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Killing Bitterness

Photo by Wang Xi on Unsplash

I have quite a few posts on bitterness – but it has been awhile since I talked about this critical topic. So let’s do a refresher together! We can’t possibly have God’s supernatural peace if we cling to bitterness. It is God’s will that all of His children be completely free from this snare.

Bitterness is one of the most toxic of all spiritual poisons.

Definition of Bitterness – from www.gotquestions.org:

Bitterness is resentful cynicism that results in an intense antagonism or hostility toward others… Bitterness refers to a mental or emotional state that corrodes or “eats away at.” Bitterness can affect one experiencing profound grief or anything that acts on the mind in the way poison acts on the body. Bitterness is that state of mind that willfully holds on to angry feelings, ready to take offense, able to break out in anger at any moment.

Bitterness can be held against anyone – other people, God, or ourselves. All of it is toxic.

What Does Bitterness Do?

Bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and hatred open the door of our hearts to the enemy. They give him a “foothold.” Once I leave the door cracked for him long enough, he can eventually get into my heart and mind and set up a spiritual base camp. Then he can attack me and those around me through my thoughts, my words, and my actions as I succumb to the temptation of hatred.

One person’s bitterness can end up becoming contagious and may “defile many.” Bitterness spreads like gangrene in a family, a church, a community, or even across an entire nation.

Bitterness leads to greater and greater sin. When it goes unchecked, it eventually leads to hatred, malice, threats, violence, and even suicide/murder.

Bitterness destroys our fellowship with God, our fellowship with other people, and our witness for Christ. Our bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit and repels other people. It is prickly and unpleasant to be around.

Our bitterness teaches our children to be bitter, as well. Our children learn from our example and our own root of bitterness begins to grow in their hearts. They learn very unhealthy and dysfunctional ways of relating to people and will learn our destructive approach.

  • “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph. 4:26-27
  • See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Heb. 12:15
  • For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

Killing Bitterness:

Let’s talk about how to tear out every “root of bitterness” in our hearts so that it does not destroy us.

  1. We must identify every bitter thought we have in our minds and hearts. I suggest writing them all down whenever you notice you are feeling resentful. Try to take a block of time and come up with every single angry, bitter, resentful, unforgiving thought you can find in your thinking. We can’t tear things out until we know what all of the bitter roots are. I would love to try to get through this part of the process fairly quickly. Dwelling on bitter thoughts for very long is not going to be healthy.
  2. We must test our thoughts. I can’t just accept every thought I have. Sometimes my anger has a correct basis and other times the basis of my anger is faulty.
    • Has there simply been a misunderstanding?
    • Could my thinking be skewed, sinful, and/or unbiblical?
      • Is it possible that the reason for my bitterness and resentment stems from unbiblical thinking on my part? Am I upset with someone because I feel they expect something of me that they shouldn’t, but it actually is a biblical expectation they have of me?
        • Am I idolizing this person? Is it possible that I am expecting him/her to meet needs in my life that truly only Jesus can meet?
        • Do I expect my husband to be responsible for my happiness?
        • Am I idolizing my happiness?
        • Am I justifying sin in my own heart because I am in pain?
        • Have I been deceived by ungodly thinking from my culture?
          • Maybe I feel really angry with my husband simply because he is a man and many women hate all men today. Is that a reasonable cause for me to be bitter?
          • Maybe I believe subconsciously that women are superior to men and that is why I feel resentful toward my husband?
          • Maybe I have been wrongly taught that the Bible teaches that women are inferior to men and that is why I feel bitter toward God or toward my husband.
          • Maybe I don’t think God’s promises are for me or I don’t feel like God is close to me, and I feel bitter because I don’t know who God really is and what is true, sound doctrine?
        • Am I taking responsibility for my own emotions and my own spiritual wellbeing?
        • Am I in right standing with the Lord, myself? Have I allowed God to help me examine my own spiritual eyes to see if there is a beam there (Matt. 7:1-5)?
      • If something like this is the real issue, then I need to take the time to correct my skewed thinking or address my own sinful thoughts (There is an entire chapter on this subject in “The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation on Christ As Lord” that is available on Amazon, Christian Book, and Barnes and Noble online. The whole first half of the book would be helpful for any believing woman in Christ, even those who are not moms.)
    • Do I have righteous or unrighteous anger?
      • Was I genuinely sinned against by someone?
      • Where are my motives now? Are they righteous or unrighteous?
      • If my anger is righteous, what does God desire me to do with it? How can I honor Him?
      • If my anger is unrighteous, am I willing to repent to the Lord, and possibly to the other person if appropriate?
      • I can remember that I don’t have to trust someone if they are not trustworthy. Forgiveness is not the same thing as trust. Forgiveness is an unconditional command the Lord gives all believers but trust of another person is conditional and broken trust must be rebuilt.
  3. Wherever we have sinned, we repent to the Lord and to others.
  4. If we have been sinned against, we decide to give the situation to the Lord and seek to honor His wisdom and His way of handling things.
    • If someone has truly sinned against me, I can acknowledge that what the person did was wrong and was not okay. I can acknowledge my pain and God’s pain. I can agree with God that what that person did was sin and that it needs to be paid for. I can understand that there will be justice in the end – either Jesus’ blood will adequately cover that sin when that person repents or that person will pay for that sin forever in hell, according to God’s Word. And I can desire to see that person repent and be in right relationship with God and with me.
    • God says that vengeance belongs to Him. He will repay. I can acknowledge that ultimately, all sin is against God. And I can accept that it is God’s place to take vengeance and to exact justice on other people.  (Rom. 12:19)
    • If someone has committed a crime against me, I need to report it to the proper authorities. We have God-given authorities in the government, the police, at church, at work, etc… to help protect people from being mistreated and abused. I can let go of bitterness and forgive someone for rape, murder, stealing, etc… in the power of the Holy Spirit, but the police still need to know about it and that person needs to face appropriate earthly consequences.
    • God gives us a specific framework for handling conflict within the Body of Christ. We should approach someone else’s sin/hurtful actions against us in the way that God prescribes.
    • I ask the Holy Spirit to empower me to forgive this person who hurt me. Not because they deserve forgiveness. None of us deserve forgiveness. But I forgive because I want to obey God and continue to be in right relationship with Him.
    • I can respectfully ask for what I need and for the person to stop sinning against me. I can respect myself properly in God’s eyes – but I can do this without sinning against the person who hurt me.
    • I may have to put up appropriate boundaries if a person refuses to stop sinning against me, in accordance with God’s Word and as I follow the leading of the Spirit. But I can be free from any grudges, bitterness, or resentment as I choose to live in the Spirit.
  5. We replace the bitter thoughts with God’s love, God’s perspective, kindness, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and God’s wisdom.
    • I can ask God to cleanse me of every sin in my own life and then invite His Spirit to fill me completely and to empower me to approach this difficult person and situation in His ability not in my sinful flesh.
    • I can pray and invite God to do something amazing in that person’s life for God’s glory.
    • I can pray for God’s healing in me and for God to use this painful trial to help me grow spiritually and to bring honor to the Lord in my life.
    • I can take my thoughts captive for Christ and refuse to think bitter, evil thoughts.
    • I can focus on Philippians 4:8 kinds of good things in my life.
    • I can count my trial as joy.
    • I can seek to have God’s eternal perspective.
    • I can write down kind thoughts and prayers of blessing over the person who sinned against me and plead for God to reach their souls and to rescue them from the enemy and to heal them. (Isa. 61:1Luke 6:28, Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can ask God what good things He may desire me to do in response to the evil so that I can overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
    • I can remember that people are not my real enemies. My real enemies are spiritual enemies and this is ultimately a spiritual battle for which I must use the spiritual weapons God gives me.(Eph. 6:10-17)
    • Dealing with a Broken Relationship (YouTube video about how to think and pray for someone who has broken fellowship with you and you want to see reconciliation.)

NOTE – If you are dealing with an abusive relationship and you or your children are not safe, please seek appropriate, experienced, godly help in person ASAP.

Lord,

We need Your help to get rid of our bitterness. It is Your will that we be completely free from all sin, including this one. Shine Your Light on our hearts, help us to open up the darkest parts to You. Help us to identify and tear out every thought that is lifting itself up against the knowledge of Christ in our hearts! Help us to use the spiritual weapons and truth You give us to be set free from all bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness so that we can grow like crazy in our faith and love for You. Fill us with Your Spirit. Help us to allow Jesus to live in and through us and to be glorified in our thinking, our motives, our words, and our actions.

Amen!

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How has God helped you to get rid of bitterness? You are welcome to send me a response on my Contact Page if you have something you think might be helpful in a post for our sisters.

 

Verses about Getting Rid of Bitterness

  • Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2
  • Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31-32
  • But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Col. 3:8
  • Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Col. 3:13
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
  • Verses about bitterness
  • Verses about anger
  • Verses about forgiveness

What Does the Bible Say about Bitterness? by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Revenge? by www.gotquestions.org

Righteous VS Unrighteous Anger

Posts about Forgiveness  from my blog

Respect, Submission, Forgiveness, and Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video to clarify each of these concepts and to clarify confusion

To Trust or Not to Trust – a Peaceful Wife Youtube video

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

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

Posts about Dealing with Conflict – from my blog

Becoming Fearless

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

 

Today, let’s talk about the beauty of a godly woman who doesn’t yield to fear (1 Pet. 3:4-6) This is something the Lord has been teaching me, personally, this year through quite a few trials. I am still learning, but He has brought me a long way! I just had to share these treasures with my precious sisters.

My natural temptation is to look at difficult circumstances, frustrating actions/words from other people, or the news and to completely freak out when bad things happen. My temptation is to react in fear and to run and hide or to try to protect myself in my own wisdom. But when fear is my motive, I will make destructive choices every time.

To be fearless, I can’t:

  • Center my life on the details of the storm of my current circumstances.
  • Obsess about what terrible things might happen.
  • Try to figure everything out myself.
  • Depend on my feelings or past experiences as sources of absolute truth.
  • Try to control things, people, or God to get them to do what I think is best at the time.
  • Become consumed by what other people are doing or saying – or not doing and saying.
  • Resort to human wisdom or human solutions.
  • Listen to the lying voice of the enemy who wants me to give in to hopelessness, discouragement, distraction, depression, and the flesh.

To be fearless, I must keep my focus fully on Jesus and depend on Him to lead me and to do the heavy lifting!

To be fearless, I need to know who Jesus is and know who I am in Him. My security has to be in Him alone.

I don’t have to be shaken. I don’t have to crumble into worry, fear, and anxiety.

Even when things do not go the way I had planned, and I don’t understand what is happening, and even when my heart is hurting and broken, I can stand on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. He alone will never leave me and never fail me. He will sustain me in supernatural ways – even in the midst of my greatest fears. He is my Good Shepherd. He has provisions for me that I can’t know specifically ahead of time. But I can know that He has them and He knows what to do! He has ways of handling circumstances, people, and my own heart and mind that are vastly superior to any scheme I could concoct.

I am in the palm of God’s loving hand! My husband and my children are in the palm of His loving hand!

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim. 1:7 ESV

Fear is not the abundant life Jesus died to provide for us. His victory over sin, death, and the grave provides a victorious life. He gives us His own Spirit. He gives us His presence. He gives us access to the very Holy of Holies in heaven – 24/7!?! He gives us the death, burial, resurrection, power, and authority of Christ. He gives us thousands of great and precious promises! Why should I be afraid?

If we could only grasp even just the following promises God gives us in Romans chapter 8 alone, what spiritual strength we would have!

  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
  • For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6 
  • For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons. Rom. 8:15
  • (We are)…heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom. 8:17
  • The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom. 8:26
  • The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom. 8:27
  • We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28
  • For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, Rom. 8:29
  • If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:31-32
  • No, in all these things (various hardships) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom. 8:37 
  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:38-39

If I am willing, each new scary thing that happens is an opportunity for me to learn to stand more firmly on God’s Word, His love, and His truth. It is a faith-stretching moment. It is a chance to lay my specific fears down before God and to entrust them to Him. It is also a chance to lay my life down as a living sacrifice to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). It is an opportunity for me to invite God to work supernaturally in my heart, in other people’s lives, and in circumstances for His glory. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me to shine for Christ in the darkness and to experience the miraculous provision of God in that exact situation.

I have an incredible Savior and Lord who is going to accomplish His good purposes in my life and in this world as I trust Him!

Lord,

Transform us. Melt away our fear with Your supernatural, amazing love. Lift up our heads. Let us see that You are coming soon! Help us use our time wisely and let each of us be prepared to stand before You without regrets. Empower us to be the godly women You call us to be. Let us love, honor, and respect our husbands. Let us bless them. Let us love, bless, and nurture our children, teaching them Your truth and Your ways. Let us share the Gospel and love and life of Christ with those around us.

Let us be faithful to all that You desire us to do. Empower us to be good stewards of all of the resources, talents, and gifts You have given us. Help us become women of fervent prayer, women who know the Word and handle it rightly.  Use us to stand in the gap for our husbands, children, churches, communities, nations, and the world. Use us – in the power of the Holy Spirit – to help storm the gates of hell to reach those who are perishing. Use us to be salt and light in a decaying, dark world.

We praise and thank You for all You have done, all You are doing and all You will do in our lives! We rejoice and sing songs of adoration to You!

Make each of us fearless in Christ by Your power and for Your glory!

Amen!

RELATED SONG

Francesca Battistelli’s –The Breakup Song (breaking up with fear)

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What are some ways God has shown you to be fearless? We’d love to hear about it!

RELATED POSTS

How to Have a Relationship with Christ

How to Stay Filled with the Spirit

Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

Fully Laying Down My Fears about My Husband 

God Leads a Wife from MAJOR Fear to Strong Faith

 

A Wife Shares about God’s Blessings from the Flooding after Hurricane Harvey

Photo Credit wikimedia.org

Note – right now, it looks like the path of Florence may come directly over the Columbia, SC area where we live. I’m not sure how significant the impacts will be, but I appreciate your prayers for those in harm’s way (especially along the coast) and also for our linemen, first responders, meteorologists, and government leaders. I also appreciate your patience if I happen to not have internet access or electricity for a bit. 

I’m so thankful for Nina’s willingness to share her story in response to my prayer for those who are facing hurricane Florence and other major storms, earthquakes, and trials this week. :

My husband and I experienced flooding in our home during Harvey last year. The frame of our house is now covered with His Word written by the hands of those who helped us through. I wouldn’t change a thing as we saw God’s providence and provision throughout the whole ordeal. He is a good, good, Father.

It was not the rain that flooded us, but the release of tremendous amounts of water from a nearby lake (the capacity of an Olympic swimming pool per second!!) that flooded us. We only had a moment’s notice to get out.

We had no idea how high the water would get. We were able to take essential paperwork with us (passports, social security cards, etc.) and our dogs, but everything else we put up on counters and just counted all the furniture as lost. We had no time to load up a U-haul!

That night as the waters rose, I lay in bed at our friend’s house remembering all the treasured pictures of my son and family and just prayed that they were up high enough. I knew I there were things I had forgotten to put up high.  After the water receded and we went back into our home, I didn’t care about anything in there that was lost, except one thing that had fallen from a table into the water…..a memory book from my son’s high school baseball team his senior year. In it was a beautiful letter he had written to me.

I held that book and looked at all the ruined pages of pictures and priceless words he had written to me and I just wept.  But God, in His perfect sweetness, reminded me that those words and pictures were still in my heart and one day, even those treasures were incomparable to the priceless gift He had given me in His Son. Yet, through a series of events, even that book was replaced by a friend (whom I hadn’t even seen or spoken to for about 7 years).  She had seen my tearful post about losing it, contacted the photo company that printed it, purchased a new one and mailed it to me!  There are so many stories I could share about how God comforted, provided, and blessed us throughout the ordeal.  He blew us away over and over. He truly was with us when we passed through the waters!

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isa. 43:2

Going through Harvey was also especially powerful for my husband. He watched God provide for us from the simplest things like needing a bag of ice (and a golf cart with literally drove up as we were discussing needing ice for our cooler!) to huge things like a restaurant owner (where we eat on Sundays after church) offer us one of his rental houses free for as long as we needed it. God provided for us every single step of the way! There is too much to recount! It was amazing and humbling.

This picture with Psalm 46:10 spoke to me greatly…..in the heap of our big mess, He was letting us know not to worry because He’s got us. :).

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” Ps. 46:10

And this picture below is super special because the scripture was written by our good friend, Ephesien, who works for some missionaries we visit each year in Haiti.  He just happened to be in Texas visiting during the hurricane.  My husband still tears up when he thinks about our Haitian brother’s handwriting of God’s Word on our walls.

image1.jpeg

Our church actually became a shelter and quickly organized teams to help those in need. We had about 40 people from our church to muck out the house as soon as the water receded. It was a beautiful sight to see the body of Christ come together! Many affected people in our community have come to Christ as a result. Praise God!

For those of you facing this hurricane, know that your God is stronger and He will be with you through it, bringing beauty out of havoc it tries to wreak.

God sees you, hears you, and He won’t let you go.

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If you have been through a big trial or storm and would like to share how God used it to bless you, we’d love to hear about it! Your story might be exactly what another sister in Christ needs to hear to help encourage them to trust the Lord in their own difficult situation.

RELATED
Finding Real Joy in the Midst of a Painful Trial

Rethinking How We Pray about Hurricanes

Rethinking How to Pray in the Face of a Major Hurricane or Natural Disaster

Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash

 

It is very tempting for us to just want to pray a hurricane away.

It is certainly fine to ask God to spare us from a hurricane or from other kinds of disasters. Many times, He has diverted a storm so that it didn’t cause all of the destruction it could have caused. And we rejoice in His power to calm the storm!

But I would love for us to ask God for much more than that.

Let’s ask Him for His greatest possible glory in the midst of this storm. And let’s ask Him what He wants to do and how He wants us to pray.

If that means for the storm to turn, that would be amazing. But what if God intends to use this storm as a wake up call for many people? What if He wants to use it to heal marriages and families? What if He wants to use it to heal the division in our communities? What if He wants to use it to get people to stop and really evaluate what is important in life? What if He wants to use it to bring many people into the Kingdom of Christ?

What if a great storm is actually merciful?

What if the storm is an answer to our prayers for our country to turn back to the Lord?

There have been revivals that take place in areas that have been hit by hurricanes and disasters in the past. There have been communities that have come together. There have been Christians who have been able to reach people they couldn’t have reached otherwise because they meet the needs of those impacted by a disaster.

God often used storms and disasters in the Bible to accomplish His will. To lead people to the place He wanted them to go. To prepare their hearts to listen to His voice. Or to get their attention. A great storm can also be a reminder that our security is truly in Christ alone, not in anything else.

Lord,

Use the trials we are facing now to do the most eternal good possible. We tend to look only at the physical and the here and now. Help us to see with Your eyes. Help us to hear anything You want to speak to us in the storm.

Florence and Olivia (and many other hurricanes in recent weeks and in coming weeks) are huge and powerful. We want to see people spared from harm. We don’t want to see property damaged or people hurt or killed. We ask for Your mercy over those who are in harm’s way with hurricanes and with so many earthquakes around the world. And then there are many people in harm’s way because of wars and violence. The trials going on right now are too many to even count. So much human suffering is happening around the globe.

But what we desire most is Your greatest possible glory and the greatest possible harvest for Your kingdom!

We invite You to use all of these disasters and trials for Your good purposes in our individual families, our churches, our communities, our states, and our nations.

Show us what You want us to do. Show us how to be cooperative with our husbands if we are in the path of a major trial and how to become a stronger, more united team than ever. Let us walk in Your supernatural peace as we lay our anxieties before You. Help us set a godly example for our children of what it looks like to respond in faith in You, rather than in fear. Use this experience to help our children’s faith grow like crazy and to help them grow in spiritual maturity as we show them the way of faith. Empower us to extend the love of Jesus and hospitality to our family, friends, and strangers.

We invite Your Spirit to work powerfully in our families and in our communities and in the areas that are being hit and devastated by these heavy blows. Mobilize Your people to help those who are hurting.

Let Your Kingdom come in these areas! Let people be sensitive to Your leading and Your Spirit and Your gospel. Thank You that You graciously give us wake up calls so that we don’t continue on and on in our ignorance or in our own way.

Thank You that You are there with us in the storms. Thank You for Your provision. Thank You for Your promises in Your Word that hold firm in every calamity.

Help us to count even these extremely difficult trials as joy (James 1:2-4). Use them to help us grow in our faith. Use them to help us reach out to those in need. Make us a supernatural blessing to everyone around us. Use the storms and disasters to reach the lost and to wake them up to new life in Jesus. Empower us to respond in Your Spirit in our families, our communities, and our churches. Use them to spur us on to do Your will in our circles of influence.

Please give our government leaders wisdom to direct people to safety. Please give church leaders and community leaders wisdom, as well.

We invite Your Spirit to do miracles in many lives and to broadcast them on weather and news channels around the world. We invite You to use these storms and disasters to proclaim Your gospel message around the world in powerful ways!

Be greatly glorified in these storms and trials. Show Yourself mighty! Help us all to see our desperate need for You and our dependence on You. We are not in charge! You alone are sovereign. Let us come together in unity and cooperation as families, communities, and the body of Christ.

Open our eyes to all of the blessings You have for us along the way, the spiritual treasures, the opportunities to share Your love with others, the provision for our needs, and all of the good things even in these difficult times. Empower us to have thankful hearts. Empower us to sing Your praises in the storm!

Pour out Your Life-giving gospel, Your love, and Your truth over all the people who are experiencing suffering and trials. Let millions turn to You in a great harvest while there is still time in this era of grace before the door closes.

Amen!

  • The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7
  • And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matt. 8:26
  • For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 2 Cor. 4:17
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

 

RESOURCES

Is Real Joy Possible for Me?

How to Seriously Find Joy in the Midst of a Painful Trial

How Can I Seriously Count Painful Times As Joy?

I was planning to write this post a few hours before my father-in-law suddenly died August 4th. It is the sequel to my post from last week about Is Real Joy Possible for Me?  I am honored to share these precious spiritual treasures with you – as it so happens – from the midst of a significant trial in my own life.

We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response and attitude.

I am so excited to share some amazing truths with you – truths that will radically change your life and perspective if you are willing to embrace them.

JOY IS MY CHOICE IN TIMES OF TRIAL

I can choose to depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can willingly yield to His Lordship and let Him lead me.

This takes the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes close fellowship with God. It takes practice. It is a discipline we can learn as believers with God’s help. I can begin to see hard times as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to choose to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • I want to go much deeper with the Lord! (Eph. 1:15-23)
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually. The greatest treasures are found in the darkest times, if we are willing to look.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective…

Thankfully, I don’t have to see from a mere human perspective if I know Jesus!

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering for sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed.
    • God disciplines those who belong to Him for our good, so that we will turn from death and embrace His Life.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because of the good they will produce
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • As I trust God during suffering, He will use my trials to produce good things in me:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • I am to count hardships as discipline from God that will help me learn and grow. His discipline:
      • is verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • brings greater respect for God
      • yields peaceful fruit
      • brings about righteousness
      • is guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allows me to share in God’s holiness

NOTE – “Counting trials as joy” does not mean that I need to try to create trials for myself, that I should be purposely combative or argumentative, or that I should try to prolong trials. It also doesn’t mean I must stay in a dangerous, abusive situation where I am being severely sinned against if I am able to get somewhere safe.  

SHARE

If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy and/or blessings in the midst of a difficult trial, or you have learned something helpful about how to “count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds,” we’d love to hear about it! I’m so thankful we can walk this road together and encourage one another.

RESOURCES

Verses about trials – Open Bible

Verses about God’s wisdom – Open Bible

A list of all of God’s promises – Bible Gateway

Verses about peace – Open Bible

Verses about suffering as a believer – Open Bible

Verses about being persecuted and hated for faith in Christ – Open Bible

Verses about God’s Sovereignty – Open Bible

Verses about finding God’s direction – Open Bible

Verses about strength – Open Bible

“The Peaceful Mom – Building a Healthy Foundation with Christ As Lord” has one chapter on counting trials as joy and one chapter on having an eternal perspective. Most of the chapters in the book would be a blessing to all women, not just moms.

An Amazing Resource – Nina Roesner’s eCourse “Strength and Dignity”

“The Respect Dare,” by Nina Roesner, was a transformative book for me. In fact, it was one of the best books that God used in my life fairly early into my journey. I was actually so sad when the 40 days of assignments were over. I loved the structure and the daily bite-sized approach to growing and learning. Many women, especially women in situations like mine, saw great improvement in their marriages when they did “The Respect Dare.”

But some women found that as they tried to show their husbands more respect, their husbands became more harsh, critical, and demeaning. They began to feel even more like “doormats” than ever. I have seen the same thing with some wives here. What is going on?

Nina realized something important:

anderlust-2

Women need a firm spiritual foundation before they can properly apply respect in marriage.

They need to know who they are in Christ. They need to understand healthy boundaries in a godly way, not a selfish way. They need to be able to act with dignity and godly strength (as Proverbs 31 describes) and be spiritually more whole and healed. Then they can use the incredibly powerful position of  “wife” and “influential authority” in beautiful, healthy, healing ways in their marriages. They need to have tools to handle things rightly when they are sinned against in marriage.

Then God led Nina to develop a new approach in the BECOMING A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY eCourse.

I am so excited about what God has been doing in Nina’s online classes to transform wives and marriages. It is not about Nina. It is not about the forum facilitators. Her goal is to disciple women so they have a strong spiritual foundation and so that they look to the Bible and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power to accomplish God’s will and His glory in their lives. That is definitely my goal, too, for all of us!

She walks women through the baby steps so many of us need, regardless of our personalities or marital dynamics (and it is even a huge blessing for our single sisters, too), to develop a healthy relationship with Christ first and a healthy relationship with self. Then she gives the tools that can help women develop healthier relationships in their marriages.

A bit from Nina about this eCourse:

The truth is, if the words ‘respect’ and ‘submission’ scare you, even anger you, you’re in the right place. We want to help you understand them in a new way that takes your fear, which is never from the Lord, and replaces it with quiet confidence in HIM.

  • A unique and proven discipleship method that leaves over 95% of our class members with a deeper connection with God
  • Biblical truth to build your relationship with yourself & others in a way that gives you a gentle, but strong & dignified (not prideful) sense of who you are
  • Proven tools of interaction with yourself and others that create mutual respect and the potential for great love & joy

The eCourse does have a nominal cost per month. I would consider it to be a very worthwhile investment. Especially if you are really struggling and need a bit more personalized, structured, spiritual and marriage mentoring. It is an 11 week online class. After you go through these sessions, you are invited to join the private forum with trained facilitating wives who help guide discussions.

WHY AM I PROMOTING THIS eCOURSE?

Nina did not ask me to do this. I am not making any kind of monetary profit from promoting her materials. I know that when some wives read about respect, sometimes they mishear things in dangerous ways. Some think they have to disrespect themselves in order to respect their husbands. Or they have to idolize their husbands and bow to them as if they are perfect gods and women need to act like slaves. That is not true at all!

I believe that this eCourse may be a huge blessing if:

  • You have read my posts, my book, or The Respect Dare, and things are getting worse or you feel really confused about how to move forward with the Lord or in your marriage, this course may be perfect for you.
  • You struggle with what it means to respect yourself – or to think rightly and biblically about yourself.
  • You get confused about healthy boundaries and how to implement them with love and respect, this course is a fantastic tool.
  • You are dealing with a particularly difficult husband.
  • You are interested in a private forum that offers support to women. Nina has a wonderful team of trained women who are helping with this. That is something I just can’t offer myself.

I want all women to have all of the resources they need to thrive spiritually and to heal in Christ. Then when they are hearing Him clearly and filled with His Spirit, I know He will give them the wisdom they need to handle some really tough situations.

TESTIMONIALS

WIFE 1:

This is a hard journey for me as I sometimes lose site of my goal, but God is not finished with me yet.

Five years ago this January I found myself in tears over the condition of my marriage. I was a believer who thought God owed her a perfect marriage and Christian family because she was obedient to his commands. He did not give me that, thankfully. In frustration and some anger I asked God to send me someone who understood my loneliness.

I did  “The Respect Dare”  by phone. I learned some things, but any changes my husband noticed only made him more suspicious of what I was trying to get from him. Nina suggested the “Strength and Dignity” course because of his resistance.
Before joining this class and doing the “Daughter’s of Sarah” course, I blamed my husband for everything. In my studies, God made some direct blows to show my part in this messy equation. That was humbling but the beginning of breaking my pride and misunderstanding of what marriage really is. Now, in humility, I can accept God’s correction and find myself enabled more often to love and accept my husband as God made him.

Sometimes I respond with grace, sometimes I kick and scream my way to surrender and sometimes I just can’t figure out what I am suppose to do, so I reach out to other women on the course site and return to His Word. My desire to love my husband like God does allows me to rely on the Holy Spirit’s enablement to do what God says to show respect. It is hard to do right and it seems I am meeting stronger resistance, but through prayer, study, support and sometimes tears, God is changing my motives, my heart, and my love for my husband.

It is also teaching me that the goal of my journey is to find God as my sole source for all my needs and release my husband from wrong expectations. I no longer want a perfect marriage and accolades from people. I am on a learning curve to find that Christ fulfills my every need and I am the healthy helper God intended for the man he created. I am pressing on, but I have not arrived.

WIFE 2:

I started this journey very discouraged and with the mindset that my husband is never going to change and our marriage will always be this way. BUT that I need to learn to survive this and survive it well… with strength of character and with my dignity. I went to a 4 day retreat, Deflating Defensiveness (led by Nina).

These are the changes I’ve incorporated in my marriage from the retreat:

  • I don’t get pulled into arguing, defending myself, or reasoning with him (That stuff doesn’t work, plus it leaves me frustrated).
  • He still goads me to but I go silent rather than get pulled into this crazy cycle.
  • I’m picking my battles so to speak
    • I give in to him on small things. Because he gets his way on those things, I’m seeing he is more apt to listen to me on the bigger stuff.
  • I am not a doormat, in fact, just the opposite. I feel more empowered and dignified.
  • I speak my point of view concisely, slowly, and gently, then I STOP.
    • When he comes back with arguments, I don’t respond, neither do I justify myself nor do I own his insults.
    • As a result of my “sanctified indifference” I’m seeing more respect from him; he seems then to want to please me.

This is not perfect every time but I have my sanity and my dignity. I feel strong. I am no longer striving but am at peace. He hasn’t changed, but I have, and as a result, our marriage is changing.

Since I joined the Strength and Dignity eCourse:

I am now starting to see more change in his behavior toward me. I think that as he is getting the respect he needs and sees I’m becoming a “safe place,” he is becoming more respectful, caring, and wants to please me. Of course, we have hiccups now and then, but I continue to trust God to give me the self-control to remain gentle and respectful with him. The unconditional respect is the toughest when he is not being kind. This is definitely a refining process and a spiritual one that at times does not seem to even be about marriage, but about the woman God desires me to become.

Here’s the link to find out more about Nina’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

If you decide to take it, I’d love to hear what you think!

** This class is not designed for those who are being battered. If you are in danger, please contact your local domestic violence resources.

RELATED

 

Thriving in a Marriage without Sex If Necessary

Before we get married, we tend to think to ourselves, “Wow, once we are married, I’ll get to have sex with my guy any time I want! It will be AWESOME!”

There is often (but not always) a beautiful honeymoon period where both husband and wife are delighted in being together and enjoying sex together. It can be glorious. Sex is a beautiful gift of God to married couples. The ideal goal is for couples to have sex regularly and to both enjoy it together and for each to seek to be as available as possible to the other, to be compassionate, loving, selfless, and giving. Sex – the one flesh relationship – is intended by God to be a picture of the spiritual oneness of Christ and His bride, the church.

But what we usually don’t expect or plan for, is the reality that there are likely  to be many times in marriage when sex doesn’t or can’t happen. It can be for a large variety of reasons, but almost all of us experience some times where at least one spouse:

  • Has a major illness or injury.
  • Has medical issues that make having sex very difficult – lower back problems, pregnancy, bedrest, recurrent yeast infections, STDs, PTSD, arthritis, etc…
  • Suffers from sexual dysfunction or pain.
  • Is in the hospital for a while.
  • Is dealing with the needs of very sick young children who need almost constant care and attention.
  • Is extremely depressed or spiritually oppressed and can’t function in life in general and loses interest in sex.
  • Has a very different level of libido at the time.
  • Takes a medication (certain anti-depressants, birth control pills, blood pressure pills, etc…) that interfere with libido and sexual function.
  • Has a porn addiction that gets so severe that the spouse can’t function anymore sexually in marriage.
  • Is suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse and can’t seem to get past the fear, shame, and horror he/she associates with sex.
  • Is deployed or has to be gone with work for extended periods of time.
  • Has a completely different work schedule and you are never in bed at the same time.
  • Is so exhausted from working 70-80 hours per week that he/she has no energy left for sex.
  • Doesn’t recognize the signals the other one gives to try to initiate sex.
  • Has an affair.
  • Had an affair and it is not wise or safe to have sex again yet.
  • Decides to separate.
  • Determines to divorce against the other’s will.
  • Dies and the other is left alone.

Truthfully, as people age, things change sometimes. If you are not aware of this, let’s put it out there, ladies:

  • Men tend to peak in their sexual performance and libido in their late teens or twenties.
  • Women tend to peak in their sexual performance and libido in their mid thirties.
  • With increasing age, men are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and prostate enlargement – all of which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. It is not 100% of men. But it is an increasingly larger percentage of men over time.
  • As women enter peri-menopause, we are likely to experience vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal tissue which can create pain with vaginal intercourse.
  • As hormones begin to wane in older age, libido tends to decrease a lot. Some people do have sex into their 70s and 80s. That is awesome! But not everyone does or can. And that is okay, too.

So we are probably all going to face this issue at some point or another – probably not by choice. What can we do?

FROM A BELIEVING WIFE WHO HAS BEEN THERE:

Just like everything else in life that we have to face and let go of, if we are in a time where we have to be celibate, what will come up is our will in contrast to the will of God. That is always where the battle lies! When we can’t do, have, or be what we want, right now, that is what makes it so much harder to face and let go of it!

If we are in a time where we have to be celibate, it will come down to this: are we going to accept that this is God’s will for us right now? Or are we going to kick and fight against it, clinging to our own will in the matter, and seeking to make our will happen?

The reason it is so hard to do anything we don’t want to do is because we don’t want to do it!

We want something else, something other than God’s will at the moment! And that is the battle we all face in so many different things in life. But just as in this situation, the Lord is seeking to create in us the Spirit of Christ that lets go of all, empties all of self, that God may fill us up with His all! We have to let go of our own will in order to come into all that God is purposing!

The longer we cling to our own will and way in life, the more miserable, dry, and fleshly we become.

But the sooner we surrender to His will in any moment and season in our life, the sooner our heart is filled to overflowing with the peace, rest, and presence of God which FAR surpasses any fleeting sexual pleasure we may get by having our will instead of His!

He is seeking to make Christ Lord and our All-in-All when things in life do not go our way!! <3

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE

Here are some suggestions to prayerfully consider…

Don’t:

  • Resent God.
  • Focus on all that you are missing and how deprived you are.
  • Allow resentment to develop toward your husband.
  • Listen to Satan’s accusations against your husband.
  • Feed your mind and heart with lots of marriage resources about sex if you can’t have sex at the time and reading about it upsets you.
  • Read about how “normal men all want sex every day.” Not helpful. And not true.
  • Freak out.
  • Lash out at your husband in resentment or hatred.
  • Tell him how “he is not a real man” if he won’t/can’t have sex with you, insult his manhood, or call him names.
  • Look outside your marriage for sexual satisfaction (porn, raunchy novels, that guy that flirts with you at work, other women, etc…)
  • Talk to another man about how deprived you feel sexually.

 

Do:

  • Turn to the Lord in faith. Pour out your heart to Him.
  • Claim His promises to you and stand on them. (Ie: Rom. 8:28-29 and James 1)
  • Pray about the situation, invite God to heal your sex life and marriage. To work to accomplish His will and His good purposes to help you grow in your faith and in spiritual maturity.
  • Guard your heart from other men and from sources of temptation in the media.
  • Be willing to take care of any issues on your end so that you can be available to your husband.
  • Share with your husband what you would like, if appropriate – if it is possible for him – but don’t try to force or pressure him.
  • Respond with grace if he can’t or won’t have sex with you.
  • Focus on all of the good things about your husband and marriage.
  • Think about all the things you respect and enjoy about your husband.
  • Be available to help your husband respectfully with any issues he may have that are contributing to the problem.
  • Be his teammate.
  • Continue to respect your husband and to honor his leadership appropriately.
  • Enjoy affection with him if he is up for that.
  • Enjoy spiritual intimacy if he is receptive.
  • Starve your flesh by switching your thoughts from sex to the Lord, His Word, His love, His promises, and other things.
    • You can seriously dramatically lower your sexual desire level, if necessary, simply by diverting your thoughts. Then if sex becomes available with your husband again later, you can begin thinking more about sex to increase your desire level. How much you think about sex can raise or lower your libido level a lot.
  • Take your thoughts captive for Christ.
  • Depend on Christ for the strength you need to walk in holiness and self-control, be Spirit-filled.

 

NOTE #1 – If you are getting older and there are severe medical issues going on, and neither of you are really interested in sex anymore, give yourself and your husband some grace. Marriage books and blogs talk about how “men want sex” and “a man’s greatest need is sex.” Well, that may be true sometimes in certain situations. But as we age, things can change. You may be able to enjoy simply being sensual together. If neither of you seriously desires sex, or one or both of you are no longer capable of having sex, it is okay to let that go and just enjoy each other in other ways. Don’t let marriage books or blogs and the generalities they share make you worry about your marriage if you have a particular situation and medically can’t have sex and are both truly content with that.

NOTE #2 –  Reminder: Sexual refusal is not something either spouse should purposely do to the other. If your spouse is able to have sex but is purposely withholding, or you are able to have sex but are purposely withholding, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 addresses that. We are to be available to our spouses. Not to force them into sex or selfishly “take” sex. But each spouse is to be ready to freely and generously give to the other if it is possible.

SHARE:

Ladies,

If you have wisdom to share, you are welcome to share here. You can set up your name to be anonymous if you would like. And if you are struggling, you are also welcome to share and be encouraged here. 🙂

Much love!

RELATED:

Sexual Rejection in Marriage

When You Feel Deprived in Your Marriage

When Your Husband Rejects You

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

Placing My Higher Sexual Appetite Under God’s Control – a guest post

Twenty Simple Ways to Enjoy Your Man

Handling a Very Delicate and Sensitive Matter with Respect – a Husband’s Impotence 

Encouragement for Military Wives Whose Husbands Are Deployed – a guest post

Nina Roesner’s e-course for wives in difficult marriages: “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity”

 

Are You Brave Enough to Ask God for This?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Due to hurricane Irma approaching soon, I am running the post I would have run on Monday, September 11th today instead. Join me in praying for those being impacted by Harvey, Irma, Katia, Jose, and the 8.1 earthquake in Mexico last night.  There are so many other significant crises around the world today that need our prayers, as well. This is a perfect time for us to join together as believers in prayer and fasting.

The “birth pangs” Jesus described that will lead up to the Great Tribulation sure seem like they are coming very quickly now. Let’s do all we can to be sure we are right with the Lord and right with other people. This is the time for the body of Christ to shine more brightly than ever before with the Gospel, with hope, with love, with tangible physical aid, and with the message of Good News for this dark world! It is a time to be united and to cast aside any divisions. Let’s be fully available to the Lord to do anything He may call upon us to do in this time. It’s a time to give up our personal agendas and plans and to be ready to plug in wherever God wants us to.

————-

Are you prepared to wholeheartedly say to God:

“Lord, I want ALL of Your perfect will for me and nothing outside of Your will no matter what it may be and no matter what it costs me”?

What is your initial response when you think about praying such a bold prayer? Are you excited and ready for a lifetime of incredible adventure with your Lord? Or does this idea make you freak out? Does it seem too radical? Too scary?

Our natural sinful tendency when we think about completely trusting God and His will for our lives is fear.

We tend to be afraid that maybe if we fully trust God, He might do something like:

  • Hold out on us.
  • Do something to hurt us.
  • Not really know what is best as much as we do.
  • Be too wimpy to really help us.
  • Lie to us.
  • Purposely want to cause us pain just to see us suffer for no reason.
  • Not care when we are hurting.
  • Ignore us.

Of course Satan would love for us to believe these lies about God. Interestingly, when we believe these lies about God, we are actually trusting Satan and we don’t even realize it. Not only are these lies not true about the God of the Bible, but each of these lies are really true about the devil. He wants us to be deceived into believing that God is bad and scary and that if we choose another path, any other path, it is good and safe.

But there is no goodness apart from the Lord. 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,” James 1:17

Let’s begin with the premise that the Bible is the source of all truth. According to the Bible, there are only two sources of spiritual information: God and Satan. So the question becomes – “Whom will I trust?” These are my only two real choices. If I don’t trust God and His Word, I am trusting Satan and his word, even if I think I am simply trusting myself.

We know many extremely important things about God and His character from scripture that make it entirely reasonable and rational to trust Him fully.

WHO IS GOD?

How could I not trust such a One? Is my character or my wisdom superior to His?

HOW DOES ALL OF THIS AFFECT ME?

Once we belong to Jesus Christ, God melts away our fear (1 John 4:18). Now we no longer have to fear losing our illusion of control. We never did have control anyway! God has always been sovereign. And now we rejoice because this is a very GOOD thing, not a scary thing!

If I really know who God is – THEN I can pray very boldly for God’s total will for my life without any fear. In fact, I know that to desire anything else would be dangerous and extremely foolish.

When I know who God is, I can trust Him – just like if I had a loving earthly Daddy. I knew I could always trust my Daddy to do what was best for me, even if I didn’t understand it at the moment. How much more will our perfect heavenly Father do what is best and give us what is best? Not in our wisdom but in His wisdom. Not what is best in the moment, but what is best in light of eternity. The more I taste and see how good He is, the easier and easier it is to trust Him with everything in my life. And the stronger my faith grows.

Even if I have to face significant trials, which I will, I know He will be with me and I know they will bring about great good for His kingdom and for me in the end.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” John 4:34

Jesus is not asking us to do anything for Him that He hasn’t already done:

  • Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matt. 16:24
  • “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

A CHALLENGE

I encourage you to sincerely pray a prayer in faith today to receive all of God’s will and to desire nothing apart from His will in your life. Get ready for an incredible life of adventure with God as you allow Him total access to all of yourself and all that you have.

This is what it means for Jesus to be Lord. This is what He calls all believers to do. This is Christianity.

There will be opposition for anyone who lives for Christ. So expect that. But if the sovereign God of the universe is for you, who can be against you?

If you are not ready to completely trust God with everything right now – pray that God will help you be able to get to this point ASAP. If you need resources or encouragement, please let me know.

I want each of us to know without any doubt that we are in right relationship with God and to have His power to be in right relationship with other people as much as it depends on us. None of us are guaranteed another day on this earth. Let’s be ready for whatever may come.

SHARE

  • If you have gotten to this place of total surrender to God’s will and want to share about how you arrived here, please share in the comments to encourage others.
  • If you are afraid to trust God fully like this and want people to pray for you and you need encouragement, please share in the comments, as well.

Much love to each of you! I am praying for you all!

RESOURCES ABOUT GOD’S CHARACTER

WHO IS SATAN?

A Wife’s Beautiful Response to Her Husband’s Drug Addiction

I love to share individual stories, as I can, that bring glory to God. Even about extreme situations.  This is one wife’s story is about what God led her to do in her specific situation. Everything she did isn’t a blanket post for all wives with husbands who are drug addicts. But I am so thankful for her willingness to share. Her heart for Christ and her heart for her husband are the main things I want us to see. May each of us seek to hear and follow God’s Word, His leading, and His wisdom in our own situations:

——–

I felt compelled to write to you after looking through some of the comments on your posts. I see some broken women try to argue about some points you make and say that they don’t apply to their extreme situations. And I do know our God is loving and has a unique relationship with each of us, and there’s never a cookie cutter answer. But as someone going through an extreme situation, I’d like to say God’s Word and commands for us as wives still apply (maybe in a slightly different form, but they still apply), and your posts are still an incredible blessing!

My husband and I have only been married a year and 6 months, and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Early on in our marriage my husband relapsed into an old drug addiction. My husband came back from a Christian rehab program recently. The miracles God has done in both of our hearts while he was there and I was home were incredible.

But a few weeks ago my husband relapsed again.

I just finished your book, The Peaceful Wife – Living in Submission to Christ As Lord, a bit before I found out he relapsed. The first thought in my head was, “Why would God be teaching me to be submissive and respectful when I was about to get hurt again?” But then I realized our God is all-knowing and at the exact moment He was encouraging me to read your book and speaking great things to me through it, He KNEW what my husband was going to do.

Things went down very differently this time.

When he told me, I didn’t scream, throw things, or yell. I let go of my controlling grip on my husband and tightened my grip on our Lord Jesus. I found peace in Him. I told my husband I loved him over and over and that I don’t want him to condemn himself. I related to him because I, too, have backslid at different times in my life. No, I do not have addiction problems, but sin is sin.

His response was so loving, so apologetic. Last time it was all about him and his pain. This time he was concerned with how he hurt me. Yes, my situation is unique. It’s extreme. I had to be strict with my husband and take the wheel last week. With the help of our Pastor I insisted that my husband go back to the rehab program out of state. But I held tight to God’s commands to me as a wife. I held tight to respecting my husband. I didn’t add to his pain that I know he was feeling. I didn’t add to the condemnation I know he was pouring onto himself.

I tried my best to die to my flesh, and love like Christ loves. Christ dies for us even while we were yet sinners. I can love my husband, even while he is yet a sinner. Yes, in my unique situation, prayerful separation is necessary. But with my eyes locked on Christ and focused on the eternal, the thought of divorce is not even an option. The thought of anger and resentful emotions fade away. I have salvation, what more could I need? I am full in Christ. I am stable when God is my foundation.

Thank you again for your book and your posts! They made a significant difference in the way things unfolded this time. God is doing great things! <3

——–

FROM PEACEFUL WIFE ABOUT EXTREME SITUATIONS:

Note – this particular husband was repentant. If he were not repentant, a wife would probably have to adjust her approach to some degree. And if he were violent or dangerous, she may have to also adjust things depending on the situation.

No matter what situation we may face, all of us are called by God to respond without sin ourselves. Even when we are being sinned against. When we add our own sin to our husband’s sin, it only makes things infinitely worse. When we respond in the power of God’s Spirit and wisdom, God begins to pour His healing into the situation through us. It may take time to see fruit. But we can know we are doing what God calls us to do when we walk in obedience and faithfulness to His Word by the power of His Spirit. His commands still apply to us. We just need to understand exactly how by His wisdom.

Nothing is too hard for God. No one is beyond His reach!

Please join me in praying for this wife and husband – for God’s healing and for His greatest glory to come out of this very difficult trial.

I don’t usually write general posts specifically for wives in extreme situations – where there are major drug/alcohol addictions, abuse, unrepentant adultery, criminal activity, demon possession, severe spiritual oppression, severe uncontrolled mental health issues, etc…   I don’t personally know what every wife should do in every possible situation.  I don’t have personal experience with most of these situations myself. People don’t need my wisdom or opinions. They need God’s Word and His clear direction. I know He has exactly what each of us need and that He can provide for our great needs out of His abundant supply.

I am so thankful when God uses what I have written to bless wives in many different situations  But I am also very concerned for my sisters who may be confused. I never want to add to confusion for even one woman. Sometimes women in situations like this can misunderstand important concepts like: respect, dying to self, submission, unconditional love, forgiveness, and trust because of filters they may have

Let’s talk about some things I have seen that are of great concern to me.

SOME WAYS WOMEN MAY MISUNDERSTAND GOD’S WORD AT TIMES:

Some women in very difficult marriage situations think dangerous things like:

  • Respecting my husband means respecting his sin and not intervening or using my influence authority for good in his life.
  • Submitting to my husband means I give up my personhood and become completely passive and just do whatever he wants me to do no matter what.
  • Submitting to my husband means I never say what I think, feel, or desire. I should totally give up my voice to be a godly wife.
  • Respecting my husband means I never say anything if he is sinning against me or our children or if he is doing something very wrong. I just cooperate with him no matter what. I ignore the verses in scripture about lovingly, gently, respectfully confronting sin.
  • Loving my husband unconditionally means staying even if our children and I are not safe and even if he is dangerous and not in his right mind. God hates separation and divorce, so He must want me to stay and endanger my life and our children’s lives. I ignore the fact that God also hates violence and oppression and that I have a responsibility to protect my children and myself if my husband is sinning against us or not in his right mind due to addictions, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe spiritual oppression, or major unrepentant sin.
  • Jesus’ command for me to forgive unconditionally in Matthew 6:14-15 means I also have to trust my husband who is not trustworthy and treat him like I would if he hadn’t severely broken my trust. I don’t realize that trust is not an unconditional command – it is different from forgiveness and unconditional love. Trust must be rebuilt together in cooperation. It requires two people to rebuild it. God never commands us to trust untrustworthy people. We are only commanded to trust the Lord unconditionally because He is not sinful and unable to have wrong motives toward us.
  • God calls women to be weak and wimpy.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to disrespect myself and just put up with genuine abuse (I say “genuine abuse” because sometimes wives will use the word, “abuse” to describe things that are truly not abusive. Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe a husband’s godly leadership. “My husband is so abusive. He expects me to stick to a budget.” “My husband abuses me because he doesn’t want me to flirt with other men.” Sometimes women use the word, “abuse,” to describe any behavior they don’t like. “My husband reacts negatively toward me when I disrespect him.” Those things are not abuse. God hates abuse and so do I.)
  • I can be a godly wife even if I don’t spend time with God, don’t pray for myself, and don’t know Jesus closely myself. I can remain in spiritual bondage and oppression myself and respond rightly to my husband’s sin and issues. I can do this all in my own strength without God’s power and help.
  • I can’t respect (rightly relate to) God, my husband, and myself all at the same time. For me to properly respect my husband, I have to sin against myself or God.
  • Respecting and submitting to my husband means he is always right no matter what he does.
  • Respecting my husband and obeying God’s Word means I have to stay and it is a sin to leave under any circumstances.
  • Dying to self means I have to just suffer silently in every situation and act like things are fine when they are truly not.
  • Respecting my husband means I have to do anything to make him happy no matter what the cost to me or our children. If he is upset with me, it means I am wrong. End of story. My husband’s words, emotions, and decisions are the ultimate authority in my life, not Jesus.

If we have a skewed understanding of these key concepts or we idolize our husband’s approval rather than seeking God’s approval above all, we can end up making poor choices. That breaks my heart. So if a wife is in extreme situations like this and she thinks that respect, unconditional, love, dying to self, forgiveness, and trust mean things like what I just listed above, I would want her to seek godly, experienced counsel who could help her discern her thoughts and God’s Word rightly. I want all women to understand these critical concepts correctly because if we don’t, we can make some really terrible decisions for ourselves, our marriages, and our children.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD FOR ALL OF US:

If women are having trouble with these concepts or feel confused about what they should do, I would encourage them to seek godly one-on-one counseling with someone who is experienced with the issues they have in their marriages. Some women in very difficult situations are able to hear God rightly as they read my posts and respond in the power of the Holy Spirit to their husbands. That is awesome! I praise and thank God for this! Some women in very difficult situations may need resources other than my blog that are much more specialized for their particular needs. That is okay, too.

ULTIMATELY, WE ALL NEED JESUS AND HIS HEALING:

Jesus is the key and He is what we all desperately need. His Word applies to us all no matter what we may be going through. It is critical for us to have right understanding of His Word. How I long for each of us to experience the abundant Life He offers to us no matter what may happen in our marriages. My greatest desire is that we all end in the same place – JESUS – whether that is here or elsewhere:

RESOURCES:

I have many other resources, if you need something in particular, please let me know. And always check anything any human author says against scripture and seek to have a right understanding of God’s Word!

  • Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas may be helpful for wives whose husbands tend to be harsh with their children or who have anger issues.
  • If you are dealing with a very difficult marriage or you tend to have a husband who is very harsh you may find healing in Christ for yourself, and your marriage, in Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.
  • www.hotline.org is for women in physically abusive relationships who may need to plan to get away safely.
  • Hopefully each woman can find a local body of believers in Christ who will be equipped to help her with any severe situations.
  • There are Christian resources for drug addictions – the most important thing is to have something that is biblically based on the power of Christ. Check with a trusted pastor or Christian counselor in your area for what may be the best fit for your situation.
  • www.xxxchurch.com or www.brentriggs.com also has helpful resources for porn addictions.
  • Some churches have prayer ministries where prayer warriors pray over people and see them set free from addictions, sin, shame, and even diseases. I would love for wives facing extreme trials to be able to be surrounded by spiritual support, love, and powerful prayer by the body of Christ. If your church doesn’t have a powerful prayer ministry, search until you find one that does and visit there for prayer if possible.
  • The posts I linked throughout this post may be a blessing, as well.
  • If your husband is violent, or threatening violence, or things are extremely toxic, please seek one-on-one, experienced, trustworthy help if at all possible. And if you need to contact the police and it is safe to do so, please do whatever you need to do to be safe.

SHARE:

If you have resources you would like to share or you want to share about God’s faithfulness in your situation, please feel free to share. If you are facing a great trial and need prayer for your situation, you are welcome to share that, as well.

Facing Uncertainty and Trials with Joy

Every believer faces tests where we crash up against suffering, trials, and the unknown. We don’t like that! We want to feel like we know what is going to happen. We want guarantees. Timelines. Promises. We want to feel like we have control. Sometimes, we would rather even push for a bad outcome if only we can just “get closure” and not have to bob around in an ocean of not-knowing any longer.

It is often the waiting and not knowing one way or the other that seems like such torture.

This issue is not confined to uncertainty in our marriages, it covers everything in our lives.

How can I possibly rest in the peace and sovereignty of God when there is constant uncertainty and no way for me to know what will happen?

GOD’S WORD ABOUT TRIALS AND SUFFERING FOR BELIEVERS IN CHRIST

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
  • I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance. Rom. 5:3
  • For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Rom. 8:18
  • Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Rom. 12:12
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
  • Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? Heb. 12:7
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
  • Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
  • Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Pet. 4:12

I believe that if we can understand that God has purpose behind the suffering we experience and behind the times we have to wait in uncertainty, we can embrace the good things He wants to accomplish in our lives during those times.

These trials are often gifts and blessings from Him in disguise IF we are willing to trust Him completely and receive all that He has for us in them.

GOD HAS MUCH GREATER GOALS IN MIND

We tend to think primarily about our current comfort level, health, and happiness. We focus on our human wisdom and what seems best to us in the moment.

God focuses on:

  • Conforming us, our husbands, children, and others in our lives to the image of Christ over the long term.
  • His Kingdom and how He wants it to grow and how He wants to use our situations in our lives to help accomplish bringing more of His beloved children to Christ.

This kind of spiritual growth doesn’t happen when we get everything we want and have smooth sailing.

We tend to grow the most when we get really stretched by difficulties.

It is similar to the way that if we don’t use our muscles, they will atrophy and get weak. Our faith is like that. In order for our faith to grow, it has to face resistance. When we have times of difficulty and times where we don’t know what will happen, we are forced to learn to depend on the Lord in ways that we just wouldn’t if things were going well.

This takes much spiritual wrestling sometimes. And that is okay! Times of waiting and suffering are hard. But they often produce great results when they are in the right hands:

  • If land never has rain or storms, it becomes a barren desert.
  • If gold is not refined, it contains many impurities that weaken it and make it much less valuable.
  • If a farmer will not wait for his crops to grow, he will never get to enjoy the harvest.
  • If a fruit tree is not properly pruned, the branches grow in crazy ways that cause the limbs of the tree to break as the fruit begins to get heavy. The tree can’t produce as much fruit and the fruit is not nearly as sweet for an unpruned tree. It also looks terrible – broken branches everywhere and no pleasing shape.

God knows what our souls need to grow and to become very valuable in His sight. If we are able to trust God’s heart for us, we can know that whatever pain or time of waiting and uncertainty we face, He absolutely can and will use it for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. That is a promise to those who are in Christ – Romans 8:28-29!

PRAYER WHEN WE ARE FACING THE UNKNOWN, TRIALS, AND SUFFERING:

Lord,

You alone are God. There is no other. You reign in majesty and splendor from the throne room of the highest heaven over all of the universe. You are sovereign. You are good. You are love. You have all wisdom. You have all truth. You can’t have evil motives toward me. You are an Expert at turning disasters and tragedies into beautiful things for Your glory. You are the Healer. You are my Strength and my Shield, a very present Help in trouble. You are my Very Great Reward. There is no greater treasure in the universe than You. You spared nothing to provide for my salvation when I was still Your enemy. You sent Jesus to live and die in my place. Now His holiness, goodness, power, peace, joy, and right-standing with You are mine. His life, death, and resurrection belong to me. I am seated with Him in the heavenlies already!

You are intimately aware of all of my fears, my suffering, my needs, and my concerns. I thank You for that. You walk this road with me, living in me, empowering me with Your Spirit. I lay down every single fear and all of my desires and dreams. Here are the things I desire…

But – more than any of these things, I desire You. I want to know You and love You more. I want to give You total access and freedom in my life  to conform me to the image of Christ in whatever ways You know are best. I want Your glory. I want others to be drawn to Christ. I want Your kingdom to come into this situation and many to come to Jesus. I want to receive all the spiritual treasures You have for me to learn. I don’t want to waste a moment of this trial – but have my eyes open to all You have in store – for the adventure that awaits.

I praise and thank You now for all You are doing and all You will do through this very situation for Your good purposes in my life and in my husband’s life and in our family. I entrust it all to Your strong, capable hands. I know You will never fail me. I know You will never leave me or forsake me. I cling to Your Word and Your promises. I will sing praises to You even in the storm, knowing You will cause this storm to bear much fruit in my life.

Amen!

SHARE:

How have you learned to approach trials and suffering with joy, anticipation, and faith?

 

 

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