It’s great to do things for God. But it MUST be according to His will, His Spirit, His leading, and His timing. I have learned that if I run ahead and do things on my own, I just make a big mess. A really big mess.
Not only do I not bless anyone, I can even cause harm when I try to do things in my strength, my effort, and my wisdom.
It’s hard for me to be still and wait. I don’t want to waste time. Life is short! Running ahead with my own plans is easy. My normal tendency is to want to just take off and go about 100 miles per hour feeling like I am DOING something important for God. Whether He has called me to that thing or not. Whether it is by His Spirit and assignment or not.
But God has been calling me to a MUCH slower pace. And a LOT of waiting, at times.
Because… He is good.
There’s nothing wrong with making plans in advance, necessarily. We need to make some plans. We do need to think about the future, at times, and pray about possible options. But sometimes I end up expending a lot of energy over potential decisions that may happen way down the road that we may not even need to ever make.
It’s critical that I remember that the Lord is in control, not me. I must be ready to set aside my plans every second for God’s plans.
Turns out, I don’t have to have everything figured out in advance.
A Pillar of Cloud and Fire
God has also been showing me recently that following Him is a lot like the picture of Israel following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 40:34-38
The Israelites had no idea when God would move them or how long they might stay. God didn’t tell them His plan in advance. Sometimes, they stayed in a place only one night and the cloud moved the next day so they broke camp and followed. Other times, the cloud stayed in one place for a month or longer.
They were a lot like sheep, following their Good Shepherd.
It makes me think of how God leads me. I don’t know His plan any more than these adorable little lambs know their shepherd’s plan. I don’t know what He will do even 5 minutes from now. And yet, He is with me. He does lead me.
Through His Word. Through prayer. Through godly counsel. Through circumstances. Through His “still, small voice.” Through people in positions of leadership in my life.
He is great at leading me through my wonderful husband who thinks so very differently from me. And He leads in other ways, too.
I have learned that human plans can change very quickly. I don’t want to put much weight on them.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17
In one heartbeat, our entire reality can suddenly change.
Only God really knows what will happen. And only God can truly know what will be best in any given situation.
All I really need to do is seek God’s beautiful face. Meaning, all I need to do is worship, thank, praise, and trust Him. As I keep my spiritual eyes focused on Him, He will direct my steps and give us the prompting, the open doors, the provision, the opportunities, the desires, the calling, the vision, the assignments, the wisdom, and the direction that I need.
This takes a whole lot of strain off of me. I don’t need to know the plan. And you know what else? Huge light bulb moment…
My husband doesn’t even need to know God’s plan in advance, either!
I just need to love and trust that God has the plan and He will reveal it to both of us one step at a time – at just the right time. I have found that He absolutely will as I devote myself fully to following and trusting Him.
When I say,
Do ALL that You want with me and in me and with my family. Lead my career and ministry in Your narrow path that leads to Life. I want to experience as much of You as possible. I want to yield to Your Lordship completely. I want to get to see everything You want to provide and know and experience all of Your Spirit that I can possibly receive.
I leave everything open. I give you total access to every door in my life. Every possibility in the future. Every talent and gift I have. Everyone in my family. Every trial. Every blessing. It’s all completely Yours.
Let Your will be done 100% in my life. I don’t want to miss out on one good thing You have for me. I want to experience every bit of Your unfathomable love. I want You do to whatever will bring You the greatest glory in my life. Amen…
It is amazing what He will do.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
ISAIAH 30:21 (God’s plan for His people with the New Covenant in Christ)
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
I want to be more like that little lamb who just seeks to be close to her shepherd and is ready to follow wherever he may go in a moment’s notice. It’s not about me, my plans, my opinions, my wisdom, or my thoughts about what would be best. It is all about Him!
It is a lot more simple than I ever realized.
Have you learned something about resting in Christ, waiting on God, and following Him that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear the godly wisdom you have gleaned in your walk with the Lord.
Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons. Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do.
As long as he can drag us away from God and the truth, that’s all that matters in his eyes.
He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished.
In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Pet. 5:7-10
Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:
We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives.
We can go our own way, (which is also Satan’s way). This automatically invites demonic authority into our lives to one degree or another.
We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.
Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.
This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.
Get rid of the spiritual poison.
Pour God and His Truth and love in.
Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:
Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder (King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times. Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.).
And other things, as well.
Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.
But Satan and his demons do have a lot of power in this world. He is the prince of the power of the air. He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering— his ultimate goal being to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.
Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.
But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to cherish sin in our lives (Eph. 4:30). We can choose to rebel against God, although this should make us sick and we should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord.
We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.
Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.
Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester. This can result in various things like:
Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
Physical illness, at times.
No appetite for God or His Word.
Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.
Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.
All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.
We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.
Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver). Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.
We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.
But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering. I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life. I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).
THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE
The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
Isolating ourselves from other believers.
Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately—ie: Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).
Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.
Addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives create an atmosphere where demons feel welcome. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.
THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE
Repenting from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
Putting on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)
Freedom in Christ
The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.
When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.
They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.
When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.
I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. People are much weaker than demons.
Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.
Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.
The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.
PRAY WITH ME
Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy in for tea and cookies and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.
We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.
We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.
We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.
If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.
For dealing with an angry husband, I have several resources I would like to share that I hope might be a blessing. Of course, each situation is a bit different.
It is tempting to respond to our husband’s anger with anger of our own. But it is much more productive and healthy for us to respond in the power of the Spirit. It can also help us if we remember that anger is often a secondary emotion that springs from hurt or pain of some type.
By far the most helpful thing is to have God’s wisdom and discernment about what is really going on and how the Lord is prompting us to respond in that situation.
Sometimes, a husband may be open to discussing the things I am about to ask. Other times, you’ll know the answer when you see the questions without having to ask him about it. If a husband is particularly angry, he may not want to have a big discussion about any of the things I am going to share.
Sometimes, it is important to try to talk through things. Other times, a man may need some healthy space to work through his own anger.
When he is super volatile and feeling out of control, he may need to walk away to calm down. He may not be able to have a deep discussion right then. Let him go get himself under control. Don’t follow him and demand that he speak if he feels like he is about to blow up. That will probably only make things worse.
These questions are really mostly for you to prayerfully consider:
Is he actually angry?
Is he just from a family culture or a geographical culture where people tend to speak loudly and forcefully, but they aren’t actually angry? Sometimes people from the South, for example, think people from New York City are angry because they talk faster and more loudly, but the New Yorkers may be speaking normally, from their perspective.
Are you especially sensitive/insecure and maybe looking for anger behind everything he does, even when maybe he is not angry at you? Do you struggle with people-pleasing or idolizing your husband? Do you feel nervous at the thought that there could be any tension or conflict ever?
Is it possible you could be misunderstanding him/his personality and that he doesn’t intend to communicate anger? Maybe he is simply trying to communicate something he would like to be different, but maybe he is not angry about it?
Could he be reacting defensively because he feels attacked?
If he really is angry, with what or with whom is he angry?
With other family members?
With coworkers/customers/neighbors/church members/others?
Is he spiritually, physically, or emotionally depleted?
Is he upset about a real or perceived injustice against himself, a loved one, or someone else?
Is he afraid to trust God or others because of past scars?
Is he taking a medication that can cause irritability or does he suffer from a health issue that may contribute to this (low blood sugar, ADD, Asperger’s, autism, bi-polar,schizophrenia, PTSD, low thyroid, abnormal testosterone levels, an infection, poor nutrition, or something else)?
Does he feel overwhelmed by all he has to do and he just can’t figure out how to handle everything on his plate?
Does he feel like he can’t win? Like there is no way for him to be the hero in the situation?
Is he worried about someone he loves or something that is important to him?
Does he feel powerless to fix a problem or to help someone he wants to be able to help?
Does he feel emasculated in some way as a man?
Is he fearful of something bad happening?
Is the anger explosive, violent, or out of control? If so, please seek outside help!
Most of all, we need the Holy Spirit’s leading and wisdom. He can prompt us to speak up or not to speak and what to say, many times, if we are tuned in to His leading.
We may not know what exactly he is angry about, at the time, at least. He may not even be able to explain it, sometimes. But God knows and He can give us His wisdom to respond rightly and without sin on our end.
I love Nina Roesner’s eCourse, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.” It helps women find their bearings spiritually and heal in Christ individually and then gives tools for how to respectfully address a husband’s anger, defensiveness, and other difficult issues. And once you finish the 11-week eCourse, you get access to a private email forum where other women share and you can support each other, led by trained moderators.
Also, Nina has an article I like called, “Got an Angry Man?”
Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas is a book that may be a blessing for wives with angry, difficult husbands, as well.
FOR THOSE WITH SERIOUS ISSUES
If you have really serious issues going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel or go to appropriate medical, spiritual, or police authorities for help.Please try to keep yourself and your children safe. And if you are abusing your husband or children and they are not safe, please reach out for help for yourself ASAP!
What Is Gaslighting? by www.gotquestions.org Gaslighting has three main components: 1) Convincing the victim that the abuse she suffers is her fault, 2) Convincing the victim that she did not experience what she thinks she did, and 3) Separating the victim from people who support her.
It is critical that you can identify which of the four root causes is the issue in your marriage so that you can decide how to approach the issue wisely. It takes the discernment and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help us tell what is truly going on.
Other people don’t necessarily know what we need to do, but God always does.
Keep in mind, there can be multiple issues going on at the same time.
One—He cares but you can’t see or receive it.
Our emotions are a gift, but they can also get us in trouble. Sometimes they feel so real, but our feelings are not always the source of absolute truth.
If your thinking is really the problem, your husband can make every change in the world on his end, but you will still feel upset, unloved, and like your husband is the most awful husband ever.
You may think he needs to change and that will fix your feelings, but he can’t fix issues on your end. This is between you and the Lord.
Until you deal with your skewed thinking and lies about God, yourself, and others—you will be stuck and so will your marriage.
It’s up to you to begin to seek the Lord, to invite Him to help you see wrong thinking, and allow Him to transform your heart, mind, soul, and life with the power of His Word, His truth, and His Spirit.
Resources to evaluate your thinking:
Note – there were also many links under each category with resources on the last post, as well
The Peaceful Mom – This book addresses how to correct toxic, skewed thinking in great detail in the beginning chapters.
The Peaceful Wife – This book addresses wrong thinking and sin issues in our hearts as wives and teaches us what godly feminity looks like.
Two—He cares but is not showing it.
If your husband really does care, but he is hurting in the marriage, or he is overwhelmed, stressed, or feeling disrespected, he may be struggling to show his love. Or sometimes, there is simply a misunderstanding between male/female perspectives or between different personalities.
A husband tends to have a few very straightforward and simple needs in marriage:
He needs to know his wife admires, trusts, and respects him.
He needs to feel appreciated and needed in healthy ways.
He needs to know his wife desires and enjoys him sexually and that she respects him in this area and doesn’t humiliate, shame, or pressure him. And he needs to know she won’t withhold herself sexually out of spite.
He wants to be the leader, the protector, the hero, and the good guy.
If a man believes that his wife doesn’t have faith in him, it can be soul crushing. As Gary Thomas says, in “Sacred Influence,” men look into their “wife mirrors” to see the reflection of who they are. If he looks into his wife’s eyes and heart and sees he is a failure, that he is worthless, and that she only has contempt or annoyance for him, he may believe these hurtful messages and absorb that as his identity.
If he thinks his wife thinks he is incompetent, she treats him like a child, or she is very critical and negative toward him, he will likely either fight her for his honor or shut his heart against her, unless he is able to act in the power of the Spirit to address the issue rightly.
If a man feels his wife resents having sex with him, treats intimacy like a dreaded chore, or if he feels very pressured into sex with her, he may feel emasculated as a man emotionally and even spiritually.
If he believes that he can never be the good guy in his wife’s eyes, that nothing he can do can please her, eventually, he may stop trying to please her and give up.
Why try so hard when she’ll be upset no matter what he does?
But if a husband like this begins to see real changes and hope, if he begins to see his wife soften toward him and see that she has joy, peace, and that it is possible for her to be positive, he may soften, too. In time.
This generally takes many months, possibly even years; depending on how much damage was done. But as a wife allows the Lord to change her and as she embraces His design for her femininity and for marriage, a lot of amazing things can happen.
For Women Only – by Shaunti Feldhahn can help you better understand men in general
Three—He may not be capable of caring right now.
Sometimes a husband wants to care, but is in such great emotional, spiritual, or physical pain that he has to deal with his pain and get some kind of relief before he can have the ability to reach out to his wife in her pain.
With men, pain is often masked by anger or stonewalling.
When you see anger, it is usually a pretty safe bet there is pain fueling that anger. Invite God to help you understand his pain and hurt, and you may be able to get through to his heart-level need.
Or, your husband may simply be exhausted, sick, overwhelmed, or suffering from a mental disorder, or an addiction.
Ask God to help you see the real need. When your husband’s basic physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met, he will be in much better shape to have the strength to care about your needs.
This is true with all of us, of course. If our own basic needs aren’t met, it is much more difficult for us to help others. Unless we have the help and strength of the Holy Spirit to give us power over the weakness of the flesh. (Even with the Spirit, there are certain basic needs we do need to have met.)
If I can first seek to understand my husband more than to try to get him to understand me, I may unlock the clues to his needs.
I may be able to inspire him to find the healing that is available for him in Christ. Not by my words about spiritual things, primarily, but by my Spirit-filled example, my prayers, and my compassion and understanding.
This doesn’t mean I excuse sin or ignore it.
But it means I address my husband’s deepest needs with gentleness, respect, agape love, and godly wisdom.
When I see that he is dangling off of a cliff, about to fall into a deep pit, I want to offer him a rope and a hand up. I don’t kick his fingers or stomp on them to make him fall.
Resources to help you help better understand your husband:
If he is abusive, he’s a narcissist, he is blatantly involved in significant unrepentant sin, he’s violent, or if he has certain uncontrolled mental health issues, he may not care what you say.
You may need experienced, godly counselors to help you in really difficult situations.
He may be so wounded and ensnared; that it isn’t really even him you’re dealing with anymore, it’s the addiction or the sin. Sometimes, it may even be a demonic force.
It may not matter how respectfully you ask him for things. He may be so far away spiritually that he can’t even function in a marriage no matter what his wife may do. He may be spiritually dead – or in a spiritual coma.
If my husband were physically dead or in a physical coma, my expectations of him would drastically change.
If I realize my husband is spiritually extremely unwell, my greatest goal is to seek to pour spiritual Life and healing into him. I can’t expect him to have the ability to act like Jesus at this point. A bunch of words about spiritual things won’t usually reach him, but my godly example may as I give God room to work.
Every person’s greatest need is Jesus, salvation, and His spiritual healing. I can’t force my husband’s eyes open. I couldn’t even open my own eyes! But I can pray and invite God to work and I can be an instrument in God’s hand rather than getting in God’s way.
If I try to force my husband verbally to come to God, I will push him away from God and from myself.
What if he still doesn’t care about your concerns?
If you have dealt with the sin in your own life, then your job is simply to set a godly example and to seek to be a godly influence in your husbands’ life. Not to change him, but to bless him and to please God.
You are not responsible for your husband.
You are only responsible for you and for doing what is right on your end.
You can’t make him change.
You can’t open his eyes.
You are not his Savior. That spot is already taken.
You are not the Holy Spirit. That position is also filled.
You are not his Accuser. That spot, too, is taken.
You are simply a fellow creation walking beside him who needs Jesus, desperately, too.
Most of the time, a believing wife can stay with an unbelieving husband or a husband who is far from the Lord. But there are times, unfortunately, when things are so toxic; she may need to prayerfully consider separation.
If you have really serious issues going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel or go to appropriate medical, spiritual, or police authorities for help.Please try to keep yourself and your children safe. And if you are abusing your husband or children and they are not safe, please reach out for help for yourself ASAP!
You can bring your concerns directly to the Holy of Holies and watch God work in your life, your marriage, your husband’s life, your family, and your circumstances to accomplish His glory and His good purposes.
You don’t fix your husband. You don’t change him. Prayer is not a magic spell. Allowing God to change you doesn’t guarantee you that your husband will change. But if you want to see God work in your own life and you want to be a godly influence on your husband, this is the path you will need to take.
Let’s invite God to do all that He wants to do in both of your lives for His glory.
(Check out the movie “The War Room” to see what this can look like.)
In the next few posts
I plan to share resources about how to:
Most powerfully influence our husbands for good in any scenario.
Deal with an angry husband.
What general principles have you learned about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives here?
Let’s not get into the details of a husband’s sin in a public forum like this out of respect for the Lord, our husbands, and our marriages, please. But let’s definitely encourage each other with stories of God’s provision, wisdom, and the power of prayer. <3
Do you need prayer, encouragement, or more resources? Please let us know!
He may be hurting too much in the marriage to be able to focus on your pain, feelings, or concerns.
He may be feeling really disrespected which makes him feel unloved and demoralized. He may be reacting to his perception of your attitude toward him. He may not realize that you don’t understand that his masculine need for respect is just as strong as your feminine need for love. He may find it impossible to believe that you don’t know what feels disrespectful to him.
He may be sick, tired, stressed, irritable, or grumpy so he may act like he doesn’t care. But this is not truly how he means and wants to act. His flesh may be weak and he may be struggling to act like the man he wants to be.
He may feel that “he can’t win” no matter what he does. If he tries really hard to please you, and you are still usually upset or critical, he may decide it’s just impossible to try to make you happy.
3. He may not be capable of caring right now.
He may be so spiritually wounded (or spiritually dead – meaning he doesn’t have a saving relationship with Christ) that he is not capable of loving and caring as he should, even if he wants to.
He may have a mental/spiritual illness like depression, anxiety, or there may be spiritual warfare going on.
He may be addicted to something and it may be the addiction running his life, not the real man you know.
He may be crushed under the weight of shame due to wrong thinking, fear of failure, or a sin that he is struggling to overcome.
He may be crushed under the toxic messages of our culture. He may feel that he is evil just for being a man. That he doesn’t matter. That he has no voice. He may not understand God’s beautiful and good purposes for him and for masculinity.
4. He may have chosen not to care.
There may be significant sin in his life, and/or severe emotional/spiritual pain that may entice him to purposely choose not to care about your feelings. He may be acting in the worst part of his sinful nature. He may believe the voice of the enemy.
He may have tried and tried to show love and has burned out. Perhaps he has come to a breaking point where he feels things are hopeless. A switch flipped and now, he doesn’t want to be who he was anymore. He has decided he is “done.”
The best approach for you to take depends on the root cause of the problem.
If your husband really does care but you don’t see it, he may be very frustrated that he can’t open your eyes to see his love for you. He may have tried everything he knows to do to reach you, but he can’t give you the spiritual awakening you need.
The amazing thing is – God CAN do this for you! If you are willing, God can and will absolutely heal your mind and soul.
If your husband doesn’t feel safe with you, thinks things are hopeless or he is not doing very well, himself, your feelings may not be at the top of his priority list.
His own pain may be the only thing he can see right now.
In fact, your words may actually repel your husband from you and from the Lord, especially if he feels you are trying to control him, mother him, nag at him, preach at him, or look down on him.
In the next post
I plan to share how you can approach your husband depending on which category y’all are in from this post.
What general principles have you learned about this topic that may be a blessing to other wives here?
Let’s not get into the details of a husband’s sin in a public forum like this out of respect for the Lord, our husbands, and our marriages, please. But let’s definitely encourage each other with stories of God’s provision, wisdom, and the power of prayer. <3
Do you need prayer, encouragement, or more resources? Please let us know!
Of course, breaking contact completely is a pretty extreme response and should be reserved for certain situations as a last resort. It shouldn’t be our go-to response for most issues as it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage if we use it when it is not needed.
But what if it the scenario is reversed?
If you believe that a situation is harmful to your husband, the marriage, yourself, your children, or your family, you do have the ability (and sometimes the responsibility) to share your concerns with your husband.
We do have an incredible ability as wives to influence our husbands for good or for evil.
It’s a good thing for us to share our hearts and minds with our husbands in healthy ways. Ideally, a wife would be a trusted advisor to her husband.
Even our children can and should share concerns if they don’t feel safe or comfortable around someone, or they don’t feel comfortable with us being around a certain person.
Everyone deserves to have a voice to say if something is upsetting or toxic to them or to someone they love.
This doesn’t necessarily mean things will definitely change. But people in positions of God-given leadership should be very willing to hear the concerns of those in their care whether it is at home, at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. And if the concern is legitimate, the leader will agree to take some appropriate course of action.
The key is that we share respectfully and with right motives.
It would be very tempting to react in the flesh and try to force your husband to cut people off by acting in the following ways:
– Cry, beg and plead with your husband to cut them off.
– Make angry and insistent demands that he cuts off the relationship.
– Give your husband an ultimatum.
– Lecture your husband about his choices and how they affect you and your children.
– Complain about your husband’s friends to anyone who would listen.
– Criticize your husband’s friends behind their backs.
– Insult your husband’s friends to their faces.
– Go directly to his friends and tell them to stay away from him.
– Rant about your husband’s poor decisions on social media.
– Go directly to your husband’s relatives or your pastor to complain about your husband’s choices.
– Try to force your husband to be friends with men you think he should be friends with.
If we resort to these destructive tactics, we would repel our husbands. Our husbands would likely feel protective of their friends and defensive about their decisions. Our husbands would likely react in destructive ways and may even eventually form closer bonds with the friends we disapprove of.
I can’t force my way, but I can make requests and suggestions.
If my husband knows that I love and respect him highly, and he also has great love and respect for me, he will likely care about my feelings and concerns. He will prayerfully weigh my words, if he is a believer.
Even if he is not a believer, if we have some level of mutual love and respect going on, he will probably be concerned if something is causing an alarm bell for me.
All I have to do is present my concern briefly and calmly. Usually just once. Then I can generally simply wait and pray.
However, there are many different possible scenarios. This approach may not be exactly what you need in every situation.
We need the wisdom, power, and discernment of the Spirit to know exactly how to approach our husband, especially if things are not going well, at the time.
NOTE – If it is a really dangerous situation, there are times we have a responsibility to call the police or reach out for help. This post is not intended to be a resource for life-threatening situations. Please involve all of the proper authorities immediately if you believe someone is truly in danger or being threatened.I am also assuming in this post that your husband is in his right mind. That he is not high, drunk, dealing with significant uncontrolled mental illness, or involved in serious unrepentant sin.
A Time to Speak
If you believe it is a time to speak up, some options may be to prayerfully consider saying things like:
I have a bad feeling about this person.
My “Spidey senses” are tingling about her. She seems like trouble to me.
I would like it if we both have X, Y, Z boundaries on our marriage to guard our hearts and help us avoid temptation. What boundaries do you believe we should have to protect our marriage?
May I have your permission to speak into your life? (If he says, “yes,” then I can gently share what I see that I believe the Lord desires me to share.)
I feel like that friend is disrespectful of our marriage/you/me/the kids.
I love that you are such a great friend to X. Sometimes, though, I would really love it if we could have more time with you.
I’m afraid you may be getting taken advantage of here and that makes me feel sad.
This situation makes me nervous.
It seems to me that this person undermines our authority as parents to our children. That’s not okay.
I feel like this person is trying to hurt our marriage/family/you/me.
I really don’t want us to be around him again unless he is willing to apologize for what he did and make some real changes.
I don’t feel safe around her because of X. I don’t want our kids to be near her.
These days, a man really can’t afford to be alone with a woman, even if he does nothing wrong. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I think Billy Graham’s standard was very wise for men and for women.
I don’t like this situation at all.
What this person is teaching doesn’t seem to align with scripture. What do you think?
I don’t trust this person.
**Remember to use a friendly tone of voice and body language!
Most of the time, simply, respectfully sharing your concern like this is enough.
He will get the picture and he’ll mull over what he wants to do with this new information. Even if he doesn’t talk about his thoughts, he will think about it. I promise!
Constructive ways to handle this:
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Rom. 14:13
A godly path to deal with such a situation would be to do the following:
1. Take your concerns to God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7
Ask God to remove unhealthy influences from your husband’s life and fully trust that He will find a way to do it. Don’t give in to despair. Understand that God is in control. Keep giving thanks to God for his sovereignty. Let God’s peace rule in your heart.
2. Speak the truth in love.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, Eph. 4:15
Gently and lovingly express your concern about your husband’s associates to him, without insisting that he cuts off ties with them.
3. Pray for your husband’s associates.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.Luke 6:27-28
Your focus should always be on the state of your husband’s soul and his associates’ souls.
If your concern is about a friend who is a heavy drinker, drug addict, adulterer, or caught in significant sin, pray for that person to see the light and change his ways or to simply cut off ties with your husband.
Pray that God will open your husband’s eyes to that person’s influence on him. Even after that person stops contacting your husband, continue to pray for his salvation.
If your concern is about a woman who is trying to tempt your husband into an affair, it’s only natural that you may feel really hurt, angry and threatened by her intentions to ruin your marriage. However, God wants us to pray for those who hurt us and treat us badly.
We can pray for salvation, for their eyes to be opened, for conviction of sin and godly sorrow and true repentance. We can pray for spiritual healing and regeneration in Christ. We can pray the power of Scripture over the people who are toxic and over our husbands, children, and ourselves.
4. Focus on your husband’s good qualities
Think about his strengths and the many wise and loving decisions your husband has made. You would not have married your husband if you didn’t see a lot of good in him. Rather than focusing on his few poor choices, focus on all the things that made you fall in love with him. It would be wise to start making a list of his good qualities and good choices to add to it daily.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Phil. 4:8
What if he still doesn’t break contact with the other person?
If you have shared your feelings about a situation respectfully, and he continues on in contact with someone you feel is too toxic, there are several things that could be going on:
He may have a different perspective.
He may try to minimize contact, but he may feel he can’t completely break contact, depending on the situation.
He may feel the person is not as toxic as you believe he/she is.
He may believe that to completely break contact would create a lot of unnecessary drama and he may think there is a better solution.
He may have different personal convictions – not that one of you is wrong – you may just have different definitions of how exactly to guard your heart or marriage.
The Lord may be leading him in a different direction that you don’t know about yet.
It may take some time for him to decide how to address the situation. Sometimes, you may just need to be patient, depending on the issue at hand.
He may decide to confront the person directly rather than just break contact. He may feel it is a Matthew 18:15-17 situation.
He may know something you don’t know that changes what the best approach might be.
It may take him a bit more time to see the danger you see.
It is possible that he has a more accurate view of what is happening than you do. All of us can be wrong at times.
Sometimes, husbands mess up, too. Sometimes they make poor choices or even sinful choices. They have free will, just like we do. It is a gift, but it can bring a lot of pain. You can’t control him, but you can decide how the Lord desires you to respond even if he doesn’t make the best decisions. There are times we need to confront sin.
Or, this may simply be an issue for you to take to the Lord in prayer.
Depending on the situation and on the Lord’s leading, there may be a time to address the issue again, eventually. Or God may direct you to simply pray and wait and let Him work. God can change a husband’s heart, our perspective, or He may even change the circumstances and other people.
My next post covers the issue of a husband who doesn’t seem tocare what his wife says, feels, or thinks.That situation is going to require some adjustments in our approach depending on the root causes.
NOTE – If you realize that you expect your husband to break all ties with all of his family members, all of his friends, all of his coworkers, everyone at church, and everyone in every area of his life, then we are dealing with an entirely different issue. Please check out these posts.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLES
The Las Vegas Story
One of my favorite stories is from a reader of mine whose unbelieving husband wanted to go to Las Vegas with his single friend. The wife respectfully let her husband know she didn’t think the trip was a good idea. He went on with his plans. She and I prayed. The Lord intervened in a mind-blowing way. It was amazing!
The wife whose husband’s friends drank:
My husband has had friends who drank heavily and my husband started drinking heavily as well. Even driving drunk and getting into minor accidents. Me getting angry, crying, and complaining about his drinking and his irresponsible friends didn’t help matters at all.
I started praying that God would remove these people from my husband’s life and each time, God did!
One day each of those friends inexplicably stopped calling my husband. I was extremely relieved and happily told my husband “Jesus took care of it!”
My husband no longer drinks heavily and I always joke with him that if he ever makes friends who drink heavily again, I’ll just pray them away.
My husband now has great respect for my prayers for him. When I ask him what he wants me to pray for, he always says “I know that you always want the best for me so pray for me however you want”.
The wife whose husband’s friend was using him:
My husband has also had friends who consumed his time and constantly bombarded him with requests for favors and loans. I told him several times “A friend who always wants something from you is not a true friend. He’s just using you.” My husband never took my advice and would keep defending his friends and insisting that they care about him.
I gave up and stopped talking about it. I just took the issue to God.
Shortly after, my husband realized that he was being used and distanced himself from them. That “friend” actually moved out of the country without saying goodbye and made no effort to keep in touch. I was very relieved because I hate to see my husband being used by anyone.
We have tremendous power in praying for our husbands once we approach the issue from a place of prayer and trust in God’s power over all situations.
Examples with No Immediate Happy Ending
Examples where things didn’t go the way the believer in Christ hoped, at least at first, but God was still very much at work:
If you would like to share some godly wisdom you have learned in ways that will honor the Lord and your husband and anyone else who was involved, we’d love to hear about it. (Let’s not share specific details of wrongs others committed, though, please. Thanks!)
A guest post by Nneka Simone. I appreciate her vulnerability and willingness to share her story on this incredibly important topic. May we all be reminded of the sanctity and value of every human life, no matter how small:
God designed the beautiful act of sex to unite husbands and wives and to bring forth children. Having been raised in my faith, I knew that sex before marriage was a sin and I was passionately determined to avoid it at all costs. I read loads of books about purity and chastity, distributed chastity material to teenagers in my church, and even gave chastity talks.
However, one night, my boyfriend and I fell down the slippery slope of temptation and I got pregnant that very first time.
As a well-known woman in my church community, I was ashamed of the pregnancy and knew that I looked like a liar and a hypocrite. Some people lost respect for me and stopped speaking to me. More importantly, I felt ashamed before God because I knew that I had grieved his heart. I humbly turned to my loving Saviour and genuinely repented of my sin and willingly received His compassion and forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
From the moment I discovered that I was pregnant, I did everything I could do to protect, love, and care for my child. I never gave abortion a thought. I knew it was a violent act of murder to a helpless, vulnerable, and precious child of God.
A picture of the Nneka Simone’s sweet baby boy!
Motherhood Has Been a Blessing
My son is a wonderful, loving, and delightful child who enjoys every moment of his life. God has blessed me with a loving heart to nurture him and the financial means to provide for him. God also nurtured my relationship with my child’s father and we had a beautiful and simple wedding when our son was 6 months old.
Although motherhood is challenging and demanding in many ways, my son is a wonderful gift from God. I’m sharing my story in this post as an act of thanksgiving to God for his generous mercy and for the life of my son. I pray that it will be instrumental in helping women to appreciate their fertility and value their children.
Satan’s Evil Agenda for Women
Satan has had an agenda to deceive, manipulate and mislead women from the beginning of time. Satan went after Eve in the garden because he knows the power and influence women have over men, children, families, and society.
Today, women are being encouraged to:
See our own babies as burdens and inconveniences, rather than blessings and gifts from God.
Seek satisfaction only in our academic and career accomplishments, rather than in raising children and caring for a family.
View duties related to marriage and family life as oppressive, rather than loving acts of sacrifice that bring glory to God.
See sexual activity as something that is solely for our personal pleasure (apart from marriage or childbearing), rather than a gift from God that fosters emotional bonds in marriage and brings forth children.
See our ability to conceive as a burden and a curse, rather than a gift and a blessing.
Render ourselves infertile through contraception, rather than appreciating and valuing our ability to nurture life.
See abortion as a right that gives women freedom and happiness, rather than an act of violence, cruelty, and murder.
See our bodies as our own, rather than as belonging to the Lord.
See a child in our womb as our property that we can dispose of if we wish, rather than as a precious child of God created in His image for incredible and eternal purposes.
Be proud of our past abortions, rather than acknowledge that abortion is a terrible sin from which we must repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing.
Believe that God only wants to judge and condemn us for our sins rather than forgive us and show us His love.
Now that we are clear on Satan’s anti-life, anti-family, and anti-motherhood agenda, let’s explore God’s perspective on fertility, children, and motherhood.
God Loves and Cherishes Men, Women, and Children
God sees fertility as a blessing. In fact, his first command to Adam and Eve was that they multiply:
“And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fertile and multiply.’” Genesis 1:28
God sees motherhood as a blessing.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28
God compares His love for us to a mother’s love. This shows how highly He values women and motherhood.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Psalm 49:15
God creates each child in the womb.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139: 14-15
God sees children as a heritage, a reward, and a blessing.
“Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” Psalm 127:3-5
God establishes an important plan for each child before he or she is born. (This includes children conceived in adultery and sexual assault.) God loves each of us and has a plan for us no matter how we were conceived.
“But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace.” Galatians 1:15
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139: 16
God is the author of life and wants us to live fully.
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6
Children belong to God from the womb.
“But you are He who took me out of the womb; you made me trust while on my mother’s breasts.” Psalm 22:9
“From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Psalm 22:10
God owns our bodies and our children’s bodies. We don’t.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. 2 Cor 6: 19-20
As we see the pro-death abortion laws gaining ground, it may be tempting to get disheartened and give in to despair about the direction our culture is heading, but there is no need to do so. As Christians, we are people of HOPE and God has given us a clear roadmap to heal our land.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
This verse tells us that Christians are responsible for the direction of their countries. As Christian women, we need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will heal our land and conquer this satanic agenda.
Things You Can Do to Make a Difference
Here are some actions we can all employ to foster God-honouring lifestyle in which all children are valued.
Meditate on the Word of God day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
Wash your mind daily with the Word of God. (Ephesians 5:26)
Read the Bible to your children. (Deuteronomy 11:19)
Teach Sunday School at your church if you believe God is calling you to do so.
Pray about starting a women’s Bible study in your neighbourhood.
Pray the Word of God over yourself and your family.
Recognise that everyone is a precious child of God and treat everyone with love and respect.
Since all life is valuable, do good works to help vulnerable members of society: eg. the homeless, illiterate adults, underprivileged children, the elderly, and those with debilitating diseases. (Matt 25:31-46)
Tell your children every day that they, and all children in the world, are gifts and blessings from God. (Psalm 127:3-5 and Proverbs 17:6)
Treat single mothers and unmarried pregnant woman with kindness, compassion, and respect. Seek to humbly, gently help to restore them to fellowship with the Lord and the Body of Christ or share the gospel that they may come to know the salvation Jesus offers to them and their children. (Gal. 6:1)
Express godly kindness and compassion to women who have had abortions and encourage them to pray, repent, and seek forgiveness and salvation/restoration. (James 5:16)
Humbly and fully repent of any sin in your own life and invite God to empower you to live a holy life.
If you have had an abortion in the past, acknowledge it as a sin, repent before God and trust that he has forgiven you. Seek godly counselling to help you to heal emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. (1 John 1:9)
Ask God to cleanse you of inadvertent sin (Psalm 19:12) and allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to grow in your heart. We can only point people to Christ and His love of God for children if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
When single, make every effort to save sex for marriage. Avoid being alone with your boyfriend so that you would not fall into temptation.
When married, make every effort to protect your sexual purity. Avoid being alone with other men. Avoid private conversations and emotional/spiritual intimacy with other men.
Value and cherish motherhood and children.
Understand that motherhood is far more sacred and special than your education or your career. Submit all areas of your life to the Lordship of Christ including motherhood, your education, your career, and your ministry. Invite God to use them all for His glory!
If you do become pregnant out-of-wedlock, protect the precious life in your womb no matter how your family and your church community react. You are not alone. God has created many pro-life organizations that help women in your situation.
When married, prayerfully consider choosing Natural Family Planning methods (eg. Daysy, Lady-Comp, the Billings Ovulation Method) rather than contraception. Be open to life and believe that God will help you to provide for your children. Don’t let fear keep you from having another child. (Gen 1:28)
If you are a victim of sexual assault, understand that the child is still precious and loved by God. An abortion would not erase the trauma of the assault. Either commit to raising that child or give it up for adoption to a loving couple. Adoption is a beautiful option.
Prayerfully get involved.
Educate yourself on pro-life issues and get involved in the pro-life movement in your community. (Matthew 5:10).
Focus on becoming biblically-correct, not politically-correct, and full of God’s love for others regardless of what persecution you may face. (Matthew 5:10)
Pray about becoming a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or youth mentor so you can be instrumental in protecting children in vulnerable situations.
With God’s wisdom, love, and power, we can be like the Proverbs 31:25 woman who laughs at the days to come and daughters of Sarah who do what is right and do not give in to fear (1 Peter 3:6).
Books Recommended by Simone about a Christian missionary who adoped 14 children:
A guest post by one of my readers, Cheryl. I’m so thankful she is willing to share some of the things she has learned on the tough road she and her husband and family have shared. Honestly, they are pearls of wisdom for all of us!
As we sat in our car in the medical parking lot, somewhat numb and in shock, we wondered what God was doing. We had just been told our 7 month-old son had Lissencephaly. We had no idea what to expect. Married just under 3 years, we had already experienced the birth of our first-born son, the still-born birth of his twin brother, and numerous hospital stays – all before our first anniversary.
Now what was God doing? Didn’t He know we couldn’t do this?
What about our hopes, our dreams? What now? So many questions and no answers, except to trust the One who knew them. We had vowed we would stay together and persevere, no matter what life brought our way. It is this commitment and a gracious, merciful and faithful God that has carried us through.
Fast forward five years and our family now consisted of four boys; our youngest, also diagnosed with Lissencephaly. Our lives revolved around therapies, IEP’s, school and government paperwork, doctor’s appointments and seizure management – along with work, school and church activities. We did our best to keep up, to be the best parents we could be to all our sons. And, life went on.
Our marriage often took a back seat.
Although we did attend a few marriage conferences and took a few weekend getaways and short vacations, bitterness, anger and isolation was creeping in, unseen, ignored and left to grow. What I started realizing around 23 years of marriage, was that I had baggage that needed to be addressed. I had bitterness. I had attitudes that needed adjusting and a heart that needed to be changed. A lot of pain and subsequent consequences could’ve been avoided had I chosen to heed the early warning signs.
With this in mind, may I share with you some of the lessons God has been teaching me the past couple of years while in His loving refining room?
Abiding in Christ: Growth, peace and contentment in my personal life and marriage begins and ends with abiding in Christ. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. This means staying close to my Shepherd, getting to know Him, loving Him, trusting Him, obeying Him.
Obedience: I am learning that my obedience and yielding to Christ, or lack there-of, affects not only my ability to know Him, to hear His voice, to see His work in my life and to be used by Him, but also affects my relationships, my marriage, my attitudes, my peace of mind and my heart. In the midst of all the demands and responsibilities that come along with being a mom of boys with special needs, I oftentimes put obeying God on the back burner. I neglected my time with Him. I didn’t guard my heart, my words, my thoughts, or my actions – especially in my marriage. I took my marriage and husband for granted, failing to realize the gradual erosion taking place.
Address Issues Early: Looking back, I wish my husband and I would’ve worked through our baggage, couple issues, and differences in the early years of our marriage. Although, it would’ve been difficult finding childcare (as is often the case due to high medical needs and challenges), and expensive to see a counselor, we probably would’ve avoided pain and pitfalls down the road.
Thankfulness: God is teaching me that a thankful heart and attitude keeps bitterness and a sour attitude from nesting in my heart. If I keep fixated on what my boys can’t do, what they are missing out on, and what my husband and I are missing out on, then, not only do I grow bitter, but, I can become depressed and lose hope. Finding reasons to thank God each day helps me keep an eternal perspective, see God’s blessings in our lives and helps keep me abiding in Him.
Mentors:This can be a lonely and isolating life. I’ve learned that the Christian life isn’t meant to be either. We need Christian mentors in our lives; older, wiser women as well as older, more experienced couples. It’s hard to reach out and invest the time and energy necessary for close friendships amid all the on-going responsibilities that come with the special needs territory, but it is well worth it! Years ago, God brought an older, wiser woman of God into my life who has walked with me through many seasons, mountaintops and valleys, joys and sorrows. She offers encouragement, a listening ear, wisdom, truth and perspective. My husband and I are also in a couple’s small group Bible study. Getting there isn’t always easy or convenient and requires sacrifice on our part; but, we receive encouragement and accountability in our marriage, and the opportunity to encourage and minister to other couples.
Reaching Out in Ministry: God is helping me to reach out and use my gifts to help others. This is a toughie as we SN (special needs) moms just don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to long-term, even short-term ministry. For many years, I was involved in music ministry. It worked well as it was flexible and allowed me the opportunities to use my gifts and talents for the kingdom. God has changed my direction somewhat the past few years, stretching me in undeveloped areas and giving me many smaller opportunities to serve others. I’m learning to look for these opportunities daily and though they are often small acts, others are encouraged and blessed, and so am I.
God’s Word/Hope: God’s Word, His truths and promises, sustain me and help keep my eyes on Him. Meditating on and memorizing Scripture is not an easy discipline for me, but the verses I’ve learned are readily available when I need them the most. Lately, these two verses on hope have really encouraged me.
“[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil.” Hebrews 6:19 AMPC
“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!” Romans 15:13 TPT
We praise You as Creator. You formed us and knit us together just the way You wanted. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! Forgive us for our impatience, selfishness and reluctance to trust You. We pray for strength and stamina through sleepless nights and long days. Give us friends who can encourage us and give us relief when our nerves are frayed. And, give us hope when everything seems dark. We look forward to the great reward of someday seeing our special children, specially perfect!
What struggles and trials have you gone through in your marriage, family, career, or life that has brought about a harvest of godly wisdom you feel led to share with us?
Or do you simply need some encouragement and prayer today to help you in the midst of your current trial? Let us know so we can pray with you.
Also, if you have a testimony you’d like to share for a post on any topic, I’d love to read it. I’m looking for women’s stories about things God has taught them and how God has changed and healed them through Christ. I prefer articles about 1000-1500 words in length. You may send them to me on my contact page. I’d love to have some guest posts to share especially for the month of April.
A guest post by a sister in Christ who has had a very, very difficult life. I’m excited about what the Lord is doing in her life! Please pray with me for His continued total spiritual healing for her heart, mind, and soul:
Without me realizing it, I prayed out of a lot of unbelief and distrust – unwittingly attributing characteristics to God that were that of my father and other authority figures who had been unjust or untrustworthy. There were many such figures in my life which made it hard to think from any other basis.
Additionally, because I had cried out to God during an abuse incident and did not hear any response from God nor witness any rescue come to pass soon after, I really didn’t trust God or think He could be relied upon to do anything about things that were of great concern to me. So I would pray from a place of doubt and mistrust with my feelings as the indicator as to what was, or was not God’s response.
I did not base my understanding of God on scripture but on my feelings which I trusted more. I regarded Christians who would insist on putting aside my feelings in favor of scripture as nuts, self-righteous Pharisees, and totally insensitive. And some of them did, indeed, fit that bill. They were in such a rush to offer the solution that they acted as if my wounds were inconsequential. And from my end, I was so hurt and felt so sorry for myself in the face of abuse and injustice that I was just not ready to value truth more than feelings or seek for anything beyond healing.
Consequently my relationship with God was often an arm wrestling match, with me trying to persuade an unwilling God to do what I needed or hoped He would or ought to do.
I saw God through the lens of my father who was very unwilling to do anything for me or to meet my needs, and whose stance towards me was one of devaluation and contempt. Dad despised women and had a very idolatrous relationship towards them; he saw women as withholding, manipulative, and whiny users and entrappers, which affected his attitude towards me. He was also a sex addict and so our home included some violation and being aware of things we ought not to have been exposed to.
As a result, my needs and feelings were invalidated and I often had to “prove” that what I wanted, needed, or felt was valid by arguing for it convincingly like some trial lawyer. I won mercy by extreme submissiveness and even prostrating myself, as if before a king with the power of life and death.
That our lives were full of drama is an understatement.
His judgements of me were always negative and tainted by his own deep bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness of his mother. The result of all of this was a sort of idolatrous interpretative bias in my own heart as I struggled to come out from under all the nasty stuff my father had transferred onto me from his undealt with issues. And I had my own hurt and reaction to it and to feeling unloved and unwanted. I think that our reactions to such things are a combination of being sinned against and sinful responses which would of course include a sort of idolatry as our lives become about seeking what was denied us.
This can also result in anger at God who surely must have been a party to the whole thing, insofar as we might see things at the time they occurred and without any understanding of what God has already done in response to evil. Our focus in this head space is usually life in this world in the here and now and wanting to be happy. We are often unaware of God’s perspective being eternal and about right relationship with Him as the source of all life and joy. This makes it hard to grasp a larger picture.
So my prayer life and the lens of my heart was tainted by these things so that I was, in effect, praying to a version of God mixed with my father.
The idea that God was a loving and just Father did not compute for me and I found the idea revolting. One day, I decided to disregard my feelings and stand on what scripture said as a higher authority. I always felt filthy and unforgiven so I decided to stand on 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – and believe that.
That little decision turned out to make a huge difference, and suddenly it seemed that the universe swung around and snapped into precise order and I was able to see clearly.
I realized at that moment that God was not obligated to respond to me if I continued to pray to Him as something He was not, rather than praying to Him according to the truth of who He was.
Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV) says:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
And James 1:5-7 says
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
I definitely needed my prayer life corrected and redirected by scripture and still do; praying by our emotions which tend to reinforce themselves, usually leads to a wilderness and brings despair and hopelessness as it tends to go in an ever tightening and defeating downward spiral.
Note from Peaceful Wife –
This dynamic with this dear sister’s dysfunctional relationship with her dad impacting her understanding of God is very common. We tend to assume that God is just like our earthly fathers and we have to be sure we separate the failings of our earthly fathers from our understanding of who God really is. We all need healing to some degree in this area, because none of us had perfect fathers.
We can’t trust God if we have a warped, jaded picture of who He is, if we think He is evil and out to get us. So often, we end up getting Satan and God switched up in our minds. Not purposely, but we tend to attribute the evil attributes of Satan to God. It would be terrible to trust such a one.
If you would like to share your own skewed views of God and how that hurt your faith, you are welcome to. And if you want to share how you learned to reject the lies and receive God’s truth, we would love to hear that, as well. Or if you need prayer, you are welcome to share that here.
I, (Peaceful Wife), will be handling the comments, not the author of the post.
** If you experienced severe trauma or abuse from your father, parents, an authority figure, someone in the church, or anyone else, please reach out for experienced, trustworthy, godly counsel – and to the Lord – to help you heal. And if you are not safe now, please reach out to the authorities if you can safely do so.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 800-799-SAFE (7233). Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get information in more than 170 languages. You will hear a recording and may have to wait for a short time. Hotline staff offer safety planning and crisis help.
Unfortunately, we will all be the targets of insults, at one time or another. Even Jesus faced intense criticism, insults, and terrible persecution. And He was God! He was completely perfect. And yet, so many people hated Him.
It hurts deeply to feel misunderstood, wrongly accused, berated, or verbally attacked.
Our knee-jerk response when we feel insulted is to get defensive. Or to go on an all-out offensive attack at the person who insulted or criticized us.
This topic could easily fill many books. This post is not a comprehensive guide to exactly what to do in every possible situation. It is a general overview. We will need the Word and God’s Spirit to give us the wisdom we need in individual scenarios.
There are two primary ways we can respond to insults for believers in Christ. The flesh or the Spirit.
Yes, it is very tempting to lash out and launch a swift “nuclear attack” when we feel insulted.
But what does it accomplish – other than to add to the emotional and spiritual carnage? And it separates us from fellowship with the Lord because it grieves the Holy Spirit.
What if there is a better way to respond? A way that honors the Lord and keeps from escalating the situation – as far as it depends on us? That is what I want to talk about together today.
What Is the Source?
I think it is important to remember what Jesus said about the source of what comes out of people’s mouths.
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt. 12:33-37
It is super helpful to remember that what a person says reveals what is in that person’s heart. It really isn’t necessarily about me at all.
I need to avoid making the mistake of thinking that what people say must reflect me or be about me – or that what they say must be true automatically.
What people say is primarily about them. It is about their motives, hearts, and issues. It is about who is in control of their lives – the sinful nature or the Holy Spirit.
Some people are walking around all filled up with the sinful nature. When they get pressured by relationships or trials, the nastiness that is inside them comes spewing out all over whoever is around them.
Other people are walking around all filled up with the Holy Spirit. When they get pressured by relationships or trials, the fruit of the Spirit is what gushes out of them all over whoever is around them..
So I don’t have to take everything that other people say personally. This is so freeing!
I need to carefully weigh what people say vs. what God says. If the person’s words contain a godly rebuke, even if it wasn’t thoughtfully presented, then I can humbly receive that part and repent for any sin in my life or any wrong doing on my part. I can take anything constructive from what was said and invite God to use it to help me grow. But if the person’s words are not true, if they are not constructive, or if their words are from the enemy, I don’t need to absorb them.
Who is speaking?
I want to consider who is speaking the words. Is it a spiritually mature believer in Christ whom I trust and who loves me and wants God’s best for me? Is he/she attempting to give me a godly rebuke or constructive criticism that maybe I need to hear? Am I hearing this person accurately or am I misunderstanding something or assuming negative motives where there aren’t any? Do the person’s words align with the Bible?
Or is this person someone who is far from the Lord, as far as I know, and who has a lifestyle of insulting almost everyone? Is this someone Proverbs would classify as “a fool“? An unbeliever may speak some truth to me that I need to take to heart. But I want to be a lot more cautious about receiving words from someone acting in the flesh.
If I respond in the flesh to an insult by immediately vigorously defending myself to try to “make the other person understand” and make them change their minds about me, or if I respond by attacking the other person, I will often only pour gasoline on the fire. I can escalate the situation into a much worse situation with greater tension and greater wounds on both sides.
Godly responses to insults:
Restraint and self control. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Respect and honor for God, for the other person, and for self. (1 John 4:20)
Patience and understanding if the other person is deeply wounded or may have significant spiritual, emotional, physical or other kinds of problems, realizing the person is not okay and the insult is probably a symptom of their spiritual or physical condition. (Gal. 5:22-23)
Attempt to clear up any misunderstanding if there was one.
Diffuse the situation with appropriate humor – in certain situations.
Avoid assuming the absolute worst about the other person’s intentions without clear evidence.
Repent for any sin I have committed against the other person. (Matt. 5:23-24)
Sometimes ignoring it is the wisest thing to do, especially if the person is someone who is foolish or a scoffer and clearly just looking for a fight or is so prideful he/she is not open to listening to anyone else’s perspective. (Prov. 12:16)
Other times, addressing the underlying issue in the person’s heart, not the insult, itself, may be wise. (Prov. 26:5)
Bless the person. (Luke 6:28)
Recognize this may be an opportunity to witness, to share the gospel, and/or to shine for Christ. (2 Tim. 2:24-25)
Realize the real enemy is not the person but a spiritual enemy. I need to fight the real enemy with spiritual weapons. (Eph. 6:12)
Pray for God to work powerfully in the life of anyone who mistreats me, that they would come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord and that they would be regenerated and conformed to the image of Christ for God’s glory. (Luke 6:28)
Without a spirit of fear but with a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. (Deut. 31:6, 2 Tim. 1:7)
Sometimes humbly, respectfully confronting the sin – after I have dealt with any sin in my own life) is the best approach, if the person is sinning against me – especially if the person is a believer. (Matt. 7:1-5, Matt. 18:15-17)
Draw appropriate boundaries if someone continues on in unrepentant sin and is very toxic spiritually/emotionally. There are times when we warn someone once or twice and then need to have nothing to do with that person if they continue on sinning in certain sins (2 Tim. 3:1-5, Titus 3:10)
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19
From a Reader:
When offended we must be calm and be slow to speak. And ask God to help us to not be offended. It’s our response to the insult that matters most. I really dealt hard with feeling like I was offended. Someone may joke or I may have taken what they said the wrong way. What God showed me is my response with gentleness and kindness, regardless of how I felt, is what matters most. I found out that when not responding negatively, the outcome has (often) been peace, and less arguments. Feeling offended led me to give mean, angry responses that were only damaging the person and myself. I was under conviction and now I feel so much better when I don’t react in the flesh.
What Does God Say about How I Should Respond to Insults?
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6
The one who corrects a mocker will bring abuse on himself; the one who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke the wise, and he will love you. Prov. 9:7-8
A fool’s displeasure is known at once,but whoever ignores an insult is sensible. Prov. 12:16
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Prov. 14:29
A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. Prov. 18:7
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. Prov. 20:22
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Prov. 26:4-5 (Meaning – don’t stoop to a fool’s level and react in the flesh. But you may need to wisely answer to keep him from becoming more conceited.)
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28
If I Am Insulted for My Faith in Christ
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 1 Tim. 3:12
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Pet. 4:12-14
I want to see us respond to insults without fear, without pride, without a spirit of offense, without bitterness or resentment, and without lashing out and hurting others. I want to see us respond in the power of the Spirit and with the mind and heart of Christ!
Those unbelievers who insult us may be future brothers and sisters in Christ! God may desire us to help pray them into His Kingdom. They are people Jesus loves and for whom He died.
In the next post, we will talk about avoiding insulting others.
What wisdom have you learned about responding well to insults? We’d love to hear about it. What are your thoughts on today’s post? And how is your 21 day fast from negative words going? It’s not too late to start if you would like!