away though I’d had some initial recogntion and repentance. Even worse, despite how hurt I was over how destructive my parent’s selfish and wounded choices were for me and my sisters, I wound up duplicating their sins and being just like them.

    It is hard to have to realize that all the things you thought were love were actually selfishness, fear and even contempt in disguise. This is where I am at right now, and there is such a pull to shrink back, engage in only partial obedience or have an initial “flush” of repentance but then once the pressure is off, return to all the usual hiding places and “broken cisterns”.

    It is exceedingly difficult to disentangle what looks like spiritual truth from what actually is in the midst of such a painful process. I’ve never known safety or security, stability, having someone I could count on to deal with things properly or rightly, never known what it is to be able to form a stable attachment with someone. I’ve needed predictabilty but run from it as i was addicted to the wild swings between “normalness” and out of control anger and violence in our own, addicted/habituated to the unpredictability and instability you might say. Most of my relationships have been ones based on “need love”, where I attempted to get the missing nurture, attachment and need meeting and someone else attempted to give it. It results in draining relationships with the weight of your need, and then have to move on to the next one because the actual issues that caused it are not really dealt with, nor are the broken and distorted forms of relating.

    Lest I make this sound like all of a sudden I am “there”, well, I am not. This is just the beginning of some much needed and long overdue awareness. Even in my relationship to God, I often turn to Him only when I have no other choice and have even been guilty of using His blessings to “hire other lovers”. It’s distressing to realize just how much we are like Gomer in the book of Hosea (how I wish that woman had another name, makes me think of Gomer Pyle). This is very difficult laodicean far country to find your way back home from and the fallout from such a way of living and being can be very hard to face.

    Fatherlessness and motherlessness can send our children in so many destructive directions. In a way, is it any different than sacrificing our children to the baals when we abaondon our marriages, can’t deal with the problems and run off to find someone who will love us, only to find that we’ve repeated the whole mess and still have the original one to deal with? That’s how it works.

    I have to live with the pain of how I have harmed my child with my selfish, destructive acts. I am praying that God will do His will in this situation though and that there can be all the redemption that is needed here. Singing off for now April, thank you again for this very timely and providential post, I beleive God is speaking through this and using it to back up what He is already saying to many hearts.

  13. Yes, I am working on that. My study has been on the Book of Colossians this week and I underlined everywhere it used the word thanks or give thanks. I’ve also been writing down 5 things I’m thankful for in the morning, again at noon, and in the evening… Just wish I FELT thankful…. It is just so tiring….

    1. Elizabeth,

      That is awesome! I love your approach. In my experience, obedience comes first and feelings tend to come later. But I am glad you are focusing on being thankful and seeking for God to chngr your heart.

      I wish I could give you a hug! I am praying for you!

  14. Elizabeth,
    don’t know if this is any help, but when reading your posts, a thought came to me from something that someone once said; they were talking about the believer’s rest in Jesus. You know where He says in Matthew 11 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29″Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls. Referring to this, the person commenting said ” If it’s heavy, it aint Jesus”. So that’s a good rule, that if we are finding ourselves continually burned out, weary, unhappy and drained of life, we need to check on some things.

    We do go through times where we have to do something that is difficult or very hard but continually feeling burdened can mean that we are trying to perform or earn in some way. It can also mean we are trying to carry burdens not ours to bear. You mentioned feeling abandonment; I don’t know your life, so I don’t know if you have anything similar in your background to mine (see my post about idolatry and relationship addiction on this same page) but if you struggled with abandonment in your early life, it would likely mean that love was something that you had to continually try to earn, like someone on a merry ground continually trying to get that brass ring but missing it every time.

    The parable of the prodigal son speaks to this as well. The elder brother was really angry that his wastrel brother, whom he clearly thought was a loser for living a selfish life of sin in a far country and blowing his father’s inheritance on hookers and partying, did not deserve to be treated like returning royalty. In that culture, a nobleman would have made the wastrel who had shamed his father sit outside the family home for a day or so before even speaking to him; he would have further been punished by being demoted to a servan’t status, probably why the son said to himself that he would ask his father to make him like one of the hired men; it was the best he could hope for after what he did. The prodigal realized he did not deserve the mercy he was asking for after what he did, and humbly asked, throwing himself on his father’s mercy, willing to take whatever was offered in gratitude.

    The elder brother on the other hand, thought himself a model son, and saw love and blessings as wages owed, and complained against his father for his lack of “generosity”. He didn’t see his father’s love for him as evidenced by the father’s statement that all the father had was his as well.

    Those of us with abandonment issues usually have issues with trying to earn love and approval and wanting to be meritorious on our own; that’s enough to rob us of joy, make us feel that there is nothing to be grateful for and leave us exhausted. I do not know if any of this is a correct insight or not, but if it seems to apply, know that its not an impossible mountain to move and you are not alone in the struggle with such things.

  15. Dear sister,
    I walked the same path and had to laid down on the altar so many times my desire to be married and have children. It was my first one dream before even being missionary. Then, once about 4 years ago, I really Laid it down. It was so painful that I felt like dying. I was 38 years old by that time. Few months afterward, I got to know my husband and we got married six months 1/2 afterward. It will be 3 years next month that we are married. We had so many trials and difficulties in this short time. I knew that my husband won’t able to satisfy my needs but was still expecting it. I still deep down inside got married to be happy. And you know what? I am not. Few weeks ago I realized it and turn to God alone to satisfy my needs. It is not the marriage I had dream all these years. Yes, I do believe I obeyed God and was willing not to married him if he would have say so. I realized that my spiritual prince and man of God had many wounds that leads him to hurt me many times, as I am sure I have too. I don’t regret the way God prepared for me even if sometimes in my hurts I wonder why me…. And you know what? I am still in the same place that you for having babies. We adopted a son few month ago, a baby of 7 years old that my husband was taking care in Africa when he was working there. I love him so much and he is such a blessing. But I thought I will forget this ideas of having mine…. Mistake. I have day after day to try to die to it and let it on the altar. Still so much suffering seeing all of my fiends all over the world having their first and being pregnant of the second and even my best friend who got married 4 months ago being pregnant of 4 months! Seems that things are quite similar than four years ago but I woke up of my Hollywood dream marriage and walk open eyes now. Things are not easy but I can find comfort knowing I am in God’s will and if I don’t understand right now why, God knows. . I wouldn’t have chosen this path but I trust God His ways are still better that mine. Take care de sister and relax. God is in control and that’s far better that if we were. Big hug

  16. This is an important point for single women.The desire to be married…If only I was married, THEN: then I won’t be alone anymore, then someone will think I’m special, then-then-then. THEN I will be happy!
    Married women do the same thing…If only my husband told me I was pretty, if only my husband came home and talked to me, if only my husband would be affectionate outside the bedroom THEN: then I would be happy!
    We cannot make a husband into an idol. We cannot make a “good” marriage into an idol, thinking IF ONLY I can get THAT, THEN I will be happy, then I will have everything I need.
    What April is trying to teach us is to put Jesus first, and find fulfillment only in Him…THEN we can be peaceful (happy) no matter the circumstances, single, married, widowed, divorced, rich, poor, unemployed. When we let go of trying to find happiness through our false idols, we gain true life through Jesus.”Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

  17. This is such a difficult place to be. I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mother, and recently my husband decided he was unhappy and is not willing to work on our marriage at this time. Learning to live alone has been one of the hardest things for me, and especially fearing that my marriage will not be restored and I will never be a mother. I have tried my best to surrender myself to God and allow Him to use me as He sees fit. I’m struggling with trusting Him to restore us at times, but I know that He wants my marriage to work! I am trying to allow Him to make me into the amazing godly wife He created me to be, and He is so amazing and gives me peace and joy when I need it, even when my circumstances tell me to give up hope. I trust that He is also working on my husband even when I can’t see it! So thankful I serve a mighty God and I am trusting Him to move this mountain!

    1. BN,

      Oh goodness. Such a painful mess! 🙁 I wish I could give you a big hug!

      Thankfully – God is sovereign over this. Not you. Not your husband. He can bring great good from even this mess! There is every reason for hope in Christ. But my deepest prayer is that you might seek God with all your heart and grow in your walk with Him greatly – no matter what your husband chooses to do. I also pray that God might reconcile your husband to Himself. And I pray for healing for your marriage in God’s timing for His glory!

      Yes, God is at work – whether we can see evidence of it or not. I love your trust in God and your faith! That is AWESOME! What God is doing in you is already so beautiful!

      I am thankful that God can bring good from the most painful situations. I pray for you to keep your eyes on Him and find all of your contentment, joy, strength, purpose, identity, acceptance, and security in Christ alone during this time and for the rest of your life! And I pray that you might not waste one drop of treasure God has to share with you during this trial.

      Much love to you!

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.

%d bloggers like this: