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I Am Willing to Change First – by InSearchofPeace

photo credit – Unsplash by Jakob Owens

APRIL’S NEXT CONFERENCE – GARNETT, KS IN NOVEMBER!

I am doing a Peaceful Woman conference Nov 17th and 18th in Garnett, Kansas. You are welcome to check out the details at this link. We will be talking about things like:

  • Rejecting the world’s definition of womanhood
  • Receiving God’s definition of womanhood
  • Accepting the gift of My Body
  • Purifying My Words
  • Thinking, Speaking, and Acting with Modesty
  • Harnessing My Emotions
  • Choosing My Friends Wisely
  • Developing My Feminine Influence

I’d love for you to join us! The cost is $25 if you would like to have lunch provided that Saturday. If you want to bring your own lunch, the cost is $20. That includes the cost of a workbook.

TODAY’S POST

A guest post by a new contributor, InSearchofPeace. I’m so thankful for her willingness to share with all of us what the Lord has been doing in her life!

Wives tend to be at one end of a continuum or the other when they begin their godly wife journey. 

Some of us will approach becoming a godly wife by being more quiet, working on tone of voice, learning to be more respectful, laying down pride, etc… Others may need to learn to understand their worth and identity in Christ first, and learn to use their godly influence authority more, to speak up when it is appropriate, and to focus on pleasing the Lord above all.

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In 2013, after 20 years of marriage, my husband and I were seriously considering divorce. Wow! I couldn’t believe it. But also, I kind of expected it because in my mind I’d considered it a time or two, myself. I would constantly feel that:

  • “He doesn’t listen to me.”
  • “He never wants to spend time with me.”
  • “Maybe he’s just not in love with me anymore.”
  • “I’m faithful, I attend church three times a week, I’m a good mother, I try to keep the house clean, what else could he want?”

I had many similar thoughts and conversations with myself and female friends. But when it came down to this moment when divorce was a real consideration, I began to go to God for answers. I am an avid reader and open to other perspectives, especially at that time. I was led to this blog. That was God!

After reading several of the articles over a few days, I discovered that I wasn’t as much of a God-fearing woman as I thought I was. As a matter of fact, I identified as a controlling and disrespectful wife. Oh, my! It was true.

Admitting it was the first step in my journey to change.

The change wasn’t focused so much on me saving our marriage, but for me to be a better person because now I was more aware of how disrespectful I had been:

  • My harsh sarcastic comments at times.
  • The tone of my voice.
  • Most importantly the fact that if he didn’t do things the way I thought it should be done, I withdrew.

He was hurt and had been hurting for many years (his words).

Knowing that I had hurt him crushed me. I am a person who tries to help everyone and be there for everyone else. And I was exhibiting emasculating behaviors on a daily basis. No wonder he wanted to separate himself from me.

Don’t get me wrong, he was not without fault in the marriage. But knowing him as long as I have, I’ve always known him to be caring and loving towards me and our family and would not generally treat me like he was treating me during this time. He was unapologetically mean. That wasn’t the man I married.

Sincere repentance should bring about a change.

10 HEALING CHANGES THAT HAVE BEEN A BLESSING:

So after discovering this about myself, I began to pay close attention to my behavior, especially toward him.

  1. One deliberate thing I did was change the ringtone and photo on my phone to something that made me smile when he calls. I could tell from his hesitation when I answered with a softer tone, that he was caught off guard. I’m certain he was expecting my normal, “What you want now?” response. I know, it was shameful, but it’s the truth.
  2. There were simple things he would ask me to do for him in the past. But I always felt like he wasn’t doing what I needed him to do so why should I do what he needs me to do? But that wasn’t the right response. So I tried to be more responsive to his requests now that I know it makes him feel loved. After some time, he started responding to me in the ways that I needed.
  3. We started to spend more time together and actually have real conversations.
  4. When he talks now, I listen and give him my undivided attention.
  5. I also don’t allow myself to over think or read too much into what he is saying. He means what he says and not all the things I’d always tried to read into it as if it had some deeper meaning. That was my controlling side – but I’ll save that for another post. 😁
  6. When he wants to watch his car shows, I sit down, be quiet, and watch with him. I can even understand some of the car terms he’s used for years now.
  7. I began to study and understand this man. This man I’ve known for half my life. This man I’d grown apart from over the years. He was still a man that I liked spending time with.
    • He just wanted to be cared for as much, if not more than, I cared for everyone else around us. When I withdrew and stopped doing things for him, he felt like I’d stopped loving him (his words).
    • Knowing this I had to humble myself to a point of asking him to forgive me for being unloving. I realized that an apology isn’t about you admitting that you did something wrong as much as it is admitting that you hurt someone and that was never your intention.
  8. I’ve learned that the ways that he shows love are different than the way I was looking for it, but he does truly love me I just had to take the time to recognize and appreciate his love language.
  9. As I’ve made room for him to be open and respond – without me always being critical and sarcastic (disrespectful) – he’s been able to love me also in some of the ways that I receive love.
  10. I’ve learned that he equates respect with love. In other words, the way women desire to be loved, men desire respect.

Please also know that this is no 30 minute “TV romance” change either. This has been a journey over time. We’ve had to deal with many serious life-changing moments along this journey. Life has forced us together to deal with near death and loss of close family the past four years. We’ve cried together, prayed together, laughed together, and fallen back in love with each other. THIS is the man I married – and I’m working daily to be the woman God expects me to be, so that I can be the respectful (loving) wife he needs.

Last week, we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. Peacefulwife, thank you for allowing God to use you through this blog to hold up a mirror for me to see myself and for helping this marriage continue on in hopes that our journey will be a blessing to many others.

Sincerely,

InSearchOfPeace

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RELATED

For wives who tend to be more outspoken, take charge, and Type A:

For wives who tend to be too quiet, too passive, and afraid to have a voice:

If you are in a marriage with a very emotionally abusive husband:

Posts that would likely be helpful for any wife:

 

63 thoughts on “I Am Willing to Change First – by InSearchofPeace

  1. This post was a blessing to me and a good reminder of the things that I’ve been learning over the last three years or so but even more in the last couple weeks. It has become really clear to me just how much I need to work on myself; I knew it in my head before but it’s gone to an even deeper level now as I realize just how much of my issues are really issues I have with allowing God to be my King. I could really use prayer from anyone because I’m just struggling so much with the change that needs to happen in my life and I just seem to mess up so much on a daily basis. I feel like I’m truly repenting and I so badly want to do better and be different and allow God to be GOD in my life but I just fall back on my old habits so easily when “stresses”, whether it’s my kids or my husband.

    My husband isn’t living with us right now and hasn’t for about 9 months and every encounter I have with him now, I so badly want it to be positive because I’m looking forward to it so much and then when I mess up it is just such a letdown and I just feel like I have set us back once again it’s all just so hard and I get so discouraged. I know I have put a lot of pressure on myself to make our marriage better but I also don’t know how to think any differently because I just see how so much of what went wrong in our marriage is my fault.

    1. Nichole,

      I can relate to you so much!

      Would it be okay if we do a spiritual check up together and maybe I can share some resources that may be a blessing in this stage of your journey?

      Much love! Praying for God’s victory in your life, my precious sister!

  2. I remember the night I asked God to change ME (instead of my husband) very vividly. I had spent many years praying he would change or that God would convict him about X or Y so we could be happy. When I finally figured out that I should concentrate on myself and ask God to change me instead, it made all the difference.

    If you ask sincerely for God to change you, be prepared because He WILL do it!

    I had to be willing to move forward knowing my husband may never be any different than he was at that moment. Think about that for a minute – what if your husband is never ever going to change? What if right now is the “for better” part of “for better or for worse” and nothing will ever be different unless YOU are the one who moves?

    I prayed that I would be able to handle his behavior and respond in the way God would have me respond. It didn’t happen overnight and it was a very painful and difficult process, but the more I allowed God to work and learned to trust Him instead of idolizing my husband, the more my husband changed. Only through changing myself was I able to see any change in my husband.

  3. Hey April,
    This is off topic, but serious enough that I hope its okay to post it here. I recently made the acquaintance of a lady by the name of Shannon , through our mutual interest in raising rabbits. We have never met face to face but communicate via email. Shannon has just shared that she is seriously ill and facing possibly yet another hospitalization. Her last one was almost two months long. I do not know exactly the nature of her illness, but she has mentioned that its serious enough that she could be leaving behind her husband, children and grandchildren. From her communication, it seems as if she has to do with physical pain as well. Anyhow, I offered to pray for her and also to share her need for prayer with the community of ladies here at Peacefulwife and she was very open to that and said that He is all she is clinging to right now. So, with that being said, if any of you ladies would be willing to go into interceding prayer for Shannon, that God might really meet her in her need, that would be truly awesome. Thank you so much.

    1. SevenTimes,

      Thank you for sharing.

      Lord,
      We lift up Shannon to Your throne room in the highest heavens. We pray about her illness and appeal to You on her behalf. Thank You for her faith in You. We pray for Your glory, Your beauty, and Your provision in the midst of this trial. We pray for Your victory and miracles. We pray that You might meet her deepest needs and the needs of her family. Use this all to draw many people to Yourself. We thank You that Shannon is in Your loving hands. We pray for Your will and Your peace, wisdom, love, and joy to surround her and her family.

      Amen!

  4. I have a real wrestling match with having to change first. I feel resentful over it and as if being the one to go first is tantamount to being shoved into the role of the one taking responsibility and leading when its not supposed to be me, and its a pretty heavy burden to boot. Plus it feels like being ripped off again.

    Now I am not saying my thinking is right, righteous and sane. Probably at least some of it is bent. I think it has to do with all the years I tried so, so hard, to call my abusive, narcissistic dad to repentance, to try and get him to care about what was right so he would do what was right, and at the same time, being the one to take care of the relationship, initiate attempts at healing the relationship and all that sort of thing. He refused. Over and over and over again. No matter what I did. No matter how much love I showed him. I nearly destroyed myself mentally and emotionally trying to find different ways to reach him, have a relationship with him. It always had to be on his terms, his way and it never resulted in any sort of integrity on his part. No matter what I did, there was never any change at all . He remained a sinful man whose highest priorities were his own needs and who felt little sense of responsibility to make things right or fix problems he had caused. And I continually, pardon the expression, got screwed over, abandoned and rejected.

    As a young girl, my desperate need for male attention from a father, resulted in my being repeatedly made use of by predatory men who at first pretended to care about me in a fatherly way. When I married as an adult, it was to another man with that same character flaw of refusing to deal with me and with relational life honestly and with integrity or take responsibility unless absolutely forced to or until things reached such dire straits that all hell was about to break loose. Another abdicating Ahab type.

    So I guess I have been holding out. I dont want to go first. Why should I go first- why does it always have to be me? Haven’t I already had to assume an unfair load of responsibility in my life ? God don’t you know how hard it is to have to shoulder burdens you arent strong enough for without the support you ought to have?

    I mean, I felt robbed of security, protection, safety, strength, value. I was never safe to be a soft little girl. I mean I was half helping to run the house in the fourth grade. Sure, I could go first. But its like once again, being robbed of that strong male leadership, godly authority and strength and being forced instead to lead. Imagining I am speaking to the man in my life, I think things like, Well, yeah, okay fine, I will go first, but you get to be like Barak who wimped out on Deborah then and watch the victory go to a woman. How much respect will I feel when you made me go first and hid behind me because you hadn’t the courage or the character to be serious about God and instead waited for ME to do it? Of course should that actually be the case, that he denies himself honor, respect and authority by making me go first, hardly is a comfort.

    Just saying. Not saying its pretty or righteous but it is what is going on in my heart. I just find myself seething with being ripped off again and refusing to go first, thinking why should he get away with this? What about me, what about it being MY turn to have someone else be the strong one who leads? In a way I cant quite figure, it leaves me feeling downright robbed….of womanhood and femininity. It makes me feel hard and unfeminine.

    No doubt I have already revealed some bent and broken stuff in my life. Its my attempt to encapsulate what I am feeling and the barrier I am continually butting up against . I realize that no doubt, theres a spaghetti factory of entangled sins and issues represented by this. And that I am more concerned about this than about pleasing God so its an idolatry thing too. Anyhow, just being truthful about a heart level struggle I am having over this one.

    1. Anonymous for the Moment,

      I am SO glad you reached out, my dear sister!

      It would be awesome if every wife had an extremely godly, mature, Spirit-filled husband who led well and was completely perfect and Christlike all the time. And if you would like to, you can certainly wait. That is your decision. I do understand that what you went through as a young girl created some extremely deep scars and wounds and that you would really love for a godly man to take the lead.

      But perhaps there is a very different way to look at this. Perhaps the enemy is feeding you some of these lines in order to continue robbing you of the goodness of God.

      Why not think like this?

      “Why would I wait for God’s healing for myself? Why would I stay in my spiritual prison just because my husband is still ensnared by the enemy? Why would I let Satan have dominion over anything in my life one more moment? Why would I expect a sinful man to be the perfect leader when he is really messed up right now? Why would I refuse the perfect leadership of the Lord when He is standing there with His hand outstretched to me? Jesus DID go first. He did set the example. He did lay down His life for me. He can heal me. He can take the heavy burden from my shoulders. He can heal me from the sin my father and my husband committed against me if only I am willing to say, “Lord, change me. Heal me. I want all that You have to give me.”

      “Jesus can make up for ALL of my father’s failures. He is the perfect Heavenly Father. He is nothing like my dad – who was also ensnared by Satan and taken captive to do his will. Jesus can restore the years the locusts have eaten. He can fill my heart, mind, and life with good things. He can completely transform me – crucifying my old sinful self with Him on the cross and burying it. He gives me a brand new spirit and life. Why would I refuse that? Who loses out when I stubbornly stay in my dungeon that Satan created for me and I refuse to leave until my husband changes?”

      “My husband does not lose his position of God-given authority just because I allow the Lord to heal and transform me. But I receive my identity fully in Christ and then I will have God’s power, wisdom, love, and discernment to rightly handle things even if my husband is not perfect. And then I can get out of God’s way so that my husband can better hear God’s voice in his life. Perhaps, as the Lord transforms me first, like has happened with thousands of other women, God may use my new Christlike example to draw my husband to Himself so that he can be a much better leader and he can become more and more the godly man I would love to see him be. But if God woke me up first, why would I refuse this path to healing for myself and for my marriage?”

      “I have been allowing Satan to continue to rob me but I am not going to let him do that one more minute. I’m going to humbly cry out to God, not because I am the leader in the marriage, but because I see what I need and I know that God can heal me. I’m not going to let anyone or anything rob me of the treasures of Christ one more day. I’m going to allow Him to empower me to be the godly woman He calls me to be no matter what my husband does or does not do. I will stand along before the Lord when this short life is over. My goal has to be that He is pleased with me and that I did His will and trusted Him. I don’t answer for my dad. Jesus will handle him. I don’t answer for my husband. Jesus will handle him, too. I answer for me. And I have no excuse to sit here and refuse Jesus’ leadership, love, and healing. I choose to reject Satan’s accusatory lies and his evil plans for me and dive into Jesus and anything He wants to do in my life.”

      Much love to you!

  5. Your words to “Anonymous For the Moment” were very helpful. I wish I had heard these from you a couple years ago. But I did hear them now and I am grateful. Satan did use the words you replied to me “How’s your relationship with God . . .” and twisted them to “see, it’s your fault. It’s always you. You’re the one with the problem.” But I am tired. My pride and my ego are falling. I really don’t even know what to think or say anymore other than I am just so tired of trying to get it right. . .

    1. Staying Anonymous too,

      Oh no!!! That completely breaks my heart that you heard me asking about your walk with the Lord as me blaming you. No! We ALL need God. And if there is going to be spiritual healing in our lives, it begins when we are willing to turn to Him ourselves. If we don’t look at ourselves first and invite Him into our lives and allow Him to nourish and feed us, we stay imprisoned, ensnared, trapped, stuck, sick, and hopeless.

      I never ask women to look at themselves first out of condemnation – it is because this is the only path to healing in Jesus and new life! It is kind of like how we have to put our own oxygen mask on in an airplane emergency when the cabin pressure drops before we can help our children or anyone else. I want to be sure each woman is connected to the Lord and receiving His power, love, truth, and spiritual healing. It is only then that we can have the wisdom, strength, and ability to know how to handle our husband’s sins and issues.

      I’m so glad you are seeing more clearly now.

      Living for Jesus is not about exhaustion, trying really hard in our own power, drudgery, and duty.

      It is about receiving from Him. It is about Him restoring our souls. Him carrying the burdens for us. His power doing the work in us that we can’t do ourselves.

      Would you be interested in talking with me a bit more? I’d love to share some more resources that I believe may be a blessing.

      Much love!

  6. Amazing story of what the Lord can do in a heart that is seeking TRUTH and to surrender to Him and adjust to His way of doing things in life for His glory and honor!! Thank you for sharing with us Insearchofpeace!!!! <3

    Love,
    Amanda

  7. April,
    Your comment to “anonymous at the moment” is completely AMAZING. I completely agree. I share a similar history as she does, with an earthly father who abandoned me completely. We do want protectors, leaders, providers, and all that is Godly as husbands but our own brokenness often has led us to unwise choices in who we’ve married…

    BUT, this comment of yours is totally key right here. There is beauty from ashes and God working ALL things out for our good and HIS glory. I know it’s exhausting but when the chains are broken, it’s much easier as the Holy Spirit really works for us and in us. Satan is a deceiver and he wants us to believe these lies that we tell ourselves. I am so glad my eyes were opened to this truth years ago. I wasted a lot of precious time being locked in a prison that I had the key to although Satan spent a lot of time trying to make me believe there was no way out!
    Truth: There is a way out!

    This comment of yours is totally print and hang on the mirror worthy!

    Much love and prayers for us to have eyes to see.

    Cara

    1. Cara,

      I’m so glad that it was a blessing to you.

      When a father fails so much to be a remotely accurate picture of God’s character and love – the scars run very deep. And yes, when daughters experienced abusive, absent, or destructive fathers, they tend not to recognize the red flags in toxic men and tend to be drawn to men who are not wise choices.

      But – and how I praise God for this – even if a father completely failed, God will not fail us. And our God is able to heal these deep wounds. He is able to be the perfect Father that none of us had. If we can receive who He really is, not a distorted picture that maybe got twisted by our picture of our earthly father.

      Praise God that He has set you free from that prison!

      WOOHOO!

      Much love!

  8. April, thanks for engaging with me on this subject. So often in Christian circles we only want to hear what someone says if it is pleasing but struggling with sin and strongholds is sometimes an ugly messy battle. I took the risk to share my thinking because I was aware that my brain was locked onto something and I couldn’t see my thoughts from the outside.

    I wouldn’t say my thinking has magically cleared totally but your reply has helped with providing me with examples of thinking more in alignment with truth than the crooked thinking I have at the moment. I have been asking God, show me what this is. Show me. What is at the root of this whole thing? This is why we need the help of other eyes when we have become blinded by snake venom, so to speak. I often share here but this one felt so at the core of all that was painful, raw and shameful that I already felt stripped naked and destroyed over it enough; so being anonymous for the moment was kind of like having some covering for my nakedness so to speak. Humorously speaking, I was naked and afraid so I hid myself.

    I tentatively stepped outside of that prison Cara means, for a short period of time. Tried it God’s way but kind of on probation so to speak but ready to split at the first sign of threat. Kind of as long as this goes well, I am in, but I am out of here if not. Not realizing that one is fleeing back into self-righteous bondage.

    It’s not just the hurt of a father whose treatment of you is contemptible and cruel. It’s also how the wounds sour and putrefy over time as we are unable to secure the object of our deepest need and longing (from our perspective as a person who is supposed to have an earthly father who loves them but abandons them instead, with additional problems of violence and abuse as well) and are left empty, hurting and desolate.

    What is further deceiving is that to some degree, it appears rooted in a just claim. My father SHOULD have loved me. It is right that I should have been given this love and fair treatment. It was wrong that I was not and instead was unfairly blamed for his sin and abandoned in favor of strangers. Therefore, I am right in my response. I am owed this, its mine and I am entitled to it. I wont let anyone take it from me.

    It can be very hard to separate the truth of his sin, or that of any other against us, from the sinful response of entitlement and demand. Pay what you owe. In exact manner I demand or it’s not good enough. I won’t accept it.

    So I kind of see this thing a bit more clearly.

    1. Anonymous for Now,

      You are most welcome. I NEVER want to bring more pain and hurt to any of my sisters. My prayer is that God’s Spirit, love, healing, and truth will pour through this place to be a balm to all of the wounds and scars of our hearts and souls.

      It is difficult, at times, because the things that women with my filters and background need to hear to heal are sometimes so opposite of the things that women from more abusive backgrounds and filters need to hear to heal. And sometimes I can intend one message, but some women hear a totally different message that I never intended at all.

      I am SO heartbroken with you over the pain you are experiencing. You are not responsible for what your dad did. And you are right that he SHOULD have loved you. He SHOULD have been a godly dad. He should have never abused you. He absolutely should, at the minimum, have been a safe place for you. Obviously, he was very far from the Lord and very close to the enemy based on the fruit of his life at that time. If he had been close to the Lord, he would have loved you properly and taken good care of you. If the flesh was not in control, if the Spirit was in control, he would have obeyed the Lord about how to parent and he would have been a safe place.

      You are right to have righteous anger against his sin against you. You are right to want him to have treated you well and to have been a godly dad.

      I guess, I tend to picture things like this in terms of car crashes. Let’s picture that your dad was driving “under the influence” and you were in the back seat with your family. He lost control of the car and the car went careening over the edge of a mountain road and crashed in a deep ravine.

      Your dad, if he did this in real life, would be guilty of breaking the law. He would go to jail for a DUI. He may face other charges, too, for the injuries you and other family members suffered.

      But let’s picture this… imagine that the car wrecked. You were severely injured. But when the paramedics got there and made their way down to the car, you refused to let them get you out of the wreck. You insisted that you stay there because this shouldn’t have happened. And he should have not been driving drunk. He should have been a safe, sober driver.

      You would be right to say that he should have not put your life in danger and that he should have been sober and a safe driver. But it only hurts you for you to stay in the wreck and just sit there, waiting for him to somehow turn back time and redo the whole thing the right way.

      The Paramedic/Great Physician is here. Standing outside the car with a stretcher just for you. He is here to get you and to take good care of you and get you healed up. If you accept His help for your own healing, that doesn’t mean your dad was right. It doesn’t mean he gets away with all of his sin. It doesn’t mean you are saying that what he did was okay.

      You can choose to be healed in spite of his sins and mistakes. And in spite of your husband’s sin and mistakes.

      Why give your dad or your husband or any other human the power to prevent you from moving toward Jesus and the healing and abundant life He offers you? They don’t have the right to keep you from those things. What they do or don’t do has nothing to do with your ability to receive what Jesus offers you.

      Much love and a huge hug, dear sister!

      April

      1. Anonymous for Now,

        Of course, this will require being willing to allow Jesus to cleanse you of the bitterness and all the purification you have carried for so long. It can be a scary and upsetting thing to think about letting go of bitterness. But that is some seriously toxic stuff. You can let go of it as you let Jesus help you – not to say that your dad didn’t hurt you, or what he did was right. He is not off the hook. This is for your own spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing to let Jesus wash away all of that gangrene and scrub it all out so that you can heal.

  9. Thanks April. I will read this word picture you have written over a few times to absorb it and let it sink in. The idea of wanting to have a do over where it gets done the right way is probably very accurate, I think I have had ideas like that in my head at times. And yes, only Jesus can deal with this inward mess because I sure cannot. Like Radiant, I have found that the tried and true formulas in Christian circles didn’t help. I hope for my dads sake that before he died, he reached out to Jesus to save him. He had enough conscious time of awareness that death was imminent for this to have happened, having realized that something had gone seriously wrong physically with his body and it was shutting down on him suddenly.

    It seems like some of what I am dealing with is the kind of issues that occur from long term repetitive trauma. It wasn’t just one or two incidents. Think being in car crashes at least two or three times a week like the one you described, over a period of six years. Probably C PTSD. But yes, I need Jesus to meet me and really do some deep cleaning and healing in places I have tried to reach and never been able to . He is the one who enables. I just cant do it.

    1. Anonymous for Now,

      I am sure you have PTSD from all you have been through. And yes, the trauma would be so much worse with it being repetitive like that. I sure do hope your dad repented while he had time at the end.

      I know you can’t heal yourself. You can’t possibly do it. But I also do know that Jesus is able to do this. You are not beyond His reach. You are not too scarred and wounded. You are not too far gone. You only have to cry out to Him. He is willing. He can walk you through the baby steps.

      Is it hard to trust Jesus, too? After all you have been through? Or do you feel like you are able to see His good character and trustworthiness?

      We can continue to hash through this stuff as you are ready. You don’t have to walk this road alone.

      Much love!

  10. The trusting Jesus part is hard at times and at other times I am able to. Its not just trusting His goodness, its also the difficulty of trusting someone who doesn’t show Himself in a tangible way so that you can see or touch Him. Gods hiddenness and silence are very hard to take when one is in pain. During an episode of abuse and drunkenness by my dad, as a little girl I cried out to God for help. I just wanted Him to reassure me He was there and would get me out of this situation. I didn’t hear Him answer despite the fact that I had cried out to Him because He was important to me even as a child. The other two people in my life who I trusted had betrayed that trust and now I had no one except Him. So I cried out to Him desperately upset and scared. There was no answer. But I did clearly hear the devil, who responded with telling me that I was now all alone. It was a whiny mocking voice. I felt betrayed all over again, now by God. I have always struggled with that. Especially because Jesus says in the bible that the Father gives good gifts and if His child asks for bread will not be given a stone or a scorpion. I felt like I had asked for bread and was given instead, a poisonous snake and it left me wondering why God apparently didn’t love me enough to do something as simple as just comfort me with reassurance of His presence. Its not like it would have been hard for God to answer a little girl who trusted in Him and valued Him in the aftermath of a terrible betrayal. It required no breaking of His laws or denying of His character to meet a child who had faith in Him. And then He says these things in the bible about how serious it is to cause a child who believes in Him to stumble.

    I don’t know what I can count on Him for. He allows child abuse to happen and doesn’t routinely intervene, as many who have cried out in such circumstances can testify. Sure, there are others who have suffered even worse things than me. Sure, I am still alive and did not wind up dead or suffer permanent injuries physically. But somehow that knowledge alone doesn’t help with the hard parts . When I came to church and kept being urged to trust God, I would think back to that moment and think But I did trust Him and He didn’t respond. I just wanted Him to comfort me and reassure me a bit. I wasn’t even demanding that he get me out of there right now. I just needed to know He saw what happened and was going to take care of me. So I felt abandoned and betrayed not just by dad but also by God. Getting a straight answer from God on a difficult question that could have eternal consequences seems difficult enough. God doesn’t respond when we need Him or when we need comfort which mystifies me seeing as the Holy Spirit is described as the comforter and God as the God of all comfort. So why is comfort so apparently hard to get from God, if He is so available. If its really a relationship, which implies presence and intimacy, availability, it operates on different terms than other relationships do. So these are the thoughts and feelings which rather affect my relationship with God. I am afraid that while Job never charged God with wrongdoing, I probably have in that I have had a real problem with this. but I cant hide that I really think and feel such things. Where to do with them? I know part of the difficulty has to do with expecting things in and from God that we are not promised. Make my life work. Take away pain and discomfort. Give me good feelings. All the time. So its difficult stuff to wade through and sort out. I don’t think the denial I see as so common amongst Christians is helpful. Even if I don’t say it He would know I am thinking and feeling it. So better to get it out on the table and find the answers. Thanks for hashing on these things.

    1. Anonymous for Now,

      What I pray is that God will open your eyes to what was really happening – where He really was when you cried out to Him. That He might give you the ability to see that He was right there with you. He did not abandon you. He did not forsake you. He was there wrapping His arms around you.

      He gives us choice. The great price of humans having free will and choice is that they can choose to rebel against God. They can choose to grieve His heart greatly and they can choose to hurt others and sin against them. If God stopped our free will, we wouldn’t have choice. The price for free will is very high.

      – He gave Adam and Eve a choice. They chose to rebel against God and this led to the fallen state of our world with all of its many sins, diseases, and all of the terrible things that happen.
      – He gave Cain choice. He even counseled Cain against sin and admonished him before he chose to kill Abel. He didn’t intervene.
      – He gave Joseph’s brothers choices. He didn’t intervene when they sold him into slavery. And yet, He was right there with Him, preparing the way ahead of him to do amazing things in and through his life.
      – He gave those who crucified Jesus free will. He didn’t stop them from crucifying His own son.

      If God intervened when people were exercising their free will to stop them when they hurt others, he would have robots, not people with free-will.

      However, just because you heard Satan’s voice and just because you were not aware of God’s presence, does not mean He was not there. It does not mean He didn’t care about you. He cared VERY much. And He continues to care very much about you.

      Perhaps, Satan is also trying to keep you believing the lie that God didn’t hear and that He didn’t respond. Perhaps He did respond and was there but maybe you were expecting Him to respond in a specific way and maybe He responded in a different way?

      He ABSOLUTELY saw what was happening. He had righteous anger against your Dad’s sin against you. And He had much grief over the horrendous way you were treated. God HATES sin and abuse. Especially toward innocent children. It is completely contemptible to Him. He wanted your dad to love you with His love.

      Your dad had free will. He is the one who chose to sin against you. God did NOT want that to happen.

      My prayer is that the Lord will give you the ability to look back and know that He was there, that He was comforting you, that He didn’t abandon you, that He is trustworthy.

      There aren’t a lot of people who see God somehow visually or who hear His voice audibly. Those kinds of events are extremely rare. His voice is usually more of a whisper.

      Maybe you can invite God to help you understand what really happened and where He was. Maybe your assumptions about Him not answering and not being there aren’t true?

      Much love to you!

  11. PS, I am not wanting to discourage anyone elses faith, just having a bit of a struggle with mine right now. I feel bad for even saying such things. Yet they are areas of my life that are sore spots and vulnerable spots as far as temptation towards not trusting and rebelling goes. I don’t to have such thoughts or struggles but they are there. April if you feel that post might be discouraging to someone elses faith, I will take no offense if you think it best to delete it.

    1. Anonymous for Now,

      I want people to be honest and real. We have to look at these kinds of thoughts and examine them and question them and seek God’s healing. It is messy. And painful. But no, I don’t want to delete your comment. I’m glad you are sharing. I’d love to keep digging together until we get to the bottom of your pain. I know that many of the thoughts you just shared are what is keeping you very stuck. I also know you don’t have to stay stuck. But it takes hashing through these things to break through to healing.

      A sister in Christ who is very close to me had a similar experience. Not with an abusive father. But with feeling that God abandoned her and her husband. They thought they were doing what God wanted them to do. Things fell apart and were an absolute disaster.

      She had to go back later, as she began to heal, and talk with God about those times that she believed He abandoned her and was not there. In time, God gave her very vibrant pictures in her mind’s eye showing Jesus right there beside her, helping her. He had not forsaken her. He had not withdrawn. She made a lot of assumptions about what He was doing and where He was that were incorrect that almost destroyed her faith for a long time and kept her in spiritual oppression and illness for many years.

      Once she saw this picture of HIs love and how He was there, even though she didn’t know it at the time, she was able to begin to heal.

      She speaks of friends who were abused when they were younger. And some of them have very similar feelings as yours. As they begin to ask God to help them see where He was in those dark times, God often shows them amazing things about what He was doing and how close He was during those times.

      Much love and a huge hug!

      1. Anonymous for Now,

        I had a similar situation with Greg. As far as the process I had to go through in my thoughts. I had believed some things about our first summer together that hurt me to my very core. I believed that he rejected me physically. I believed that he didn’t love me. I believed that he was purposely trying to destroy me.

        Now, I know that I GREATLY misinterpreted almost everything he did that first summer.
        – Now I know that he was trying to not push me about sex because I severely sprained my lower back the week after we got married and he knew if he touched me, he would hurt me.
        – Now I know that he really did love me. He was spending 6 nights per week until midnight or later those first 3 months working on a house with his dad to provide me a place to stay. To me, love meant talking for hours every day. Cuddling. Affection. Sex every day once we were married. I was convinced he hated me.
        – Now I know that he didn’t know how to respond to me when he was so exhausted working a 40 hour per week job, sending out dozens of resumes to try to get an engineering job each week, getting dozens of rejection letters each week. And he thought he would respectfully give me some space to deal with my craziness and all of my tears. He thought I needed time alone and I would be better. That, of course, only made me feel worse.
        – I thought he sat around trying to think of the most hurtful things to do. To not talk to me hardly at all. To barely touch me. Barely speak to me. I didn’t realize he was just young, inexperienced, exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, and that he was trying his best to provide for me.

        I had to go through my old memories. The ones that made me cry like crazy every time I thought of that summer. How I used to resent him for abandoning me, rejecting me, hating me, etc… But as I learned to see the past through his perspective – which was VERY different from mine – I was able to see that my assumptions of him were incorrect. He didn’t try to abandon me. He didn’t intend to reject me. He didn’t hate me. He was working his tail off for me because he loved me. It became possible to see that timeframe that was so painful through new eyes.

        I don’t think you will be able to do that with your dad. Although, you may be able to realize that if he had had the Lord, he would have done what was right. But you can do this same process with your memories of the Lord. I hope that makes sense. Then you can, slowly, replace any wrong assumptions about Him and His love with the truth.

        Much love!

        1. Anonymous for Now,
          Ultimately, the process of healing is rather simple. Not to say it is easy – as in painless. But it is simple.

          Eventually, you get to the place where you decide that the Bible is true and God is who He says He is.

          This means, first, that we have to decide that the things we were trusting to tell us the truth are faulty:
          – our feelings
          – our past experiences and interpretations of what God was doing and who He was
          – our wrong assumptions
          – false teachings
          – other people
          – our own wisdom
          – the enemy’s lies
          – etc..

          Once we really grasp that God’s Word is infallible and that He is who He claims to be and we are who He claims we are, things begin to be a lot more clear.

          But there is often much wrestling to get to this point. I know there sure was for me.

          Sometimes, we have to do some serious research into why we can believe the Bible is true. http://www.josh.org and http://www.answersingenesis.com are great resources for that. Sometimes we have to do a study on God’s character and His attributes to really understand who He is and that He is maybe not who we had pictured in our minds.

          What I am after is deep, real, authentic heart change. For me, and for all of us. Superficial bandaids do nothing to heal deep scars and wounds. There is really nothing you can say that is going to scare me or freak me out. I know who God is. I know what His love is for you. Now I get to be like a “doula” who sits with you and cheers you on as this new life in Christ is birthed in you, too, just as God did for me and for thousands of other women (and quite a few men) in this place.

          You don’t have to rush. You don’t have to sugar coat your thoughts.

          It is safe here. You are welcome here. In Jesus, there is absolutely healing for you.

          Much love!

          1. Something that was helpful for me, I don’t know if it may be helpful for others, was to realize that the lies I believed about God were not only NOT true about Him, but they were true about Satan. And when I pushed God away, believing those lies about Him, I was drawing near to the enemy and trusting Him, instead.

            Those are my two choices. I can trust God and His Word or I can trust Satan and his word.

  12. To All who are following the thread about going first and how it feels unfair and like being robbed—-

    I just want to share a different perspective on this whole changing first before our husband changes (if he does at all) that I have as of late experienced in hopes it might help build up and bring life and hope to any woman who is either beginning or in the middle and sees no apparent fruit of changing first!

    The Lord led me to April in the beginning of 2016. Like most women, I realized I was the disrespectful controlling type and that I was singlehandedly destroying my marriage! I felt totally rejected, unloved, avoided, and abandonded by my husband at this point. I was hopeless. I had no idea what respect really was or submitting to my husband or the Lord for that matter. And I set out with all my heart to adjust to the revelations God was giving me about this whole dynamic. Throughout that time, if you’ve read any of the posts April shared on her site of my journey, you will see I had to come to grips with the fact that my husband was not my god and there was nothing in him that I could cling to for any support or hope. All things were to be found in Christ and that revelation alone set me free from so much bondage to defeat in life and marriage for me.

    But that wasn’t enough. A whole other year almost has gone by, and more than once, within these almost 2 years, I have fallen and gotten back up. I’ve seen my husband respond immediately to any grace the Lord gave me to change, and things were great for some times, and at other times, they were right back to ruined because of this one thing: I didn’t want to let go of my “rights”!

    But the Lord didn’t leave me there, He opened my eyes about a year ago to the fact that this marriage is not for ME, for what I want in life, to feel loved, to have a friend to lean on, or anything that the world says marriage is about or for — but rather, my marriage was only for the LORD’S INTERESTS to be done, and that meant that I had to let go of all of my “Rights” to get from my husband and marriage what I so wanted in life!

    And when I let those rights go, and forgave my husband all the things I needed to forgive, there was literally unity and change that lasted for a long time.

    Not surprisingly, the Lord had to reaffirm this truth and let me fall on my face once more this past spring, and I was on the brink of despair once more, and that is when my husband had to move away from me again for a job. This was the greatest blessing the Lord ever gave me because in that time, I heard the Lord say that he separated me from my husband in order to get ahold of my heart and my husbands. Because at this point. my husband had totally backslidden, fallen from God and just turned into a self-centered monster. Him moving away proved the best thing because throughout the summer, my husband was left feeling so empty, alone, and miserable. When the job was over and he came back home, he despaired of his life and self in the sight of God, and cried out, literally, to the Lord, and has since found Him again!!!!!!

    And then the greatest revelation came to my heart from the Lord that I wish all wives to see and hear now:

    The Lord showed me that it was completely necessary for ME to change first and to give up all my rights to everything in life and marriage in order that when the Lord would bring my husband back to obeying Himself and seeking Himself, I WOULD BE DEAD TO MY OWN WILL IN LIFE AND EAGER AND WILLING TO OBEY GOD BY SUBMITTING TO MY HUSBAND!!!!!!!!

    If the Lord had not changed me first sisters, I would NEVER be in the position I am in right now to eagerly obey God in any thing He shows me, and I would NOT be able to submit to my husband now that my husband has turned back to God (or even if he hadn’t)! Either way, the Lord 100% used my changing first to reach my husband. My husband admits right now that He saw the Lord changing me over these 2 years, and all the more recently, and it opened his eyes to his own sin and it made him despair and want to seek God with his whole heart again!

    ONLY THE GRACE OF GOD CAN DO THIS! I DID NOTHING EXCEPT LET GO OF MY LIFE FOR HIS SAKE AND CALL UPON HIM FOR THE GRACE TO CHANGE ME AND CHANGE MY HUSBAND FOR HIS PURPOSES and not for me OWN self-centered desires for marriage and life!

    Oh how I pray that any who read might see this great truth that letting go of our rights is the ONLY WAY into true PEACE and rest and love and joy and light and life!!! And that it is entirely necessary for the Lord to work in our marriage otherwise we would never be broken enough to submit to God and our husbands and therefore nothing of God’s will would ever be done in our lives and marriages!

    Lots of love to all,
    Amanda

    1. Amanda,

      Thank you SO much for sharing some more of your story. What a blessing to get to hear from a number of women and what they have learned. How I wish I could have heard many testimonies like this early in my journey.

      Praise God for what He has done, is doing, and all that He has in store for you and your husband.

      Ladies, you can see more of Amanda’s journey by searching my search bar for “Satisfied Wife.”

      Much love!

  13. InsearchofPeace, thank you so much for this post. Your situation sounds so much like mine and I am so glad the Lord moved you to move first and that you have been blessed by your willingness to let the Lord change you.

    I also had to struggle with the “why should I be the one to change” after years of wanting my husband to change. It was June 2015 that the Lord opened my eyes to my own sin and destructive attitudes that was significantly playing a part in destroying our marriage. Not that my husband had no faults, but the Lord showed me at that time that my husbands faults are not mine to address those things belong to the Lord. He also showed me that if I wasn’t willing to change it really would not have mattered what my husband did or didn’t do, because my own heart needed a lot of work if my marriage was going to survive at all! In June 2016 my husband told me he was done. I was devastated and even blind sided that things were as bad as they really were. I was hurting so bad and out of nowhere And at the furthest time I had ever been from God in my life, He showed me no pain was too great for Him. He opened my eyes to finally see that it was HIM that I needed in my life to be satisfied, nothing would ever change without letting go of my own selfish pride and handing my life over to Him. At the time I had several people point out how my husband was this, that and so on and made me feel like I was not doing myself justice unless I harboured negative feeling towards my husband for his part in our near failure. I kept pressing on as the Lord led me to ignore addressing my husbands faults and leave that to Him, and revealed more and more about my own sin. It was like someone hit me over the head and my eyes finally saw what I could never see before! Fast forward to now Oct 17 and our marriage has never been better. At the time we went through our lowest point and I turned to the Lord I had no idea if our marriage would hang on or if it was really done, but the Lord helped me to overcome my fear that had controlled me for so many years, and I moved forward knowing that He had a plan and whether my marriage would survive I or not He would be there to help me through.

    At that time in 2016 had I not been willing to change first without expecting my husband to “do for me” first, I am certain we would have divorced and our lives would have been changed forever. We never would have received the blessing of a second chance in our marriage and our family would have been torn apart. I 100% believe that had I ignored the Lord yet again in my life, we would not be where we are right now. Truth is, someone has to be first. Humbling yourself to the Lords call to do so may be that pivotal moment that your marriage needs.

    I have spent the last year and a half rebuilding my understanding of being a wife and what being a Godly wife really is. I thought I had it nailed, and at that time the Lord ripped every part of what I thought I knew out from under me and asked me to start from the beginning. Not every moment has been smooth sailing and I don’t expect it will be, but saying yes in that moment was the beginning of tearing down a wall that had been built by so much hurt and pain and had I not been willing to go first, I never would have been blessed with experience our marriage restored. I never would have seen the changes in my husbands heart that I have seen since starting on this journey. I still would be bound by fear, jealousy, disrespect and pride. I may never have again felt the love between my husband and I that I feel now. I am grateful to the Lord that even though at that time I had no idea where our marriage would end up, by being obedient to Him with absolutely no guarantee of the outcome and Let Him move me out of fear into freedom, I have been blessed beyond measure.

    Praying for you all as you continue on this journey with Him. I will also always be grateful that the Lord led me to this site so that I would not feel alone on this road, and to learn how to finally respect my husband and learn to live by God’s design for marriage. It surely was no accident I ended up here, that I am certain of!

    1. TrulyBlessed,

      It is such a joy to get to walk beside so many women on this journey and to watch God pour healing and understanding into lives and to see Him transform women, men, marriages, and families.

      Thank you so much for sharing an update and this encouragement for our sisters.

      How I praise God for His work in your life!

      Woohoo!

      1. All,

        I am working on a post about ways we may inadvertently give the enemy legal authority in our lives. Perhaps this may be a blessing:

        This is not a topic I was familiar with at all for decades. But as I grow in my faith in Christ, and as I better understand spiritual warfare, I realize that the choices we make have great impact spiritually. There are doors we can open that invite the Holy Spirit into our lives. There are doors we can open that invite demonic oppression into our lives. Many times, we are completely oblivious to what we are doing.

        I have had enough experiences in ministry to have run across some people who have been demon possessed and were healed. I have also known many countless numbers of people who have been spiritually oppressed by darkness, even professing Christians.

        Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:

        – sickness (like epilepsy in Mark 9:14-19, and other illnesses)
        – personality changes, violence, and superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28)
        – knowledge of the future (Acts 16:16-18)
        – evil, attempted murder (King Saul when he was troubled by an evil spirt, Judas and his willingness to betray Jesus)

        Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. My experience with those who have been oppressed is that this can result in things like:

        – depression, despair, anxiety, and hopelessness
        – intense fear
        – physical illness
        – broken fellowship with the Lord
        – no desire for the things of God or for God
        – self-loathing
        – self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, gluttony, addictions)
        – hatred toward others
        – violence/abuse toward others
        – desire for sexual perversion, porn, immorality
        – certain psychological disorders at times

        Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of these issues. So we need to use God’s Spirit and His wisdom to discern what is happening with specific people and situations.

        THINGS THAT CAN SOMETIMES OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

        – the occult (horoscopes, ouija boards, seances, going to a fortune teller, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, fascination with the occult, reading about it, etc…)
        – idolatry (when we worship things/people other than God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings Deut. 32:16-17)
        – certain addictive mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
        – horror movies/books
        – music/media that glorifies evil, killing, sex, and sin
        – holding on to sin in our hearts
        – bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment (Eph. 4:26-27 sinful anger that goes on more than a day)
        – hatred
        – rebellion against God
        – certain kinds of meditation, possibly even certain Eastern practices

        Healing for demonic possession or oppression comes by:
        – receiving God’s truth and His Word, often speaking His truth out loud.
        – believers praying for that person to be delivered.
        – the person praying for deliverance.
        – praising God, singing songs of praise to Him.

        The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, we can be set free from sin and demonic oppression/possession. When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He has the power to set me free. I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and His authority over my life and His Words.

        We don’t focus on the darkness.

        We focus on Jesus!

        Note – Everything is not spiritual oppression or demon possession. We have our own sinful natures that do just fine on their own with tempting us into sin, also. Note – Everything is not spiritual oppression or demon possession. We have our own sinful natures that do just fine on their own with tempting us into sin, also.

        What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by http://www.gotquestions.org

        Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper’s story of seeing a demon possessed woman set free

  14. Hi April
    I just checked out that John Piper post. Seriously wow. Especially the story at the end about the oppressed woman.

    I have a question regarding the idea of satan having legal rights. I know this is a common teaching but I am wondering if it is as accurate as we have been led to believe or as scriptural. I have heard this taught of course and thought it was true although honestly I am not really sure. If satan was defeated at the cross and stripped of all authority, how can he have any rights at all? It speaks of Christ totally disarming rulers and principalities in Colossians and making a public spectacle of them. I read somewhere that this is a military reference to how victorious kings would lead the defeated ruler and his cohorts through public streets, often wearing the crown of that king to show that he was utterly defeated and stripped of all rank, authority and power.

    Just thought I would ask about that specific aspect. Often ministries that teach this also teach things like generational curses apply to new testament believers, even though the bible also says: In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ 30″But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge. 31″Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,…Jeremiah 31:30. And of course also the fact that Jesus became a curse for us.

    So, not at all meaning to be contentious but rather pressing in to ask if this is indeed, a right concept. The idea that satan has legal rights makes it sound as if the minute we sin, God gives him authority to attack us. Legal rights are connected to law and authority so its a concern. I don’t doubt that he takes whatever advantage he can get. And of course choosing to sin is a form of agreement with him if we take the bait. So I don’t have a problem with the idea that we can give him opportunity and so in that sense he has a legal opening because we gave it to him. Just wanting to sort wheat from chaff 🙂

    1. SevenTimes,

      The Bible doesn’t call it legal rights. It calls it a foothold or a stronghold. When we cherish sin, we open the door to the enemy to come in. We invite him into our lives to attack and ensnare us.

      As believers, we are not to live under the authority of Satanbut of Jesus. But “whoever sins is a slave to sin.” So we must repent of sin so that we can live under the authority of Jesus alone. 💜

  15. April,
    That makes more sense. So if I understand correctly, we give him rights by coming into agreement with him in some area of our lives, and he being without truth or mercy, exploits it to the max.

    1. Yes, exactly. He has no legal rights in a believer’s life unless we invite him in. So let’s not do that! Sin – particularly unrepentant, cherished sin breaks our fellowship with the Spirit and invites the enemy to take over areas of our lives.

  16. I noticed near the end of the John Piper article John mentions that their church staff put bookmarks in their bulletins that contained a list of 32 songs they regularly use in their worship, for people to be able to use in their personal prayer life and worship. I emailed the elder mentioned in the article to find out if its possible to get a copy of that list, as I get stuck on about five songs I can remember during prayer. So it would be great to have some solid worship stuff with good theology to sing from. If I get an answer I will share it. I found this too, a bible reading plan that uses a book mark system to systematically move you through the whole bible in a year. http://new.unpoissondansle.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/3479-bible-study-bookmarks-bible-year.pdf

    There is also a page on Bethlehem Baptists site of other resources:
    https://bethlehem.church/resources/bible-resource/#bible-resources-one-year-bible-reading-plans

    1. SevenTimes,

      That is awesome! It would be good to have a list of solid worship songs/hymns to sing. I sing hymns and worship songs in my house, at work before anyone else gets there, in my car… Such a sweet way to worship and praise the Lord and to keep our minds and hearts focused on Him and His goodness.

      Thanks for sharing these resources. 🙂

  17. This comment section has been very very helpful. I am really only beginning to wonder how my growing up years affect my thinking now.

    One thing I’m learning about myself is this: When I have a problem, I speak about it with resentment or anger because that is “safe.” The listener may reject me, humiliate me, or lack empathy and tell me some Christian-speak version of “It is all your fault.”

    This will hurt – but it will not undo me the way a rejection, humiliation, etc. would when I am being genuinely vulnerable.

    The second thing I’m learning is that I almost always start out talking about something that is relatively minor in order to test the listener…”Are you safe?” Part of this testing is to throw in tiny snippets of the bigger problem to see if they will catch and express empathy. If they do not narrow in on the bigger problem then – I leave unscathed and, unfortunately, unhelped.

    I, essentially, ask for help by showing anger and NOT being vulnerable enough to share the true problem.

    Not my brightest idea, for sure.

    So,

    April forgive me for blasting you with anger (in a comment some time ago) that you neither caused or earned.

    And, if you feel lead, could you please pray for me? I am fighting for my life. I know what God wants me to do and I feel soo stuck. I don’t want a hardened heart to be my legacy. I want a heart that yields everything to the Lord.

    I’m crying as I write this. It is very scary to ask for help.

    1. Realistic Wife,

      Aw, my sweet sister! I forgive you, of course!
      Many wives begin here in anger. I know it is because they are hurting and confused.

      I will do anything to help point you to Jesus and the healing that is yours in Him. 🙂

      I won’t hurt you. <3 I may ask you some hard things. The process of uncovering sin and lies in our lives is painful. The process of submitting fully to the Lordship of Christ is painful - at first. But it leads to such healing! But I will not hurt you, I hope that makes sense.

      Would it be okay if we talk about where you are stuck? I'd love to help.

      Lord, we pray for Your Spirit to work in Realistic Wife's heart to draw her to Yourself. Help her to see You more and more clearly for who You really are. Help her to see any lies that have skewed her thinking so she can get rid of those and embrace Your truth alone.
      Amen!

      Much love!

      1. April,

        Thank you.

        I only read a few words of your prayer before the tears set in.

        It is very difficult for me to get straight to the heart of the matter. I expect the listener to minimize (Is that all? ) or laugh (and call their friends over to laugh with them). I know YOU aren’t going to do those things, intentionally, but I’m trying to be transparent about the road that must be traveled to speak openly for me. And yes, these things (minimizing, laughing at, humiliating) were actual things that were my regular food for my developing years. In addition to other physical things that happened as well. They are not just fears but facts.

        I had never heard of the term gaslighting until you mentioned it in a post (or comment?). When I followed the link and read the info my jaw dropped in amazement. That’s a thing?? There is a name for it? People talk about it?

        But I digress.

        Where am I stuck?

        I have started and deleted this part of the comment several times. I’m just going to jump in the pool, so to speak. I apologize if it is something other than gentle and kind.

        The Lord wants me to be vulnerable with my husband. Not tell him everything. But expose the soft underbelly without expectation of how he will deal with it.

        Here is the problem:

        My husband has shown himself to be unsafe emotionally for me, regularly, over our entire marriage.

        He lies. But doesn’t think or say he is lying. (Ex. Early in my walk with the Lord – I got saved about 5 years into my marriage…while I was on the way to leave my husband…early on we met with a Pastor to try and untangle the mess we had created. We dealt with many things that were on both of us to turn from. And this, the Pastor asked about several pre-marriage promises that my husband had changed his mind about from the silly to quite serious. My husband’s response was this: “You know what? I was just telling her what she wanted to hear.”

        He did not say this maliciously. His tone was like “You know what? It’s 72 degrees and sunny.”

        He was stuck in sin, too before we were married. So, that’s covered by the blood of Jesus, as we both have walks with the Lord now. Praise Him!

        But he has never repented to me. As far as I can tell, He feels no guilt and has *no* understanding of the pain he caused. It doesn’t even seem like he remembers?

        He takes each smile I give him, each thanks of appreciation, and walks around like he is a god. Never apologizing or even confessing wrong. My husbands wrath is rare, but vicious and immature.

        I’ve read on your site, I think, that to some men talk is cheap – they would rather just go and sin no more.

        Ultimately, his heart’s motive is between him and God.

        What I fear is this: I battle through all of this to be soft, open, and vulnerable with my husband. He behaves as he has historically. I, emotionally, die. The “boxing” happens, where I lifelessly fall into a box of sadness and devalued mess, that he neither notices nor cares about. When I am vulnerable, it makes him feel good.

        Where is God in all this?

        God is calling me to trust him, not my own emotional walls. God is calling me to a new strength, that is not in my own wisdom or will but in His. Perhaps, just perhaps, he is calling me to love my husband as he is never been loved before, to get out of the way, so my husband can more clearly hear God’s voice, as you so often write about.

        This is where I am stuck.

        I have not written *all* the issues. I am trying to be both transparent and respectful of privacy.

        I appreciate your compassion and time.

        1. This is the verse that I got in this morning’s quiet time:

          Unless the LORD had been my help,

          My soul would soon have settled in silence,

          If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up.

          In the multitude of my anxieties within me,

          Your comfort delights my soul.

          Psalm 94 : 17 -19

          Confessing aloud

          The LORD is my help!

        2. Realistic Wife,

          Obviously, I don’t know your husband or any details of your situation. So – I don’t know if he is safe or not. I don’t know if you can trust him.

          So – let’s not start with him.

          Would it be okay if we start by me asking a few questions about your walk with the Lord so I can get a spiritual pulse on that relationship?

          If your relationship with the Lord has issues (and I don’t know if there are issues there or not), they have to be straightened out before you will have the power and wisdom to be able to handle your husband’s sin and his issues.

          Much love to you!

          1. Of course I’m willing.

            But for clarity’s sake, I told you those things so you would understand my struggles but not so you could diagnose or fix my husband. I know that I am the one presenting myself and the one who gets the work. 🙂

            That being said, ask away!

          2. A Realistic Wife,

            Thank you for that clarification. 🙂

            Okay, here we go. Take your time…

            1. What is your relationship with Christ at this time?

            2. What are you doing to nourish your soul and be filled up with Jesus?

            3. What are your greatest fears?

            4. What are things you think would help the marriage situation, if you had the power to fix and change anything and everything you felt should change?

            5. What is your general personality?

            6. What is your husband’s general personality?

            7. What was your parents’ marriage like, in general?

            8. What was his parents’ marriage like, in general?

            9. Have either of you experienced abuse of any kind?

            10. Any addictions going on or really serious issues for either of you?

            11. Do you believe he is still gas-lighting and still not very honest? Do you think he may be a compulsive liar?

            12. How do you generally respond when you don’t feel safe?

            Much love!

  18. A Realistic Wife,
    Thank you for that clarification.
    Okay, here we go. Take your time…
    1. What is your relationship with Christ at this time?
    —My relationship is going well. Still in regular daily talks with the Lord, in the word. Honestly, I would love more time. I always crave more time with Him. Trying to work that out practically with sleep schedules of my husband (a night owl) and my 10 month old. I would like to have 8 hours of sleep a night buuuuttt, that might have to wait a while.

    2. What are you doing to nourish your soul and be filled up with Jesus?
    —-I love this question! I love how you said nourish, time with Him truly is life giving! I start my morning with the Word and prayer. And end my night at His feet. Music plays throughout the day. My pastor has this fun little word picture about inviting God into every aspect of your life – like keeping God on speakerphone. So, I keep Him on speakerphone…talk to Him throughout the day.
    3. What are your greatest fears?
    —This is very hard for me to answer. I know what my greatest desire is…to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.” I guess my greatest fear is…being vulnerable with my husband, him being how he as always been, and – this is the fear part- that I cannot cope with it, that I become wounded beyond hope and healing. Of course, nothing is too big for our Lord, but, I think I’m saying that I would give up.
    4. What are things you think would help the marriage situation, if you had the power to fix and change anything and everything you felt should change?
    —Wow. Another good question. Hmmm. I would loosen the bonds that hold my husband captive and silent, unable to weep for others- only himself. I don’t mean literally weep – I mean have compassion for others. To be able to look at life from another’s viewpoint. Ex. Once someone asked me if my husband was a bully – we were counseling over a situation between my husband and then teenage son- I answered yes. Our younger children would hide and weep anytime my husband fell into one of these bullying moods. My husband’s only comment to me in the drive home was – I didn’t like finding out I was a bully. Or about our son, ” I can’t believe he thinks he’s the same as me.” regarding my son doing what my husband does, and my husband not appreciating it.

    I would make us friends.

    5. What is your general personality?–Quiet, thoughtful, serious (mostly), introverted, nurturing and kind. You know, this is my personality now, but before I was married I was ambitous, goal-oriented, confident, hopeful, and I still recharged by being alone.
    6. What is your husband’s general personality? –Lighthearted, playful, and nice (mostly).
    7. What was your parents’ marriage like, in general? My parents marriage ended before I was 4 years old. I don’t remember it. My dad was overwhelming absentee from my life with a few appearances. My mom threw herself into her education going to school nights and weekends from my elementary school through high school. She now has a Doctorate degree.

    I experienced this as a kind of emotional neglect. I had food, clothes, and a roof. But my dad left. Then my mom left. And, when my mom was home she was often sooo angry to mother us at all. She told us to raise ourselves. When I was early college age, I realized that there are no college classes on Sunday nights. Where did my mom go on Sunday night? For years?

    8. What was his parents’ marriage like, in general?
    —They divorced when my husband was a teenager. Dad was immature & go with the flow & and drinker. Mom was very responsible and sided with kids against dad (Or kids sided with her.)

    9. Have either of you experienced abuse of any kind? —I have. I witnessed the physical abuse of my mom by my first stepfather.

    10. Any addictions going on or really serious issues for either of you? –No addictions.

    11. Do you believe he is still gas-lighting and still not very honest? Do you think he may be a compulsive liar? Forgive me. In reading my first comment I see I wasn’t overly clear. The gas-lighting was when I was growing up but NOT my husband. So far as the honesty, yes, when pressed he says whatever he thinks the hearer wants to hear – but doesn’t seem to connect to what he says to follow through. Or even remember it.

    12. How do you generally respond when you don’t feel safe? Emotionally withdraw.

    I’m feeling kind of discouraged by your questions. Mostly, this info feels like a distraction from the problem and not a way to fix the problem. That thought is probably not true, but, transparency and all that.

    1. Realistic Wife,

      My dear sister, this first round of questions is not to “fix the problem.” Right now, I am in the triaging stage. You know how if you go to the emergency room, the nurse asks you a bunch of questions to try to begin to diagnose the problem? That is what this is. The questions are for me to better understand the dynamics in your life, family, and marriage before I jump into a situation I know almost nothing about. These questions help me pinpoint the roots of the real problems so we can begin to address the underlying issues. I hope that makes sense.

      Okay, a few more questions, then we will get to the healing in Christ part. I promise! 🙂

      1. You and your husband both would have some pretty significant scars and wounds spiritually and emotionally from childhood from the experiences you witnessed with your parents’ relationships. Did you have counseling together about these things before marriage or since you have been married? Are you aware of the way your parents’ marriages and examples may have impacted the way you both relate to one another? If you have not begun to address these deep wounds, I have some resources that can help.

      All of us have imperfect parents who sin in some ways against us. So all of us have a healing process to go through at the beginning of our spiritual journey toward healing in Christ where we must examine the examples we saw against the Word of God and we must carefully determine to keep anything that was a godly example and trash anything that was not a godly example. Then we can rebuild our lives on God’s Word and His truth alone.

      2. A child’s understanding of and ability to trust in God is often greatly impacted by his/her relationship with his/her earthly dad, especially. It is impacted by both parents, but particularly by the dad and father figure in the child’s life. Do you find it hard to trust Him or feel abandoned by Him at times?

      3. What is your husband’s relationship with Christ at this time, to your knowledge?

      4. Your first reading assignment: Please check out this post “Identifying the Lies We Have Embraced.” And let me know if any of these lies may be issues for you.

      The way I approach helping women find healing in Christ is to find the scars and wounds first. Then we address the lies that are behind them. Then we replace the lies with God’s Word and truth. That is what brings incredible miracles of healing and restoration. We tear down then strongholds of the enemy first. We invite God to come in with His power, Spirit, healing, and truth to rebuild.

      Then, as a woman becomes stronger and stronger in Christ and is more and more overflowing with Him, she has His wisdom and power to begin to discern how to handle situations and we can begin to address more of the current dynamics with you and your husband.

      Much love!
      April

      1. Hi April,

        Thank you for being a faithful “nurse” to point be to healing in Christ.

        I understand triage. That makes sense. Thank you for taking the time to address that. Hey, this transparency stuff has benefits! 🙂

        If you will remember we did not know the Lord when we got married.

        No we did not do counseling before. I have had individual counselong since. Our oldest has had counseling and dad and I were a part of that to some degree. Even there, the couseling weigh heavily at my feet. My husband would often not respond to questions or invitations for conversation, so the couselors (and my veryangry son) directed most things at me. This is a pretty good word picture for many areas of life.

        I have a confession to make. Something that I remember from the first time I commented that you said (or didn’t say) wounded me pretty deeply. I am struggling with how to present this to you or even if I should for two reasons:

        #1 I am confident you meant no harm. I have following your blog for years and I am SURE you only meant to help.

        #2 I can’t remember the original post to find the comment to even verify that what I am remembering is correct. I KNOW that the particular lense I view things through is sometimes wrong. I don’t wish to unfairly accuse you, not at all.

        The lense is sometimes wrong. But not always.

        So you know how the four gospels (which as the Holy Spirit Inspired Word of God are completely inerrant – not like me, sometimes I err)… well the four gospels each show a different perspectiive of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection. My life up until now gives me a perspective that others may not have. The Lord uses it to minister to others, for sure.

        So, I’m having a bit of wrestle about this. And it comes up because the full answer to the question I am currently answereing ties into what I said the first time.

        May I have your permission to proceed? Perhaps it will be useful to me (and others) to hold some of these things up to the light as it were.

        Kindly,

        Realistic

        1. A Realistic Wife,

          I am so very sorry to hear that something I said wounded you deeply. 🙁 That completely breaks my heart!

          We all have different filters and perspectives. That can definitely impact how we see things and hear things. Sometimes, because I don’t have the same filters and background as other women, I may not even realize what they may hear in my words. I long for my words only to be of the Lord and only to share love, truth, and healing. But I depend on feedback and on constructive criticism to help sharpen me and to help me learn to respond in more helpful and more Christlike ways.

          Of course you may proceed. Let’s hash through this together. I am so sorry that we didn’t get to discuss this much earlier.

          <3

          1. A Realistic Wife,

            I found all of the comments that have been shared from this email address and my responses that I can reference if we need to – if that is helpful. 🙂

          2. Hi April,

            I appreciate so deeply your kindness and humility in dealing with this sensitive (for me) topic. The way you handle “sharpening” comments is a ministry all its own!

            <3

            So, to tie it in to what we are talking about now…I am elaborating on the counseling falling on my shoulders and how that instance (him just refusing to engage – at all) has been pretty typical.

            I'm going to paint a little picture for you now. You've asked a few questions about my history. You know humiliation, minimizing, gas lightning, and what I experienced (and my siblings – it was that severe) and a type of emotional neglect is part of my history and my lens.

            People didn't SEE me. When I had a deep wound no one cared to put a balm on it, so to speak. But just to laugh at me for having it, or ignore it, or tell me that I did not deserve to feel sad or bad or mad, at all.

            That's my lens.

            In my comment I was doing the thing where I talk about really small stuff and then slide in a small comment about something really big. Not wise. But I know I was doing that. I remember the post was about smiling at our husbands!

            The comment I slide in was something along the lines of my husband left me alone to deal with the babies we have had go to Jesus before us.

            I was 19 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I went to my local emergency room because I was bleeding seriously. The doctor barely looked at me. Did an ultrasound. Baby's heartbeat was perfect. Then he sent me home telling me to follow up with my OB/GYN.

            I left from the hospital and drove straight to the office to wait for them to open. When I was time to open the receiptionist told me to go to the other location. When I got to the other location (my husband came on this point, after I insisted and I arranged the babysitting for our oldest).

            When I got to the Doctor's office I gave birth to a perfectly formed 5 month gestation baby on the floor.

            My husband wasn't around for that point. He left.
            When we arrived home I asked him to take the lead on telling our oldest. He agreed. When we walked inside the house, he hid. I did it by myself.

            Later that same day, he looked sad so I, along with everyone else, went to comfort him. This is true for many many circumstances. When I'm high risk pregnant, something about him triggers a very nurturing caretaking response from lots of people. But not me. Once, when extremely pregnant someone rushed to pick up something I had dropped. My husband exclaimed, "I wish they would do that for me!" And from that point on he had various aches to complain about.

            A few days after I wrote the angry comment about not wanting to smile I got a diagnosis about one of our children. I believe the Lord showed me my bitterness that day so I could let it go to have freedom to deal with this current issue without even the most cursory interest or conversation from my husband. I'm not mad at him anymore.

            The point that hurt from our interaction in the comment (what I remember) is:

            I am not sure you expressed even a cursory condolence for my pain and loss but highlighted how it may feel excruciating to my husband to talk about it. You even posted a youtube video mentioning it.

            I'm not asking for hours of conversation.

            Just an acknowledgement that it happened coupled with compassion for me.

            I want to be able to lean on my husband. Just a little bit.

            Since you have found the comments it would be interesting to see if this actually happened or if it is my faulty lens.

            In either case, the Lord has used you greatly in SO many lives and I am humbled that you would take the time to hear me.

            With love,

            Realistic

          3. Realistic Wife,

            😢

            My heart physically hurts with you.

            For the pain you experienced as a child. For the times people laughed instead of supporting and encouraging you. For all the times you felt so very neglected, unloved, and alone.

            And my heart breaks with you over your miscarriage(s). How I wish no mama ever had to go through something like that. I can’t begin to imagine the grief and the trauma you would have experienced. And then on top of that the issues with your husband… I am so VERY sorry.

            I am not sure if you may have posted under a different email before? But I read through every single interaction we had on this email, and all 150 comments on both of my posts about smiling at our husbands and I didn’t see anything by a wife about a miscarriage. I was so hoping to find the comments so I could see what I did.

            But if I started trying to address your question without first expressing compassion and concern for your pain and grief, I am mortified at myself. You deserve compassion. You deserve sympathy and empathy. Your grief and feelings are important. Your pain is important. Please forgive me if I did not address your loss. My goal is to extend compassion and sympathy to those who are hurting before jumping into whatever the issue is. I don’t ever want to skip over people’s pain. I want to always take the time to “mourn with those who mourn.” I greatly appreciate your courage to bring up this issue with me now. I never ever want to add more pain to your heart.

            Much love to you!

            ❤️💜❤️

  19. I found it. Same name “A Realistic Wife” I do have more than one email so I may have used a different one.

    My comments begin at:

    A Realistic Wife
    March 28, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    I mention it here:

    A Realistic Wife
    March 30, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    Under question 7.

    https://peacefulwife.com/2017/03/27/one-of-your-most-powerful-gifts-as-a-woman/

    In looking at it now, I was so angry my comments were very difficult to follow logically. I talked about a LOT of things that were not the heart of the matter.

    In other news, God is doing something in my heart in my life. It is super hard to describe but I’m experiencing a freedom, a lightness, a whisper of peace that is weird! I’m smiling. This is what God wants from me. To do some of these things that require vulnerability.

    Smile.

    Much love.

    1. Realistic Wife,

      Thank you so much for finding that thread! Yep, you were using a different email.

      I had no idea I had upset you so much. 🙁 It was definitely not my intention. Please do forgive me for not acknowledging your loss. I went ahead and edited my response to include my condolences for the loss of your babies.

      Looks like you already answered all of these questions for me before! I guess it wouldn’t be necessary to answer them all again, unless there are things that are more at the core of the problem you would like to share.

      I’m SUPER THRILLED that you are experiencing a taste of God’s peace and goodness! That is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!

      Praising God with you, my precious sister. That makes me smile, too!

      Let me know if there is anything else I might be able to do to help point you to the healing that is available to you in Jesus. You are precious to me.

      Much love!
      April

  20. Hi everyone,

    First, Just a small background

    My marriage had been rocky for awhile and I came across your videos and started to take the steps towards changing me first. Things continued to get worse with us. Our marriage fell apart as a result of him being unfaithful. I separated from him about 6 months ago with a baby on the way. Since i left him, he does not want to fix our marriage. I want to take the steps to fix our marriage but he does not due to me leaving him. He has not shown true remorse as of yet for me to even try to take those steps.

    My whole purpose for my post is because of something i ultimately discovered, i remember asking God during our marriage “How do i Love my husband the way you want me to” because he just was not loving me, I could never do anything right in his eyes. Now I am starting to see while in this wilderness, God is showing me how to love him right now. I did not see this coming, I did not think he would show me how to love him while out of the marriage. From then on, I allowed God to take over this situation, heard his voice more clearly, he told me to stay still and wait. And hes guided me through every single step and decision ive had to make when there is any contact with him.

    I see how God loves us so much. Just like ive had to leave my husband until he is ready to come back, I cannot do anything else but wait in hopes he will want to reconcile. And just like God, he has to wait so patiently for us to go to him or back to him. We cant make them come back, we cant make them do anything because they also have free will. If we force it, its not in Gods will. And I could be missing out on the process of Gods plans for our marriage. As hard as its been to wait patiently, be kind and caring towards my husband, it gives me so much peace to look to Gods direction.

    I have never known my Lord and Savior so well until this time. As painful as it continues to get, Id rather be broken and surrendering over and over, because I see no other way but through Christ to heal me and help me grow.

    *****I pray non of us go through the wilderness alone and that we find God in it.

    Love you all!

    1. Becca,

      I just found this message in my spam box. So glad I was able to find it!

      Whew! You have been through a tough season, my precious sister. Thank you for sharing. What a painful situation with your husband.

      And yet… WOW!

      I am blown away by what the Lord is doing in you. Your obedience to Him and ability to hear His voice and love for Him are SO beautiful! That is just like God, to take a very dark time and use it to share the most precious spiritual treasure of Himself in the midst of it.

      I praise God for what He is doing in your heart and pray for His Spirit to reach your husband and bring him to Himself that he might be healed, as well.

      Much love!

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