Tag Archives: failures

Life or Death

9 Apr

I saw this picture I’m about to share awhile ago and I haven’t been able to get it off my mind.

You know the old saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Yeah, so we all know that’s not true. No need for a post explaining that.

Words can kill

However, hurt… and kill….. are those the same?

I remember a long time ago, someone said something to me and it wasn’t just a wound.  It killed me. Literally, a part of myself became dead and destroyed.

I don’t want to post what it was, because I’m sure the person remembers saying it, and well, I learned awhile ago when I almost quit blogging for good that personal stories that include other people can really be hurtful if not explained well, and I made a promise to avoid those situations in the future, because I never know who will read this one day.

At any rate, I’ve forgiven (after a LOT of years of bitterness and angst.) But… it’s definitely something I just can’t forget.

It took a lot for Jesus to revive that part of me again.  And honestly, I still protect it like it’s the most fragile part of me.

This got me thinking….

I’ve murdered a lot of people with my words

One of my biggest struggles is that when I’m hurt, I am tempted to become a loose, reckless cannon. (I am getting better.  I won’t claim victory.)

In those times, I might as well have put a shot-gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger.  Because I know I murdered others with what I said.

I remember so specifically something I said to my husband.  And I wish more than anything I could take it back. This was a LONG, LONG time ago…. but I said

“You disgust me.  I feel so bad for our boys.  I wish you weren’t their father.”

Ugh.  I start crying every time I remember that.  How could I? What was I thinking?

For the record, I don’t mean that! I didn’t then either.  My husband is an AMAZING Father!!

I just was so careless with what I would let fly out of my mouth.  I wanted him to hurt as bad as I felt like I was hurting.

Some words hurt others… some kill.

Practical Application:

If our tongues have the power to give life or death… how many dead people are in my life?

Have I given life to any enemies lately?

* I have some life-giving words to give …. more to come on that.

~~~~

On an unrelated note… sorry for being a little MIA!  I know I’ve been a little slow replying to emails, and getting new posts up!  It’s because I decided to start up a new business.

I *want* to write a huge post about it, but I know you all aren’t coming here to read about that.

BUT — just incase you might be interested at all… you can like my Facebook page here!

If you like the page, you’ll automatically be entered in a giveaway for a free product when I hit 75 page likes.

I was so skeptical of this company for over a year.  I didn’t want to risk wasting my money, however, my friend started selling and I won a couple of items for FREE, and then I fell in love.

I don’t like chemicals, but in an effort to go “more green” I tried cleaning my house with baking soda and vinegar, and it didn’t work AND my house smelled like vinegar.  So I went back to the chemicals.  Until, I found Norwex!

I’m seriously BLOWN AWAY!!!

Ok, Ok… I won’t say any more unless you contact me on facebook and want to know what all the fuss is about and how it works.

One last thing, I can do parties over the internet now without having to be in home… and it makes it possible for ANYONE to host a party with me.

The rewards are insane! I had a small party, and I got EIGHT free gifts for hosting.  Yes, EIGHT!  Totally worth it.  Easy, peasy.  And I got to try everything without risking a single penny of my own.

You’d be my hero if you decided to host an online Facebook party for me! Seriously, I’d love you forever!!!

Ok, I’m done… for real this time 🙂

That one “thing” we don’t understand.

29 Mar

Your husband has it, my husband has it, every husband on the planet has it.

It’s their “thing.”  The one “thing” that is just, them.  They can’t separate from it because it’s literally part of their personality. It’s part of their make-up.  It’s part of what makes them tick.  It’s ingrained in who they are as a person.

And try as we might…. what makes “this” the “thing” is that we as their wives, don’t understand it at all.  In fact, we might be polar opposite and even frustrated by this.

That “thing” isn’t the same for every man.  It could be, but it isn’t always. Especially because what makes it the “thing” depends on who they’re married to.  And no two wives are the same; and no two husbands are the same; and no two marriages are the same… so I just can’t blanket post this.

But I know what my husband’s “thing” is… and I recently heard from another wife what her husband’s “thing” is, and even though their things were TOTALLY different…. I felt what she feels.

I can relate on the deepest level.  The confusion.  The frustration.

The wanting SO much to accept him and respect him unconditionally – not judging or condemning anything about him (especially when his “thing” isn’t even a sin at all!) and yet… all the while…. secretly wishing you could change it. Maybe even praying desperately that God would change it.

My husband is an introvert. He’s quiet (until you get to know him), shy, hates being surrounded by people he doesn’t know, does not make new friends easily at all, would prefer very small crowds, and hates speaking when called on without his own initiation.

I am an extrovert.  I’m not shy at all.  I am not intimidated by large crowds of people I don’t know in the least.  I make new friends quickly and make it look effortless, and I am always willing to share whether I know you or not.

I wrestled for a really long time feeling like this difference meant one of us was wrong.  And since my personality was mine…. I felt like mine was the correct way to approach life.

I remember feeling very judgmental thinking that he could change if he wanted to.  And that he was being a stubborn jerk just so he didn’t have to change.

Sound a little prideful much?! Just in case you’re not sure… Yes, yes it does.

I’ve done really well accepting this difference and appreciating how he enters a room and takes everything in, in a way I never do.  I can now see that there are strengths in his reserved approach to things and his natural tendencies give him time to access places and people who are present.

But. Sometimes his personality still puts me in positions where I’m not “getting everything I want”.  Which is a great way for Satan to attack me and tempt me to disrespect my husband, give into selfishness and ultimately hurt my marriage.

A perfect example was just a couple of months ago.  We recently changed churches and the church was offering a class after service to better explain their beliefs, ministries, church doctrine and practices.

At the beginning of the meeting, the pastor asked everyone to go around the room and say their names, where they were from and how long they’d been going to church there.

I SO wanted my husband to do this.  For me, I want him to come across as the leader and protector of our family because HE IS.  It’s not for public attention, it’s actually to avoid public attention.  It gives the wrong impression in my mind for the woman to do all the leading in public, but for her husband to do all the leading in private.  It makes for an inability to ask his permission/ideas when on the spot and looks like I need to speak for him or over him.

It’s hard to have a gentle and quiet spirit that is submissive to your husband when you have to do all the talking in public. You’re put on the spot to sometimes answer questions and make decisions without his input.

Of course, the worst thing in my mind had to happen.  The first table to go started with this scene:

The pastor called on the husband to speak and he said “oh my wife will do the talking, I learned that a long time ago.”  Hysterical laughter broke out throughout the room.

Awesome.  So when it’s my turn, and I talk instead of my husband… everyone will think the same thing about me.

I looked at my husband, and he was about to get up and walk out of the room because he hates that type of environment.  So, he sat there quiet, and I did the talking.

We left and I was horribly embarrassed. Not because my husband did anything wrong.  I was embarrassed because I was concerned with what I thought others were thinking (without even knowing for sure if they were.)

Did I need to be? No.  Does it matter what others think?  No.  Is it more important for me to be the helpmate my husband married and use my personality, gifts and abilities to add what would bless him most and benefit our marriage best? Yes, absolutely.

But my flesh needed some time to accept that on that day.

Here are the words of another wife describing her husband’s thing:

“I’ve planned every date we have ever gone on. We did go out to eat a week ago, but then just ran errands together even though I suggested fun activities because he was just too tired.. He says the way that he most relaxes it to do a household chore with me like weed the garden or plant our vegetable garden or helping a sick cow… To be honest, those are not fun for me. I do them because I love him. I would like to go to a bed and breakfast, stay all day in bed one day, go hiking another day… He would rather just stay here on the farm. But I am on the farm A LOT. I just haven’t figured out how to do this…he connects at home…I need to go out. Yes, I’ve told him this. I even offered that we go out and do something fun and I help him with a chore.. The chores have gotten done. Dates…maybe 1/4 of the time and I plan them… I guess I wish to be pursued, but he just doesn’t have the energy.”

Basically, he relaxes at home, she relaxes by going out.  Is he wrong? Is she wrong? No. Not at all. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard on her flesh not to scream out that he should want what she wants!!

They say opposites attract, but it seems after they’ve attracted, they battle to become the same to stay together, instead of appreciating what makes them opposite.

Really, this is just another opportunity for us to lay ourselves down and be thankful for the differences in who we are as humans.

Practical Application:

The next time his “thing” brings the temptation to be hurt or angry, stop right then and think about two things that are actually STRENGTHS about his thing.  Think about those things and how you might actually be lacking in that area, and how he helps balance you out.

And then, if you’re really feeling courageous (because Satan will definitely tell you that you’re about to encourage his nasty habits and ruin any chance for change) PRAISE him for his “thing.”

He looks identical to Christ.

23 Mar

Nineteen months ago, I saw myself in my marriage in a new light.  I saw how I was disrespecting my husband, how I was full of pride, how I had unrealistic expectations, how many idols I was obsessed with serving, how unforgiving and resentful I was, and how much better I thought I was than the man I married… all while thinking I was a better Christian than he was too.

It was humbling.  I shed some tears. I apologized to my husband.  And I spent a good solid month doing nothing but studying my behaviors, and setting up ways to break all these terrible habits.

It’s a life long process, I didn’t conquer anything in a month, I’m still learning and changing every single day.

I thought at that time, I saw my marriage for what it was.

I was wrong.

Thursday night, my husband and I had a long talk about who I once was and what I did in and to our marriage over the course of that first 10 years. We had already done this two years ago so this wasn’t some shocking or earth shaking conversation.

And yet, I broke.

I spent almost all of the next 24 hours sobbing uncontrollably or secretly fighting and wiping tears in front of my kids.  I’ve never cried that much before in one day, ever.

All the sudden, through some deep reflection and conversation, I saw everything differently than I ever really had before.

I was a horrible wife.  HORRIBLE.

I must have hurt my husband in ways he couldn’t even describe if he wanted to try.  I put other things above him, I have lied to him, I have belittled him publicly, I have put expectations on him that no person could live up to, I have reacted in haste and wrath to his mistakes with intensely hurtful remarks and shame, I have dabbled in the game of an emotional affair, I have carried around a list of his wrongs and dwelled on them bitterly, I have had conversations in my mind premeditating how to hurt him when I felt hurt instead of offering mercy and forgiveness….

I was wretched.  To me, completely unforgivable.  I have no idea why he stayed married to me.  I wouldn’t have stayed married to me.

I have never fallen apart like I did on Friday.  While I kept desperately trying to speak truth to myself, and let my husband and my best friend speak truth to me… I could not accept it.

I didn’t want his forgiveness.  I didn’t want his grace or mercy.  I didn’t want his unconditional love.

I wanted him to get mad at me.  I wanted him to yell and cuss and tell me how awful I was and how much I’d hurt him.  I wanted him to treat me how I deserved to be treated.

Every time I presented a reason to him why he should hate me, he offered back a loving gesture… and I got so angry at him.  Angry because I felt like he was being so stupid. I thought, you deserve better you idiot. There is no forgiving what I’ve done!!

Who loves someone like that?  Who forgives someone so completely?  Who looks at someone and says “That’s all in the past.  You’re not that person anymore.  I love you more now than I ever have.  You’re my girl.” after everything I put him through?

I know he’s sinned against me.  He isn’t perfect.  But for the first time, his sins seemed like no big deal.  And my sins seemed catastrophic.

I kept trying to compare our mistakes and his were minor and mine were major. I have always seen this the other way around.  Even after I started to understand unconditional respect and how big my sins were, I didn’t see his sins as minor. I felt like we were more even-keeled.

I know people say, a sin is a sin is a sin.  But I don’t agree with that.

Yes, a sin is a sin in the regard that all sin separates us from God.  But I believe there is a difference between sins and I think Paul makes that point in Scripture too. (For another post if an explanation is needed here.) We can be quickly tempted and make a wrong choice, or we can willfully make premeditated sinful and or even habitual decisions on purpose and I don’t think that’s the same thing either.

While I sat there sobbing to the point I could barely breathe, I kept reflecting on the purpose of marriage.

My husband had never seemed more like Christ, ever.

I represented the church – sinful: proud, lost in idolatry, unforgiving, lustful, bitter and self-pleasing.

And he stood before me as Christ – LOVE: unconditionally holding me in the palm of his hand, merciful, gracious, forgiving every sin fully/completely as far as the east is from the west.

My husband knew I was broken.  Somehow, he knew it was bad.  That I wasn’t how I’d ever been before.

Because Thursday night started this down-ward spiral, he text me during the day to check on me.  I was mad he text me.  I hurt him, why would he want to see if I was OK?

I bounced back and forth between feeling like he was literally Jesus in the flesh… loving me and giving me what I could never afford and ….not wanting to talk to him at all because how dare I cry and be the one hurt when I’m the one who did the hurting?  I was NOT interested in playing the victim or martyr in this situation.  And I knew if I opened my mouth, it would spur that “I’ll make this better for you” instinct that all men have… and I didn’t want better.  I wanted what I deserved.

He walked in the door from work, locked us in our bedroom, turned our wedding song on his phone, and made me dance with him. I didn’t want to at all.  I tried to resist him and beg him to just give me some space for a while.  But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I melted in his arms. I forgot how perfect the words of our wedding song were… especially today more than ever before.

Through gut-wrenching sobs and blurred vision, I expressed what was happening in my heart and mind – and he remained the perfect picture of love and forgiveness.

I wasn’t all better after that 45 minute unraveling in his arms.  But, I was on the road to facing this new reality.  I was either going to end up bitter or better.

I think I needed to be broken in this way.  It changed me.  In a way I’ll never be the same again.  Of course I’ll still sin against my husband – I will never be perfect.  But, it gave me a perspective on marriage I needed to literally feel to fully understand.

My husband decided we were one, and that means, we are one.  When I’m broken, he’s broken.  When I’m sinful, he’s forgiving.  In my weakness, his love in and through me makes me strong again.

He’s going to sin against me.  It probably won’t be too many days from now when it happens. I’ll be different.  I might be hurt.  We might need to talk about it.  But I will never stand myself on a throne again after seeing our marriage and who I was and what I truly had to be forgiven of in the light I saw it on Friday.

Practical Application:

I’d never accuse anyone of being as horrible of a wife as I was…. but have you truly seen your sin, as SIN, and not as justifiable mistakes?

Do you know what it cost to send Jesus to the cross?

Do you  know what your husband has had to forgive you of to love you like Christ loves the church…. even when you don’t deserve it?  Even when you’re rebelling?  Even when you’re selfish? Even when you’re serving idols?  Even when you’ve created an existence of unrealistic expectations? Even when your hormones get to control your mood?  Even when you’ve given your heart to things in priority above him? Maybe even someone else (another man, a friend, the kids?) Even when you’re wagging your finger at him because he doesn’t behave how he’s suppose to in your book?

The cross looks different again to me this Easter.  I see my husband on it.  Laying down his life for mine. Taking on my sin and saying it’s no more.  Telling me I am new.  And I am eternally loved. And it’s too overwhelming for words.

 

 

An emotional affair

21 Mar

Today, I’m sharing a post by a blogger who wishes to remain anonymous for the sake of her husband.  I can TOTALLY respect that, especially given the subject matter.

Before I share, let me first say that I believe more women have emotional affairs than even know that they have.  For many of us, we see the word “affair” and assume, it was OBVIOUS.  I mean, a physical affair is obvious right?  There is no “hmmm, I wonder if we accidentally just slept together and if that means we did something we shouldn’t have?”  Emotional affairs aren’t always shining in the spotlight, but the damage is equally terrible!

~~~~~

I don’t know what to do with my story other than to share it.  I hate it, and yet, I want others to learn from it.  To see themselves in the mess, and to prevent emotional affairs from gaining the hearts of women everywhere!

I grew up in a home where girls were encouraged to get a good education and be the best they could be in life.  Along with that, I don’t remember any warnings or teachings to unconditionally respect your husband, lead your heart, or protect your marriage from predators.  I carried that “I’m smart and driven” attitude in life right with me into my marriage.

I felt like my wisdom was always better than my husbands.  He seemed to sin often and in worse ways than I did, I seemed to be the only one who could make the house run (I remember thinking often that if I died, he would die or have to hire a maid because he was incapable of doing anything) and I felt like the decisions he wanted to make were childish or lacking long-term thought.

He didn’t have the same priorities as I did, nor did he seem to value everything I was capable of doing.  He seemed to “expect it.”

I was a shining tower of disrespect.  I had pride wrapped around me and intertwined in everything I did in my marriage.  I felt like at one point I messed up so bad by marrying this man because he didn’t live up to my standards.  He wasn’t perfect.  And I started resenting so many things about him.

I wasn’t even sure I loved him.  Or if I ever did for that matter.

I could only see his faults.

While my marriage seemed to be unraveling (well in my mind at least, I don’t think my husband knew I felt this way at all… or the rest of the world either) I started to be obviously upset at work.

I never had any problems being friends with guys.  Some of my best friends growing up were guys. Girls were mean and full of drama.  I saw nothing wrong with having male friends, even if you were married.

So, I started sharing intimate details about my marriage with one of my guy friends.  At first, I found this really helpful FOR my marriage.  He seemed to offer a perspective in favor of  my husband so I could see things from his point of view.  While I felt torn that I had better communication with this guy than I did my husband, I felt a little compassion for my husband by thinking some things through with some male insight.

THIS WAS THE BAIT.

As time went on, the male friend relationship started meeting SO MANY NEEDS that I wasn’t getting at home.  From compliments on my work and appreciation for what I contributed to the office to eventually reflect how pretty I was and how desirable I was as a woman.

We seemed to click emotionally – we thought the same things were funny and we laughed all the time.  Work was fun.  Home was miserable.

We seemed to click intellectually – we understood each others work problems and could help each other out equally.  At work I had a partner.  At home I had a lazy bum.

We seemed to click relationally – we had similar interests.  We could easily talk about things that would be fun to do some day, and they lined up well.  At work I had someone who thought my ideas were fun.  At home I had someone I could never agree with on anything.

I don’t remember all the specifics, because this was a long time ago, but it was a few months of casual flirting.  Phrases like “You’re seriously the best at your job.  You make it look easy.  And you’re so pretty while doing it too.”

THIS WAS THE HOOK.

There came a point when things took a more obvious turn for the worse.  Conversations written over instant messenger and text that immediately had to be deleted.

I remember staring at my computer while I read the words “I would pin you up against the car and bite your lip.”

I was telling this story to a female co-worker of ours and she said something I will never, ever forget.

I don’t know whether to root for him or your husband.

WWHHHAAATTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Bells, whistles, panic set in big time.

Up until this point, everything was so subtle, so simple, so easy, so uncomplicated.  I didn’t feel like I was having an emotional affair at all.  I felt like I had a male best friend.  I mean, don’t you talk about your marriage and spouse to your best friend?  And don’t you talk about “if only” situations?!

I wasn’t attracted to him.  Nor did I think about doing anything physical with him.  But all the sudden, he was thinking and talking physical about me…. and I felt shocked.

Uh oh.

Now what???

The battle got intense.  More intense than I feel like I can even explain.

One day I was saying things like “as much as we seem alike, you’re not even a Christian, we could never work together anyway” in an attempt to let him down easy and make the conversation stop.

And the next, I’d come in from an unpleasant night at home and feeling so much contempt for the man I was married to, that I didn’t care how it “appeared”.  I wanted to feel good about myself, and he made me feel good.  Besides, it wasn’t going to go any farther. I was dead sure of it.

THIS WAS THE LINE.

The next step was attaching that sinker to my feet and going to a place of no return.  I was on the edge of throwing away my marriage and giving into lust over the way someone made me feel.  It wasn’t even ever about the other guy being a “perfect guy”. It was always about how he made me feel.

Thank the good Lord, He stepped in and seemed to take the control out of my hands.

The guy ended up starting a relationship with someone else, and not long after, left our place of employment. And six months later, I ended up being a stay at home mom.

For a long time, I wanted to blame my husband.  He WAS neglecting his roles in the marriage.  He WASN’T walking with the Lord like he should have been.  And he WAS leaving me open to Satan.

BUT — the more I laid this sin before God, the more obvious it became to me that if I could so easily give my heart to someone else because of the way they made me feel…. I would never be married to a man who was good enough.

I was the one with the problem.

And if marriage is a direct reflection of Christ and the Church… I saw my sin of serving any god that met MY needs in the moment of heinous idolatry spewed all over every move I made.

I do think that when a husband neglects to fulfill his roles in the marriage, he’s standing at the gate allowing Satan to walk in freely.

Just as I feel that a woman who neglects her roles in marriage (ESPECIALLY disrespect, and sexual refusal) she is also standing at the gate allowing Satan to walk in freely.

However, even if our spouse neglects to protect us, we always have free will to take the bait of Satan or reject his temptations with Christ’s power.

It only takes one moment of letting your guard down to set off a string of bad choices. The more you sin, the easier it becomes. And the less you feel the guilt and warnings of the Holy Spirit to confess and repent.

~~~~~

From Kayla:

Such a big topic.  I’m so glad to be addressing this on my blog.

Practical Application:

If you found yourself in this post… and need someone to talk to- email me privately and we’ll talk.  gulickfamily@hotmail.com

If you saw your friend in this post, pray right now!  You might be thinking you want to talk to her, but you might offend her.  I rarely say this, but in this situation – take the risk of offending her! Your approach will be crucial, but if you don’t know what to say… give her the link to this post.

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing.  She needs your help! Especially if her husband doesn’t know — she needs someone to help her fight.

If only I learned this years ago….

14 Mar

It’s a common phrase isn’t it?  We’ve all said it.  We’ve all heard others say it.  And we’ve all contemplated how our life would be different if we only knew then, what we know now.

This has never been more true for me than in my marriage.

If I only learned years ago, like 12 years ago, that unconditional respect was a command in Scripture and how to speak and act in a way that was obedient to that command…. my marriage would have been SO different the first 10 years.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have felt like I married an un-romantic dud.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have treated my husband like he was my child.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have thought I was just as much the head of this family as he thought he was.

Maybe, I would have submitted with joy to his ideas instead of insisting that I was always right and so much smarter than he was.

Maybe, my husband would have listened to me more if I was more careful with his feelings.

Maybe, my husband would have talked to me more intimately if he felt safe enough to be vulnerable with me.

Maybe, we would have really been “best friends” instead of just trying to say that we were because it sounded right.

Maybe, my husband would have met more of my needs because he would have felt more fulfilled too.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have been tempted to entertain emotional attention from anyone else.

Maybe, I wouldn’t have been so jealous.

Maybe, we would have had lots and lots of hot and passionate sex.

Maybe, we would have learned to enjoy each others hobbies and looked forward to doing things together instead of him appreciating his time away to do his own thing so frequently.

Maybe, we would have served each other selflessly instead of expecting our feelings to trump the others.

Maybe, my husband would have helped me more around the house because he wanted to instead of digging his heals in and ignoring me.

Maybe —- this list could really just go on forever and ever and ever.

This isn’t just the case with my marriage.  I feel this way about a lot of things in my life.  I’d love a time travel machine to do it all over again.

But.

I don’t think entertaining “if I’d only learned this years ago” is where Jesus wants us to camp out with our thoughts.

I certainly won’t take credit for this phrase because I didn’t come up with it… but it’s incredibly true.

Everything we face will either make us BITTER or BETTER.

We can wrestle with the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s in our mind and maybe we don’t feel like at the end of the day we feel “bitter” about it.  We just feel like it would have been such a different life if we’d only known.

Bitter does seem like a strong word when reflecting, however, what if it isn’t as strong as it sounds?  What if, it really does trap us with negative memories when we reflect like that.

Secretly, do we kinda resent some of those situations still? Do we still feel like it was a negative time in our life?

I know that even though I love my husband beyond belief and have totally forgiven him and been forgiven by him for the mistakes we made in the beginning of our marriage— if I sit and really think back on some situations that were really hard in our marriage, I can start to feel hurt again.

There is one memory in particular of a time when I felt devastated.  And this one really bothers me because I didn’t feel like I “deserved” it.

You know what I’m talking about…. there are memories where you can see why he said something mean because you said something mean first.

This wasn’t like that.

In fact, we’ve talked about it numerous times over the years and he has even said the phrase “if that happened today, I would NEVER do it like that again.”

I know he wouldn’t.  And yet, if I dwell on that memory for ANY amount of time, the hurt tries to push back in.

Christianity is all about being intentional.

We don’t “accept Christ” accidentally.  We don’t just miraculously grow closer to Him just by being alive.  We don’t stumble over an open Bible and learn.

And we don’t become BETTER without being intentional either.

What if…. it was a good thing that we didn’t have marriage all figured out before?

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say.  I don’t think we should keep engaged couple uneducated so they can live the wrong way for a long time because that’s better for them.  Of course that is not better at all!!!  We’re crazy if we keep this knowledge to ourselves and do nothing with it to benefit other believers!!!!

But – God wastes ABSOLUTELY nothing when it comes to our lives and experiences.

Walking through failure, especially in marriage, gives us an irreplaceable way to learn patience, forgiveness, mercy, grace and self-control.

Not only does this further our understanding of what Jesus has given us, but it grows our characters in a way to advance the gospel that can be some of the most powerful testimonies ever!

Of course if we never sinned in our marriages, we’d be an awesome example of getting it right and that God’s way is perfect and beautiful.

But getting it wrong gives us the chance to be BETTER and reach couples just like us who also got it wrong and need the truth.

Practical Application:

If only I learned this years ago….. I wouldn’t know forgiveness like I do today.

If only I learned this years ago…. I wouldn’t be able to relate to wives out there who have blown it big time just like me.

If only I learned this years ago…. I wouldn’t be nearly as aware of just what it took for Jesus to take all my sin to the cross.

Of course, getting it right in the first place is best.  But getting it wrong can lead us to a beautiful place of BETTER.

Easy?

11 Mar

I have a really strong conviction about the word “easy” in Christianity.

I just wrote a post last week about how this life isn’t getting “easier” even though I’m growing in my journey of unconditional respect and also closer to the Lord in general.

It has been brought to my attention that it might have come across as though I was saying I wasn’t finding victory without constant struggle.

Please give me the chance to explain why I don’t and won’t use the word “easy” in any of my posts regarding my life with Christ.

Let me start by acknowledging that Paul wrote well over the majority of the New Testament and yet when discussing his sinful nature he says this:

Romans 7:14-15 “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

He doesn’t make walking in Victory sound “easy” at all!!! And clearly, Paul was victorious over sin so many times, I couldn’t nearly count. He wasn’t sinless before God’s power was mighty and evident in his life, leading him – speaking to him – directing him – giving him courage and strength – and bringing victory.

He goes on to say to the church of Corinth “12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedbeyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (I Corinthians 10:12-13)

Do you see that??? BUT — WHEN you are tempted.  At no time does God promise to remove our temptations.  Ever. That would be “EASY”. HOWEVER!!!! He will provide a way out so that you can endure it (even with joy and worship!) if you call on His name and resist Satan or your own flesh. That is “VICTORY!”

Victory over sin never comes without cost.  That payment is always good and holy because it causes us to die to ourselves, and lay our sin down to choose righteousness, but it isn’t free.

I can be victorious with greater frequency and joy (which praise God almighty, when it comes to respecting my husband, this is proving true!!) but that doesn’t mean it comes easy. Or that if it isn’t coming easy, I’m failing.

I desire God and the victory in my marriage WAY BEYOND the love I have for my flesh.  It’s becoming SO MUCH MORE NATURAL to choose respect quickly and with little hesitation because the results are fulfilling emotionally, physically and spiritually like nothing else! Giving into my sin nature promises fulfillment but it leaves me empty and miserable. I am learning from my mistakes!

I’ve seen far too often in this life, the parable of the seeds ring true, and I cannot be party to the misconception Satan intends to paint.

Do you know what I’m talking about?  The seeds that hear the truth and dismiss it, the one’s that take root but when trials come they fall away, and the seeds that take deep root and produce fruit.

I never want to paint a picture that I’ve dug my roots deep in the ground and have fruit in my life because I have Christ – I pray and I read my Bible every day and my sinful nature is dead and life is EASY now.

Jesus had victory on the cross.  Was that easy?

John the Baptist paved the way for the Savior and then was beheaded.  Was that easy?

Most all of the disciples were stoned and flogged for testifying to the gospel.  Did they find victory from their flesh by facing fear and laying down their natural instincts to follow Christ at all cost? Absolutely!!!!  Was it easy?  No.

WORTH IT?  YES!!!!

ETERNALLY MINDED?  NO QUESTION ABOUT IT!

JOYFULLY CONTENT IN THE LORD?  OF COURSE!

VICTORIOUS OVER SIN? YES, YES, YES!!!!!!

DEFEATED AND ABANDONED?  NOT FOR ONE SINGLE SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I saying that if we’re following the Lord life is Hard, Impossible, and we should live in Misery and Defeat?

NO! That’s NEVER the truth!!!!!!!!!

The closer I grow to the Lord, the LESS I even WANT to sin.  I want victory!  And He gives victory!  And that joy in Him is greater than any other feeling I could ever feel. JOY is not happiness as much as VICTORY is not easy.

Satan’s attacks on me, his nasty accusations, and his relentless temptations hold no power compared to the cross.

However, he is still vicious, and choosing to die to my flesh every day is not easy and without thought or intent.

When he sees his attacks are losing power because victory in Christ is stopping him dead in his tracks, he morphs into another temptation and attacks another area.

So if I painted the picture that I am not gaining INCREDIBLE, UNDENIABLE, and AMAZING VICTORY in Christ…. then I failed in writing the post.

Satan has not nearly the power to convince me to disrespect my husband.  God has shown himself faithful to help me recognize Satan and shut him out and choose righteousness.

However, if you walked away from that post understanding that I’ve found immeasurable victory in Christ from where I was with disrespect 19 months ago to where I am today… but I don’t have an EASY life now just because I love God, read my Bible, and respect my husband, then you got the right message.

If Satan was EASY to resist…. we’d live in a different world.

Even Jesus heard Satan’s voice loud and clear in the desert during that 40 days with his accusations and twisting of Scripture.  Did He have victory? Of course.  He was sinless.  Did he not even hear Satan’s voice at all and just walk through life easy, and without temptation because He was sinless and in tune with God? No. He heard Satan and had a conversation with him.  That doesn’t mean he was spiritually immature.

Practical Application:

Remember, the measure of Victory is not based on if you hear Satan or not.  He can be loud and out of control, and that doesn’t mean you haven’t found victory or arrived on your journey.

And — just because the journey isn’t easy, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

EASY was never, ever, ever a promise in Scripture.  Don’t make that the goal.  Make VICTORY the goal!

What’s the story on “My Demon” now?

7 Mar

Do you remember the post I wrote titled “My Demon” from September 21, 2012?  I was just over a month into my new respect journey when this revelation kicked me in the gut. (If you’ve joined since then and never caught it, it’ll help to understand this post by reading that one first.)

In fact, that one post was shared on numerous sites (including Peacefulwife – which is when a lot of you who read April’s blog started following this one too!)  I answered a whole lot of emails and comments on this topic because it rang true for just so many of us women.  And it was very evident at the time, I was just “one of you.”  The post wasn’t written by a scholar in the least.  My real, honest emotions and thoughts are what made it relatable to others. And the revelation and wisdom came straight from God – because I’d lived 10 years of marriage at that point (and 29 years of life) running wild with the thoughts and emotions that presented themselves at any given time. And never knew any different.

April sent me an email and asked me what I thought about writing a follow up to “My Demon” – 18 months later.

Here is a sentence from her email:

“I think it would be neat to hear how you hear the demon’s voice now, how often, the intensity, what you do, and how much stronger God’s voice is now and the kinds of things you focus on and think about now.”

I pretty much immediately told her, “I’ll think about it” while in my mind saying – “No way!”  April’s blog is amazing.  It’s eye-opening, full of brilliant wisdom, insightful, helpful, and pointing out deeply painful but necessary truths to helping women change and save their marriages from a lifetime of misery!  But even more than that — it’s hopeful.  Even the things that are hard to read, are hopeful.  Change can happen, my marriage can be better, I can be a better wife, he can open up and lead as these changes take place — there is HOPE for something new!

And the truth?  I don’t think a follow up to “My Demon” is going to offer the hope April normally posts on her blog.

But — maybe, just maybe, there are women out there who are just like me.  And this post might be for you! So, I’ll answer these questions.

(–  how you hear the demon’s voice now, how often, the intensity)

I still hear my demon’s voice loud as ever and ALL THE TIME! He’s still a raging maniac full of accusations and specifics that beg to be entertained.  He knows me full well, and the areas that I’ve learned to shut down permanently are rarely touched and new areas where he wasn’t attacking before, he’s thrown some boulders at wildly.  He’s no joke.  The closer I grow to my husband – the more respect I show my husband – the stronger the spiritual battle.  The bigger threat we are to him, the more desperate he becomes and the more vicious his behavior.

(– what you do, and how much stronger God’s voice is now and the kinds of things you focus on and think about now.”)

I’m back and forth on what I do.  I’m such a sinner.  More often than not, I refuse to entertain the begging thoughts and accusations against my husband.  But sometimes, I still stumble in my flesh and I dabble in the game.  My journey for respect hasn’t magically or quickly removed all my selfishness, expectations, and ability to see all my husbands faults and sins with a magnifying glass. Especially because WE TRULY ARE A BRAND NEW COUPLE, and in ways that I never stumbled before, there are all new ways to tempt me.  Now, my husband does things for me he’s never done before and talks to me in a way we’ve never communicated, and if that seems hindered, it’s even harder not to jump to conclusions or freak out a little bit at the thought of that going away.

I hear God’s voice and I have allowed His truths to change so many of my behaviors and patterns, but I can’t say He’s always screaming louder than Satan.  I have to intentionally be still and silent to hear God and in the middle of my wrestling — some times I feel so wound up I can’t sit still. Even if that just means pacing the floor in frustration while my husband is at work.  It’s still a choice like it was before to go to Him and listen. In my experience, God rarely screams.  Satan however is a beast, and he’s deafening at times.

What I focus on and think of now is being intentional AND unrelenting.  (I talked about this word in January.)  I make an honest attempt at turning my wild thoughts back on myself.  Why do I feel this way?  Am I giving too much weight to my husband’s short-comings and not nearly enough to his strengths and character? How did I handle this situation?  Do I have disrespect to apologize for?  Is what I am tempted to say full of things that will be helpful to us, or hurt us?

At the end of the day — this respect journey has changed my life!  I want every single woman on the planet to read the books I have, read the blogs I have, and see the world in a different way than it’s being portrayed and pounded into us in every direction.

Life is BETTER with respect.  Life is BETTER with God.  Life is BETTER fighting the good fight.

But does this journey ever get easier?  No.  I’m so sorry if that crushes anyone’s hopes.  Maybe your experience will be different from mine.  Or maybe some of you older and wiser women are out there saying “Oh honey, you just haven’t been doing this as long as we have, you need more time.”  And maybe you’re right.  But at this point, I doubt it.

I think Scripture paints a pretty clear picture that walking the straight and narrow will be hard.  Persecution comes, trials come, heartache comes, and we’re all sinners until we cross over to eternal life.

Is there power in the armor of God? You better believe there is!!! When I intentionally get up in the morning and put on every ounce of protection I can muster on my body and mind – God is faithful to give me strength and courage to PRESS ON in the battle.  But He never makes it easier, even though He’s with me.  He only makes it change me by refining me IN the fire.

Is God’s way worth it? Absolutely.  Is God’s way getting easier? No, it’s not.

But I’d never look back.  I’ll keep fighting the good fight and being refined in the fire pressing on toward the prize.  No matter how loud Satan is, how often he attacks, with what intensity he beats me down and no matter how many times I stumble and fall.

Practical Application:

If you’re out there wondering why you’re not a good enough Christian wife because this hasn’t “gotten easier yet?” – STOP IT! That’s still Satan beating you down.

MY belief? The more Satan attacks, the evidence that you’re walking the straight and narrow because he’s threatened.

In the battle…. try so hard to find that still and quiet place so God can refuel your strength, courage, wisdom and power to keep going and resist Satan’s voice.  You can resist… but I doubt he’ll ever shut up.