Skip to main content

Having God’s Peace in the Midst of the Storm

1381514_86242460
From the wife who wrote “The Dryer Incident”. Her husband is with her but things are quite tense. She has been on this journey now for about 6 months. He is not a believer and needs Jesus so very much! He is in a lot of pain. I praise God for what He is doing in this sister’s heart. It is so beautiful!
Now, I need to keep releasing my husband over and over, but it felt good to let him know that I want the best for him and trust him to make the choices he needs to.  It felt like a huge step of faith because if he would just “snap out of it” and decide to do the “right” thing then we could move on.  But I need to trust God’s path and plan for my husband’s life, as well as my own, and believe that no matter what choices he makes in order to figure out how to be happy, that God is directing and will use them for His glory and our best.
Thank you for the excellent reminder that my husband doesn’t need to actually be here with me for me to bless him.  That helps a lot in putting things into perspective for me:  the absolute best way I can bless him is by praying for him (which is actually easier to do when he’s not here anyway).  I guess I’ve been looking at blessing him more as things that I do for or say to him, that he needs to be involved in the interaction (or at least present for it).  It is actually freeing to look at it this was and, I’d say, exposes some of my pride in thinking that there’s anything that I can say or do on my own to make a difference.  Thank you for pointing that out to me and for your continued prayers for my husband.

That actually ties in to what God revealed to me last night through His Word and this morning while meditating on it.  Your words and example of being still and waiting on God have got me thinking about that further.  We’ve spoken before about how waiting is such a difficult but important part of this journey.   I see how God can and is using this time of waiting to teach me and draw me closer to Him.

I also know that I don’t really have any other choice — I can’t force my husband to make a move so I am stuck waiting, whether I like it or not.

I’ve felt like I’ve been able to accept this waiting period for what it is to some degree, but I see now, that I haven’t fully embraced it.  Being still and waiting isn’t just about my outer life — my actions and situation.  It also has to include my inner life — thoughts and feelings.  I’m not doing so well in that area.  It’s hard not to be thinking about what I can be saying or doing or plan how to handle something and then analyze all the different reactions to it and where to go next or to try to interpret every move and word from my husband … this is NOT being still!

I have been reading Genesis and Psalms, at least a chapter in each, daily and last night, as I was waiting and wondering about my husband and so confused about how to handle the situation, I almost didn’t read it.  I had been praying, reading other things, it was late, I was exhausted, physically & emotionally, and I almost put aside my Bible reading.  But then I thought there’s really no reason not to read a Psalm, at least.  I do always feel better and there are a lot of short ones.  And then, after that, I did read from Genesis, too.

  • April, I just can’t believe how clearly God speaks to me through His Word!  EVERY SINGLE DAY there is a message for me, from stories I’ve known since a small child, there’s always something new that I’ve never understood before!  It’s truly incredible!

Last night I read Genesis 26 where God commanded Isaac to stay in the land where He had put him, despite famine and hardship, promising to be with him and bless him.  Isaac stayed and God blessed him so richly that it was clearly apparent to all around him that he had God’s blessing and they were threatened (convicted) by it.  Coincidence that I should read that passage?  I’m just blown away by how pertinent the accounts in Genesis have been in my life as I read through it.

The Psalm that really spoke to me was chapter 13.  David is crying out to the Lord who has seemingly forgotten and turned away from him.  He questions “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (vs 2a) and demands that God look on and answer him (vs 3).  He is in complete anguish in verses 1-4 then the final two verses are a complete and drastic turn around!  For no apparent reason, he doesn’t allude to any improvement in his situation, he says

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” (vs 5-6).

So as I’m laying in bed last night after reading these passages, praying and thinking about my husband and how I should handle all of this, I realize how clear God’s message is. I am to stay still and wait, clinging to God’s promise to be with and bless me, not just despite but because of hardship.  And that this being still has to extend to my heart and mind as well.  I need to let go of my anxious thoughts and feelings, my flawed and inadequate attempts to change and improve things.  How? 

Here’s the key:  Trust in God’s unfailing love.  Rejoice in His salvation.  Sing of His goodness.

That is where my heart and mind must be focused if I am truly going to be still and experience God’s peace and presence in this storm.  Isn’t that beautiful?  I know these things, but it was so incredible to have it laid out so clearly in the Scriptures I just “happened” to read and almost didn’t!  I love it!!!

RELATED

Living a Consecrated Life

Waiting Becomes Sweet

Contentment in Christ Alone

My Secret Idol (a wife makes her husband’s salvation an idol)

HisHelper Reflects on Her Journey This Far

studying

Normally, Thursday is prayer day. This week, I had the opportunity to work extra in the pharmacy, so we will change up the schedule a bit. 🙂 I do have a prayer for us at the end of this post – but I am also going to share some incredible insights another wife has been gleaning.

comments By HisHelper:

For me, my focus has shifted 180 degrees from obsessing about my marriage and listening to the lies of the enemy that tempt me to condemn my husband, to learning to quiet my thoughts and fix my eyes on Jesus and His truth.

Whereas I used to be very proactive with DOING things to improve my marriage (which only seemed to repel my husband), I now just focus on Jesus and my relationship with Him. It’s amazing how the rest takes care of itself. As Marcia stated above, “None of this is really about my husband. It is about me and my humbly seeking God’s face.”

That way, I’m not merely trying to quiet the lies, I am replacing those lies with truth.

The words of the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus keep coming to mind…

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
AND THE THINGS OF EARTH WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!

The troubles of my marriage have grown “strangely dim”.

While some things have improved, many things that I would have liked to have changed in my husband have not. BUT, peace pervades me so completely that I don’t seem to notice what’s lacking so often. It is not where my focus lies anymore. Jesus has changed ME!…The sin of many idols I had pursued above Him have been purged, and I know that I am more peaceful because of that, and if reflects in my marriage as well.

As I am walking in the Spirit, sin does NOT have dominion over me! There is so much freedom in that fact. Therein lies the power to defeat the “demons” that seek to put me back into bondage to their lies. As I abide in Him they cannot touch me.

Pondering this further… I can’t help but think that God meant what He said when He told us in Colossians 2: 9-10 (Really the whole chapter of Colossians):

For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
AND YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power.”

The principles of respecting our husbands and living a life of faith are laid out before us here at the Peacefulwife website, but the application of these things are really brought to life through the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (from peacefulwife – AMEN! AMEN!!!!!!!!!)

It is one thing to learn that certain phrases or body language communicate disrespect to our husbands, or that our condemning thoughts toward our husbands lead us to disrespect them, but the power to overcome that sin is found in Jesus.

All the time I was trying to improve my marriage, I was doing it in my own strength with many tears, frustration and constant failure. My ultimate pursuit in life was a godly, Christian marriage. (Not a bad thing in itself, except that for me it was an all-consuming desire, set far above my pursuit of Christ.) I can easily slip back into trying to walk out my life in the flesh. The difference for me farther along in this journey is this:

Now that I have tasted the glorious intimacy and fellowship with Christ and walking in His Spirit, I am more sensitive in knowing I am slipping back into the flesh when I do sin or neglect seeking that fellowship with Him.

Something just feels wrong. If I have slipped into sin I actually resist spending time with the Lord. Then I know I need to examine my heart and quickly return to the Father and repent (and, if necessary, go to the person I have sinned against), resting in the fact that Jesus is right there waiting for me, not condemning me, but ever so glad to be back in fellowship with me again.

Isn’t that just incredible love the Father shows us?! When you are loved like that, and are focused on the Source of that love, it is hard not to let it overflow to those around you, even in the most difficult relationships. The troubles may be all around you, but fixing your eyes on HIM and not the circumstance brings victory because His joy and His strength are freely yours.

Those are some extremely hard-learned lessons that I’ve only very recently had the privilege to even begin to understand and experience! I wouldn’t trade them for anything!! It is almost surreal how overall content He has made me.

As the Lord has begun to answer some specific prayers in regard to my marriage, I find myself thankful and satisfied with those answers, but they just do not compare to the joy I find in Jesus.

Whereas before, the Lord allowing me a little taste of what I had asked for when I prayed about my marriage would have made me even MORE discontent, and only fed my hunger for MORE. That idol was insatiable, and I know now why He refused to give me what I had prayed for so desperately!

I don’t know what He has in store for me and my husband in the future, as far as further answering my prayers, but I know that He alone is more than enough. The rest is just icing on the cake! :-)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I love this!  I think HisHelper articulates this journey so well. This has been my experience, too. Many of the “struggles” I wrote about yesterday – I don’t really think of as “struggles” anymore. Some of them can be struggles at times, yes. But usually, I am able to experience God’s victory and trust Him with things in faith that He will handle them for my ultimate good and His glory. So, things I used to get upset and anxious about – I lay in God’s hands and wait, trusting Him to lead me through my husband, circumstances and His Spirit. I may struggle/wrestle with some of these issues from time to time. But not constantly the way I used to – if that makes sense.  There is spiritual battle all day every day. But I am not usually in turmoil or defeat. And I am definitely not in despair! I approach issues with great hope and faith! Giving up the email ministry was a struggle for about 4-5 days. And I am sure that if we got some tragic news or news about a big change, like a big move or we lost our jobs or a major medical issue or something, it would take some time to process and lay those things down and rest in God’s peace. 

It kind of amazed me later yesterday that I didn’t even think about mentioning my longing to have more children which used to consume me in my list of “struggles.” I am not biologically able to have more children, the doctor said another pregnancy would likely kill me and the baby. I used to pray about adoption almost every day a few years ago. The same with homeschooling or Christian school for our children. Now, I feel no struggle about these issues. It is all His perfect peace. If God desires for these things to happen, He will place that desire in Greg’s heart. If He doesn’t, then He has other things for me and our family.

I shared in yesterday’s post about how at the beginning of this journey, I felt like I was pushing a car. That was me operating in my own strength. It was EXHAUSTING!!!  It took a long time for me to get into the car. I didn’t trust God at first. “God, how is this car ever going to move if I am not behind it pushing it?” Yes, I was THAT clueless! It took me a long time to get in and to sit down and to begin to have any understanding what the wheel and pedals and instruments were for. I am sure there are many instruments I still don’t know how to use! I have much to learn! To me, thinking about being tempted to disrespect Greg would be a lot like me being tempted to get out of the car and start pushing again instead of driving and allowing the car’s engine and fuel to do the real work. Not very tempting at this point. But it WAS tempting to get out and push earlier when I didn’t know how to use the gas pedal!! I sat still for a LONG, LONG time! I don’t usually even think the disrespectful things or hear the disrespectful things anymore in my head. God has been and is continuing to transform my mind. But when I do hear that voice of accusation against Greg, lights and alarms start going off to remind me not to go back to my old ways but to quickly repent. There are different temptations now, like I talked about yesterday. I pray that God might empower me to live in obedience to Him in ALL things! He is my hope!

I LOVE sharing this journey with all of you!  You are welcome to share your story, prayer requests, encouragement, struggles and concerns. We are all on this same road together

 Lord,

May we seek You with all our hearts until the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace. May we joyfully lay down our burdens, our dreams, our desires, our goals, our priorities, our families, our marriages, our children, our jobs, our health, our money, our country, our future, our health and all that we have at Your feet. Let us delight to be living sacrifices for You each day. Let us delight in dying to our old self and sinful nature and putting on our new self in You and living in the power of Your Spirit, abiding in You, knowing You, loving and trusting You with all our hearts. Make us a holy people. Use us to bring great glory and honor to You!

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

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

IMG_2961

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

Do I have struggles?

YEP!

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

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

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

My primary temptations/struggles now would probably be:

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

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

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

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

Much love, my precious sisters!

RELATED:

HisHelper Reflects on Her Journey This Far

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

“My Husband Refuses to Have Children with Me!?!”

close up woman's eyes

I am planning to feature this wife’s journey occasionally as she takes her first steps towards healing in Christ as she faces a very painful situation in her marriage. I am no longer able to email everyone individually, but I hope that this email correspondence may bless other wives who have very similar issues in their hearts. We will call her “GraceAlone.” I believe that this wife’s struggles and concerns are extremely common and she has agreed to allow me to share her journey. That takes an incredible amount of courage. She hasn’t even taken the first step yet – but is willing to allow me to share her story publicly. She is still very fragile, so I know that all of you will rally around her to love, encourage, pray for and support her as you do every hurting wife. 🙂

We are going to go in very small steps. This is going to require a complete overhaul of this wife’s heart, mind and soul. I can’t fix her. I can’t change anyone. I am not the key ingredient here – God and His Spirit are. I can point her to God’s truth and the power of Jesus. 

The responsibility will rest on her to decide to accept or reject the help, hope, love, power, healing, grace, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. This will be PAINFUL. Not as painful as staying where she is – but it is very painful at first when God opens our eyes to what He wants to change in us. She will have to allow God’s Word and truth to shine brightly into the darkest, most sinful recesses of her soul and allow Him to remove everything that is not of Him and radically change  her by giving her a new heart, mind and spirit in Christ. He will expose the spiritual foundations upon which she has built her life and she will have to choose to allow Jesus to be LORD and rebuild everything completely on Him alone and His Word. This will involve her being willing to discard everything she thinks she knows about being a godly woman, about God, about herself, about masculinity, about femininity, about being a Christ follower and about marriage and replacing all of that with the truth from the Bible.

Despair, depression, misery, anxiety and the spiritual frustration are inevitable when we build our lives on anything but Jesus – which we all do unless we allow Jesus to radically change us. Please realize, this wife is a believer in Christ. She and her husband are in ministry in the church. Her husband is a sinner, too, as we all are. He has plenty of things he needs to work on himself – NO DOUBT. But we will trust God and His Spirit to work in him as Gracealone focuses on herself and her walk with Christ. That is where her power is:

GRACEALONE’S EMAIL #1

I grew up in a Christian home. My husband was not a Christian when we very first met, but was saved quite awhile before we got married. He did not grow up in church. We went thru pre-marital counseling and the question about kids came up.  My husband said he would want kids , but would like to wait a few years first before having them. My deepest, greatest dream has always been to be a wife and mother.

  • I noticed that every time I would bring up children, my husband would not want to talk about it. I finally pressed a little more, and he eventually told me that he does not want children – ever.

I was shocked and heartbroken beyond words. I asked him about what he said in premarital counseling, and he said at the time he thought he would want kids, but decided after we were married he did not.

This sent me into a spiral – I gained a lot of weight, found out I had a medical condition that affects fertility (maybe a direct result from weight gain) and was depressed beyond measure. As a result, our sex life has almost stopped. Maybe once every 8 weeks. I hate my body now, and my husband when asked , admits that he struggles due to my weight gain.

I do not know how to move on or heal from this fully. I have tried many many times to pray, surrender, pray more, but feel as though I keep failing. I want kids badly, but feel as though with my medical condition, it will be too late to have my own if my husband comes around later. I see no sign of him changing. I have no desire to lose weight because I feel like my motivation to lose weight was to have a baby. My primary love language is affection- so to have that gone is unbearable. My husband and I have talked so many times about these things. I’m at the point now to where I don’t know what to do. My husband is a good man, but I don’t feel like he wants to go to counseling.

I know God hates divorce and there are only a few biblical reasons for it, but I would be lying if I said I don’t think about it. How do I stay with a man who never wants children and barely has intimacy with me? Both biblical commandments.

GRACEALONE’S EMAIL #2 (Peacefulwife’s questions are in bold)

As I was reading over your questions to me, the question that keeps coming back to me is How?

  • How do I respect my husband when he talks down to me?
  • How do I respect him when I get so frustrated at the mass amount of time he spends on the computer?
  • How do I show a loving attitude to a man that barely touches me physically?
  • How do I keep bitterness from a man who doesn’t want children?

I know that the answer is probably prayer and God. There are so many times where I feel like I have tried that and through praying get increasingly more frustrated. I cannot tell you how many times I feel like I have tried to do the right thing – only to find that I get hurt and become so much more weary of trying. I will try to answer your questions as best I can.

How is your walk with Christ going?
It could be better. I have good quiet and prayer times maybe once to twice a week. I do pray alot to God every day, but as far as sitting down with my Bible it happens a couple times a week. I know I need to get better with this – I will try to reckon myself to do so and then never seem to be really consistent.
Are you fully submitted to Him?
No. I guess I am probably not submitted like I should be. I have good intentions to be, but find myself fearful of fully letting go and trusting.
 
Is it possible there could be things that are more important to you than Christ?
Yes. It is possible I have put children, marriage, health, etc things before Christ unintentionally.
 
What are your fears?
This is a sensitive one for me.
1. I am afraid that I will never be able to have my own biological children.
2. I am afraid that if I fully trust God in my marriage, that I will become a doormat and my husband will never change (I have seen this many times) – From Peacefulwife – That has not been my experience on this blog at all. We aren’t talking about wives becoming doormats here – but becoming godly, Spirit-filled, holy women who bring the power of heaven to bear in their marriages and pour healing and blessing into their families in a powerful way.
3. I am afraid I will always wonder if I made a mistake marrying my husband and if I will ever feel at peace and happiness with my marriage.
4. I am afraid that if I fully surrender God may allow some terrible thing to happen to “bring my husband and me closer.”
5. I am afraid of being unhappy the rest of my life.
6. I am afraid of not being good enough (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally).
7. I am afraid that I will never measure up in the physical department to what my husband would be attracted to.
8. I am afraid of not being loved.
 
Are you holding anything back from God?
Probably my trust, and surrender. I fear that with anything I fully surrender to God, that He won’t fix it or that if He does it will take years or something bad happening.
 
What are you praying for?
I try to pray that I would be a respectful wife, that God would restore what the locust has taken, that I would fear God but not be afraid of Him, that I would laugh with my husband, that God would restore our marriage and intimacy, that he would change my husband’s heart, that I would find peace and joy, that my husband and I would grow spiritually. 
 
What do you believe you need to be happy and content?
I know the correct answer is probably God is all I need. Sometimes, I feel like I need more. I need a husband to affirm me verbally and physically.  I need a husband who has a strong always growing relationship with God and mentors that can speak into him. I need to not always worry about money. I need to feel at peace with my marriage and I need to know that there is hope for change.
 
How are you honoring your husband and respecting him?
I work part time.  Something my husband mentioned was that he wanted me to make his breakfast and lunches more and keep the house clean. I try to do those things, I am not perfect and could always improve, but I try. I try to build him up occasionally when I think about it, I pray for him.
 
Are there ways you are disrespecting him?
Yes, I know there are. Sometimes, I react out of hurt. I know that it’s no excuse. I may share things with others at times he may not like, or I may put him down, or if we have arguments I tend to say what I feel – which often comes across as criticizing to him. I guess I have been guilty at times to play his Holy Spirit, as well.
 
What is your motivation to take good care of your health?
I don’t feel like there is a whole lot of motivation right now. I used to want to be in shape for future kids, but I feel like that is off the table. I feel very apathetic about myself. Sometimes, I will have a little motivation because I worry about my health long term, but often it is cancelled out by just hating myself more.
 
Are you trying to punish him in some way?
Maybe. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I do think sometimes to myself that it shouldn’t matter if I have gained some weight, he should not let that interfere with our physical commitment. Or, at times, I was so hurt to know that he thought I was overweight that I just kind of let myself go more. I don’t try at all anymore because I think he is not interested. I never initiate anything because I feel like he thinks I am ugly and I have been turned down many times before. So, I completely stopped trying and then with the kids thing – maybe it was in some form a punishment. This area of our marriage is in dire ruins. We are awkward with each other now. How will I ever feel comfortable in this area again unless I am supermodel pretty? I almost hate to even think about it and will do things to avoid it. Not that it happens a whole lot to avoid in the first place.
 
What is your motivation for eating? Is food a source of comfort to you?
Right now I feel like food can make me feel happy for a short time. It is a feeling of satisfaction that I don’t feel anywhere else. I know a lot about health and research it often, but never stick with anything.
 
What has your husband asked you to do? Are you cooperating with his leadership?
He always says he wants me to be happy and content. To not always be in a bad mood, to exercise and eat right. I find all of these very hard to do as it is our marital circumstances that often merit hurt and unhappiness.
 
Do you believe and trust that God is able to change your husband’s heart and desires? Is it possible that you are depending on your husband in areas where your faith should be fully in Christ alone?
It is possible. At this point I feel hopeless. We have been married a few years and it feels like an eternity. Instead of God changing my husband, I feel like things have gotten worse. I almost have no desire left to want to work on it, because I am so tired of feeling like I always have to be the one to change before my husband changes.
Is it possible that God is still sovereign over your husband even though he has has free will, and that God’s purposes will still be accomplished in your life regardless of your husband’s current attitude and feelings and that God could hold your husband’s heart in His hand and direct it anywhere He wants it to go?
It is possible, but does God still work in a husband’s heart, who I feel is not listening to God at times??
 
Are you ready to begin to fully trust Christ with all of this? He is able to handle even this situation. It is not beyond His power to act.
I want to, but the same self-doubt keeps coming back. What if I do this and things never change? What if I am miserable the rest of my life? Do I really want to spend the rest of my life with this man (with things as they are right now, I don’t know). I feel like I am barely holding on.
 
I am concerned that your eyes seem to be so much on your husband and his current feelings instead of on Christ, His power and His will.
How do I change this? I feel like I have tried so many times.
Thank your for letting me pour my heart out.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Please understand, my precious sister, almost every wife who begins this journey begins it from almost this same place where you are.  When I began, my husband would barely touch me, talk to me or look at me. I didn’t think he could hear God or be a godly leader.
I was wrong.
God was able to change my husband’s heart – but He had to change me first. I was standing squarely in God’s way, making it so much harder for Greg to hear God’s voice in his life.
Your questions are the same questions every wife has as she begins this road. We will be addressing them all in time.
When the sinful nature is in control, we cannot have God’s Spirit in control. We cannot have God’s love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control if we choose to cherish sin. Idolatry (dreams of what I thought I HAD to have in life to be happy), pride, bitterness, resentment, self-righteousness and unbelief in God were my sins. God will NEVER let me have contentment, peace and joy if I am cherishing sin in my life. I can only have those things when I willingly lay them down, agree with God that they are sin, turn fully away from them and give my life completely to Christ.
I had to face each of my fears – which were similar to yours – and decide –
  • Do I trust my fears or do I trust God?
  • Is God who He says He is?
  • Is His Word true or is it a lie?
  • Do I trust Him or not?
Your husband is not responsible for your happiness and your emotional/spiritual well-being.  You are responsible for yourself. You will stand alone, my precious sister, before Christ one day. I want Him to be able to say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!” You are responsible for repenting of your sin and for obeying God in EVERYTHING He has commanded you to do.
God is able to handle your husband. But your husband cannot hear God’s voice very well if you are standing in God’s way in his life and your voice drowns out God’s voice, which a wife’s voice can easily do in a husband’s soul.
This is a very painful and extremely long (lifelong) journey – but not nearly as painful as staying in sin – and the rewards of living in total faith, trust and hope in Christ are incredible! He is SO MUCH MORE than anything this world has to offer!
You will have to wrestle with God over these things and decide for yourself whether you will choose fear or faith.  You cannot have both.  You must decide between the two. You can cling to idols, fear and bitterness, or you can have Christ.  If you have Christ, He must be LORD. He must be in charge. There is no saying, “No, Lord” to anything He commands us to do.
God showed me my mountain of sin in december 2008. It was PAINFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I wanted to go live in a cave for the rest of my life when I realized that I am a really awful, evil, wicked sinner.  But I thank and praise Him that He showed me my sin and opened my eyes and has shown me the way to His narrow path that leads to Life.
I can’t wait to see what God is about to do in your life!
UPDATE 2015:
God is already beginning to work in GraceAlone’s heart. Please pray for her as she begins to truly seek Him. This is just the beginning place where she started. It is a very painful place. She does need a lot of help – she needs Jesus. And He is here with her, on the scene already. She has already had several lightbulb moments. I have seen God heal many marriages, many in much worse shape than this one. Both the husband and wife here have very deep pain and also sin to deal with. I don’t talk about what husbands should do. I only minister to wives. Yes, the husband needs accountability and godly counsel, too. But my job is just to help this precious wife focus on her walk with Christ and her end of the marriage.
UPDATE 2017: God did MUCH to transform GraceAlone’s heart in the past few years. And He brought much healing, over several years, to her marriage. The Lord changed her husband’s heart after about 2 years and they welcomed their first baby this year.
**  If someone is severely depressed or there are major uncontrolled mental health issues, active addictions to drugs/alcohol/porn/gambling in a marriage or someone is suicidal or in actual danger, please get experienced appropriate help ASAP! I am not writing for people in these types of severe situations. If anyone is having major struggles in your marriage, please seek godly counsel at your local church or from a Christian counselor.
RELATED:
Marriage is a holy covenant – Brides and Butchers
MORE FROM GRACEALONE:

Praying in FAITH Not Fear

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter Sunrise

Many of you know that I used to pray up to 4 hours per day on my days off earlier in our marriage (before we had children, of course!). Most of that time, I spent praying for God to change my husband. I thought I was engaging in something very godly and spiritual back then. But – now – I understand why my prayers went unanswered.

MY ATTITUDE:

My primary motivation when I prayed was FEAR. I was terrified of all the things I worried about possibly coming true. I wanted to try to keep bad things from ever happening. So, I tried to dictate to God what He needed to do in my life, Greg’s lives and other people’s lives.

My faith was not actually in God. My trust was really in myself. I didn’t actually trust God with things. I was terrified to leave them in His hands. I didn’t believe He would do what was best for me. I thought I knew what was best.

So, my prayers were actually just long worry sessions where I tried to control God and make Him do what I wanted Him to do. I was not praying in the strength of faith in Him. I was not resting in His sovereignty. I was trying to carry the weight of the sovereignty of God on my own shoulders. I was full of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and frustration. I did not have the fruit of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY?

  • And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8
  • Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:7-11
  • There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS FOR ME

I MUST have faith in God, or He does not hear my prayers.

I certainly cannot have self as an idol in my heart, and pride thinking I know better than God and my wisdom is superior to God’s and a heart full of doubt and think that God will answer my prayers. First, I must genuinely repent of all the sin in my heart and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse me from all sin (I John 1:9). It is when I am in right standing with God through Christ that I may approach God in the power of the Holy Spirit and great faith. I am committed to consecrating my life to Him and willing to obey Him no matter what the personal cost to me – seeking His will far above my own will – then I can approach the throne of God with boldness.

Bad things/suffering are tools in the hands of our loving God to chisel us and make us more and more like Christ. My greatest goal used to be to avoid suffering. “God, please don’t let Greg die! Please don’t let us get cancer! Please don’t let anything bad ever happen to our family!”

Now, I still don’t desire bad things to happen. I don’t pray for bad things to happen. But I rest in God’s sovereignty and love – knowing that everything that touches my life is permitted by God’s loving, sovereign hands for my ultimate good to be made more like Jesus Christ. I don’t want to suffer, but if I do go through suffering, I trust that God will be with me through the suffering – so I don’t have to be afraid. And, not only will He be with me – but He promises to use the suffering for my spiritual good and for His glory (Romans 8:28).

So, now, instead of praying like I used to:

  • God, make Greg love me more
  • Make Greg pray with me
  • Make Greg talk with me more
  • I HAVE to have X!!!!!!! You MUST give it to me!
  • Make Greg be more affectionate and romantic the way I want him to be
  • Greg needs to do better at making me feel happy
  • Make Greg stop watching TV. Make the TV break.
  • Don’t let Greg die on his way home from work!!!  I could never be ok if something ever happened to him!
  • I can’t trust you with this or this – I need to hold on to those things, they are really important to me.
  • Let us always have good health and have smooth sailing in every area of life
  • Make Greg be a godly man and godly leader (the way I want him to be and on my timetable)
  • Don’t let anything bad happen to us!!!!!!!!!

I pray things like:

    • God, change me! Empower me to be faithful to You!
    • Show me MY sin. I want to repent and turn from every single trace of sin that offends Your holiness.
    • I am fully Yours. I give you EVERYTHING. I trust You with every part of my life, my husband, my family, our marriage, our careers, our health, our money, our future… I want only Your will. I want your FULL and perfect will.
    • Not my will, but Yours be done!
    • I know that You know the dates of my death, Greg’s death, our children’s deaths. I know that You know every disease or major injury we will experience. I trust You with those things. I know that Your grace will be sufficient and that You will accomplish Your good purposes even in our suffering. I rest in Your great love for us.
    • You have wisdom, I do not. I trust Your wisdom, not my own. I humble myself before You and exalt You as God. You are my Lord! I give you all that I have.
    • Thank You that You will never leave me or forsake me!
    • Make me more and more like Jesus. Prune me. Cleanse me. Refine me. Purify me.
    • I want to obey You and please You more than anything!
    • I want to know You more.
    • Use me to bless my husband, family and others for Your glory no matter how they respond or act.
    • I want to be able to absorb all I possibly can from Your Word! Teach me Your ways!
    • I pray for Your will and Your greatest glory in my life no matter what the cost to me.
    • Only let me have Your Spirit, Your presence, Your power, Your Word. You are all I need!
    • I trust You with the affairs of the nations and the world, the economy, our government and everything. I know You are in control and I praise You and thank You that You will use all of the events in the world for Your glory. Even if our nation collapses or some tragedy or disaster strikes, I will trust You. My trust is not in my bank account, or in having electricity, or in our president, or the economy or my job. I put my trust only in You. If we suffer, I know it will be for Your good purposes. If we suffer, I pray for Your glory to result. I will not fear for You will be with me.
    • Draw my husband to Yourself – not to make my life better or easier, not for my selfish purposes, not to make me feel more loved – but to bless him. Glorify Yourself in his life. Empower him to be faithful to You, to be a man of God,  a bright light, in a dark and desperate world.
    • I would love to adopt children, but if that is Your will, I know You will give Greg the desire to adopt children as well, and I lay this dream in Your sovereign hands. I will be content either way.
    • Use me to teach and train our children to know You, to love You, to love what You love and hate what You hate, to trust You and to build their lives on Christ and on the Word of God.
    • Protect my family from evil and temptation. Let us avoid the snares of the evil one. Let our only addiction be Jesus Christ.
    • Set me, my husband and my children apart for Your use. Make us holy as You are holy. Use us for Your kingdom’s work. We are fully Yours.
    • This life is so short. Let me use my time wisely. Let me be faithful to You. I want to hear You say to me, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”  I can’t be faithful to You on my own. Fill me with Your Spirit and empower me to be the woman You desire me to be.
    • Let me have the full presence of Christ and power of Christ in my life, Lord! I am hungry and desperate for You!

 

RELATED:

Praying for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

Praying Scripture

Praying with Humility

Praying from an Obedient Life

Praying for a Consecrated Life

“God, Don’t Waste My Time…”

805261_60983495

 

We profess Christ. We pray constantly for our husbands to come to Christ and for healing for our marriages. We pray and pray and pray and we don’t see things getting better. We may start to get bitter and angry with God that things are not going the way we think they should. If we are not extremely careful, we can take a very dangerous spiritual turn.

How easily we think:

  • I read my Bible every single day almost.
  • I pray constantly, and sometimes I pray for hours every day (I personally used to pray for up to 4 hours per day on my days off)
  • I tithe.
  • I am doing “everything God wants me to.”
  • I go to church 2-3 times a week
  • I pray for my husband to come to Christ or to live for Christ
  • I pray for healing in my marriage
  • I teach my children about God
  • I listen to Christian music
  • I sing in the choir at church
  • I teach a Sunday School class
  • I am a “good person” or a “good Christian”
  • I can quote dozens of Bible verses

SO…

God better deliver.

“I mean, I don’t want to do all of this hard work in vain. It will have been a total waste of my time to follow God if He does not heal my marriage, bring my husband to salvation…. or give me what I want. Why, then my whole faith in Christ would be completely useless.”

WOAH!!!!!!!!!!!  STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was on this path. This was me. I didn’t consciously realize what I was doing. But how this attitude terrifies me and brings me to grief, brokenness, sorrow and mourning now!

David Platt says with tears in his eyes and brokenness in his heart,

“We don’t come to Jesus to get STUFF… We come to Jesus to get GOD!!!!”

What did Satan accuse God of with Job? “God, You aren’t REALLY worthy of Job’s worship, devotion and love. The only reason he loves You is because of all the great things You have given to him and because of his good health. You bought him off! But the minute you take those gifts away, he will curse You to Your face!”

  • THANKFULLY – God knew Job much better than Satan did and Job continued to praise, worship and thank God – even as he suffered. This brought great praise and glory to God’s Name on earth and in heaven!

We can SO EASILY THINK WE SERVE CHRIST BUT ACTUALLY SERVE STUFF (idols) AND NOT EVEN REALIZE WHAT WE ARE DOING!!!

I did this!

That is exactly what I did. I had no clue. No clue for about 20+ years that I was actually putting many other things above Christ in my heart – every waking moment. I was a BIG TIME idolator. What sin is worse than idolatry? I was constantly breaking the first and Greatest Commandment to love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my mind and with all my strength and with all my soul! I was committed to doing anything to get what I wanted and to make it all work out the way I felt things needed to for me to be happy. If Jesus could give me what I wanted, then I was in. But if He didn’t deliver…. then, well, He was going to face my wrath.

It is critical that we check our true motives here or we will think that we are being super spiritual and we won’t see our egregious sin. The tricky thing here is – we often don’t realize what our true motives are. We must allow God to open our hearts and examine them and expose every lie, falsehood, sin and every trace of toxic ungodliness and we must allow Him to remove that gangrene from our souls before it destroys us. This is painful. SUPER painful. But so necessary!

These are not things we consciously or purposely think. We may have convinced ourselves that we love Jesus and we are devoted to Him. But why are we devoted to Him? What is it that we ultimately want? And what is the fruit of our lives? Is it of God?

I learned that many of the ways I disrespected my husband, I also disrespected God in those same ways.

HOW I DISRESPECTED GOD:

  • I questioned His goodness and assumed evil motives on His part – I assumed God could have evil motives towards me (YIKES!!!)
  • I questioned His Word
  • I thought I knew better than He did, really
  • I put myself above Him
  • I undermined His authority and the authority of His Word in my life and in other people’s lives
  • I made demands of Him instead of approaching Him with reverence, trembling and awe on my face in humility before Him
  • I disrespected my husband’s God-given authority over me
  • I complained and argued against God
  • I really wanted what I wanted for my own selfish reasons, I didn’t want God above all else 🙁
  • I had idols in my heart, things that were more important to me than Christ – to God, that was like I was committing adultery against Him
  • I lectured Him, told Him what to do, got exasperated when He didn’t immediately give me what I demanded to have.
  • I didn’t submit to Him.
  • I lived in rebellion against Him – evidenced by my total lack of the fruit of God’s Spirit and all the worry, fear, anxiety, bitterness and loneliness in my soul

I cannot approach God with disrespect, demands, pride, self-righteousness and a wicked heart full of sin and expect Him to hear and answer my prayers. THANK YOU, GOD, that You did NOT give me what I wanted when my motives were so sinful! What a blessing that You did not allow me to find contentment in idols!

IMPURE MOTIVES:

  • I did X, Y and Z, so now God HAS to do what I want Him to do.
  • I am going to dictate to God what He MUST do.
  • God must submit to me.
  • I am right. I know better than God. God needs to get with the program and do things my way.
  • If God doesn’t give me what I want, I won’t trust Him or follow Him anymore. I will not put my faith in Him anymore.
  • The real reason I serve God is to get what I want.  If I do what He wants, then He owes me and has to give me what I want.
  • What is most important is that my marriage be saved.
  • What is most important is that my husband love me the way I want to be loved and that I have the romance I desire.
  • I cannot be content unless my husband changes the way I want him to.
  • What matters most is that I am happy.
  • I am going to do what I want to do, even if You say it is sin. Sin does not grieve my heart at all, and I don’t care how much it grieves Your heart, Jesus, or then great price You paid for my sin with Your blood. I don’t think my sin is a big deal.
  • I cannot be content unless my circumstances change. I refuse to be content in Christ alone. He is not enough for me.
  • I cannot be content unless God bows to my dictates.
  • God HAS to do X or He is not worthy of my devotion, submission, adoration, worship, praise and love.
  • I can’t actually trust God. If I really trust Him, He will hurt me and take away these things I want most in my life. God’s motives towards me are actually evil. I don’t believe that He is actually GOOD and incapable of evil. I really trust myself, not God.
  • I am SO AFRAID that my husband might do X.  That is NOT ok! If he does that, then my life will be destroyed. I cannot trust God if that worst case scenario happened. God would not be able to sustain me. God would not be able to bring anything good from that. God CANNOT let my greatest fears happen, because I don’t trust Him to be able to use my greatest fears for my good if He were to allow me to go through that.
  • If God takes X away from me, I would not love Him, serve Him or trust Him ever again. My greatest goal is to have X. If I can’t have that, then it is not worth it for me to serve Christ.

The above kind of motives and thinking reveal:

  • idolatry of self, trust in self
  • idolatry of my husband, or his behavior, or getting my way, or my having control
  • pride – thinking I know better than God
  • that my heart is not completely submitted to Christ, that I demand He submit to me as if I were god
  • that Jesus is not my primary goal, getting what I want is
  • unbelief
  • lack of faith

PURE MOTIVES:

  • All I need to be content in this life is You, Jesus!
  • You are all I desire, Lord!
  • I trust You, even if my greatest fears were to happen. I know that You are sovereign. I know that anything You allow into my life You will use for my ultimate good and Your glory. I don’t want to suffer if I don’t have to. But if You determine that there is suffering that is in my best interest, then I trust You. I will trust You even if I have to face my deepest fears. As long as You are with me, I know I will have everything I need.
  • I stand in total awe and reverence and tremble before You, God! I am but dust!
  • I am a wretched sinner! I am desperate for  you! You are so very holy, high and lifted up!  You are powerful, sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, good, perfect, sinless, beautiful, righteous, mighty, wise and awesome. I am on my face before You in utter and total humility!
  • I want You, Jesus! Nothing else matters!
  • Here is my will. But I don’t seek my will. I desire Your will first. No matter what it is.
  • I hold nothing back from You. You gave me ALL of Yourself so that I could be made right with God by Your blood. Now, I give you ALL of myself.
  • I cling to You, Jesus! I hold fast to You. Everything else, I hold loosely. If You take something away or if You give me something, I will praise You. You are good. No matter what my circumstances are, I will praise You!
  • I will trust You alone! I know Your motives for me are all good. I know that You are incapable of anything but motives of love and goodness towards me. I know that Your definition of good is my ultimate spiritual good, to make me more like Christ.
  • I will ask, seek and knock for things that I know are YOUR will. I don’t want anything apart from Your will.
  • Purify my motives. Remove every trace of sin from my life. I want to please you!  I want to obey You! I want to bring you joy more than anything in this life! Empower me to be faithful to You. I cannot do it on my own. Make me have Your Spirit so that You can tell me, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” when I stand before You. That is all that matters to me!
  • You are my LORD! There is nothing You can ask me to do that I would refuse to do. All I can say to You is “YES, LORD!”
  • I know that it is Your will to heal my marriage and to bring my husband to Yourself. I pray for these things, not so that I can have what I want for my own selfish pleasure or so that I can put those things above You in my heart – but so that Your Name might be greatly glorified and Your will might be done in my life, in my marriage, in my husband’s life and in our family as it is in heaven.
  • I do not make demands of You, Lord. I approach You in total reverence, respect, awe, trembling and godly fear.
  • I am in amazement that through the precious blood of Christ, I have access to pray to You and to have a relationship with You. Help me to use this incredible privilege in a way that most honors and brings glory to Your Name!
  • Purify me of every trace of pride, self-righteousness, greed, selfishness, idolatry, unbelief, bitterness, etc… Make me holy as You are holy!
  • I want to know You more and more! I want to be near You. If only I can be close to You – I will be completely full of joy and content.
  • Change my desires. Let me only want what You want.
  • I long only for Your will and Your glory in my life – no matter what the personal cost is to myself.
  • I want Your best for my husband – not so that I will feel loved the way I want to – not so that I will find security in him instead of in You – but so that You might be greatly glorified and honored and exalted in His life.

Our God is WORTHY of all of my devotion, worship, praise, love, thanksgiving, obedience, sacrifice, submission, strength, health, time, energy and blessing!!!!!!!! He is ALWAYS worthy of all that I have and all that I am. He is worthy of much more than I could ever offer to Him! How I long to always respond in praise – no matter what my circumstances – just like Job. There is no time, effort, energy, love, talent, thanksgiving or obedience given to God that is ever wasted.

Jesus gave His all for me – ALL to Him I owe!

Keep Making Me – by Sidewalk Prophets

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/BGkmPeVpBbI?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

JAMES 4

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

SHARE:

This is PAINFUL, PAINFUL and sometimes SHOCKING stuff! It can be a bit overwhelming when you first see it from God’s perspective, But, in my experience, we all deal with these sins and issues. You are most welcome to share your struggles, concerns, questions, godly wisdom, insights and what God is teaching you. Let’s support one another as Christian wives and rally around one another as we seek Christ together and desire to please and honor Him! Lord, empower us to become holy and godly women who are pleasing in Your sight and filled with Your Spirit. Purify our every motive and make us the wives and women You desire us to be!

RELATED:

My Secret Idol

But I’m a Good Person!

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

How to Pray for Our Husbands So That God Will Hear

Praying in Humility

Praying with Respect

Praying from an Obedient Life

Consecrating Our Lives to Christ

Prayer Day – Consecration

1409691_66217376

We don’t talk much about consecration in many of our churches today. But – all believers are to live lives that are fully consecrated to God. That is His design. That is what it means for Jesus to be our LORD. This is what the  “normal” life of a Christian is to be all about.

Quotes about Consecration and Prayer from “The Essentials of Prayer” by E.M. Bounds

“Full consecration is the highest type of Christian life…. It is the one thing at which the believer should aim. Nothing short of entire consecration must satisfy us.”

Consecration is the voluntary and set dedication of one’s self to God, an offering definitely made, and made without any reservation whatever. It is first of all the setting apart to God of all we are, all we have, and all we expect to have or to be. It is not so much the giving of ourselves to the Church, or the mere engaging in some line of Church work. Almighty God is in view and He is the end of all consecration. It is a separation of ourselves to God, a devoting to Him all that we are and have for sacred use… Consecration has a sacred nature. It is devoted to holy ends. It is the voluntary putting of ourselves in God’s hands to be used sacredly, holily, with sanctifying goals in view.

Consecration is not so much setting ourselves apart from sinful things and wicked ends. It is separating ourselves from worldly, secular, and even legitimate things – if they come in conflict with God’s plans, that He might put us to holy use… It is a separation from things questionable, or even legitimate, when the choice is to be made between the things of this life and the claims of God.

The consecration that meets God’s demands and that He accepts is to be full and compete, with no mental reservation and with nothing withheld. It cannot be partial, any more than a whole burnt offering in Old Testament times could have been partial. The whole animal had to be offered in sacrifice…. To make a half-hearted, partial, consecration is to make no consecration at all. It is to fail utterly in securing God’s acceptance.” pg 146

  • “Consecration is the intelligent, voluntary, act of the believer, and is the direct result of praying. No prayerless person ever conceives the idea of a full consecration… A life of prayer naturally leads up to full consecration. It leads nowhere else.” pg 147
  • “Consecration recognizes fully God’s ownership of us.” pg 147
  • “God must hear the Christian wholly given up to God. God cannot deny the requests of those who have renounced all claims to themselves, and who have wholly dedicated themselves to God and His service.” pg 148
  • “This act of consecrated Christians puts them ‘on praying ground and pleading terms’ with God. It puts them in reach of God in prayer. It places them where they can get hold of God, and where they can influence God to do things that He would not otherwise do. Consecration brings answers to prayer. God can depend upon consecrated Christians. God can afford to commit Himself in prayer to those who have fully committed themselves to God. Those who give all to God will get all from God.” pg 148
  • “Here is the true test of consecration. It is a life of prayer. Unless prayer is preeminent, unless prayer is foremost, the consecration is faulty, deceptive, falsely named.” pg 148
  • “Prayerless people are in His way, hinder Him, and prevent the success of His cause… Unconsecrated people are useless to Him and hinder Him in carrying out His gracious plans and executing His noble purposes in redemption. God wants consecrated people because He wants praying people.” pg 149
  • “The first great object of consecration is holiness of heart and of life. It is to glorify God. This can be done in no more effect way than by a holy life flowing from a heart cleansed from all sin.” pg 150
  • “To develop this kin dog life and this kind of heart, we are to watch, pray and diligently use all the means of grace available to us. Christians who are truly and fully consecrated, live holy lives. They seek after holiness of heart and are not satisfied without it… Without much prayer, such a life of holiness will break down.” Pg 150-151

“The consecrated soul is the happiest soul. There is no friction between a soul that is fully given over to God and God’s will. The perfect agreement of the two wills brings rest of soul, absence of friction, and the presence of perfect peace.”

Lord,

You desire each of us to be wholly and fully consecrated to You for Your holy use. Show us where we are holding back from You. Show us where we are not in total submission to Your commands and Your Word. Open our eyes to the places where our pride still reigns and our will reigns supreme in our hearts. Let us repent of every sin that offends Your holiness! Let us get on our faces before You in humility and lay ourselves at Your feet. Let us be a people who delight in consecrating ourselves to You. Let us give up all that we are, all that we have and all that we dream of and hope for and lay our lives on the altar as a daily sacrifice to You. Let us desire what You desire. Let us long for what You long for. Let us love what You love and hate what You hate.

Make us a holy people. Let us die to our sins and crucify our old sinful nature with Christ on the cross, dying to ourselves. Let us live for You alone. Let us seek Your purposes and Your glory alone. Let us give ourselves fully to You. Let us be people of fervent, passionate prayer. Let us be people of great faith in You. Change our hearts, O God! Cleanse us of our filthy sin and make us holy in Your sight by the power of Your Spirit. Let us be still and allow You to do Your work in us. Let us experience Your victory over sin. Let us walk in the Light as You are in the light. Let us have fellowship with You and with each other.

Let us delight in being more and more like Jesus. Let us delight in suffering, knowing You will use it to make us more holy. Thank You that trouble is Your servant to make us more mature and complete and prepared to do Your will. Let us long for holiness. Let us long for Your presence, Your Spirit, Your power and Your Word. Let us hunger and thirst for Your righteousness.

We trust our husbands to Your holy, loving, sovereign hands. We trust our children to You. We trust our own lives to You. We lay everything before You. We hold nothing back. We desire only what You want and Your will in our lives. Make us into a godly generation. Let us leave a holy legacy for those who come behind us by Your Spirit working through us. Let us love You more than life itself, more than our husbands, more than our children, more than anything on this earth. We desire You alone! Let us only have Your Spirit, Your presence, Your Word and Your love and we have EVERYTHING! You are all we need. We will find our contentment, our peace, our hope, our joy, our acceptance, our purpose, our LIFE in You alone. We submit to You as LORD of all in our lives. We belong to You. We were bought with a great price. We are not our own anymore. We will trust You, not ourselves, from this moment on. Teach us Your ways. Let us love Your Word. Fill us with Your Spirit. Let us become the women You desire us to be!

Our prayers for ourselves, our husbands, our children and our sisters in Christ here on this blog and their husbands and children and for Your church around the world:

  • Let there be a Great Awakening by the power of Your Spirit sweeping in our midst!
  • Let us all wholly consecrate ourselves to You.
  • Remove all the worldliness in us.
  • Give us a deep hunger and thirst for Your presence, Your Spirit, Your power, Your Word and the things of heaven.
  • Let us be people of fervent prayer.
  • Empower us to live holy, obedient lives for Christ.
  • Send us as laborers into the harvest for Your kingdom.
  • Cleanse us of our idolatry, unbelief, pride, rebellion, stubbornness, disobedience, self-righteousness and every trace of every sin by the precious blood of Christ.
  • Give us unshakable and great faith in You, Lord!
  • Set us on fire with passion and desire for You alone.
  • Let us be Spirit-filled people, and let the fruit of Your Spirit be evident in our lives every day, in our marriages, at work, with our children, with our coworkers, with our neighbors, at church and everywhere we go.
  • Let us be godly, Christlike people.
  • Refine our faith. Purify our motives.
  • Let us be concerned about You and Your priorities, not ours.
  • Let us die to our old self, crucifying our sinful nature with Christ and burying it with Him and let us put on our new nature in Christ.
  • Let us love one another with Your love.
  • Let us respect and honor one another.
  • Let us fear You, God and tremble before You.
  • Let us fully submit to You as LORD.
  • Let us be unconcerned with worldly things.
  • Let us be about Your business.
  • Equip and prepare us for spiritual battle and warfare.
  • Let us love You more than anything by FAR in this life. Let us hunger for Your Word and Your presence.
  • Let us repent from every sin, turning completely away from it and turning to You.
  • Let us be sensitive to Your Spirit.
  • Give us Your Spirit of unity.
  • Let us pray together in one accord.
  • Give us Your love and compassion for others – for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for the multitudes who are lost and dying apart from Jesus each day. Our mission is urgent. Let us not get distracted by things that are unnecessary and insignificant and unimportant.
  • Let us forsake materialism, greed, heresy, lies and every form of idolatry.
  • Let us leave a godly legacy for our children.
  • Let us begin to understand GRACE more and more and let us extend it to everyone around us and let us live in the power of God’s grace.
  • Let us rest in Your sovereignty in total faith and trust, allowing Your perfect love to cast out every fear and doubt.

In the Name, power and will of Christ!

Amen!

RELATED:

Praying for Our Husbands so that God Will Hear

Stages of This Journey

A Wife Analyzes Her Journey

Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity.   http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html
Mongolian Gold being refined to 99.99% purity. http://www.mgs.mn/refining.html

An email I received from a Fellow Wife in Nov of 2013..  Her words are in black, mine are in blue.  She was taking an inventory of her heart and soul and her progress on this journey over the past 13 months, and asking some questions. This journey of becoming a godly woman is a life-long process of sanctification. It is how we work together with God to allow His Spirit to refine our hearts and make us more and more holy and Christlike and set apart for His diving purposes (and please check out her latest update in September of 2014): 

1)  I want to get your opinion.  I am going to rely on the fact that you understand men MUCH more than I do right now.  I *feel* like you don’t see this the way I do at all- and that is perfectly okay.  🙂  I *feel* like you can see dh’s love for me at all times and see that he makes me very much a priority and that there is never a question of his feelings.  Are those assumptions correct?  Perhaps a large part of this is my misunderstanding of him.  There have been other times when I was wrong in what I thought he was thinking.
I am not an “expert” about any of this. I still have so much to learn and so many areas where I want to understand God, marriage, femininity and masculinity more fully. I think I have just been studying these things a bit longer than you have, so I do see your husband’s actions and behavior in a very different way than you do many times. There are times when you focus on “I’m not the highest priority to him” that you and I see the picture of your marriage VERY, VERY differently, yes.
 
Yes, I can see your husband’s strong love for you all the time  – sometimes, I think he is frustrated by your negative assumptions, hormones and attempts to control him.  But yes – you have one EXTREMELY loving man who is very committed to you.  I have no doubt of that.
 
I can also see ways that he makes you a HUGE priority in his life.  He doesn’t always do things exactly the way you want him to.  There may have been a couple of exceptions where he was selfish.  But – overall, I believe he makes you his biggest priority and I believe it exhausts and frustrates him to have it thrown in his face that he is not making you his priority when he actually usually IS making you his priority.
 
I don’t think you understand his heart and mind and motives well yet.  I think if you did, you would be shocked by how wrong some of your assumptions have possibly been.
 
Are there men who don’t make their wife a high enough priority?  YES.
Is your husband one of those?  Not usually.
 
2) I do know this man loves me.  That is not in question at all.  He works hard to provide for us every day.  He is kind and caring.  He tells me he loves me multiple times a day.  I could count on one hand the number of times he has called me by my name.  It is honey, baby, babe, baby doll and a number of other endearments.  He loves my children- who are not his biological children- beyond words.  He could not possibly love them more or do more for them if they were his biological children.  He adopted them.  A man does not do that if he does not love his wife!  And her children!
That is a lot of VERY strong evidence that he does love you and your children and is a very committed, devoted husband and father.  There is also much evidence of his love for you in many of his actions that you have shared with me in the past year.
3) Let’s flip this.  Holding onto this past hurt is not fair.  I have done countless things toward my husband that were wrong in our marriage and he very easily could have held them against me and to my knowledge, does not.
Yes, he could hold hundreds of things against you – but he does not.  He has been extremely forgiving, merciful, patient and gracious with you even when you have been very unlovable.
 
4) I can go long stretches in peace before this thing rears it’s head.  Right now I need to run everything through a hormonal weakness filter.  Yesterday was a terrible hormonal day.  I finally went to bed early because I knew it was the healthiest thing I could do.
Hormones make these temptations SO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT. It is infinitely easier to assume our husbands have evil motives towards us when we are hormonal, exhausted, sick or in pain.
 
I’m glad you went to bed early.  Smart girl!
 
5) There is no one time of dealing with this and it is done.  I falsely believed that.  There will be times the idol of “wanting to be my husband’s first priority” or “wanting control” or “thinking I know best” springs back up and I have to deal with it again and again, but it does not have to grow to the HUGE thing it was before.  This is a daily decision to not bite the bait.
Right.  There will be many times of temptation and times you will want to resurrect those idols.  This is a daily decision – it gets easier over time with practice and with God’s Spirit’s power! 🙂 But apart from God, if we are not abiding in Him and full of His Spirit, we cannot do this on our own. If I stray from God, I will crash and burn.
 
6) I have made HUGE progress!  I am doing wonderful.  Just because the temptation raises up to accept this idol back at times does NOT mean I have to accept it or that I haven’t come far.  I do not want to feel defeated by not doing this perfectly.  I CAN and AM doing this.  🙂
You are absolutely right!  God is giving you the power to do this.  You have come VERY, VERY far.  It doesn’t mean you are back to step one if you trip and stumble.  You just get up and keep going. 🙂
7) Truth: a lot of this is that *I* have a problem with setting too high expectations- for myself and my husband.  Last night, before I put myself to bed, I was fussing that I was so upset I had not got more done yesterday (although I HAD cleaned the stove, cleaned the microwave, fixed a time consuming supper, read my bible, did floors in the whole house, tv screens, mirrors, 2 loads of dishes in the dishwasher, multiple loads of laundry, ironed or today and tonight, went to a dr apt and did other errands, helped our son study for a test, etc) and he said, “Babe, you expect too much of yourself!” I was still stressing I did not get my grocery list made and unload the final load of dishes.  I am a perfectionist and I expect perfection from my husband at times.  Not a healthy habit.
Your husband is so right.  You do expect too much of yourself. 🙂
 
Perfectionism is a form of idolatry, too.  Been there, done that myself. I have to be very careful, I can easily pile up all kinds of expectations on myself that are not actually of God and then drown in my expectations. We must ALL constantly watch our thoughts and motives and expectations and lay them at the feet of Christ.
 
God doesn’t expect perfection.  He desires increasing holiness and Christlikeness.  And He doesn’t expect us to do this on our own. He expects us to do it in the power of His Spirit. Let’s use seeking to please God as the goal – not our own human standard of “perfection.”  
 
 
8) Changing internal dialogue might take awhile… I need to give it time to become a habit… when I ‘catch’ a negative thought with an evil assumption, I will have to just replace it with a better one.  Habits take time to form and that is okay.
Yes.  Habits do take time to change and to form.  It is important to have healthy and true statements and scripture at the ready to replace the evil assumptions and the lies that we repeat over and over to ourselves so that we can take those sinful thoughts captive.  This whole process of sanctification takes a lifetime. 🙂
 
9) This came to my mind last night from a book I read several years ago, Having A Mary Heart In A Martha World, which is a very good book by the way.  Anyways, I learned in that book that the devil has three basic weapons.  Doubt, Deceit and Distraction.  Anything that he throws at you can be pretty much traced back to that.  The thought, “I am not a priority to my husband”- doubt & deceit.  “He doesn’t care about me that deeply.”- doubt & deceit.  Just examples.  Taking every thought captive is very, very hard work.
Yes!  that is awesome!  When you can recognize what the enemy is doing – that is a huge part of claiming victory – just to see it so that you can combat it with God’s power is VERY important!
 
Any time you hear yourself accusing your husband of not loving you or having evil motives – please examine the source. Are you actually basing those thoughts on real fact, or on fleeting emotions and assumptions? Negative emotions and assumptions are NOT a solid basis for making accusations against our husbands. When we do that, we are not showing the love of God.
  • ie: He’s not sitting with me right now, so he must not love me. I must not be a priority to him. He obviously doesn’t care about me at all!
Thoughts like that are not based on fact. These are the kinds of thoughts we must take captive. Let’s assume the best about our husbands instead of the worst. Yes.  It is very hard work to take every thought captive instead of luxuriating in the toxic mire of resentment and bitterness and pain. We can also ask for what we want and need in a respectful, kind, pleasant way instead of assuming our husbands can and should read our minds. 
  • i.e.: “Honey, I’m feeling lonely. I’d love it if you could sit and cuddle with me sometime tonight!” (with pleasant tone of voice and a smile, but no pressure, then allow him to decide what he wants to do and accept his “Yes” or “No.” If he doesn’t choose to sit with you, that is ok. And it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. He may have something on his mind he needs to do. We can still find peace and joy in Christ no matter what our husbands do or do not do.)
 
Of course, wallowing in those sins is destructive ultimately.  Taking thoughts captive and shooting down the lies empowers us to allow Christ to renew our hearts and minds with His truth and His wisdom and His Word, and allows God’s Spirit to be in control, not our old sinful nature.
10) There is probably an explanation for my husband’s behavior at the times I don’t understand… and then there are times I really believe are just selfishness… but that is between him and God.  That is his journey.
Yes, I think there may be explanations at times for his behavior that you don’t understand sometimes. He thinks very differently from the way you do. He will also need room to mess up and sin and make mistakes.  He will not be perfect.  His needs are just like your needs – mercy, grace, forgiveness, unconditional love, unconditional respect. 🙂
 
When you condemn him as being selfish, you are setting yourself up as his judge.  You (and I) are not qualified to judge him accurately.  Jesus will be His judge – and Jesus will be righteous about His judgements.  You don’t know his heart.  You don’t know his motives and you cannot accurately judge him.  That is God’s job.  You are not God.
11) I really need to just relax and enjoy where I am.  It is okay I am not doing this perfectly…. I am moving forward, that is the main thing.  And I need to keep practicing letting go and it will all be okay.  Some days are more perfect than others.

Yes, some days will be better than others.  DEFINITELY ENJOY where you are and relax. 🙂 Rest in God’s love and in your husband’s love for  you.

12) Why hurt myself with negative assumptions?  I really DON’T know how he thinks.  Why not assume the best?  Although I am sure the temptation will come again to assume evil motives.
True.  You don’t know how he thinks and you don’t know his motives – although he has given you many clues. 🙂   God’s love assumes the best about others, not the worst. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
 
13) I seriously cannot let my guard down one single minute.  The devil is furious that our marriage is getting healthier.  He has taken some large hits from us lately.  I need to pray for God’s protection and help at all times.
True. True. True.
How is that from your analytical friend?  LOL!
RELATED POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE:
BY KAYLA:
BY PEACEFULWIFE:
PMS – part 1
PMS – part 2

“He Broke My Trust. I Can’t Forgive Him.”

1191968_68133953

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:

I am going to need to take an email break for the next few days, maybe 4-5 days or so. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding! You are welcome to post comments.

——————–

A dear wife commented on the post “I’m Going to Stop Pursuing My Husband (in the Wrong Ways)”

FROM THE WIFE:

Hello Peacefulwife,
Wow. Your post has touched many hearts, including mine now.  I’ve been searching for answers on how to be the best I can for my husband or if I’m doing the wrong things, saying the wrong things or wanting the wrong things. My way and not his way, the second he gets home from work its always about going upstairs to see his family (we moved in after he got out of the marine corps) I’m always on his tail about making me feel like I matter more than anyone to him. Because I do those things for him without asking. And he always takes it the wrong way when I say anything about it. I tell him he doesn’t make me happy when he does these things, but I feel like if I back off from him he’s going to mess everything up or hurt me again.

I don’t feel like I trust him since he broke my trust and lied to me about getting another woman’s number right after we had married.  He promised me that he would never do anything to hurt me again and he even admitted to being wrong and foolish, begging for my forgiveness on his knees. But still, I have this hurt, this scar and ache inside me that just won’t let me forget what he’d done. That was almost 2 years ago.

After that happened we started fighting very badly he verbally and mentally abused me because I’d never let that go. I took the beatings to my heart and have kept them since. It got so bad that I had to leave to be with my family for a little. Shortly after he followed and did what ever he could to keep me. I know I’ve got a novel going but what my problem is, Peacefulwife, is that I feel like I’ll never forget what he did. Even with God’s help.

I am a strong believer in Christ and my parents are pastors/missionaries but I just have no trust to believe he won’t mess up again. Him. My husband. The man that is supposed to love me. The man that is not supposed to hurt my heart. Ugh. I’m confused. I’m weak. I always feel like my husband should be my happiness but I know that’s not true. I need prayer for strength to keep my mouth closed and to be still and pray to God for guidance because I feel not in control of my actions and I’m causing fights. He is a good man and I know he loves me but we are both hot headed and stubborn. I just want to know, will my heart heal?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

It is great to hear from you! :)

So 2 years ago, your husband got another woman’s phone number – and you have fought with him and won’t forgive him and can never trust him again? Is that correct?

My precious girl!!!!

I am very sorry that things have been so difficult and painful! It sounds like a very rough two years for you. I am glad that apparently things are somewhat better and it seems that your husband has tried to improve things for you to be willing to get back together with him.

When you are a believer in Christ, your trust in not ultimately in your husband. Husbands are wretched sinners just like wives. Your trust is to be 100% in Christ Jesus. You can forgive not because your husband deserves it, but because Jesus forgave YOU for your mountain of sins and because the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover any sin.

Thankfully, a husband getting a woman’s phone number and lying about it is forgivable in Christ! Quite honestly, he is probably going to sin against you a whole lot worse than that many times in this marriage. And, it looks like you have already sinned against him a whole lot worse than that, too.

PRAISE GOD we have access to the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ for ourselves AND for those we love when they sin against us!

If Jesus is your LORD – He commands you to forgive or God will not forgive you (Matthew 6). Unforgiveness is HUGE SIN. I held on to unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness for many years in our marriage, and I had no idea that what I was doing was – choosing to cherish bitterness instead of Christ.

Those are my choices. I can have Jesus or I can have my bitterness. I cannot have both.

Bitterness is ugly, nasty sin that starts as a little root and grows into an evil tree that overtakes my entire soul. It is idolatry of unforgiveness. It is toxic poison.

I think that you may possibly be putting your husband and his behavior in your heart as more important to you than Jesus. I did this, too. You may expect your husband to meet needs in your life that only Jesus can meet – expecting him to be responsible for your happiness.  A Fellow Wife, who wrote this post, did that, too. Many, Many wives do this today – it is just “normal” now. But, this is idolatry. There is no greater sin than that. You may also have SELF as an idol, you may be trusting self more than God – I did that, too. And I also had being in control as an idol. I said I trusted Jesus, but I lived as if everything depended on me and I was ultimately responsible for making everything work out “right.” I completely missed the sovereignty of God. I lived in fear, worry, anxiety and loneliness. My pride and self-righteousness and contempt and resentment and bitterness repelled my husband away from me – and it grieved God’s heart so that God did not hear or answer my prayers.

Turns out, I am a WRETCHED sinner. I didn’t really and truly get that before 5 years ago.

If you need something to be happy and content in life – and that thing is not Jesus – there is a really good chance that you are committing idolatry.

  • It is not your husband’s responsibility to make you happy.
  • YOU are responsible for your own emotions and your own contentment and real contentment is only found in Christ. If you find that you are discontent and anxious – that is often a very clear sign that you are putting something or more than one thing above Christ in your heart. Idols always bring discontentment, depression, anxiety and fear.

You cannot have the fruit of God’s Spirit when you are clinging to sin and idols. It is time to lay down all of the sin and to tear out anything that has become more important to you than Jesus, and repent in tears and humbly turn back to Christ.

You can be content in Him alone. Seek Him alone. He can handle your husband. The more you try to force your husband to do things, the more you destroy your marriage. Rest in God’s love for you. Trust in Christ. He can give you the strength and power to deal with things if your husband sins. And when you are not pressuring and trying to control your husband, amazingly, he is going to be a lot less likely to sin the way you fear he will.

You have a LOT of sin in your own life to deal with right now. If your husband is like mine, he will probably be pretty forgiving, thankfully!

Get into God’s Word. Humble yourself before Him. Allow Him to remove every trace of sin. Submit yourself fully to Him as Lord and trust Him with all these things in your life.

The more your husband feels respected and honored, the more he will care about your feelings. Please don’t follow him and scold him for talking to his family first. THANK and APPRECIATE the good things he does. Tell him you are proud of him for being a loving son. Be a SAFE place for him instead of a constant source of negativity, criticisms, lectures and contempt. Smile, Praise the good in him. Beg God to change you into the wife He desires you to be and seek to please God and bless your husband. All the other selfish motives have to go.

I hope that your husband can have another chance. How awful to feel that there is never anything he can ever do that will be good enough again and that it is impossible to earn back your trust or have the relationship he wants to have with you.

Check out “Signs Your Husband May be Feeling Disrespected”at the top of my home page, and the post about disrespectrespect and biblical submission– and what is attractive/unattractive to husbands.

You have come to the right place, my friend! If you are ready to do things God’s way, I am glad to walk on this journey with you.

I’m right here if you have any questions – I will do my best to point you to Christ and His Word. :)

(NOTE – God is able to heal marriages even after porn addiction and adultery. I have seen Him do it countless times. It is possible that trust may have to be rebuilt. But God can give us the power to forgive, and if our spouse is truly repentant, we can move towards rebuilding trust. If there are SERIOUS issues in your marriage, please seek godly, biblical, experienced counsel!)

FROM THE WIFE:

Wow.

I can hardly find the words! I’m so ashamed.

I didn’t even think to realize how God would be feeling about the way I’ve been acting, I know He probably has been hurting because I’m not crying out to Him for this – thinking I could do this all on my own. I was so wrong. It’s so good to hear this from someone who has been through these motions to realize what I’ve been causing in my marriage! I didn’t even see the signs! Its like a slap in the face. But I’m thankful for it, and for you. You helped me wake up to see the true root to my sin. I’ve never been able to talk to anyone about these insecurities I’ve been having.  Now I truly see that it is selfishness, bitterness and idolatry.

I have chosen to put God first. I’m putting my foot down in front of the flesh and asking Him for my complete undeserving forgivess. I’m going to constantly seek Him humbly and choose prayer instead of giving into my selfishness to choose my route. Thank you, Lord, for awesome loving unselfish caring people like you! I bet that you are at peace. Because you have chosen to put your strength and trust in Jesus as am I from this day on! I receive that in Jesus name! I will be checking out your links as well as God’s Word to help guide me through this that I realize now that it is the only way. And I am ready for my storm to calm finally! <3 Thank you so much for making room and time for my sin and worry.  Wife to wife, God bless you.

RELATED:

Exploring the Depths of Bitterness

Bitterness is Contagious and Toxic

Finding Victory over Bitterness

Forgiveness

Bitterness of Soul – A Wife Desires to Be Her Husband’s First Priority

Say “Thank You!”

1382165_84200745

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:

I have a busy week this week with our children home from school on a winter break and some extra work. I will get to emails and comments as I am able to.  I apologize in advance that I may not be able to be as prompt as I would like to be.  Thanks for your understanding and patience!  You are more than welcome to comment here.  I know many of you will encourage each other.  I love what an amazing group we have and how you support, respect, love and build up each other.  THANK YOU for that!  I am so grateful for each of you!!!!!!

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE

I have another little challenge for you, ladies!  Last week was the SMILE challenge.  I’d love to hear some reports about how that has gone. 🙂

If your husband does something that blesses you, something that you benefit from in any way – THANK him.

Smile, have a friendly voice, thank him and maybe even give him a real hug, too!

I know, it’s crazy, right!?!?!!? 🙂

In a man’s world, spoken or visible appreciation is HUGE!  For your husband,  hearing “thank you” or “Great job, Honey!” may actually mean more to him than a long love letter from you or even the words, “I love  you.”

If you haven’t been thanking him – it may feel a bit awkward at first to thank your husband.  That’s ok!  You can do this!  Don’t expect anything back from him.  Just thank him because God commands us to “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18

When should we thank our husbands?  Here are some of my suggestions for your consideration.  Don’t do all of these at once!  Spread them out.  Maybe do one every day or so, or thank him as he does some of these things.  Make it a new habit.  Be sincere.):

  • Thank him for working to provide for the family sometimes, even if you work too, even if you make more money than he does.  Most men view providing financially as the primary way they show love to their families. (From Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only”)
  • When he has had a particularly difficult day – THANK HIM for working so hard to take care of his family.
  • When he helps with the children.  Yes, they are his children, too, but it is a great thing to thank him for taking some of the burden off of you.  He is blessing you.  He could be at a bar or sitting in front of the TV ignoring the kids.  Even if he is doing something we think he “should” do, we can thank him and appreciate him. This encourages him to be more involved as a father.  Men respond to appreciation, admiration and genuine praise. It motivates them to do even better.  Aren’t we all like that, really?  Don’t we all want to do even more when someone shows real appreciation?
  • Thank him for complimenting you when he does and ACCEPT his compliments graciously.
  • ANYTIME he does any kind of chores around the house (thank him, don’t criticize him!  Especially if you would like him to continue to help  you!)
  • Thank him for his leadership, for carrying that weight in the family, even if he hasn’t started leading yet.  You can step down and allow him space and time to start leading, and you can thank him for his leadership.  There may even be ways he does try to lead that you could appreciate that you hadn’t noticed before.
  • Thank him when he gets something for you at the store.
  • Thank him any time he buys you something.  Thank him for his thoughtfulness and generosity!
  • Thank him for taking care of the yard or the cars or for fixing things around the house.  SMILE and thank him and tell him when he does a good job.  Avoid criticizing how he does things as much as possible.  Let him experience having a fully happy wife, a content wife.  That is every husband’s greatest dream!!!  To do something for his wife and for her to be completely satisfied with his efforts.
  • Thank him for taking you and your children to church if he does, or thank him for allowing you to go if he does not go with you.
  • Thank him for disciplining the children, stand behind his decisions as a father.
  • Thank him for being a great dad.
  • Thank him for being a wonderful husband.
  • Thank him for his strengths – his strong work ethic, his patience, his forgiving spirit, his eye for detail, his careful decision making, his responsible driving, his character, his integrity, his faith in Christ, his carefulness with money, etc…
  • Thank him for being faithful to his wedding vows to you if he has been.  “Honey, I just want to tell you that it means the WORLD to me that you have been faithful to me in our marriage.  Thank you for being a man of your word and for being a man of integrity.”
  • Thank him for being here with you and for the honor of being his wife.
  • Thank him for bringing fun into your life and family.
  • Appreciate his sense of humor.
  • Thank/appreciate him in front of your children often and in front of other people – this makes most husbands feel like they are on top of the world!
  • Thank him for the difference he makes in the world by doing a good job at his profession.
  • Thank him if he sends you a sweet text/email.
  • Thank him for coming home and being with you and the family.
  • Thank him for eating supper with you.
  • Thank him/appreciate him for having sex with you or cuddling with you.

HUSBANDS:

What would it mean to you for you to hear your wife say, “Thank you” for the things you do for her and your family?  How much does it mean to see her smile a real smile and to tell you how much she appreciates your efforts?  I would love to hear from you!

LADIES:

Let me know how things go!

%d bloggers like this: