Tag Archives: temptations

It’s not happening like you said….

6 May

I’m spending some time this morning reflecting on Job.  I often reference the first three chapters of that book when I’m feeling a little “woe is me.”

However, I’ll be real honest… I struggle reading chapters 4-42.  They seem to drag on and on and ON and ON with these ramblings from Job’s friends and from Job, all the while, he’s in miserable pain.

I can’t claim to know anything of Job’s life.  If there is one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that God has never looked down and said “Satan, have you considered my servant Kayla?  There is no one on earth like her; she is blameless and upright, a woman who fears God and shuns evil.”

It’d be awesome if I fit that bill, but I just don’t.

And yet, something is really compelling about the story because since I KNOW that I don’t measure up to Job, I feel even more like the hope for a righteous future with Christ (be it on earth or in heaven) is made clear for all of us.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Because sin entered the world and Satan is able to walk around tempting and devouring people. But that’s not the end of the story.

Last Saturday (1 1/2 weeks ago) I was helping my husband do yard work and I got some bad scrapes and marks looking similar to hives on my arm.  I didn’t think too much of it, because it seemed to have come from these pine needle bushes we were tearing out.

By Tuesday, it was a different story.  It was itchy and in a few more spots.  And, my husband was getting it.  He knew immediately it was poison ivy (sumac or oak… SOMETHING poison!) He’s had it a hundred times, I however, never have before.

By Thursday I had tried every at home remedy.  Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, fels naptha soap.  It wasn’t helping at all.

I turned to facebook and asked my friends for help.  I got a long list of suggestions.  I tried them all, well except for pouring bleach on it, because I didn’t want all the nasty scars (although now I’m going to have them anyway.) In fact, I had two people who swore that Zanfel (an over the counter wash costing $35) was pricey but would clear it up in minutes. MINUTES she promised!!!!

I rushed to the store.  The first application eased the itching slightly for a little while but it came back.  So I tried again.  I tried 5 times and ended up awake in the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday, crying in pain over the sink in the bathroom scrubbing and clawing away at my arms.  I contemplated getting a knife and trying to scape as much of it off as possible.

I was in agony, and I felt like all my friends had somehow let me down.  They didn’t do anything on purpose and I wasn’t really mad at them at all or anything like that… but I felt like they offered all this beautiful relief, and yet… I was left totally empty and in pain.

And there it is.  Job.  The ramblings of his friends desperately trying to “help” him find a reason, a remedy, a resolution to his problem… and they all left him empty.

Saturday morning I went to the walk in clinic and the doctor walked in, looked at my arms for 2 seconds flat and said “Wow, that is worse than I thought it would be.  It’s in your blood stream.  Normally I do a shot or pills, you have to have both!”

I asked the nurse, how long until relief…. she said give it at least 12-24 hours.  Guess what folks, it’s been 70 hours right now after a cortisone shot, 12 steroid pills, 12 Benadryl pills and I’m still miserable.  I might be slightly less willing to use a knife and claw up my arms… but I can’t say I’ve found “relief” yet, that’s for sure.

So let’s get deeper here.  My poison ivy can only be hidden under a long sleeve shirt, however, I can’t truly hide it.  It’s on the outside of my body.

But most poison isn’t so obvious to others.  Some poisons eat away our insides slowly, all the while on the outside – we look fine.

In fact, sometimes, we try to talk about our poison only to hear a long slew of “this is all your need to do” from our friends, family, church members and yet, when we attempt to apply their at home remedies — we feel lied to, let down, and misunderstood.

“They can’t possibly know what is going on with me. There is no way this worked for them.  Sure, her life turned around when she did xyz, but she isn’t married to the same man *I* am married to. If it were only as simple as ‘just stop.'”

Do you feel like there is a secret poison eating away at part of you and no one else really understands, sees, or has dealt with like you are?  Do you feel like everything everyone has ever offered has been nothing more than a false reality? Do you secretly want to take a knife and dig away at the broken, empty, hurting, burning, gnawing, nagging poison in your veins that is causing you so much misery?”

Practical Application:

Poison is intimate.  It knows exactly how to attack and shut down your system.  And it may not attack your system like someone else’s system.

There is only one remedy for poison.  Christ.

I’m not suggesting we never talk about what eats us — it’s good to bring light to poison.  What is exposed loses power just because it’s not in the darkness anymore.  BUT — talking about poison isn’t the cure.

Christ is the only cure.  He knows your body because God the father MADE YOU.  He knit you together in your mother’s womb.  He knows exactly what is going on and has the real golden ticket to sweet relief.

But you have to go to Him.

 

When it never comes….

12 Apr

So I told you at the end of my last post, I had some life-giving words to give.

I did it.

It was not easy.  Well, it was easy but …oh, just let me explain.

It took me a long, REALLY LONG, time to speak these words.

I knew years ago, they needed spoke.  But as I’ve talked before about how to give a real apology, I knew I wasn’t ready yet to not try to justify myself… or include “you hurt me too.”

In my opinion, one of the biggest hindrances to forgiveness is when we try to tackle both people’s issues at the exact same time.  Often what happens is, neither feels their issue was addressed properly and nothing truly gets resolved.

There is a time to tell someone, “you really hurt me when….”  but it’s not the exact same time you’re saying “I’m sorry that I….”

And I wanted to say that first part really badly.

Normally, I’m all about face to face apologies.  There are exceptions.  And in my case for this one situation, it was a letter kind of apology.

It was easy to write.  I did have a lot to ask forgiveness for, and I knew it! God had convicted me a long time ago, and I had repented and asked forgiveness years back.  So, there wasn’t any doubt about what I had done or why I should be sorry about it.

However, what came next was hard.

The waiting.  Knowing the letter had been read, but waiting for some kind of a response.

You never know *if* you will get a response, what it will say, or what it won’t say.  But you have to wait anyway.  We all do.

Best case scenario, you get a quick response, total forgiveness and an apology for what they may have done in or because of the situation.

That doesn’t always happen though.  And then we have to control our emotions and lead our hearts with what we’ll do next.

This might seem silly to some, but I waited 48 hours for a reply, and it felt like eternity.  In that time, I felt very vulnerable and exposed.  It seemed like my raw honesty was being ignored.  Or minimized.  Or maybe even mocked?

I wrestled being hurt or offended. But I was preaching and preaching and preaching to myself… DON’T pick anything up.  This wasn’t about me.  This was about them.  Entirely about them!  I owed an apology.  And I gave a sincere, genuine apology.  If I didn’t hear anything back, that was OK.  I didn’t have to.

The response was very nice.  I was forgiven in full.

Praise Jesus!

Yet, that one last thing was missing… “I know I hurt you too.”

…….

 

Guess what?  It’s OK.  That’s not news to my heart.  I knew that YEARS ago too.  And Jesus is the power to forgive… not simply by the receipt of an apology.

Sure — I believe in apologies.  That’s why I gave one.  But… Jesus’ paid the debt for everyone’s sins.  Mine, theirs, yours… all of us.

I don’t need to require payment to forgive.

I can forgive quickly and fully because Jesus’ has forgiven me of much worse.  He paid my sentence.  He paid their sentence.  IT IS FINISHED.

 

If you’re still waiting for that response, forgiveness, or admission of guilt from someone else….. can you look to the cross this Easter and say:

IT IS FINISHED!

Practical Application:

Am I still being a debt collector? Am I requiring payment that Jesus’ already paid?

Lonely.

6 Apr

I think there may be no greater danger in life than the place of loneliness.

Whenever Satan can convince us that we’re alone, unseen, unloved, undesired, unknown, unwanted, unproductive – it’s there, in the middle of the loneliness, that his lies sound like truth.

When we’re surrounded by strong Christians, good friends who are holding us accountable and REALLY know us, and a marriage that is flourishing, we’re less likely to fall apart.

That doesn’t mean temptations don’t come, or that we can never stumble.  Of course we can, but we are much less likely to feel defeated when we feel loved.

I believe this is the very reason for the promise “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus’ constant reminder that WE ARE NOT ALONE, even if we are tempted to feel like we are, is meant to be security against Satan’s attacks. He knew that promise mattered.  Which is why He promised it.  Because if we feel alone, we feel defeated… and defeat doesn’t press on toward the prize.  Defeat paralyzes.  It lies to us and cripples us from using God’s power in us to face whatever is coming at us.

This is important, please don’t miss this….EVEN IF there is nothing “significantly pressing” going on like illness or persecution…. loneliness is a threat we cannot take lightly.

I’ve seen people who seemingly had EVERYTHING.  They weren’t facing any major catastrophes in their life at all… and yet, because they were lonely, they completely fell apart.

My friend often says this saying “Once we’re aware of something, we no longer have any excuses against it.”  What she means is, if you “know” you have an addiction to sweets, it’s no longer something you can spend hours justifying or crying over if you’re not going to address it.

I’m very aware of loneliness.

I spent a good three straight years incredibly lonely.  Yes, I had “friends” during that time.  But I was “unknown” at the same time.  My Christian friends didn’t know everything that was going on… like the problems in my marriage.  And my non-Christian friends never filled that void in me for deep fellowship because sin was always so present in their advice and invitations.

Once I realized the loneliness problem – I decided I would never allow myself to be “lonely” again.

I’m aware of the danger.  I’m aware that Jesus makes it very obvious that fellowship is essential to our faith.  It’s why belonging to a local Church is vital, for the body to come together.  It’s why the disciples never ministered alone,  they always had someone with them (unless they were in prison.) And again, it’s why Jesus promised us He’d always be with us.

It’s been a hard year… one I’m willing reluctantly admitting has been constantly tempting to feel lonely.

Understand, loneliness isn’t a temptation because you’re locked in a cellar with no one in sight.

Loneliness is a temptation when something feels like it’s missing.

This year has been A LOT of changes for us.

Since leaving our church home of ten years, two years ago… it’s been incredibly lonely.  Once you’ve had a very active church family, it’s so hard to walk into a building and not know anyone’s name nor does anyone know who you are either.

I miss being known.  I miss being accountable to my church family.  I miss knowing what is going on with the body of believers I worship with – knowing what to pray for them and ask them about the following week.  I miss sharing prayer requests with someone I know is really going to pray, and ask me how my week was when I see them on Sunday.

Today, I looked around me during service and felt so out of place.  It doesn’t feel like home at all.  It feels lonely.

Yes, I know Jesus is all I need.

Yes, my marriage is strong.

Yes, I have friends I can call on.

Yes,  the temptation for loneliness is still heavy and pushing at me to entertain the defeat.

When something feels out of whack, it tests us in every area. Even areas we know we’re strong.

Questions like “Are my friends really my true friends?  Is my husband really able to be my “best friend” when we’re so different? Does my blog ministry even matter, is it effective or reaching anyone? What’s the point of church if we don’t know anyone anyway? What are those people saying about us when we leave?”

I know all the answers to those questions… and there’s nothing really to be tempted over.

Practical Application:

Call out the loneliness.

Once we’re aware what is going on, we can recognize the lies and tempting thoughts so much easier, instead of believing them or wrestling with them for so long.

Write the truth down. Say the truth out loud.  Meditate on the truth. Purposely talk about the truth.

Don’t settle for defeat.

Only heinous people tell lies.

3 Apr

 

For the longest time, I thought I was the worst person in the whole world because I struggled with lying.

Only really terrible people do something so heinous as to make up a lie. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and unforgivable.
“What is WRONG with you that you wouldn’t be honest and you’d hide behind made up stories to fit in, or have something to talk about that anyone would want to listen to. You’re a fake and a total disgust of a human” are just a few of the thoughts that paralyzed me for a long time.

My husband has reassured me over and over again that EVERYONE lies. Yes, some people struggle in a more in-depth way than others if it happens to be an addictive behavior that Satan wraps them up in, but that doesn’t mean others have the authority to put themselves in a position of superiority like they are above such ugliness.

The problem is often that they classify “lying” as a definition that only includes what they “don’t do” and then conveniently exclude the ways that they lie.

There are a number of ways that we are tempted to, and even give into lying, that we rarely talk about in-depth. I’m not going to cover them all. I’m going to tackle three and hopefully I’ll start the ball rolling for you to make your own list.

1.) Lying by omission.

This is simply “not” saying all the details. I’m not describing keeping someone’s secrets, secret. It’s ok not to share everything we know about everyone with everyone. That is being a trusted friend.

Lying by omission is when we’re leaving out information, details, words, ANYTHING about ourselves that is giving someone an impression or story that isn’t entirely accurate. We might feel like we didn’t “say” anything that was a lie or that we can’t be responsible for what other people assume, however, if we are willingly painting a picture by NOT painting it, we’re lying.

Telling our spouse that we went to lunch today with a co-worker, while leaving out that it was a male co-worker, is lying by omission.

2.) Lying by repeating something with a different tone, inflection or attitude.

This happens in marriage A LOT! But that statistic in marriage might be beat out by how often this happens between women who have problems with each other.

The story changes, and the likelihood for hurt feelings and offenses greatly increases when tone of voice is misrepresented.
Picture this:
In a soft, calm voice with a smile Gina says to Penny, “Sally looked so pretty today. I bet she spent a lot of money on that dress. It was really worth it. It worked well for her.”

Penny doesn’t like Gina and always reads offenses into everything she says, so….
With a harsh, sarcastic tone she says to Sally, “Penny said you looked SSSOOO pretty today. I BET she spent A LOT of money on that dress. It was REEEAAAALLY worth it. It worked well for HER.” Flips her hair as if Gina was rudely gossiping about Sally and says “you should have seen her face.”

Sally leaves hurt and confused and now has an offense against Gina.

It’s not uncommon for spouses to say the phrase to each other “I didn’t say it like that.  I didn’t use that tone.  You’re making me sound like such a jerk!”

What if a husband says, “I’d rather you not tell me how to handle this situation. I’m struggling with the best decision and your emotions are so high right now that you’re speaking from a place of hurt.”

And the wife repeats it like this, “I’d rather YOU not tell ME how to handle this situation. (Pounds on chest) I’m struggling with the best decision and YOUR emotions are SO HIGH right now that YOU’RE speaking from a place of hurt.” (As if I’m the problem here and am messing up your life.)

In both of those situations, the words were repeated correctly…. but the heart was misrepresented and that constitutes as lying.

3.) We lie through our actions.

As a believer in Christ, this one really stings because if we have Christ, and we walk in sin…. we’re lying with our bodies.

Am I saying we can’t make mistakes?  Of course not.  We all sin.  And will all sin until we die!

But committing a sin and repenting is not the same as walking in sin continually and habitually.

We can’t claim to have Christ and yet walk a constant contradiction without lying with our bodies.

This happens often with couples who have sex before marriage.  They are telling a lie with their bodies that they are indeed one flesh when they have not truly become one flesh through permanent commitment and marriage.

This also happens when we have a habitual gossip, anger, addiction, porn, lust, pride, selfish, idolatry, money, love, forgiveness, bitterness, mercy problem(s).   We’re claiming to be a child of the living God, but constantly maligning His testimony through us.

We praise our Father, but then curse with our bodies by allowing them to follow the ways of Satan.

 

Sometimes we get so judgmental of other who struggle in ways WE never would, all the while, missing how we maybe aren’t that far from them.

That’s why Jesus likens hate to murder and lust to adultery. We may not be letting others see it on the outside, but in our hearts, we’ve already sinned.

 

Practical Application:

Are you trapped right now by Satan because of something you struggle with that you are believing no one else struggles with or is as horrible as you?

(Comment below or shoot me an email… I’ll help you uncover why that’s a lie too!!!)

Are you judging someone else for being so much worse than you are because you’d never do what they do?

Have you ever told a lie in any of these ways? Does this change how you feel?

 

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.”

Little Reminders.

27 Mar

I’ve been doing pretty well since my total broken melt down last Friday.

I have mourned deeply, but been very purposeful about not wallowing or being the victim and intentionally LETTING and ACCEPTING my husband’s forgiveness.

The best thing we can do when forgiven, is forgive someone else.  It’s a true sign of maturity that those who know they’ve been forgiven of much, forgive much in others.

Which is why I purposely posted about forgiving the unforgivable in my life with my follow up post.

I have been forgiven without condition and I have learned to forgive without condition.

But.

There is ONE little (GINORMOUS) problem in moving forward. Try as we might escape him, Satan and his demons are always roaming the earth looking for someone to devour.  It comes in the subtle whispers, or even often loud pressing thoughts in our mind, that say “remember.”

Some times it’s simply what seems to be out of nowhere.  You’re going about your day and this person crosses your mind, and while thinking about something pleasant, all the sudden, a memory of a past hurt scrolls through your mind.  “Remember when they …..  don’t you remember how that made you feel?”

Some times it’s in a current gesture that tempts you to take it the wrong way.  “When she said ‘this’, was she really meaning ‘this’ like she use to say and do to me?”

Some times it’s in the actual memories of someone else. Like for me last night! We’re in the middle of talking, cuddling, being romantic… and we are casually talking about when we were first dating and teasingly a memory comes out of his mouth.  And it felt like a brick was thrown at my face.  Not because of anything he did, but in the reality that absolutely he’s forgiven me, but he’ll never forget.  It’s a fact. Part of history.  Can never be erased. (Satan wanted nothing more than to destroy that moment of intimacy and push us apart. **Women, be warned, some of the worst temptations often come while trying to be intimate or while having sex with your husband.  Satan’s greatest pleasure is to destroy the marriage bed.)

Some times it’s in the words of someone else.  “So & so told me blank is going on with them right now.”  What?  How did I not know this?  Are things not as reconciled as I thought they were? Did they really not mean it that they forgave me?

 

We can purposefully allow our minds to think about past situations, but sometimes it seems to spring on us without any thought at all. So what do we do with that?

Well, we have to make a choice before it happens.  You can make a choice while it’s happening, but it won’t be nearly as easy to do.  Walking the narrow road takes premeditated thought, and practice.  Just like when I talked about training for trusting your husband.

Here’s the two options:

1.) Dwell on these thoughts, doubt, struggle, weep all over again, pick back up offenses and lock myself back up in a prison.

2.) Decide that memories are a beautiful reminder of how far God has brought me. Rejoice.  Be thankful for the one thought, as an opportunity to worship God, and then wrap my heart up in praise instead of entertaining a conversation with Satan who longs to use my past to destroy my future.

Simple? I’d never say that.

Life changing? ABSOLUTELY!!

If Christianity were easy, there wouldn’t be a narrow road.  We’re not looking for easy here.  We’re looking for possible.  We’re looking for God’s power to come in us and enable us to do the unthinkable.

As my husband always says “Those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.”  God doesn’t remove consequences or memories because they serve as security gates for us to remember the danger of walking without Him or making choices that separate us from Him.

If we forgot how much we hurt someone, we might easily hurt them again in the same way…. or at the very least, take them for granted.

If we forgot how much we’ve been hurt by someone and how God has empowered us to forgive them, we might easily cut ourselves off from everyone who has ever hurt us isolating us in a prison we don’t even realize we’re in.  Bitterness takes a root so deep that is changes our ability to truly love God or anyone else because hate and love cannot co-exist…we can’t curse and praise at the same time.

Learning to forgive is freedom.  Remembering the power in us to forgive is a refining tool to becoming more and more like Christ.

Learning to be forgiven is freedom.  Remembering the grace and mercy extended to us is a tool to seeing in the flesh a glimpse of what Jesus did for us on the cross for ALL of our sins and draws us closer and closer to him.

Both are needed in this life.

Satan may long to use this against us…. but we don’t have to let him.

We were made to be warriors.  We were told to put on our armor. We were commanded to go out into the world making disciples.

Want to be ready for Satan’s attacks?

Practical Application:

Make a choice right now that reminders of the past are just reminders to rejoice.

Train for attacks.  Be in the Word every day, Pray, and prepare for temptations (EXPECT them), so you’re never caught off guard.

 

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.