“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

Healthy VS. Unhealthy Relationships

 

Where are people not permitted to say what they need, how they feel, or what they think?

– those who are literally slaves or who are in concentration camps.
– those in extremely oppressive countries with totalitarian regimes.
– those who are in abusive or dysfunctional relationships/families.

Here are some hallmarks of abusive/dysfunctional personal relationships:

  • It is not okay to talk about your negative feelings. Only positive emotions are allowed.
  • I am responsible for your decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • You are responsible for my decisions, obedience to God, sins, and emotions.
  • It is your job to make me happy. If I am not happy, it’s your fault.
  • Conflict is unacceptable.
  • Disagreement is not allowed.
  • You may not ask me questions or confront sin in my life. I can confront you whenever I want to, of course.
  • You are not safe here emotionally.
  • Your voice is not important to me.
  • I love conditionally with strings attached. If you don’t perform, I won’t love you.
  • You better put me above everything and everyone else, including God. Pleasing me better be the most important thing in your life.
  • I will not respect any healthy boundaries you try to set with me and will be offended if you attempt to have healthy boundaries.
  • You are accountable to me for everything you do, think, and say.
  • I know what is best for you.
  • I am always right and you are always wrong if you disagree with me.
  • You should be afraid of my disapproval more than anything or anyone else.
  • There is no forgiveness here. I cherish bitterness.
  • I expect you to meet spiritual and emotional needs in my soul that really only Christ can meet. I come into this relationship as a black hole of neediness.

Some hallmarks of healthy relationships (these would be the goals as we seek to allow God’s Spirit to refine and sanctify us):

  • It is okay to talk about anything and to share all of your feelings about anything – even if they are negative.
  • We will work through conflict together. Conflict is inevitable. We won’t always agree. But we will always love each other and work through it as a team.
  • Conflict is an opportunity for growth.
  • I love you unconditionally.
  • You are safe here in every way.
  • We are kind to each other.
  • We treat each other well.
  • Love and respect are abundant here in both directions.
  • You are important to me. You are precious and very valuable.
  • Your ideas, feelings, concerns, and desires are important to me.
  • You are responsible for your own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • I am responsible for my own emotions, decisions, obedience to God, and sins.
  • If I am not happy, it is my own responsibility to take care of my emotions and to voice what I need.
  • Healthy boundaries are respected and encouraged.
  • We each know we can respectfully confront sin in the other’s life when necessary.
  • We expect each of us to put God way above anyone else or anything else. Pleasing God is the most important thing in life.
  • We know we are all ultimately accountable to God for how we treat each other.
  • We are each free to respectfully confront each other about sin in our lives when necessary. We will work together as a team against sin and the enemy.
  • We trust that God knows what is best for each of us and we each want to seek Him individually and together.
  • We approach each other with humility.
  • There is no fear in this family – only love.
  • Grace, mercy,  forgiveness, and second chances are available here.
  • I have Christ on the throne of my heart and He meets the deepest spiritual and emotional needs of my life. I come into this relationship overflowing with spiritual abundance from Jesus.

GOD’S “MOST EXCELLENT WAY” OF LOVE – I Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

RESOURCES (please carefully evaluate any author’s words, including mine, against Scripture!):

Boundaries – by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Nina Roesner has an e-course that helps women experience healing in Christ so that they have the strength and power of the Spirit to know how best to deal with very difficult husbands, check it out! Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.

How to Handle Toxic and Critical People – by Leslie Vernick free PDF download

www.leslievernick.com – She has a number of Christian books about handling difficult relationships

Control and Boundaries

 

 

A Fellow Wife Begins a New Challenge – "I'm Going to Actually Believe My Husband"

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I first “met” A Fellow Wife in October of 2012. We have had some INTENSE conversations over the past 3 years. This has been a difficult journey many times for her – as it was for me (and as it is for all of us, I would daresay). I always love sharing what God is teaching her. I pray this might bless you (If your husband is involved in unrepentant sin, is abusive, is a compulsive liar, or is not in his right mind for some reason, perhaps you can’t believe your husband and this post may not be a good fit for you.) Thankfully, most of us really have decent men who are pretty straightforward and honest with us about what they say or who would like to feel safe enough with us to be straightforward and honest with us – even if they are not believers.

I’ve been thinking how different our marriage would be if I just truly took my husband at his word, if I believed him, if I took him as literally as he intends his words to be INSTEAD of allowing doubt and insecurity to creep in. Instead of over-analyzing and worrying he may not mean what he’s saying or that he’s just trying to spare my feelings or avoid conflict. How much more secure would I be in his love? How much happier would I be in our marriage. How much have I allowed Satan to steal from me through causing doubt, fear and insecurity?

  • Instead of thinking maybe he doesn’t want to have sex because I’m not a size 0, maybe he truly is just tired.
  • Instead of thinking he doesn’t love me as much as he says he does, just believe him.
  • Instead of believing I’m a low priority because he has things he wants to do, how about believing him when he says he just has things he wants to get done and it’s no reflection of his feelings for me.
  • How about believing him when he says he loves me with his entire heart instead of wondering if he’s truly got his priorities in order and prioritizes his marriage?

It would be a MUCH less painful way to live.

The reason I shared this is that I was thinking that doubt and insecurity can steal SO much from you – they’ve certainly been enemies of mine the last few years and I’m tired of the battle. It’s certainly easier and feels much better to have confidence in his love for me.

My husband’s biggest complaint (or close to the top) over the years has been that I don’t believe him.

I don’t want him to feel that way at all! It’s not been a matter of believing him but a matter of doubt and insecurity creeping in. But I want to conquer that. Love believes all things (Corinthians 13:8)!

I once read in book that Satan’s weapons are always doubt, deceit and distraction and if you can trace your thoughts back to those then you know you’re in a spiritual battle.

This is definitely a battle of doubt.

 

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Isn’t this the same issue we have with God so many times? What would happen if we just believed Him and took the Bible at face value and accepted His Word to us?

But, back to talking about our husbands. It has been my experience that most husbands really do try to tell their wives the truth in a very straightforward way. We tend to get ourselves into a lot of trouble though, because some of us want to read into everything. What did that look mean? What was that inflection in his voice? Maybe he really meant this, not what he said. Maybe he is trying to hide his real feelings. And we get into a big tizzy over all of the possible interpretations we can imagine regarding what our husband said rather than just taking his words at face value.

That is a LOT of unnecessary drama and angst, my dear sisters!

It is extremely frustrating to a man to tell his wife the truth and then have her not believe it and begin imagining 96 other things he may have meant – that he definitely did not mean.  In fact, for a man to tell his wife the truth and for her not to believe him and to assume evil ulterior motives instead feels really disrespectful to a man. Why is that? Because she is calling him a liar. No one enjoys being called a liar. Certainly not most husbands.

What if your husband does fudge things a bit to keep from upsetting you? What do you do then? Well, I think that if you begin to take his words at face value and don’t freak out and launch into “what if” land, he may eventually begin to feel safe enough to be more honest with you when he has a problem. In fact, that is one of the signs that he feels more safe with you and that he trusts you more is that he begins to share the really hard things with you more often.

If he truly has an issue with dishonesty and lying, that is a different situation – and you may need some experienced one-on-one counseling to help you. But for most of us, what if we try taking up a challenge:

Treat your husband as if you completely believe whatever he tells you this week. Take his words at face value. Rest in them. Act on them.

  • If he says he likes something, believe him.
  • If he says he doesn’t need help – trust that he is being honest and don’t help him. 
  • If he says he thinks you are beautiful – graciously receive the compliment and rest in his words, trusting that he is telling you the truth.
  • If he doesn’t give a lot of compliments, rest in what he does to show his love for you and that he is still there.
  • If he says he loves you, receive it.
  • If he does something special for you – receive that as his way of showing love for you and appreciate him.

If he is not being honest about little things, he will figure out that he needs to change things as you begin to consistently take him literally. Your husband is probably a pretty intelligent guy. You may be amazed at how relieved he feels when you stop questioning everything he says – if you have been doing that.

In the next post, we will talk about a challenge for us to share in an honest, respectful, and straightforward way, too.

SHARE:

If you have already been down this road and have learned the blessings and freedom of just believing your husband and trusting he is being honest, please share your story.

PRAY:

How would your relationship with God change if you began to do this with Him, as well? What would happen if you just took His Word at face value – believe it and act on it?

OTHER POSTS FROM A FELLOW WIFE

 

 

 

 

A Call to Prayer – for Ourselves

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Most of us, even those of us who claim Christ, are living in spiritual poverty, and we don’t even realize it. We have the truth in our hands, but we are not living out God’s Word and seeking Him passionately above all else. We are operating in our own strength, not the power of God’s Spirit. We are holding a little half of a teaspoon in our hands, and we are afraid to ask for more than a drop or two of spiritual riches, when God has redeemed and adopted us as sons and daughters and our Lord Jesus Christ has given us access to ALL of the spiritual riches and power of heaven. It is already ours if we are in Him. We already have total access. We have Niagra Falls 10 feet away from us, and we are too timid to ask for more than a drop or two of God’s Living Water once a week. Let’s run and get the biggest containers we can find – and hand them to God and ask Him to fill them to the brim with His Living Water, power, truth, and  love.

It’s time for a change, y’all. 🙂 God is calling all of us to a much deeper, much stronger faith in Christ. He is calling all of us to a more intense level of fervent prayer and unshakable trust in Himself. He is calling me, personally, to go much deeper, and I am REALLY excited about it! I have so much more to learn, to explore, to understand, and to appreciate.  I have much room for growth.

We can’t give what we don’t have. Before we can pray mightily for others, we must pray first for ourselves and experience God’s power ourselves.

Let’s be still on our faces before the God of the universe who made the heavens, the stars, the galaxies, and who created chemistry, biology, physics, marriage, family, love, truth, artistry, music, language, and beauty. Let’s seek Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength in fervent, persistent, passionate, Spirit-filled prayer. Let’s wait on Him together. Then, let’s do what He directs us to do by His power, for His glory, and for His kingdom. Let’s be the extension of our Head, Jesus. Let’s be sensitive to every impulse He sends to direct us in doing His will.

Let’s go as deep as God will take us each day. Let’s pray for the biggest possible sized faith a believer in Christ can possess. We know that faith the size of a mustard seed can move God to move mountains. So, how big can our faith be? What is the maximum size? I have no idea. But, let’s ask for THAT! Let’s pray that God will empower us by His Spirit to live holy, lives. Let’s pray that God will work mightily in our midst. We have access to Jesus and everything He is and all that He has. And we are living in spiritual rags, our souls are starving to death. NO! This should never be!

I know we haven’t had many examples of people with powerful faith who know how to pray and shake the heavens. That’s ok. God can bring some examples into our lives from Scripture and from church history. And He can bring some mighty prayer warriors into our midst, too. Let’s seek the deep things of God together. Let’s hunger for spiritual meat and not be satisfied with milk alone. Let’s desire God far above everything this earth has to offer.

LET’S PRAY!

Almighty God,

You are the Creator of heaven and earth. You alone are God. There is no other. You possess all majesty, glory, honor, authority, power, love, and truth. You are Real Love. You are Real Life. To know You through Christ is to be spiritually alive both now and forever. You went to insane lengths to make it possible for us to access a relationship with You. You allowed Your one and only perfect Son to die in our place on the cross. You destroyed death and sin through Him. If we are in Christ, we died that day in Him to this world and our sin. We are no longer slaves to sin! You bought our freedom. We now belong to You. We thank and praise you for this priceless gift!!!

Open our minds to begin to fathom exactly who You really are according to Your Word, the Bible. Help us begin to understand what an immense sin debt we each owed You and the crazy, outlandish, lavish grace, mercy, and forgiveness You have given us that we don’t deserve at all. You gave us this Gift because of who You are, not because of who we are. We deserved hell. We deserved condemnation and punishment at Your hands. We sinned against You – the only God there is. You are eternal and perfectly righteous. And You cannot tolerate one speck of sin in Your presence. You cannot ignore sin or gloss over it. But You loved us so much that You couldn’t watch us be separated from You with no hope of reconciliation. If there was another way for us to be made right with You, Jesus prayed that You might provide it. There was no other way, or You would have spared Your Son. Thank You for the priceless, precious gift of Jesus and His death for us. Help us to begin to wrap our minds around who You are, who Jesus is, who we are and the unspeakably glorious gift You have offered to us.

Help us to experience and access all that Jesus has already done for us on our behalf. We can’t obey You in our own strength. We can’t live for you in our own power. We can’t even have faith in You apart from You giving it to us. Help us to see that the work is finished. We don’t have to try harder. We just need to receive what Jesus has done for us and rest in Your provision, Your love, Your sovereignty, Your mercy, Your promises, Your Word, Your forgiveness, and Your wisdom.

We pray today for ourselves and our own walk with You and we come boldly before Your throne of grace to find mercy and help in our time of need to ask You for:

  • a clear understanding of how repulsive all sin is in Your sight
  • hatred for our own sin
  • grief over our sin and others’ sin – godly sorrow that leads to repentance and freedom from worldly sorrow that leads to death
  • Your agape love for all people in our lives
  • BIG faith in Christ
  • ever increasing trust in You 
  • a realization of any idols we may have – that we might see the things we are trusting in more than we trust You or the things we want more than we want you, that we might repent
  • an all consuming passion and desire to know You more, to have more of Your Spirit, Your presence, Your will, Your power, Your mind, Your heart, and Your vision
  • a willingness to lay down all that we have and all that we are before You in full submission
  • the power to freely forgive others as we have been so freely forgiven by You
    the power to evaluate each thought and take them each captive for Christ
    an incredible amount of love for Your Word
  • a deep, abiding hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
  • Your power to forgive
  • us to live holy, Spirit-filled, God-honoring, Christlike lives daily
  • us to live in the victory over sin that Jesus has already graciously and abundantly provided
  • openness to Your correction, discipline, instruction, and rebuke through the Bible, Your Spirit, and others
  • ears that hear Your Word and Your Spirit very clearly
  • hearts that are eager and willing to do Your will and to obey You in all things
  • the power to humble ourselves before you and to be free from all pride
  • a burning longing and desire to spend time alone with You in Your Word and in prayer, where we beg You to change our hearts, to prune us, to refine us, to sharpen us, and to transform us to be more and more like Jesus – even if it is painful and costly
  • eyes to see the treasures and resources of heaven at our disposal and eyes to see the true value of those things compared to the lack of value of earthly things
  • hearts that long for more and more of You and that care less and less for worldly things
  • Your wisdom to discern lies from the Truth
  • Protection from the evil one who would seek to steal, kill, and destroy us, our loved ones, our families, our friends, and everyone around us
  • a longing to abide in You constantly and to have Your Word and Your Spirit abide in us

In the Name and power of Christ Jesus,

Amen!

RELATED:

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers?

Prayer Day – Praying from an Obedient Life

Prayer Day – Praying with Respect

Prayer Day – Consecration

Prayer Day – Am I Holding Anything Back?

Prayer Day – A Living Sacrifice

Prayer Day – Materialism

Prayer Day – We are IN CHRIST if we are believers

Waiting Becomes Sweet – from the Archives

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April 04-2014

If you have read many of my previous posts – you will know that I was the dominant twin in a set of identical twins (I still am a twin!  But – not so domineering anymore. I seek to give my wonderful sister room and space to make all of their own decisions without my “help” now).  I am a pharmacist (working 1/2-1 day/week now).  I usually made all As in school and college and I had to have HIGH As.  I tended to be a perfectionist – to the point I would make myself sick over my grades.  And I am probably a bit OCD – not that you’d be able to tell if you saw my house right now.  But I like ZERO clutter.  I love not seeing a lot of junk around the house and get a real high from getting rid of stuff and having glorious free space.  I am a type A, go-getter.  I know what I want and I know it immediately.  I know how to get what I want (or at least I think I do!).  I don’t wait around – I do it and get it done!

 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:15

 

LEARNING TO WAIT

Two months before Greg and I really hit our stride with me figuring out respect and stepping down out of the way for him to lead – I had an important conversation with God.  Not a fun one, but a necessary one.

I like to MOVE.  I like to GO.  I like to feel like I am making progress.  I like to travel at 100 mph and feel like I am doing something “useful for God.”  I used to try to drag my husband along.  Turns out that doesn’t work!  At all.  So I finally just stopped in July of 2010 (after I had been studying respect and submission for about a year and a half) and said:

Ok, God.  I can see that I have been running way ahead of You.  Again.  Like usual.  I want SO much to do great things for You!  I want to serve You in BIG ways!  I want to give all of myself to You and do important things in Your kingdom!  But right now, my husband doesn’t seem interested in that stuff.  I can’t make him want to give to orphans or adopt children or move to Africa to be missionaries.  And maybe it’s not my job to try to lead him like I have been trying to do.  I’ve been going about this all wrong.  He’s supposed to be in charge spiritually, not me.  I’m afraid if he’s in charge, we will never go anywhere.  But You are clearly showing me that You want him in charge, not me.  Maybe there are worse things than us going nowhere.

Ok, God.  I am going to stop running ahead.  I am going to stop trying to force things to happen the way I think they should.  I am going to (gasp! – cringe!!!) WAIT.  I am going to wait right here geographically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually until You direct me to move.  I want to do things Your way now.  I am going to listen to my husband.  I am going to trust that You will lead me through him.  So I will take his direction as if it was coming from Your very lips.  And if he is leading and  doesn’t direct me to go anywhere – I am going to sit right here, waiting on You and waiting on him until I am 80 years old if I have to.  That will be ok.  I want what You want.  I want it in Your time and Your way.  I will wait on You. 

I trust You to lead me through my husband.  And if we don’t go anywhere, and that is Your will for me – then I will accept that.”

A NEW BEGINNING

This was not an easy conversation for me to have with God.  But I knew I had to do it His way.

So I was still.

I waited on God.

I quit running way ahead.

Within 2 months, Greg and I had a HUGE breakthrough in our marriage that tore down the remaining walls of disrespect and misunderstanding and we have not had another significant disagreement or misunderstanding since then to date!?!?  We’ve had a few tiny bumps, but they last for about an hour or less and we are able to resolve things right away and everything is right again.

Things began to change RAPIDLY.  But the funny thing was – I was still.  I was at peace.  I was patient….  Maybe you don’t know me very well so that doesn’t really have the impact that it should so I just have to reiterate… I was patient!  ME!?!?  It was a supernatural God kind of patience and a supernatural God kind of peace I had never known before just swept over my soul, took up residence and has been camping here with me all day every day since then. And I LOVE it!

I sat still.  I waited.  Nothing horrible happened.  The world did not collapse or spin off of its axis.

I saw God change our marriage.  I saw God change my husband.  My passive, unplugged husband who seemed miles away emotionally and spiritually for so long began to revive, plug in and draw close to me – and to God.  He began to be the man I fell in love with again.  He started looking at me and smiling at me again.  He started to care about my feelings again.  He began to want to do something to help me if I was sad (which wasn’t nearly as often anymore!).  And he loves to see me happy more than anything.  I watched God transform him and make him blossom into a godly leader, a man of initiative, a man of conviction, courage, integrity, selflessness and a man who would lay down his life for me and our children.  Sometimes it was little steps, and sometimes it was BIG leaps and bounds that would take my breath completely away. Each day held its own new surprises.

A NEW WAY OF LIFE

Instead of me deciding how things would go and steamrolling my husband with how things would be,  I began to tell God and my husband what I wanted and how I felt and then leaving things in their hands.  And I was at peace!??!!?  It was CRAZY!  And WONDERFUL!  Who knew this was possible!?!?!  I sure didn’t before. The more I understood God’s sovereignty, the more I could just sit back, praise God, praise my husband, rest in God’s love, rest in my husband’s love and wait with excitement and anticipation to see what they worked out between the two of them.  Even when things looked scary, I had faith and trust in them and depended on them to make the decisions that were in our family’s best interests.  And they did.

WHILE I WAIT

I do a lot of praying, reading scripture, studying about God’s design for marriage, godly femininity and family.  I have my ears open for God’s voice all through each day, looking for opportunities He gives me to share His love and truth with others.  Each day just brims over with opportunities.  I sing praises to God out loud while I clean – instead of worrying obsessively like I used to.  I sing praises to God in my heart while I drive or work.  I think of things to write on my blog instead of constantly trying to figure out how to lead the family like I used to. I think of things to thank God for about Himself and about my husband and my life.  I dwell on the good things.  I am full of hope, joy, peace and faith.  I pray for others continually.  But I am not carrying the weight of the outcome like I used to try to do.

It is a busy life, an active life, but a peaceful and still one at the same time.  And I truly have a gentle, peaceful, quiet spirit that does not give way to fear every day – because God has given it to me!  What a precious gift!  He gives good gifts to His children!!

THE DESTINATION ISN’T THE BIGGEST THING

The waiting is about enjoying and savoring the journey.  It reminds me of when Greg took me to Colorado for our 10th anniversary in 2004.  I LOVE travelling with my husband and exploring new places.  We would drive and explore different mountain ranges all day and find a hotel on the GPS each night around supper time and stay somewhere spontaneously.  I didn’t know exactly where he would take me.  Everything was a surprise and an adventure.  We enjoyed each moment. We talked and laughed and looked at God’s beautiful creation with wide-eyed wonder.  We savored our relationship and the lazy time together.  When our flight was delayed and we ended up staying an extra day – we revelled in the chance to be together alone a little bit longer before heading back to see our sweet baby boy.  We used the time of waiting to focus on our intimacy, our relationship, our love for each other.  What a great way to use waiting time!  Then you are not just wasting time, you are LIVING!

That is how I view waiting with my husband and God now.

  • I am relishing being in their presence.
  • I am savoring the relationship.
  • I want to know both of them more.
  • I want to be one with them.
  • They are in charge of the destination.
  • I am just enjoying the ride and soaking up all the attention, love, adoration and unity.

It is romantic, exciting, and every day is an adventure because I am no longer in control!  God and my husband love to surprise and delight me.  And I adore all that they do for me and thank them for what they do. What freedom!  What weight has been lifted from my shoulders!  I LOVE NOT TRYING TO BE IN CONTROL!!!!!!!!  I LOVE GOD AND MY HUSBAND BEING IN CONTROL!   It is the most wonderful experience I have ever had.  I never want to go back to the old way.

I have to share this with other wives!  It is TOO WONDERFUL to keep to myself!

Lord,

I pray You will help each of us to wait on You and enjoy serving, praising and trusting You while we wait!  Let us have a deeply intimate relationship with You and our husbands.  Let us be women of great peace, with gentle and still spirits that do not give way to fear.  Let us trust completely in You and let our husbands see our faith in them.  Inspire us to be the women You long for us to be and let our husbands be the men You long for them to be.  Let us raise our children to know and love You and to be faithful servants of Christ!

Amen!!

 

FINDING REST FOR OUR SOULS IN CHRIST – David Platt

– We give all of our sin to Him.

– He gives us FULL pardon.

– We give Him all of our inability to obey God.

– He gives us all of His ability to obey God.

“I Don’t Know How to React…..”

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From my wonderful friend, Kayla (at www.lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com),  who has been on this journey with me now since Sept of 2012.  She is the one who wrote the now-famous post on my site, “My Demon.”  

Today’s post is amazing.  

But for the wives who are struggling – this may be hard to read. Please keep in mind that this is over a year into this wife’s journey.  But each wife has her own unique story – each husband does, too.  The timing and results we must leave to God.  Our job is to keep Christ on the throne and seek to please and obey Him no matter what the cost and no matter what the results we see at the moment.

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You might have noticed, my posts are a little farther apart than normal. Let me tell you, NOTHING is normal in my house right now. First of all, it’s that time of year where I’m going crochet crazy (actually offering a deal right now Nov 1 – 15 ALL HATS are only $8.00 – click here to view.) So I have less free time the months of November and December BUT that’s not the major change.

I’m unsure how to write this post. It’s hard to gather all my thoughts because there are so many and in all my best efforts to start the rough draft for this in my head, like I normally do, I can’t seem to get it all to come together.

Something happened in my husband, and it’s throwing my world upside down. You all know how I feel about this man. I write on here often that he’s a good man, a great provider, an awesome Dad, a faithful husband, and he loves God. So, please don’t read this post as if some dead beat man is no longer acting like a loser. That couldn’t be father from the truth. But – he certainly is acting, different.

I’ve mentioned before that my love language is gifts. That can be in the form of unexpected, kind words, (especially in front of others) completing a project or task I would like done with excitement instead of reluctantly, cards or love letters, my favorite candy, or of course – presents both small and big.

My husband’s love language is touch. And no, not simply sexual touch. Things like me leaning up against him, reaching for his hand, touching his chest in front of others to show my admiration and affection for him, and joyfully wanting to be close to him.

You might think these things naturally compliment each other. Let me tell you, for twelve years, they have not. It’s been intentional work to try to learn to speak the other person’s love language.

When I feel loving toward him, I naturally write him an email or text with loving words or run to the store to buy him something special. When he feels loving toward me, he asks me to sit with him in his chair.

Neither of those is bad or wrong, but it’s nothing more than a kind, appreciated gesture instead of an intense rush of love for the other person.

In the last week, my husband is like a new man. I almost feel like I don’t know him at all!! He keeps surprising me left and right and I’m so unsure what to do with that.

Of course, I’m trying to be so thankful and express my abundant gratitude, however, I’m flooded with so many emotions, I’m struggling to power through.

For example, every night, the computer gets put down at 8:00 because he wants me to sit with him. Instead of being zoned into a television show, he will watch something with me, but only while talking through most of it anyway. Talking — yes, LOTS AND LOTS of talking. And good talking, not just “Everything go OK with the kids today? Yea, how was work? Fine. Good.” I’m talking, real, relevant, honest talks that brings us closer together and help us understand each other better.

He has been helping me every night in the kitchen. He turns on music from the 90’s, we both sing along and laugh, and we work together to clean up the kitchen so it’s done in half the time and then can both go relax on the couch. We actually danced in the kitchen at one point and instead of being so cheesy, it was seriously the most romantic thing EVER!!!

He keeps saying multiple times a day, “You’re so beautiful“, even when all my make up is off and my eyes are puffy from crying, BUT it’s not put on… if you could see his face when he says it, he somehow really means it even though I know I look like a wreck!

He came home yesterday with a box of Mike and Ike’s … oh how I love that candy! Why? I don’t know. Just because he wanted to.

And most shocking of all – in fact, I was slightly afraid I was going to have a heart attack, I got a Facebook notification that said “Josh tagged you in a status.” Now… before I tell you what it said, you should know a couple of things. First of all, my husband is NOT mushy, gushy. He laughs at some romantic love lines from the movies because they’re so… you know what I mean. Secondly, he updates his Facebook status about three times a year, and one of those is to post a picture of a deer he shoots every winter. He reads other people’s posts, but he just doesn’t post updates. And third, when he is at work, he’s at work. I can always call and text him…. but usually, he is crazy busy and really needs to get his work done. So, when this notification came through WHILE he was at work…. it like paralyzed me for a minute. It took some time before I could open the computer. And when I did, this is what I read “My wall paper on my cell phone is a picture of my wife and I am amazed every time I look at it how beautiful she is. I love you Kayla Jill.”

Before I even replied to him, I shot an email off to my best friend with the subject line “HOLY CRAP!!!!!” To be honest, I probably wanted to type something even a little more shocking, but thankfully it came out “crap.”

I asked him what is going on — and he doesn’t really know. He said he looked at a picture of me and thought “She is so Beautiful, what are you doing?” As in, he could do better as a husband.

WOW.

I don’t know what to do with that. I have cried so much in the last seven days, that I’m starting to get annoyed with myself. He isn’t annoyed at all, he says it’s fine if I cry — but it’s making me nuts! Stop it already, hold it together, kiss him without tears pouring down your face!!!!

There is so much more to say, that I simply can’t say. They are secret and private words for just my heart to savor — but there is even MORE than I posted here.

I have spent thirty years longing for and wanting a love where I felt so caught up, so helplessly smitten, like I was someone’s whole world, and I was deeply loved — but honestly reached a place where I let that die because I thought it was “fairy tale” material. And maybe even, “un” Christ like. Like I wanted to be someone’s idol.

And then, this week happened. And all I can do is weep. From tears of joy and hope, restoration and completeness, and maybe even a little fear.

What if I wake up tomorrow and it all leaves as quickly and unexpectedly as it came? I know I would still love him as much as I do today. And I know we’d be OK. But I’ve never felt this way before… and I think it’s changing everything. And maybe for the first time, this change is one I won’t walk into reluctantly.

Practical Application –

Time for a self evaluation.

How am I doing as a spouse?

Am I speaking his/her love language?

What changes can I make to do better?

How would I feel if she/he wrote a post just like this one?

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FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Wasn’t that incredible?!?!?

Every couple’s story is different.

My husband hasn’t done a lot of the things that Kayla’s husband is doing right now.  That’s totally ok. 🙂  My hope is that you will see that God is able to do things in our marriages that we could never do on our own.  We aren’t guaranteed our husbands will change if we submit fully to Christ and live in obedience to Him, desiring Him far above everything.  But we are guaranteed He will change US.  

My prayer is for God’s greatest glory in your life and in your marriage.

“My Husband Forgot Our Anniversary” – from the Archives

This is an email I received from a sweet wife that I think really showcases a classic misunderstanding between husbands and wives.   So, with her permission, I’m going to share her email and then think about some possible respectful and husband-honoring, Christ-honoring ways to tackle this issue.  I’m REALLY thankful that she brought up this topic.  It’s actually the 2nd wife in one week who has had this dilemma who has emailed me.  I hope the ladies might pay close attention to the little red flags in her email.  See if  you notice the areas where she ventured into disrespect (and also into some other possible pitfalls – like judgment, condemnation, pride) before you read what I wrote.   My perspective is certainly not the only respectful way to handle things – but it may give wives a starting place to begin praying and thinking about how God might want them to change.
Little bit of background: my husband has kinda forgotten about special days in the past.  He usually doesn’t plan my birthday gifts and holiday gifts very well. If he does, it is usually last minute.  I have gotten very upset about this in the past and hurt because my birthdays and our anniversaries are dates that I want to feel loved and special (like most girls) but like most guys, he doesn’t put much thought or planning into these days.  He has an hour commute to and from work and I’ve suggested in the past that he takes at least 1 minute of his commute time to think or plan for us, but he hasn’t taken my suggestion.  
 
So present day problem:
Today is our 3 year anniversary.  The past few days I have been worried he hasn’t thought much about it.  This morning, I woke up and tell myself to not be too upset if he has forgot.  I don’t want to set him up and pretend I forgot too, so I lean over and say “Happy anniversary” then I ask him if he remembered (probably this is where I first went wrong???) Or maybe I shouldn’t have said happy anniversary at all (this is where I’m getting stuck)
 
He said, “Yes,” he forgot but he told me that he told a customer yesterday about our anniversary so he really didn’t completely forget.    I said, “It’s ok” and got up to start getting ready.  (He could tell I was upset even though I was trying to hide it – maybe I went wrong there too and should not have tried to hide my feelings but I did not want to put him down and make him feel like a failure).  He asked, “What’s wrong?”  I said I was ok. Then he asked why I got up out of bed like that and I said, “Sorry I got up like that, but I needed to get ready.”  
 
He then started saying that is was first thing in the morning and of course he’s not thinking about that when he’s half asleep.  Then the argument broke out
(I heard him as making excuses and started to defend my point)!!!!
 
He brought up how hard he works and how burnt out he is. I said,  “I wanted to feel special” by having him make plans for us and I always worry he will forget since he has in past.  Things got blown up and I started crying.  I tried to tell him I was hurt and didn’t intend for things to go down like that but it took him a few minutes to stop being angry before he could comfort me.  We apologized and are ok now but I have no clue how to handle this when it happens again.  Which it will – he is human and it is kinda his nature.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Whew.
This situation got really out of hand – and it didn’t have to.  This precious wife did what most wives would do – but it’s not working for anyone!
Let’s talk about where she went right and where she may have been able to prevent this entire argument and tense situation that might well ruin the entire day.
I have a hunch that something very similar has happened at least once or twice in almost every marriage.
THE RIGHT THINGS – IN MY VIEW:
  • I’m proud of her for telling herself not to be too upset if her husband forgot their anniversary.  Good job!  Especially since she knows he isn’t really strong with remembering dates.
  • I’m so glad she woke up and smiled and said, “Happy Anniversary!”
  • I’m glad she apologized – even though she was feeling unloved and hurt.
  • I’m glad she is trying to accept that he is human and wants to be prepared to extend grace.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
WHAT IS THE GOAL?
It’s FINE to plan something for him and do something for him to make him feel special and cared for and loved if you want to.  Be sure to do something he would like.  And be flexible enough to be gracious if he doesn’t get as excited about what you did for him as you would if he did something for you.
But, if you expect your anniversary (or birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas) to be about him planning a party/a romantic evening/a surprise  for YOU to make YOU feel loved and special – then you are setting yourself up for  huge disappointment – ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T TELL HIM WHAT YOU DESIRE.
  • Your husband is probably a horrible mind reader.
  • Your husband thinks like a man.  He is not a woman.  Remembering dates and anticipating what you want without any input from you – may be unrealistic – some men seriously have trouble remembering things like that.
  • You can’t control your husband.
  • You can’t make him do things.
  • You can ask for things pleasantly and politely and tell him what you would like.
  • You can appreciate what he does for you.
  • You can do things for him.

One of my readers told me, “Expectations are pre-meditated resentment.”   (For more on healthy boundaries and what you actually can control vs. what you can’t control, click here.)

IDOLS

I think we have to be very conscious of the temptation to have idols – something we set our hearts on more than Christ.
If I am thinking
  • “I HAVE TO HAVE X TO BE HAPPY.”
  • “If my husband doesn’t do what I want – I will be devastated.”
  • “If he doesn’t do Y, I will not be ok.”

These are  huge red flags to me that I am probably holding something as an idol, or, at the very best, that I am setting myself up for major disappointment.  It’s time to do a heart check and make sure I am looking only to Christ for my fulfillment and contentment – not to my husband.

The human heart is an idol factory.  All of us must constantly ask God to check our motives, and make sure we don’t allow anything to creep in there and take God’s precious place in our hearts.
SOME HEALTHY WAYS TO HANDLE THE ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
1. It’s FINE to say, “Happy Anniversary!” smile,  give him a kiss and maybe even initiate physical intimacy if there is time that morning and he is interested.
2. It would have been fine earlier in the week to say, “I would LOVE to go to X restaurant for our anniversary this week!”  With a big smile on your face.  But then leave him with him and allow HIM to decide what he wants to do – or he may ask you about making reservations.  That’s ok, too.
3. If he forgets  – you can say something that night like, “You know what?  I really just want to enjoy being with you tonight for our anniversary.  I’m SO glad I get to be your wife!  You are the biggest gift from God to me.”  And enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches at home, or take out or going to a restaurant if he wants to. (Of course, if you had smiled at him brightly and said, “Happy Anniversary, Honey!” that morning, it would make it really hard for him to forget. :))

If you can extend GRACE to him – you can probably salvage all the things that matter most!  You can still have a great time together.

He will be so relieved that you aren’t making him feel like a failure for forgetting something he really didn’t mean to forget.  And then you can make wonderful memories!
FRIDAY NIGHTS FOR US
I enjoy my husband on Friday nights when the children are at their grandparents’ house.  Sometimes my husband takes me out to a nice restaurant.  I love that.  And sometimes we have take out.  I love that, too.  And sometimes we have leftover chicken bog from the night before, or two nights before.  (I know…  you are asking yourself, “What on earth is chicken bog?”  Well – it is a South Carolina thing with chicken and rice.  It’s my husband’s favorite so I try to make it 2-3 times per month).  The point is:
I savor THE RELATIONSHIP more than where we go or what we are doing now.  I am joyful and content to be with him – no matter what we do.
I personally would like to see wives not get quite so caught up about their husbands making the plans.  If your husband isn’t a big planner – it might be a gift to him if you do the planning – as long as you ask him and he’s ok with that.
HOW TO CELEBRATE AND ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
If you had just said, “Happy Anniversary!” and hugged and kissed him and smiled at him with that adoring look in your eye… you would have given him time to think of something to do for you while he was at work during the day.  He could have salvaged the situation.  He could have delighted you and been your hero.
That is exactly what the other wife who wrote to me this week did – and her husband realized he forgot and he felt AWFUL!!!  She didn’t have to say anything or ask if he remembered or not.  He really tried hard to make it up to her.  Give him the opportunity to be your hero!!!
THAT EXTRA LITTLE QUESTION DID A LOT OF DAMAGE
To wake up and say, “Happy Anniversary!”  is awesome – but  then to ask, “Did you remember?” – was a problem – he may have even felt disrespected.  Now he can’t win.  He may even feel ambushed. If he did remember – she assumed the worst about him and he’s not going to be praised – and if he did forget – he can’t honorably extract himself from this situation.
When I disrespect my husband – it is unreasonable to expect him to comfort me.  First, I must apologize for my disrespect – even if it was totally unintentional.
Let’s assume the best, not the worst, about our men!  I think there is something about that in I Corinthians 13:4-8!
A HEALTHY FOCUS
In my mind, an anniversary is not an occasion to spend days worrying about if he’ll remember.  It’s a time to be thankful he is in my life.  Whether he wakes up remembering the date or not is WAY secondary to the fact that HE IS HERE.  HE LOVES ME.  HE IS MARRIED TO ME.  He belongs to me and I belong to him.  What an incredible blessing and gift!
RELATED POST

Something that Christian Men Wish We Knew about Them

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This is a guest post from www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com (my other blog) this week for the SINGLE ladies.  It is a single Christian man’s response to a question I asked him after Tuesday’s post (Why Asking About His “Five Year Plan” Can Backfire).  I believe that the way we treat our men reflects the same level of respect that we give to Jesus.  When I was disrespectful and controlling with my husband, that is also how I treated God. (Of course, I didn’t realize I was being that way with either of them.)  And when a woman is respectful towards her husband and honors him – that is almost always a woman who also respects and honors Christ.

I asked him, “What can Christian single women do when they believe they are having to wait too long for the Christian man they are interested in to “move forward” in a romantic relationship?”  

His answer amazes me.  This may be a bit painful to hear – because it will force us to look into the mirror and we may be surprised about what we see there.  But his response has so much meat in it, that I want us all to hear what he has to say.  I’m an old married woman :), and I learned a LOT from his perspective that even applies in marriage.  Many of us made a lot of these exact mistakes when we were dating our husbands – and I believe we are sometimes suffering in our marriages today because of those mindsets that began early in our relationships.  I think this same mindset may also be how we sometimes approach God – and I believe it is time to take a look at our approach to our husbands and to Jesus. THANK YOU to this man for his willingness to share:

Every couple will have a different set of personalities and circumstances. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this other than to listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice, and have a heart that desires to obey God and honor your brother in Christ before yourself.

If your priority and focus is on yourself and your dreams and expectations and everything YOU want in the relationship or engagement/marriage, you will show him that not only is he less important to you than your list of desires/dreams/expectations, but that you only see him as the means by which you achieve those desires/dreams/expectations, ie: a convenient object to use.

Do we say to Jesus, “Hurry-up and jump on that cross, because I want to taste Paradise?!”  No! This was his choice and gift to us! Paradise/Heaven are gifts and blessings we are lucky to receive, not a “right” we deserve when we want it. But that is what dating Christian women feels like. They believe men are obligated by God to make all their desires, dreams, wishes, and expectations come true, and the sooner the better.

Your lists of desires and qualifications, and your urgent timetable do not change a man’s gift into your “right!”

We don’t owe you anything! (From Peacefulwife – please remember, this is a single man – not even in a dating relationship.  Two Christian women he was friends with, not even dating, at different times demanded to know his “5 year plan” and then never talked with him again after he tried to answer their surprise “pop quiz” as he described it.)

Our hearts, our thoughts, our time, our energy, our money, our commitments, and our lifetime of hard work and sacrifices are all our gifts to the women we choose to give them to, when we choose to give those things to them. When women DEMAND any of these, we don’t want to give them away.

Many  (single) Christian women place so much emphasis on marriage, children, and materialistic things they want NOW, that many men feel a lot of pressure to hear God correctly and honor their girlfriends, all while trying to slow down the process enough so we can feel comfortable about whether or not to move forward, having a plan, working hard, and investing ourselves into both the costs and benefits of the relationship. It is not as easy as simply saying, “Yes,” and women would not be satisfied with words alone. I believe men deserve the time they need to make such promises and commitments willingly.

If you want the gift, you have to wait until it is handed to you. You can’t just pry it out of his hands and act like you already deserve it, and that he owes it to you. It is not your gift to give!

The more women want to speed-up their relationships, the more men will resist.

I wonder, “What do women expect will happen when they do become married? Do women think they are right to drag their husbands around by the hand for the rest of their lives. I hope not!”

If you want a relationship with a man, you should learn to love and adapt to his timetable. If he loves you, he will learn gradually over time how to balance both, but if he feels rushed he will resist, and you will only be adding more time to your wait. If you feel a need to rush things, you will likely show him that his sense of time, perspective, and priorities are “wrong,” and that you are unwilling to value or respect and consider his thoughts and opinions, and may not ever be willing to follow his lead.

Speaking from experience, I’m so used to Christian women jumping insistently from the beginning to rush and force the issue, that I would feel much more honored by waiting. It shows me more respect for my thoughts and opinions, and allows me the flexibility and opportunity to practice leading, while giving her the same flexibility and opportunity to practice following. To me, it demonstrates the difference between actually following or merely talking about it.

I don’t want to be led around by the hand and told what a good little leader I am every time I do what she wants.

I guess the real question is, “Which is most important to you, the man you say you love or your need to live by your own rules and schedules?” Only one of those will have priority.

Again, I believe God will speak clearly how best each couple should proceed to avoid unnecessary troubles.

Also, when 66%-75% of all break-ups and divorces are initiated by women for selfish and “no fault” reasons, that statistic alone encourages me to wait longer to marry a woman that would be right for me. If women were truly concerned about not “wasting time”, they wouldn’t date people for fun or break-up because they’re bored. Their “Yes” would mean yes, and their “No” would mean no. If most women can’t keep their promises, I see no reason to rush into any committed relationship or marriage.

Men aren’t afraid of commitment! We’re afraid of what will happen to us after that commitment!