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Is Real Joy Possible for Me?

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

This is the post I wrote just an hour before Greg’s dad suddenly passed away last Saturday. The next one I plan to write is about counting trials as joy, which I had also planned to write before the trial we are currently facing began. I’m so excited to share the wonderful blessing of the joy of the Lord with all of you. It is one of the most precious gifts of God. When we know the Lord, we get to experience and participate in His amazing joy and contentment, even during the most difficult circumstances. 

Joy is something we all long to experience continually. But so few people possess it today. Even in the church. Dear sisters, this need not be! Each of us have access to more joy than we could possibly imagine in Jesus Christ!

DEFINING “JOY”

John Piper’s definition of joy:

  • Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.

www.gotquestions.org’s definition of joy:

  • The Greek word for joy is chara. Joy is the natural reaction to the work of God, whether promised or fulfilled.
  • Joy manifests in different ways:
    • the joy of deliverance
    • the joy of salvation
    • the joy of spiritual maturity
    • the joy of God’s presence
  • The Greek chara is closely related to charis, which means “grace” or “a gift.” Chara is the normal response to charis—we have joy because of God’s grace.
  • Possessing joy is a choice. We choose whether to value God’s presence, promises, and work in our lives. When we yield to the Spirit, He opens our eyes to God’s grace around us and fills us with joy (Romans 15:13).
  • Joy is not to be found in a fallen world; it is only fellowship with God that can make our joy complete (1 John 1:4).

Definition of joy – Bible dictionary

WHAT CAN DESTROY MY JOY?

For a believer in Christ, no one can take away our joy. The gifts and promises of God are secure for us in Jesus. The only way to lose my joy is to take my eyes off of Jesus, to slip from fellowship with Him (because of sin or neglect), to believe lies, and/or to look to other things/people for my joy, security, contentment, peace, and purpose.

Satan wants to steal my joy, and he will if I allow him to. He would love to get me to think I have to live in misery, defeat, sin, discouragement, worry, and fear. But reality is…

No one can steal the promises of God for me – unless I allow them to!

This joy is always available to me in my relationship with the Living God and Creator of the universe. It is not dependent on my circumstances or on other people.

  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
  • So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:22

ATTAINING JOY

Joy comes only when I turn away from everything that is spiritually toxic and my heart is fully yielded to the Lordship of Jesus. Then I have fellowship with God – emotional and spiritual connection, oneness, and intimacy.

Joy is intrinsic to the character and presence of God. He is the source of all true joy. Joy, in and of itself, is not to be my primary goal. It is an inevitable result when I am in close fellowship with the Lord. Joy is a byproduct, like all of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  Interestingly, joy is also a command for us as believers.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Phil. 4:4

God’s joy is always available to me – as much as He is always available to me. Many of us live in despair, hopelessness, and spiritual oppression today. But that is not God’s provision for us! We often live like we are beggars, searching desperately for crumbs. But if we belong to Christ, we are children of the Most High God and joint heirs with Jesus. All that He possesses belongs to us. We are already seated with Him in the heavenlies! And we will reign with Him for eternity.

WHAT REASONS DO I HAVE FOR JOY RIGHT NOW?

Here are just a few reasons I can have joy in any circumstances:

  • Jesus’ death conquered and paid for my sin debt in full! I have the ability to be in right-standing with God! (1 Cor. 15:55-57)
  • There is no longer any condemnation for me, if I am in Jesus! (Rom. 8:1)
  • His resurrection is mine – with the power to live today in holiness and the power to rise from death and experience eternal life! (John 11:25, Rom. 8:11)
  • I have God’s Word – and it is Life and Light. (Matt. 4:4, Ps. 119:105)
  • I have access to the very Holy of holies in heaven through Jesus! (Heb. 10:19)
  • His promises are all mine to claim, to stand on, and to delight in. (Phil. 4:19, 2 Cor. 1:20)
  • His Spirit is mine. (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • His fellowship is mine. (1 John 1:3)
  • His love is mine. Nothing can separate me from the Love of God in Christ Jesus if I belong to Him! (Rom. 8:38-39)
  • God will never leave me or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • God uses everything that happens in our lives for our ultimate good (if we are believers) and His ultimate glory. (Rom. 8:28-29)
  • God is sovereign over my life, my family, and the nations. (Ps. 103:19)
  • He is love. (1 John 4:8)
  • His wisdom is infinitely higher than my own. (Isaiah 40:28)
  • God is good. (Ps. 34:8)
  • My identity is in Christ Jesus alone. (Gal. 2:20)
  • My security is in Christ Jesus alone. (Eph. 1:13-14)
  • In Christ, all my fears melt away. He does not give me a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. (1 Tim. 1:7)
  • He has given me so many reasons to sing praises to Him. (Ps. 100:1-2)
  • He gives me victory over sinful thoughts, words, and actions as I let His Spirit work powerfully in me. (Rom. 8:13)
  • He has done great things for me and I am extremely thankful to Him! (1 Thess. 5:18)
  • If I am on God’s side, He will fight for me and the enemy will not be able to have victory over me. (1 John 4:4, Ex. 14:14)
  • I don’t have to be afraid of all of the chaos going on in the world, God has given us information about what must take place before the rapture and Great Tribulation. I can stand on His Word. (1 Thess. 4:17, Rev. 13)
  • Heaven is guaranteed for me if I belong to Jesus. I don’t have to face death with fear. (John 3:16, 1 Cor. 2:9)

God has blessed me with countless blessings throughout my life: Jesus, salvation, the Bible, prayer, the Holy Spirit, my birth family, my husband, my children, air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, a job, a roof over my head, a country where I am free, a church family, friends, health, electricity, the internet, talents, abilities, etc…

If these reasons for joy don’t get you excited, it’s time to check your spiritual pulse!

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10

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What has God shown you about joy? We’d love to hear about it!

RESOURCES

Verses about joy

Verses about the promises of God

Is There a Difference between Joy and Happiness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Is Joy? by www.gotquestions.org

How Do You Define Joy? by John Piper

How to Have a Relationship with Christ 

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

 

“My Husband Wants Me to Be Home but I Want to Work.”

What is a godly wife to do when she is the one who wants to work more outside of the home, but her husband wants her to be home and not work?
(NOTE – If you have the opposite situation, I have a post for wives who have to work but want to be home here.)
GOD’S AUTHORITY STRUCTURE IN OUR LIVES
Definitions:
  • The world defines authority as – tyranny, abuse, selfishness, lording power over others.
  • God defines authority as – shepherding, bringing order to society, nurturing others, providing for them according to God’s will, loving them, taking good care of them in a humble, selfless, sacrificial Christlike way.
  • The world defines submission as – slavery, being a second class citizen, having less value as a person, being a doormat.
  • God defines submission as – a voluntary willingness to recognize God’s ways and His wisdom and to accomplish His will by cooperating with His directives.
  • Positional authority – a person in a position of authority, like king, president, manager, husband, parent, or pastor.
  • Influential authority – a person who may influence the person in the position of authority like an advisor to a king, a deacon board to a pastor, an assistant manager to a manager, or a wife to a husband.

The way God works out His will in our lives is that He uses people in positions of “delegated authority” to help accomplish His purposes. He is the “direct authority.” But He gives His authority to certain people to help accomplish His plan. There are people like this in leadership positions in every area of our lives – at work, in the government, at church, and in the family (husbands and parents).

By God’s design, He chooses to lead us through imperfect people in positions of leadership.
 
If we are seeking the Lord’s will and yielded to His Lordship, part of what we will do is submit to human delegated authorities in our lives (unless they are clearly trying to lead us to violate God’s Word and principles).
 
God’s design for marriage is that the husband is in the position of “leader.” He is in the driver’s seat. Not because he is more important, more talented, smarter, or more valuable. Just because this is God’s design and His appointment to accomplish the picture He wants to accomplish in marriage.
  • The husband is supposed to represent Christ and His selfless, unconditional love, sacrifice, humility, wisdom, and servant hearted leadership.
  • The wife is supposed to represent the church in its relationship to Jesus in the way the wife honors, respects, and follows the leadership of her husband.
  • This portrays the gospel to the world  – and to our children. (Eph. 5:22-33)
If we usurp our husband or rebel against his leadership (unless he is asking us to rebel against the Lord), we malign the gospel of Christ. (Titus 2:3-5) This is a weighty matter – of infinitely more significance than whether I work outside of the home or not right now.
Also, our children learn how to submit to authorities in their lives, including ourselves and our husbands, by watching our example of how we honor their dad’s authority.
WHAT CAN A GODLY WIFE DO?
Here are my suggestions for a wife who wants to work but her husband desires her to be home (these principles apply whenever we don’t agree with our husband on an important decision):
 
1. Submit first to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
Be completely yielded to Him, His will, His purposes, and His glory being accomplished in your life. Trust Him fully to lead you. Be willing to lay down your greatest dreams, desires, and fears before Him. Trust Him with them all and allow Him to do what He believes is best in your life. Seek His will far above your own will. This is “dying to self” or “taking up your cross.” Be willing to be content in Christ whether you work outside the home or not.
 
Give all of yourself – your body, your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your intelligence, your health, your time, your money, your resources completely to the Lord. Consecrate yourself and your life to Him. Commit to doing whatever He desires you to do with all your heart in service to Him alone. When you have such an attitude, He will open doors that you can’t begin to imagine. Doors to opportunities and plans that are infinitely better than your personal plans and dreams.
 
2. Submit second to the God-given leadership of your husband.
Your trust is ultimately in the Lord to lead you through this man, even though your husband is not perfect and he may not even be close to the Lord at this time. (If you are not yet married, please only marry a man who is truly seeking to live for Christ as Lord. That is a command God gives to believers, that we only marry someone who is “in the Lord.”) God is able to lead us in His will for us as we honor the leadership of those He has placed in our lives.
 
You cannot accomplish God’s will for your life if you rebel against your husband – or any other God-given leader in your life.
 
God chooses to work through the leaders in our lives and to lead us through them. He chose to lead Israel in the wilderness through Moses. The people could not get to the Promised Land any other way than to follow and honor Moses’ leadership. It is the same with us. God chooses to lead us through our husbands and other leaders. So – seek to honor your husband’s request for you not to work in order to honor the Lord. You can share your heart on the matter and say something like:
 
  • “Honey, I would really love to work. It means a lot to me that I can have this job. But I know that you are the head of our home by God’s design and I will honor your desire for me not to work if you believe that is best for us.”

You can also respectfully ask for things you believe you need. You may also respectfully suggest that your husband consider the idea of you having a part-time job that may be a better balance for your family.

 
3. Pray.
Invite the Lord to work. Ask for His will. Ask for Him to open doors and change your husband’s heart if it is His will for you to work at a certain job. Invite Him to change the circumstances. Invite Him to change your heart and perspective. Ask Him to help you see and appreciate your husband’s concerns and perspective.
 
4. Embrace the opportunity to be home.
Thank God for having a husband who wants to provide for your family and who wants to give you this gift of being a homemaker and maybe you have children and can be home with them. That is a priceless treasure. If this is the Lord’s will and He is leading you through your husband to be here – own it. Decide that you are going to make the absolute most of this opportunity. Invite God into your home. Invite Him to help you make this a place of sanctuary, peace, welcome, hospitality, warmth, joy, and blessing.
 
Allow the Lord to lead you in opportunities to use your gifts and talents. Perhaps there are ministries you can do – with your husband’s blessing. Or maybe there are friends you can encourage. Or possibly there is time for you to read and study more about God’s Word or other topics, maybe even related to your education – with your husband’s blessing.
 
Determine to use this time to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and to develop a much stronger walk with Him. Invite Him to show you what He wants to do in your life in this time and what He wants to teach you. Listen to sermons, podcasts, and praise music while you work around the house. Take the time you need to exercise. Enjoy having balance in your life and living at a slower, more healthy pace. Focus on relationships. Practice ministering to your husband and children by keeping the house neat and organized. Run your home like you would an office – and let your motives be love, honor, respect, and grace.
 
Teach your children God’s ways. Mentor younger wives. Maybe you would enjoy cooking more meals from scratch to bless your family. Use this time to really seek God’s will and His glory for yourself and your family. Be available to be an instrument in God’s hand to bless your family richly.
 
5. Avoid harboring jealousy, bitterness, or a critical spirit.
It is easy to focus on women who “get to” work outside of the home. Or to focus on feeling resentful and bitter at your husband or God that you don’t have the situation you wanted. That is unproductive and toxic. Focus on being thankful for the situation the Lord has given you and on what He is calling you to do at this time.
And, as a reader mentioned, let’s also avoid judging other women who make different decisions. All of us get criticized no matter what choices we make in this area. That is hurtful. Let’s love, encourage, and seek to bless one another. Being a wife and mom is hard. Let’s not assume we know every mom’s motives or what is best for each family’s situation. We each answer to the Lord for these decisions, not to each other.
6. Remember that the dream of working outside of the home can easily become an idol.
Any dream or desire can become more important to us than our love for the Lord if we are not careful. Be sure to seek Christ first. Let Jesus lead you. Be content in whatever place He decides is best. Working outside of the home can be fulfilling. If it is God’s will. But being home can also be fulfilling. Whether we are fulfilled or not is not really about our circumstances. It is mostly a matter of our attitude, our faith in God, our willingness to develop a heart of thanksgiving, and whether we are walking in God’s will for us or not. (Phil. 4:4-8, 12-13)
 
Sometimes life is hard and there aren’t any easy answers.
It is in those moments that God often tests and grows our faith the most. We don’t know all that the Lord knows. We don’t know what He may be sparing us and our families from when He leads us in a particular way. We don’t know all of the blessings He has in store as we yield to His will. Our job is not to understand it all ahead of time but to trust Him completely to do what is ultimately best for our families, ourselves, and God’s kingdom in light of eternity.
 
Much love!
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What has God shown you that may be a blessing to other wives struggling in this area? Or if you are struggling, you are welcome to share and we can hash through the tough issues together here.
RELATED

Spiritual Authority – by a minister at my church

A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage – by a minister at my church

The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn helps women focus on the things that God desires most for us and how to align our priorities with Him.
Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley is an explanation of how much feminism has saturated our culture and how it has affected our understanding of femininity and masculinity. If your husband wants you to stay home, this book may open your eyes to a lot of great reasons why this may be a blessing.
 

The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant

A guest post by a Christian wife and mom who is in her mid forties now. She had received Christ as a 5 year old child and was raised in a Christian home. Her personality and marriage dynamics were rather the opposite of Greg’s and mine. In addition, Radiant was severely spiritually oppressed and physically chronically ill for many years until the Lord miraculously healed her spirit and body about 3 years ago. Her physical illness was so bad that she was almost an invalid many days and couldn’t take care of her children. Sometimes she couldn’t think, walk, or talk. She had severe “brain fog,” confusion, and depression. And then some strong prayer warriors who knew Jesus and His love and power surrounded her and prayed over her. She began to renounce the horrible lies she had believed about herself and God and began to receive good things from God, His Word, His creation, food, and her family. May this post be a great blessing to you today:

Dear friends,

As we come to Jesus today, we come wounded. The vast majority of us have been beaten up and robbed on this battlefield of life. Our joy and peace have been stolen. The crucial truths about Who He is and who we are in Him – stolen, plundered and destroyed in most of the Church for centuries and left in ruins.

Our true identity has been stolen – and much like Edmund when the White Witch tempted him with becoming a prince of Narnia through obedience to her – we have believed lies of the enemy, and slipped into a frozen, dark prison. Bound in fear. Starving for nourishment. Always thirsting. Unable to breathe. Hearts racing. Bearing heavy loads. Harassed and helpless, like sheep without a Shepherd. Thinking we walk in the light (we have the Word!) as we walk in darkness and despair. Expecting ourselves to meet every standard of God’s law in our own strength, and living in constant defeat and condemnation when we don’t.

If you are like I was for so many years, you might be angry at anyone who suggests there could be real hope.

We believe we have tried. We have prayed. We have had elders and family and our church pray. We have done everything possible that we know to do and been to every doctor and tried every oil and diet, researching things to death – and yet we are…

Still stuck.

Still sick.

Still alone.

We have felt like victims. Victims of others’ abuse, of marriage, of politics, of the medical community, of the school system, of the food supply, of the Church. Of our culture. Sometimes we feel like victims of God. We start to believe the best we could get for is for someone to understand our pain – that we have been abandoned by God, the Church, and hope.

But, what was Jesus’ response to the sick, beat up, paralyzed, blind, hungry, poor and dead? If you are ready – let’s start looking at what Jesus really said and did, rather than filtering His healing or deliverance through sermons we have heard, experiences we have or haven’t had, or our current theology.

  • Can we dare to ask Him to open our hearts to Him – the Lover of our souls?
  • Can we invite Him in to heal and free our bodies, minds, spirits, relationships, and hearts?

Our Jesus told of a man who was beat up, robbed, and left for dead on the road; and the Christ-like response was Someone who picked him up, wrapped His own clothes around the wounded man, bound up his wounds, poured salve on his cuts, carried him to a safe place of rest and healing. All paid for by the Christ-like one out of love and compassion.

  • The One whose Cleanness was so contagious, He could touch lepers and they would be made clean.
  • The One whose compassion always moved Him to heal every sick, lame blind, possessed or oppressed person who was brought to Him. Every. Single. One.
  • The One who sings over us and made us His beautiful Bride. He seated us in heavenly places with Him – and He holds us close to His heart.

He draws us into the Throne Room to dance with Him as galaxies spin around Him. He whispers to His shy Bride, “In My throne room, we dance!” He moves His Bride from the shadows of condemnation, to the Light of His love and grace. This is the One who loves us with all of His heart.

We were blind –but He wants us to see. We were dead, but He raised us with His resurrection power in Him. He has moved us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light with Him. He has made us royalty with Him. He placed His Spirit inside us. We have His DNA! He gave us His name. He wants us to proclaim and declare His truth and good news and power over creation – that His Kingdom come and His will be done in every heart, home, marriage, child, neighborhood, church, dark place and nation as it is in heaven.

As we speak out His truth and promises in faith – He accomplishes it!

He and His angel armies are on the edge of their seats, waiting and watching for those of us who will dare to praise Jesus in our trials and speak His will and power and authority into the dark places. The power of life and blessing is in our tongues! He loves to answer!!

He is our Supply. He is our portion. Our inheritance. He is the Initiator who whispers His promises, love, and joy into our hearts – that we get to echo back to Him in faith. He is Good. He fights for us. And He loves us with a pure, holy and infinite love at all times. He does not leave us but holds us close.

No, I don’t understand everything about how suffering, sickness, disease and injuries work.

But as a former ICU and recovery room nurse who has been healed by Jesus of things man couldn’t touch – I see that things are not as clear-cut as I once believed. I can’t neatly divide the body into the digestive system or the nervous system as the obvious root of a problem.

  • I can’t divide life into merely physical versus merely spiritual.

There is no such division as secular or sacred. There are truly emotional, mental, spiritual and physical aspects tied up together in much of life. Things connect. People connect. There are root causes of things that sometimes go back into our history. Words and actions have power for blessing or cursing, for life or death. Jesus says “Choose Life!” “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus has shaken up my worldview. And I am so glad He has!! I see Him calling out to His Bride (His Church), who has been sick, frail, in tremendous pain, weak, wounded, plundered and left for dead.

He says over us, “Dead bones – (your own life, dead families, dead churches) – come together. Be joined and built together.” And there is a rattling sound happening now. Now. Today!

“Bones, be put back into a body with every connection and organ and cell in place working properly. Body of My Bride – be brought together and be made whole.” And the Bride is coming together, being healed and being united. She is being given the strength to stand on the Truth with Jesus.

“Breath of the Spirit – fill my Bride with Life! It is time. Now is the time for her to Live. Arise My Love! The grave no longer has a hold on you! It’s time to dance!! Sing to me as I sing over you, My beautiful one. Praise me and see what I am about to do! The bells of Freedom are ringing over you!”

Holy Spirit,

We invite You in. Open our cold and hard hearts and spirits to You. Help our unbelief. We invite You into our bodies, minds and hearts. Strengthen our spirits to be able to receive revelation of who You really are and Your great love for us.

Open the dusty drawers, dig up old rotting things in our closets. Cleanse, purge, prune us of all that is not of You. Reveal to us the places we are full of unbelief or pride, fear or doubt, anger or bitterness. Root it all out, Jesus. Plow up our hearts to be ready with good soil for all the seeds of Your Word You want to plant in us. Fruitful, beautiful things from You that need dead rotting things to be cast out.

Help us take up the weapons, tools and authority You have given us to take every thought captive for Christ. To reject all that is not of You. To receive everything that is of You, even if it is very different from how we are used to thinking. To the praise of Your glorious grace!

Amen.

You are loved!
Radiant

OTHER POSTS BY RADIANT

I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs Desires or Emotions

Being a Trophy Wife Is Not the Goal

Cinderella and the Gospel – about receiving the love and gift of Jesus for us with joy rather than rejecting Him with cynicism

Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong and Selfish?

For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband

 

A Summer of Healing

This is a pic from the Maroon Bells park area near Aspen, Co from a few weeks ago.

What a summer it has been! I’m so grateful for having a few weeks to unplug from ministry and to really focus on the Lord and on my family. I definitely needed that more than I could have imagined.

I am still on this journey of learning and growing in Christ right along with everyone else.

There is a huge connection between my spiritual life and my health that I am not always aware of and I sure don’t completely understand – but it is there, nonetheless.

My prayer partner encouraged me to speak life in the area of my health, not to speak negatively the way I had been doing. I had been saying things (to myself and to others) like:

  • Life would be so much easier if I didn’t ever have to eat.
  • I can’t eat most things, they will make me sick.
  • If I eat that, I will be in trouble.
  • I have this disease and that disease and they are incurable.

She reminded me that our words are powerful – they have the power of life and death. If I am speaking negatively over areas of my life, I will see negative fruit in those areas. I knew that. I have purged so many areas of my life of negative words and thoughts in the past. But I was convicted that there were several areas where I had been speaking negatively that I hadn’t even noticed – my diet, my health, some things about my son’s school, and some things about pharmacy (which is my job).

  • The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Prov. 18:21

I also saw that although I had weakly asked God for healing in the past, I didn’t have much faith about it. One of God’s operating principles is that He does things for us in in proportion to the amount of faith we have in Him.

 

I have been reading through the Bible this year and was in 2 Chronicles about three weeks ago when I came across a verse that just jumped out and grabbed me. King Asa had been a godly king. A good king. A king who wanted to please the Lord and who did what was right in God’s eyes so many times. He saw God bless him mightily for many years. But in his later years, he trusted a treaty with another king instead of trusting God – the result of which was that he had war against his kingdom for the rest of his reign instead of the peace that Judah had enjoyed the rest of the time he was king. Then he got sick, very sick.

  •  In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 2 Chronicles 16:12.

I thought, “With all of my health issues, where have I looked for help? Have I truly ever sought God wholeheartedly about all of these things? Or have I been primarily trusting in doctors and Western medicine? How much have I relied on my pharmacist training rather than on the Lord over the years? Then when Western medicine didn’t work, I turned my faith to holistic medicine, a holistic doctor, a special diet, and supplements? It helped somewhat, but I have never been set free from all of these diseases. What if God has some lessons for me spiritually in this that I have been missing?”

I decided to lay all of these things before the Lord and invite Him to show me any wrong thinking and any sin in my heart that may be contributing to my sickness in my particular situation.

Note – I don’t believe the Bible is saying that going to a doctor, using medications, or using earthly remedies is necessarily sin. But in my case, my faith was too invested in these earthly means and not invested much at all in the Lord’s power. That was a big problem.

 

“DIVINE HEALING”

Last year, Greg bought a book for me by Andrew Murray, one of my favorite Christian authors, called, “Divine Healing.” I hadn’t read it yet. But I decided that while we were on a family vacation would be the perfect time to dive in – free from distractions.

Andrew Murray lived in the 1800s – early 1900s and was a Christian pastor in South Africa. He is known for his incredibly deep writings, having written over 240 books. Two of his books, “Humility” and “Absolute Surrender,” have been life changing for me. (They are available as free audio books or $0.99 Kindle books on Amazon on the links provided).

“May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence,” was his prayer. “And not a moment without the entire surrender of myself as a vessel for him to fill full of his Spirit and his love.” – Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray experienced a health crisis that stopped his ministry for two years. They were “the silent years” because his throat was affected and he could not speak. During that time, He pressed into Christ more deeply than ever. And, eventually, he was miraculously healed by the Lord.

Murray has a very scriptural approach, in my view. I do wish he had addressed Paul speaking to Timothy about “taking a little wine” for his stomach because of his frequent illness (1 Timothy 5:23). The topic of healing seems like sometimes it can get a bit crazy these days. So we definitely want to be on guard to check anything any spiritual teacher has to say against scripture. But anything that jives with sound doctrine and scripture, I want to receive! Even if I don’t understand it all. I invite you to check out his book and what the Bible has to say about the topic of healing. Please compare everything Murray or anyone else, including myself, may say and compare it to God’s Word.

SOME CHANGES

I saw that some of my thinking needed to change over the past few weeks as I have been away from ministry and just soaking in the Lord’s presence, in His Word, and in fervent prayer. I am still working through reading through the book a second time and hashing out my thoughts with the Lord in prayer.

I don’t claim to understand everything about this issue. Not by a long shot.

I don’t know what the future will hold. But I have taken some big new steps in faith toward what I believe God desires me to do. I do know I can trust Him. I want to receive absolutely everything that is from the Lord and absolutely nothing that is not of Him in every area of my life. I do know that God is very good and that I want to trust Him more and more and I want to praise Him for the rest of my life and all of eternity!

I decided on July 13, 2017 that I would make some changes by faith:

  • I will stop speaking negatively to myself and others about my health and about food.
  • I’m going to take a fast from my supplements, at least for a time, until I have more direction from the Lord.
  • I will seek to eat relatively healthy things, as a godly steward of my body, but I will not stick religiously to the extremely restricted diet I was on.
  • I want to thank God for my body, for eating, and for healthy food.
  • My purpose is to be fit for God’s service alone, not to be well just so I can do whatever I want to do.
  • My faith must be in the Lord and my focus on Him – not on earthly things or myself.
  • I will praise and thank God for any food set before me and receive it with gratitude and joy.
  • I will ask God to show me if any of the illness I had been experiencing was due to sin and that He might expose that sin and heal me for His glory. (I did see a lot of sin in my heart – faith in other things besides Him, unbelief in Him, worldly thinking, human wisdom, negativity about my health, etc… and I repented.)

I am in the process of figuring out how best to balance my time with God and ministry. Please pray for God’s wisdom for me about that, as well. Thanks so much!

THE PAST FEW WEEKS

I have been utterly amazed at God’s goodness and miracles!

My health issues have been non-existent the past few weeks since I began this new approach.

I have eaten things that I haven’t eaten in over two years. And I haven’t had all the usual reactions. THAT IS AMAZING! I am so excited to share this new thing the Lord is doing in my life and the resource of this book for any who may be interested. Please rejoice and praise God with me at how the Lord has been healing me! May each of us seek to yield ourselves fully to Christ and to receive all of His provision and goodness for His glory!

I also want to thank so many of you who prayed for my healing physically. I truly am completely blown away! Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness and blessing. How can I ever thank You enough for all You have done for me? May You alone be greatly exalted here!

Thank you for being on this journey with me. What a joy!

Much love!

 

RELATED

  • Divine Healing by Andrew Murray (Check it out for yourself. Compare it to scripture. This is a BIG topic, and for many of us, a very unfamiliar topic. Many of our churches do not talk about God’s healing being available to us. Yes, we often pray for the sick. But what do we really know about what the Bible says about physical healing?)
  • Radiant has experienced similar divine healing.  She was almost an invalid and had severe health problems for many years. She was also very spiritually oppressed because she had received many lies about God, herself, and others from the enemy. Check out a bit of her story in this post. I plan to share more from her next week.
  • FreeinChrist had a very significant disease but experienced divine healing from the Lord as she began this journey to become the woman God called her to be. I hope to share her story of healing in the near future.
  • There are a number of reasons for sickness. For more about that, please click on this link and check out the section at the bottom.

 

 A FEW QUOTES FROM “DIVINE HEALING”

 

  • One of the chief benefits, then, of divine healing will be to teach us that our body ought to be set free from the yoke of our own will to become the Lord’s property. God does not grant healing to our prayers until He has attained the end for which He had permitted the sickness. He wills that this discipline should bring us into a more intimate communion with Him.(pg. 43)
  • There is reciprocity in God’s relations with man… If, in His love, He gives Himself full to me, it is in order that I may lovingly give myself fully to Him. In the measure in which I more or less really surrender to Him all my being, in that measure also He gives Himself more really to me… The more our life bears witness that the body is for the Lord, the more also we experience that the Lord is for the body. (pg. 45)
  • When we have recourse to remedies for healing, all the attention of the sick one is upon the body, considering the body, while divine healing calls us to turn our attention away from the body and to abandon ourselves, soul and body, to the Lord’s care, occupying ourselves with Him alone. (pg. 49)
  • Just abide before Him in the simple, utter helplessness of one who knows nothing, and is nothing, and can do nothing. Absolute dependence upon God is the secret of all power in work. (pp. 138-139)
  • With all your hurry and effort in Christ’s work, you never prosper. The first thing you need is to come and rest in your Lord Jesus… If you would be a true branch of Christ, the living Vine, just rest on Him. Let Christ bear the responsibility (of accomplishing the work). (pg. 139)
  • Oh, how many Christians look upon it as a burden, and a tax, and a duty, and a difficulty to get much alone with God! That is a great hindrance to our Christian life everywhere. We need more quiet fellowship with God, and I tell you in the name of the heavenly Vine that you cannot be healthy branches, branches into which the heavenly sap can flow, unless you take plenty of time for communion with God.If you are not willing to sacrifice time to get alone with Him, and give Him time every day to work in you, and to keep up the link of connection between you and Himself, He cannot give you that blessing of His unbroken fellowship. (pg. 143)
  • Oh, we find the Christian life so difficult because we seek for God’s blessing while we live in our own will. We would be glad to live the Christian life according to our own liking. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to come in and take care that sin shall not conquer us too much, and that we shall not go too far wrong; we ask Him to come in and give us so much of His blessing. But our relations to Jesus ought to be such that we are entirely at His disposal, and every day come to Him humbly and straightforwardly, and say, Lord, is there anything in me that is not according to Thy will, that has not been ordered by Thee or that is not entirely given up to Thee? Oh, if we would wait and wait patiently, there would spring up a relationship between us and Christ so close and so tender that we would afterward be amazed how far distant our intercourse with Him had previously been. (pg. 145)

 

“Isn’t Loving or Respecting Myself Wrong and Selfish?” – by Radiant

I’m honored to welcome Radiant to share with us today. She has been married almost 23 years and has several children. The Lord has radically healed her from pretty severe spiritual oppression and even physical illness. This sweet sister in Christ has had a very different road from my own. She had the opposite personality and issues from mine. We had to work on becoming godly women/wives from opposite ends of the spectrum. But the end goal is the same. To be filled up with Jesus, healed by His power, yielded fully to His Lordship, overflowing with His love, truth, and grace, and ready to be the women the Lord calls us to be. I pray this may be a blessing for those who struggle in understanding your identity in Christ, your worth in Christ, and how to think of and treat yourself in God-honoring ways:

To the many, many others who struggle with this; grace and peace to you to be strengthened in your spirit to receive the truth from God in this crucial area today. If we can’t get this – we can’t grow, and we are going to stay imprisoned in darkness.

April and I come to issues like this from opposite extremes. When April used certain words – “love yourself” or “respect yourself,” for instance, – I automatically repelled from those ideas like the wrong end of a magnet. I could no longer hear what she was saying because my biggest fear was being a selfish, nagging, demanding pig of a wife. And my biggest pride though I couldn’t realize it – was not having needs, not asking for anything, and never being demanding like those other people.

I tried very hard to be completely self-sufficient. I thought that was a good thing.

But there is a way that seems wise to man that in the end leads to death. That is what my thinking was.

Self is a confusing idea for us in our Christian culture.

  1. We have an Old Self that we are to die to. It is also called “the flesh” or “our sin nature.” (Colossians 3  and Galatians 5 show the traits of our Old Self – it’s not pretty for any of us). The only thing it is good for is dying. We are to put it off completely – it is nasty. Like a totally filthy garment of rags. It is completely tainted with sin. It needs to die on the Cross with Jesus and be buried with Him in baptism. I think that is the self we think people are pointing to when they say “love or respect yourself.” We know our Old Self is disgusting, with nothing good in it – and we have tons of evidence listed in alphabetical categories since we were four years old to prove it. Any self-effort to improve or love God or be good on our own is tainted by this Old Self. But that is not all there is to us as new creations in Christ.
  2. We are all image bearers of God. There is dignity to all of our lives from conception to death, no matter the state of our physical/mental/spiritual well being (Ps. 139). We are broken image bearers – but still image bearers. And there is a sacredness and a dignity to human life, including YOU because of that.  You have worth because God created you just like a painting that was painted by Picasso has worth because He painted it. You count as one of the ones in the world that God so loved – for whom He sent His only Son to die  (John 3:16).
  3. If you are a believer in Christ – you have a New Self. If we could see spiritually what that New Self looks like – as C.S. Lewis says, we would be tempted to worship it. The demons can see the Holy Spirit in us. They see the Light of Jesus’ goodness flowing through us in beautiful glory, (IF we are walking in faith and our true identity in Christ and in His authority and dying to Self). And they are terrified.

Most of us in our Christian culture have received a gospel that is Non-Good News. We believe Jesus died for us (He probably hated it and felt like He had to), and that He saved us just enough to get us into heaven and dump us at the very outer rim, near the huge walled perimeter, while He moved on to “important people and things.” Now everything is up to us to make the Kingdom happen and to grow by ourselves (we have been trained to think – or we misinterpreted what was taught).

So we have the Seed of the Spirit in our hearts which wants to burst open with Life and Light. The Seed of Life. But we are refusing to breathe.

The Word is God-breathed – and we need to breathe in His Word for us personally every day and actually absorb it. Sometimes, we are not watering that Seed with Living water, but with the poison of evil lies we tell ourselves. We have hard, rocky, unbelieving hearts in a Church full of unbelief and worldliness. We have choked the seed with the cares of this world and with pseudo-science, culture, entertainment, and busyness. We have stayed in the rotting darkness rather than come out into the Light, thinking we have faith and are doing pretty well as Christians since most Christians we know are in about the same place or have an everything-is-fine facade.

Of course we are not growing. We are starving and rotting.

We have not taken every thought captive for Christ. We have allowed the Enemy to infiltrate every area of our thinking and feelings, and therefore every part of our mind, heart and body – but not our spirit – because that is the Lord’s once we are saved. Our spirit and His Spirit in us long for Him! There is a war within us that isn’t content until we have freedom, life, peace, joy and most of all Christ!

He desires Truth in our inmost being. Where are these thoughts coming from?

  • “No one could ever love me.”
  • “I am the most worthless person ever. I am Nobody.”
  • “Jesus could never love me. I am too far beyond His help.”
  • “God has abandoned me and left me to rot in a pit/dungeon/shelf.”
  • “Jesus would never want to set me free.”
  • “Jesus could never heal me/my situation.”

Are these the thoughts of God or of the Enemy?

If this is what God thinks of you – who is this God? Is God good? Is He love? Is He all powerful? Is this the God of the Bible? If these are lies – what are we doing letting them stay in our brains?

Somehow we believe that we can be saved – but still treat ourselves like absolute dirt and not believe anything God says about Himself or about us.

  • Like we can legitimately call God a Liar.
  • Like it is ok to treat the Bride of Christ that way.
  • Like it is ok to treat our Holy, Almighty, Good, Merciful Father that way.
  • Like we are more holy than God in our lack of forgiving ourselves or receiving good?

We have been deceived if we believe these things! We have been robbed of so much grace and blessing and truth!

Don’t let the Enemy keep gloating over you!

No, our Jesus is STILL anointed to set the captives free, to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, and to open the prisons of those who are bound. (Isa 61) Where the Lord is there is freedom! If Jesus has set you free, you are free indeed!

But – you have to receive it by faith. True faith requires action. You have to walk out of that prison. You have to come into the light once those shackles are off. You have to breathe His healing Presence in. Breathe in His love and forgiveness and all He has done for you. Receive it.

  • Breathe out the lies and hurts and bitterness and unbelief and feeling abandoned and voicelessness and not counting as a real person and all of the vows you have made yourself to protect yourself since you were little.
  • You have to exchange the lie for the truth.
  • Confess your brokenness, pain, these lies you have been believing, how you have made Jesus small and you and your problems and limitations and weakness big.
  • Confess that you have thought of God as cruel – that He made you wrong and isn’t able to or won’t save you or set you free.
  • Confess that you felt abandoned by God at a crushing time in your life. That you thought God was mad at you, or that you may have been mad at God though you could never admit it. That when everything crumbled to pieces in your life, and God didn’t fix it, you tried to step in and save yourself and your marriage and your kids. You may need to write out a list of things to confess to God to get it unjumbled in your head. Your list may look different but we all have a list.
  • Get every negative thought and hurt and bitterness and unbelieving thought out into the Light. Reject it in the Name of Jesus.
  • Then – don’t leave yourself empty – receive the Truth about God and you. And know you are truly forgiven, white as snow. Not because you feel it – but because God promised it. “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. He is Faithful and True. He does not lie.

So our first step is to receive total forgiveness – that there is nothing else we have to do and we do not need to hang on to our guilt or accusing ourselves anymore. The debt is paid. Where that old self was – we now have our New Self – which is Christ in us. His goodness, His perfection, His mind, His heart, His desires, His power. All Him. So we don’t feel it yet – but we receive it in faith. And we receive everything God says is true about His Bride. about His Church. His people. His love towards them – that is His love towards us.

It is Christ in us that gives us our new identity and all goodness.

Now – we have a reason to treat our “selves” well. Because it is Christ in us. We are absolutely one with Him. Nothing can separate us from His love. Not even our old self! That is the identity April is trying to get us to see. Our New Self that is glorious and one with Christ.

Then the next time the old accusation darts attack us – we have our armor on, ready for battle (Eph. 6:10-17). We have  on

  • The breastplate of His righteousness protecting our hearts.
  • The helmet of salvation (we KNOW we are saved).
  • The belt of truth (so we don’t trip up on all those lies).
  • The readiness of the gospel of peace on our feet.
  • The sword of the Word to fight off the enemy.
  • The shield of faith.

And we reject the lies and accusations in the Name of Jesus and replace them with the Truth. We have been drinking milk like baby Christians, but we start to get stronger and ready to move on to solid food because we can discern truth from lies by lots of practice and being washed in the Word (Heb 5).

Blessings!!!

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT:

Loving ourselves appropriately is something God assumes we will do. Check out the second greatest commandment and God’s instructions to husbands in Ephesians 5:

  • “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
  • In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. Eph. 6:28-30

Other verses about self-respect and thinking rightly about self:

  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
  • For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:20
  • For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4

OTHER POSTS BY RADIANT:

I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Needs, Desires, or Emotions. 

For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband

Cinderella and the Gospel

Being a Trophy Wife Is Not the Goal, Dear Sisters!

RELATED:

How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ

Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

25 Ways to Respect Myself (Think Rightly about Myself)

Dying to Self

Dying to Self Can Be Dangerously Misunderstood

Twenty-Five Ways to Be a Safe Place for Your Husband Emotionally

We as women understand the desire to feel safe with our men. We want to feel safe and secure physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually – and in every way – in our marriages. That is one of our greatest needs as wives. Husbands want to feel safe in every way with us, too.

Men have certain legitimate needs that need to be met before they can be open to emotional/spiritual intimacy as men – all of us do.

Our men are wired by God for adventure, for purpose, to fulfill His calling, to portray the strength, love, grace, and wisdom of Christ to the world. They seem so big and strong. And they are in many ways. But they have feelings and emotions, too, which we may sometimes discount if they don’t express them the way we do.

Our attitudes, words, and actions can hurt them. Even if they don’t show it in the same way we would. Even if they don’t complain about it or confront us. So let’s make sure that we seek to provide a safe haven from this harsh world for our men when they are with us. A place where they feel welcome, where they can relax, and where they know we have good motives toward them.

WAYS I CAN BE A SAFE PLACE FOR MY HUSBAND (with the power of the Holy Spirit, of course)

  1. Get rid of anything that is emotionally scary on my end of the relationship (more detail below).morgan-sessions-17278
  2. Smile my beautiful smile often.
  3. Use a pleasant, friendly tone of voice whenever possible.
  4. Watch my body language, let it speak warmth, love, and respect.
  5. Be kind, gentle, and polite.
  6. Share my needs and feelings with humility, authenticity, and vulnerability in direct ways.
  7. Don’t share the private things he shares with me with other people – be trustworthy.*
  8. Honor his God-given leadership in the family as appropriate.
  9. Use my influence authority wisely.
  10. Honor his authority as a dad.
  11. Give him space respectfully when he needs it.
  12. Seek to understand his unique masculine world, celebrating that men are different from women in some ways and that is part of God’s good design.
  13. Take my thoughts captive for Christ first before having a negative emotional conversation.
  14. Be aware of PMS, hormone issues, exhaustion, illness, etc… where the body is weak – and consider whether it is a good time to try to emotionally connect or to talk about negative things.
  15. Be content and peaceful in Christ. My genuine peace and joy are huge gifts to him.
  16. Be filled up to overflowing with Christ – that is the only way to have that beautiful gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to hysterical fear.
  17. Reward him when he shares with me emotionally and make it enjoyable for him.
  18. Limit the amount of time I ask for emotional connection if that is tiring for him or he is stressed/exhausted, etc…
  19. Receive good things from him – compliments, gifts, time, attention, affection, attraction, sex, etc… – graciously and joyfully.
  20. Have a spirit of gratitude toward him.
  21. Be willing to extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness in a healthy, godly way.
  22. Be responsible with financial decisions.
  23. Be interested and open to his wisdom and ideas.
  24. Give him my full attention when he is talking whenever possible.
  25. Enjoy him and rest in his love.

Yes, most people would appreciate most of these things in relationships – wives certainly would like many of these things. 🙂

 

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN BE EMOTIONALLY SCARY TO OUR MEN?

SHARE

What are some ways you have discovered you can encourage your husband to feel safe with you?

FOR MORE HELP

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

I Was SURE I Would Never Make My Husband into an Idol 

Should I Seek to Please and Keep My Husband at ANY Cost?

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs

What Is Disrespect in Marriage?

Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

What Is Respect in Marriage?

Closeness in Marriage Looks Different from What I Expected

IF THINGS ARE VERY TENSE IN YOUR MARRIAGE:

Please understand, if you have an extremely emotionally/spiritually wounded husband – he probably can’t do much to meet your deep spiritual and emotional needs right now. Even if you are also deeply wounded and need a lot of help, too. He may need to be in a spiritual/emotional ICU for a bit. Give him some time and space to heal as you focus on finding the healing Jesus has for you in your soul. Find all of your contentment, joy, fulfillment, security, and peace in Christ alone. Thankfully, you can find all of our deepest needs met in Christ no matter what your husband may or may not do. Seek to bless your husband. You may have to refrain from asking him for emotional support until he is stronger and the marriage is healing up more.

  • This post does a good job explaining an approach that may be helpful for those whose husbands act like or say they are done with the marriage.
  • This post may be a blessing for those who are in the trenches.

If you are struggling in your walk with the Lord or in your marriage – reach out to God. Reach out for godly counsel one-on-one if you need it. There is private counseling available at www.focusonthefamily.com. Also, KLUV, a Christian radio station, has pastors and Christian counselors you can speak to.

 

*(If there are serious issues going on, we can privately reach out to appropriate authorities and counselors who can help.)

 

For a Wife with a Critical, Perfectionistic Husband – by Radiant

My primary issue in my marriage was that I didn’t know how to respect my husband – I had no problem standing up for myself – although I personally had a lot of pride to deal with before I could do this in a godly way. I was the overly critical, perfectionistic one who thought everything should be done my way. 🙁 Yikes!

Other wives have the opposite issue. They work so hard to respect their husbands (maybe to an unhealthy degree where a husband’s approval is more important than God’s), sometimes they disrespect themselves. Maybe the husband is the more controlling one and the wife is the more passive one. There has to be a delicate balance where we reverence God above all else, and we think rightly about ourselves (respect ourselves) and respect our husbands appropriately. But we don’t have to respect sin. We can confront sin appropriately if we are being sinned against. And we can acknowledge that we have human limitations.

Radiant responds to a wife’s situation whose husband is constantly critical, degrading, negative, and perfectionistic, who expects his wife to do much more than is humanly possible and who is unloving because she “never measures up” in his eyes. This post is primarily about how she can think in her own heart. It is just barely scraping the surface of this issue and is not a comprehensive article on this topic. For more – please check out the resources at the bottom of the post.

I would say she needs to imagine Jesus as a sleeping bag or bubble all zipped around her, completely enfolding her – because He is – and to not absorb or receive any negative words aimed at her – but let Jesus absorb them.

She needs to only absorb what Jesus says about her.

She could respond with, “I am sorry you feel that way” if her husband complains about things about her. But I don’t think she needs to try to give excuses, try to work herself to death, or go to extremes to please him by overdoing things. She can do what is reasonable and that is all she can do that day.

And Jesus is enough. Jesus can give her the wisdom to figure out what is her responsibility that day and what she can’t manage alone.

She can only do one person’s worth of work without breaking down her spirit/heart/mind/body. If she can’t do something – she can politely say, “I will do my best with the time I have, and I will do y and z, but I just won’t be able to get to ‘x’ task today.”
She is not doing her husband good, or herself or kids or God good, if she wears herself out doing more than possible. She is not responsible to change or make her husband happy. Only the Spirit can do that. She can’t meet the deepest needs of her husband’s heart that only God can meet.

She can work on receiving everything God has for her and claiming His promises. She can declare out loud over her home the things God wants for their home:

  • Thank You God that You want our marriage to reflect Christ and the Church.
  • Thank You that Christ is the head of my husband and the priest of our home and He will lay down his life for His Bride and will not provoke his children to wrath.
  • Thank You that he will be a servant leader like Christ.
  • Thank You that the Spirit will reign in peace and unity over our home.
  • Thank You that I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
  • Thank You that I have the whole armor of God and the protection of Jesus and His angels over me.
  • Thank You Jesus that You are with me, you are mighty to save, You take great delight in me, You comfort me with Your love, You rejoice over me with singing!
  • Thank You Jesus that You are my perfect Bridegroom, I am already perfectly loved and I don’t have to live in fear. I cast out fear from myself and this house and receive Your perfect love in the Name of Jesus.
    (and soooo many more! so many good ones!)

Psalm 67 is for her.

  • Thank You, Jesus that You are all good and love and holy. If Jesus’ love for us looked like human love (critical, condescending, selfish, etc…) – we would have zero hope.
  • Thank You Jesus that You pursued us and died while we deserved nothing but wrath. That You laid down Your beautiful life for Your Bride. That You rise to be gracious to us. You love to put us in a place where You can lavish Your love on us!! You meet our every need and You love to give.

I see such a parallel between the Western Church and how she thinks of God and this particular marriage dynamic. We tend to believe God thinks of us the way this husband thinks of his wife, and we accept it as true about us and God. But it’s not true of Christ and the Church.

That is not who Jesus is. I know He wants her to find rest in Himself and His love and protection. In who she is in Christ. In her new identity – that she is one with Christ. He is her shield, refuge, strength, joy and protector. He is her dear Friend, Comforter, and Counselor. He is with her always. When she feels like a failure – or is told directly that she is – she can keep on that breastplate of His righteousness. Jesus lived the perfect life for her to set her free from the law. She is no longer under law but under grace.

Old Self died with Jesus on the Cross. New Self is alive together with Christ – resurrected in power! And yay for her husband being able to see good things of her with Christ! That is all that is good about any of us. We have nothing good in ourselves. She can completely put off everything about her old way of thinking/living/reacting/fear/anger/hurt and doing. And put on Christ – His heart, His mind, His words, His wisdom, His peace, His life, His breath, His hope.

She can completely reject the lies of the enemy (the real voice behind these words she is being told) that she is useless and there is nothing good about her. That is not from God – so she needs to not receive that at all.

Test and see what the source is behind your thoughts. If it is not love/peace/power/hope/the Gospel and all about the beauty of Jesus – it is not of God. In which case it is of the world and the enemy. We stand against the enemy’s ideas and plans and strongholds and lies in this marriage, these hearts and this home.

PRAYER FOR THOSE WIVES WHO ARE STRUGGLING IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS:
In the Name of Jesus – we speak Jesus’ kingdom come, and His will be done in this precious wife, her husband, her home and children as it is in heaven and in all of those who are reading this post. We place Your shield about her and her children and her husband. In Jesus Name we put on the Armor of God (Eph 6). Our sister in Christ does not have to stay locked in prison and darkness. She is set free by all Jesus did for her on the Cross and resurrection, and she can live in life, freedom, hope and peace and healing.

We receive Your Truth and freedom for her today. We resist the enemy and he has to flee in the Name of Jesus. We pray for reconciliation, healing and peace and love in this home for the honor and glory of Jesus. Set these hearts free and implant Your infinite love in their hearts. Take all Satan has stolen and destroyed and meant for evil – and turn it on its head for good, glory and celebrating Christ! Turn these hearts and this home into a Lighthouse of peace and love and power in the Spirit. Let what is hidden and in bondage be brought into the light and revealed and healed in Jesus’ all-powerful Name and by His blood.
Thank You Jesus that You are at work. We receive Your answers and provision. We will praise You today even before we feel or see any answers – knowing You are at work here to bring beauty from ashes and life from dead bones. Yes these bones can live! The One who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. And the armies of heaven that surround us are greater than the enemies attacking us! Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. We receive His power to do His priorities. We can’t possibly do every possible thing every day. But we can do what Jesus wants us to do today by His power. Jesus didn’t go all over the whole world and heal every single person either. We receive Your boundaries on this wife’s roles and responsibilities and ask for You to open her husband’s eyes to You and Truth and grace for himself first and then for his family.

RELATED (remember – always compare anything any human author says to scripture and do what you know God desires you to do):

How to Calm Down an Angry Husband – by Nina Roesner

How to Deal with Critical People – by Nina Roesner

Cinderella and the Gospel – by Radiant about receiving good things from God

I Can’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions. I Can’t Ask for Things – by Radiant

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Posts about idolizing our husbands

The Real Motives Behind Perfectionism and People Pleasing

Responding to Criticisms, Rebukes, and Insults

Posts about Insecurity

My Identity and Security Must Be in Christ Alone!

25 Ways to Respect Myself – to think rightly about myself and my new identity in Christ – the goal is to reverence God above all, and then to respect our husbands and ourselves all at the same time

Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?

In His Grip Talks about Not Shutting Down Emotionally

Healthy VS Unhealthy Relationships

Nina Roesner has an e-course for wives in very difficult, emotionally abusive marriages that may be a huge blessing, “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

Sacred Influence – by Gary Thomas (about being a godly wife and using our influence in powerful ways in marriage. He has some chapters about dealing with angry husbands)

 

A Wife Completely Shuts Her Husband Out – a Guest Post

Reminder – My first book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, is available if you are interested. Everything you need for the first few steps of this journey to become the wife God calls you to be is organized and together and I pray the book may be a blessing to your walk with Christ and your marriage. If you have already read the book, please take a minute or two to share an honest review on Amazon. Thanks so much!

From a sister in Christ:

I am relatively new to this blog, but have become a faithful reader, and I wanted to add something to your list of what NOT to do when you feel forgotten by your husband. It is something that I did and it literally lost me several years of my marriage, even though on the surface it seemed like a reasonable, even right thing to do.

A few years ago I started questioning my awkward marriage and came to the conclusion that since my husband was not a godly man, and riddled with faults, and I wasn’t getting what I thought I would/should in a relationship, that I had made a mistake in marrying him. So instead of doing any of the things you listed, I adopted a long-suffering, “I made my bed and now I have to lie in it” attitude. I couldn’t bring myself to “chase” someone who clearly preferred the TV over me, so…

I just emotionally walked away from the relationship.

Instead of asking for what I wanted, I became my own person and completely stopped communicating. I was still there physically, cooking and washing his socks, etc., but I very determinedly asked nothing from him anymore, not conversation, advice, support, or even love. I even got a job so he wouldn’t have to pay for my groceries or anything. If I was sick I wouldn’t ask for help, and if something needed to be done that I physically couldn’t do, I would pay someone else to do it rather than “bother” him about it.

Looking back, I realize it was so stupid and prideful of me to live this way, and it left my husband wondering what the heck he was even doing here (something I wondered as well). But I couldn’t stand the thought of needing him and being rejected, (it was more than just TV watching and not just once) so I stopped needing him altogether.

Finally, I stumbled across your blog and I remember just crying and crying as I realized how wrong I was and how disrespectful and distrustful I had been. God gave me this man for a reason, and I was just throwing it away. Since then I have been more respectful, understanding of his masculinity and how he relates (it’s not necessarily a rejection!), and open (although I still don’t talk a whole lot, I don’t think it’s in my nature).

My husband’s relief and delight in this change is practically palpable.

It turns out he actually wants me to need him and desire him. Just by showing him respect in asking him for things, he is a changed man, and I am so thankful for your blog and your writing, and to God for showing me what I was missing by not being vulnerable.

I will never be a fit-thrower, but it is just as damaging to ignore your own needs and desire for attention from your husband. You CAN turn these needs off and shut them down, which might be a relief for both of you in the short term, but it kills the relationship and really makes it kind of pointless.

I think this is kind of dangerous ground too, because it can feel so “right” somehow. After all, what could be more noble than being low-maintenance? I actually thought I was being a very good wife most of the time. I never complained, never drew attention to myself, and never needed anything.

But what I actually was without realizing it, was just a good housekeeper. My husband didn’t have a wife, he didn’t even have a roommate. He just had a person who shared his house and his bed. I made it impossible for him to “know” me as he is told to do in the Bible. It wasn’t a marriage, it was two people living independently in the same house.

And yet I congratulated myself on “not being needy” and never bothering my husband. It felt right most times. But I didn’t know what I was missing, and that I was robbing my husband of his wife as well as the opportunity to be a living witness of God’s grace to this man. It is a very self-righteous, and dangerous way to live, and a high price to pay for pride.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

I think that some women may think, “I am dying to self,” by adopting this perspective that the author shares here. But this approach leads to division and hurt not healing and the Life, love, and unity of Christ in our marriages. It is not the kind of dying to self that we do in the power of Christ – it is more of a “power of the flesh” kind of thing, it seems to me. Here are some posts on similar topics for those who may want to research this mindset a bit more and how destructive it can be..

I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Desires, Emotions, and Needs… by Radiant

Cinderella and the Gospel by Radiant

Also, let’s keep in mind there are times when God calls us to wait, be still, and pray. And there are times when He prompts us to speak. Let’s be listening carefully to His voice of wisdom and discernment in our particular situations.

NOTE:
Revive Our Hearts Ministries hosted a massive worldwide prayer event for women last Friday night called “Cry Out!” If you are deeply burdened for your country and want to join with tens of thousands of women from around the world to pray for revival, please check out this link and watch the video that was live streamed on Friday.

 

“I Am Slowly Finding My Way” – a Guest Post

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked…
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither…   Psalm 1:1-3

From a sister in Christ who is fairly new on this journey to become a more godly woman – I’m so thankful for her willingness to share:

I am fluctuating… slowly finding my way. One day, I am resting in Christ steadily and firmly rooted in God’s arms – the next, I am trying to do everything in my own power and failing miserably. It’s still an improvement from where I was just a few short months ago.

I was grumpy, rude, irritable, short-tempered – in general, not a very nice person. I lived in my feelings; my pride was the scale that weighed every thought and conversation. I blamed everyone around me for my irritability.

I can only imagine what my husband and children must have felt… Realizing what an awful person I had become was not easy for me – I doubt it’s ever easy for anyone. Finding God has blessed my life more than words can express, and He has made so many changes to my heart and mind. Now, I am conscientiously happy – I choose to be excited, joyful, and appreciative. It takes a little effort to tell my pride-driven “feelings” to get lost and embrace happiness, oh, but it’s worth it – to rest in the peace the my God has given me, to play with my kids like I’m 8 years old again, to see my husband light up because something he said made me laugh.
I just had a wonderful weekend with my family. We didn’t do anything special, but it was so peaceful and relaxing. It’s true that our responses as wives and mothers set the tone in our homes. There were little issues that popped up, but I have been so peaceful because of my growing faith that the little blips were just smoothed over, instead of creating a storm.

It seems like when I find these peaceful moments, I say “Thanks, God”, get back behind the wheel, and crash the car, again.

I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too. Psalm 103:11-12 tells me that God has removed my sins and failures from me as far as the east is from the west. What a relief! So, I dust myself off, pray for clarity to see where I went off course, and I continue living in His grace.
I’ve read other women’s accounts of growing into a spiritually mature, virtuous woman; I was warned that it is a slow process. I am finally beginning to realize that MY process is slow because of me. If I just placed all control in God’s hands and rested entirely in him (without taking over after a great week- thinking that I finally crossed the spiritual maturity finish line), then I wouldn’t have such a bumpy road.

I’m not under the illusion that I will ever be without sin; my hope is to mature to a place where my responses are deliberate rather than reactive. I’ve learned so many truths about God, His Word, and myself from Scripture and from more experienced women, and I know it’s possible. The trick (at least for me) is to apply those truths to my life without making a bunch of rules for me to follow to be a “Good Wife.” That also means keeping my motives pure – not making changes to become closer to my family or to get people to see me in a new light.

These changes have only been successful and fruitful once they came from my desire to be closer to God, to please HIM – with an added bonus of peace in my home and improved relationships with my family.

When I try to abide in His will by my own power, my efforts fall short EVERY TIME. I have read those words one hundred times all from different people, but until I attempted it on my own I didn’t understand.

I still have a long way to go – I stumble more than I like. It was me giving up control (or trying to control) every detail in our lives that allowed God’s peace to come into my heart. Focusing on Jeremiah 17:7-8 helped guide me in letting go of my need to control. When you think about it…

Trees don’t chase water and sunshine around. They are steady, peaceful, and still. They take their nourishment from where they are planted. To grow, they dig their roots in deeper – those same roots that nourish them keep them firmly planted in storms.

God is blessing me with these “tree-like” characteristics. I am growing a strong foundation in my relationship with Christ. I have stopped chasing things to make me or others happy . I am content and growing where He wants me to be. I am learning to thank Him for every circumstance – especially those that show me any sins I am holding in my heart.

RELATED:

Stages of This Journey Part 1

Encouragement for Those Who Are in the Trenches

Things Got Worse When I First Started to Change by The Restored Wife

If I Become a Godly Wife – Will I Be Me? by Content in Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit

There Must Be More to This Journey  Than Just Prayer

How to Make Your Husband an Idol

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

If I Trust and Obey God, I Will Be Fake and Lose Myself – a Guest Post

How Can I Tell if I Belong to Christ?

Even Once My Marriage Is Healed, I Can’t Go Back to My Old Ways

“I Can’t Ask for Things. I Shouldn’t Have Needs, Desires, or Emotions” – by Radiant

 

From a very dear friend and sister in Christ whom God has radically healed physically and spiritually in the past year and a half. For decades, Radiant could not receive love from God, herself or from anyone and was imprisoned physically, spiritually, and emotionally. How I praise God for what He is doing in her life! This sister’s issues were often the opposite of my issues – and help to provide a much needed different perspective from my own.

———-

About the post, “Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!” – I totally thought like the wife who had objections to speaking in direct, vulnerable ways my whole life.

SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS:

This way of thinking makes us a victim and voiceless, then we freak out  on someone when they put that teeny straw on top of our huge anger that we aren’t allowed to admit, or have, or own, or do anything about. And it makes us jealous of wives who “have because they ask,” annoyed that they are so unapologetically “demanding” as we see it. My old way of thinking was about “righteously” refusing to have needs, emotions, demands.

It makes you really sick! Emotionally, physically and spiritually. To receive nothing good and only receive bad truly makes us toxic.

Why can’t we receive good? I think it’s this false humility stronghold that simultaneously says we don’t deserve anything good, while somehow at the same time being proud at how humble and un-needy we are. Then it’s about being a victim because no one understands how hard our life is. I felt I should have enough faith to be above struggles and emotions myself, even though I would never say anyone else should be. I was always the first one to comfort hurting people because I knew the pain of trying to go through things alone, and felt no one should ever have to do that (except me!). Part of it is the idea that “everyone else is more important than you, it’s in the Bible.” So being humble is not needing or asking or demanding. That’s for others.

If someone said good things about us, they are obviously lying or have a distorted perception or are just being nice, since the only thing that can be true is self-attack. That has been the only voice I have ever really believed – and I saw so much evidence to verify it – that it had to be true. And I was so used to that voice. I always thought that maybe if I criticized myself enough, then hopefully no one else would need to. While I was at it, I could feel extra guilty and not enjoy anything, and help God out with the punishments I knew I deserved. If someone did criticize me, I was a complete failure and had nowhere to stand, and collapsed inconsolably. There was no grace. No hope. Only trying again as hard as I could, knowing I would fail again.

People’s approval seems to be the only gauge of hope, but then we don’t receive it either. Nothing is ever enough.

So all time is spent trying not to need, trying to meet all others needs, trying not to mess up, attacking self with every mistake, guilt fear and failure. Trying to find life in dead works, which puts you under a curse. All this rule following and no joy or good results. Baseline – it is unbelief. Hebrew 4. No one can enter His rest if we hear the truth, but it is not mixed with faith.

My old way of thinking:

  • It’s saying Jesus saved me so I should be able to obey all of His commandments in my own strength.
  • It’s trying to please God without faith. Hebrew 11:6 says you can’t do that.
  • It’s trying to please God by obeying without believing anything He says, receiving anything but the most anemic salvation, (and believing Jesus did it reluctantly – that he had to), not receiving His love, grace, forgiveness, power, mercy. Having no idea all of the good qualities mentioned about Him could somehow be directed to include you, too. Imagining being on the very fringe of heaven, not included.
  • It’s also being totally blocked by anyone who disagrees or says, “no,” to you, but not ever being allowed to say, “no,” or your dislikes to them.
  • It’s remembering what caused someone to be upset at all, and making an inner vow to never mess up or cause a problem again. (These inner vows curse us, trying to save ourselves in our own strength).
  • It’s not believing anyone could ever enjoy your company or love you because you don’t feel it, so it can’t be true.
  • The biggest fears are being a burden, a failure, and demanding.
  • The only “truth” you hear are these accusing lies and and it somehow intertwines itself into the gospel to make it a non-gospel. You buy into it completely.

Idols, or strongholds, in this mindset are false humility and martyrdom.

Faith is scarce in this way of thinking. We believe Jesus did die to save us, and that we can be saved, but we don’t see His grace or promises or healing or forgiveness or that He truly desires us. And even then, we can grow in faith, be set free from quite a few things, and fall right back into this prison. Behind the false humility is immense pride – pride, saving ourselves, and being wise in our own eyes. Pride that we are following rules, astonishment when we can’t follow rules; that we weren’t successful since we should be. We are Christians! How can we fail God like this? So we attack and punish ourselves trying to help God with His disappointment in us. We try harder. Until we can’t try literally. Then we sink into depression and can’t be pulled out.
Faith is the ability to receive from God. So we cry out and try to serve and love Him and repent and feel guilty, but we don’t actually exchange that guilt for forgiveness.

  • We cry to him that we feel alone and unloved and abandoned but we don’t receive that He really is here with us and will never leave us.
  • We complain to him that we can’t do what he asks us to, and basically say He is mean and cruel for not helping us, but we won’t receive His help.
  • We don’t believe he will help so we don’t ask.
  • And when we do ask we are full of doubt and therefore don’t receive, and validate to ourselves that He doesn’t care.
  • We are proud that we don’t burden God or others.
  • We aren’t rude and don’t ask for stuff.
  • We are busy getting things done for God and praying for people and trying hard to follow our rules.

Until we fall apart. Then we are angry at God, ourselves and everyone around us except we can’t be angry, so this awful feeling stays general, unknowable and unfixable  and is more evidence of how God has abandoned us.

The mindset of false humility and not receiving and Jesus’ response:

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
John 13:6-10 ESV

RELATED:

Being Vulnerable and Direct Feels Wrong!

I Must Avoid Conflict at All Costs. That Is the Godly Thing to Do.

What Does God Say about Me?

My Identity and Security Are in Christ Alone!

Trying to Find Security in All the Wrong Places

Being a Trophy Wife is Not the Goal, My Dear Sisters! – by Radiant

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