REbuild, REnew, REstore
This morning as I (Andrea)sit and think about what I should write, I feel like God has been continually bringing something to the surface. Well, let me restate that. Satan has been shouting at me, challenging me in my thinking and confidence and My God has been whispering over and over to counter Satan’s lies. This morning I am finally hearing the whispers loud and clear.
Gary and I are new to this whole “walking with people as they find healing” thing, at least on an official level. Although we have walked with people In the past, This ministry is brand new and we are just getting started “officially”. Last week we had our first “official” meeting with a couple as a ministry. I’m not gonna lie, it felt like a big fat fail on our part. I have struggled throughout this entire process with feelings that we are just not “good enough”, that we don’t speak eloquently enough, that others will question whether we are ready or not, and that we will fail those we are trying to help. Satan has been shouting at me for some time now, these and many other things. I have been allowing the lies to literally paralyze me from moving forward. If you are a parent or a teacher or work with kids on any level, have you ever noticed that changing the sound of your voice from a shout to a whisper gets a better response? Our God knows that a whisper is so much more powerful than a shout. He whispers and waits…whispers and waits… whispers and waits…Such a patient God he is. Such a grateful Child am I for this patience. The past day or so I have heard Him say…
YOU are not good enough, I AM.
-YOUR words are not eloquent but MINE ARE!
-YOU may fail people, but I WON’T!
This is not OUR ministry, it’s HIS. It’s our story but it’s not for our Glory it’s for HIS. The problem I’ve been having is that I am looking at it from a human perspective. In my very human nature, I have been wanting to take the credit, both good and bad, for it’s success. Guess what, I don’t get to nor do I have to, and neither do you! Are you being paralyzed by the same lies? You might not be starting a ministry but you might be hearing a calling to step out, live bold, or simply speak with boldness and truth to a friend or loved one. So many times in the bible God called people, people who were very ill equipped to do the job he was asking. You know why? Because when he calls those who seem less than the job requires, then He gets the glory when the job gets done despite our failings.
Today my challenge is as much for me as it is for you. Let’s let God use us! Let him do great things in spite of us. Take a Step out, Be bold, and most importantly LISTEN for the whispers of truth!!
I listened to a pastor preach a sermon several weeks ago and he posed this question. What do you want the last day of your marriage to look like? When I heard this I thought that was quite a morbid question....then as I pondered more I realized how amazing that question really was. How do I want my marriage to end?
It is the farthest thing from our mind when you propose. You don't think....what will the last day be like as we enter into this exciting time of our lives? On our wedding day we say words like “till death do us part” and “for better or for worse”, but do we do we think past the surface to when the marriage ends what will be the state of it?
Will it be long and pleasurable
Full of years of happiness and joy together
Looking back in retrospect satisfied with how it was navigated Love that is deep and intimate
Two lives that worked in communion with Christ and each other
Filled with brokenness
Pain and despair
Broken promises and destroyed trust
Loss of hope and a soul tattered
Children’s hearts torn between two parents
Think about our culture and how it focuses so much on creating the perfect wedding day.
Millions of dollars are spent each year trying to create that perfect day. So much thought is put into the experience of 4-6 hours. It is a special day, but what happens the next day, week, months and years. How much time is spent in preparation for those.....I would venture to say not as much time or money is spent in preparation.
After those 4-6 hours of planned bliss is when our lives and hearts become tested to the covenant and commitment put forth on the wedding day. Life begins and reality will creep back in slowly. It can be real messy bringing two lives into one marriage. Each person brings “stuff”into the marriage. I can speak from my marriage openly and honestly.
We each brought our pasts (good and bad) into this marriage.
We both have some great qualities that God has truly blessed us with, but those aren't what almost destroyed our marriage. I brought some deep struggles that affected our intimacy and oneness. I had an addiction to pornography and lust. I brought a need to feel worthy and perform for others approval. These issues coupled together don’t make a recipe for a marriage that is characterized by serving one another. God calls us to lay down ourselves for one another. Putting aside our own selfishness to serve the partner in the marriage.
Sharing life together.
Intimacy that is authentic and giving.
Hearts and desires that are focused on God's best
Don’t these all sound like fairy tale ideals when you look at our culture today.
We are taught that we are to:
Be all we can be.
Have it our way
Look out for number one
And so on with the “self centered” ideals
We are staring at a battle against the culture.
It is all about making yourself feel good in whatever way you feel at that moment. I won't even get into the culture of sex, lust and promiscuity. This is what fuels our culture right now!
So....put all these things together and the last day of millions of marriages happen in despair each day. God designed it to be so much more! I want different. I want the fullness that God promises.
How do you get that?
“Define the ending and live backwards”
Decide how you want your marriage to end and live backwards with all of the decisions based upon that premise. I desire to have a Christ centered, intimate relationship with my wife. I want our last days to be ones without regret of what we should have done differently. I want to spend as much time with my “best friend”. I desire to serve this woman and build her up to where she is radiant....not beat down.
In order to get that ending.......my life is lived each day by decisions to achieve that ending. I fight for our marriage by staying focused on Christ.
I have to check my motives and intentions each day
I MUST TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE (We live in a lust controlled culture) I try and serve others to squash my pride
LOVE as Christ LOVED
Sounds easy when as I write it down.....it gets messy as you try to live it out. Life is hard at times! Writing it down is the first step though. Then share with your spouse.
Goals need to be shared so they can become a reality. If you have an accountability group share this with them. The more people that can "spur you on towards love and good deeds"Hebrews 10:24.....the better. We are not called to stand alone in this fight. God wants to give us community to survive and thrive within. One of the greatest tools of the enemy is the lie that we are alone. That no one else struggles with your sin issue.....Wrong....bring it into the the light....expose this lie and gain God's power and grace with others!
How do you want to your last day of marriage to look? Will you take time to write them down? Will you share with someone else who can encourage you? Will you take the first step to fight for God's best in your marriage?
Maybe you already have...Keep pushing in!
Maybe you're ready to throw in the towel.....don't.....give God one more chance and room to work!
Andrea and I would love to share our story and hearts with you. More importantly we would love to listen to your story and where you are right now. We believe that no marriage is too far from Gods restoration.
A few weeks ago Gary wrote about confession. As I thought about confession and remembered back to the many times in our life where I was on the receiving end of confession, I realized that confession is such a different experience depending which side of the confessing you are on. I decided to share a little about confession from the eyes of the one receiving confession.
For Gary, confessing was about truth telling, breaking free from the chains that held him captive, and releasing the shame that bound him to his sin. It was scary, actually terrifying, because he stood to lose everything when he revealed the truth. In a strange way, confessing all his sins regarding his sexual addiction was actually life giving. God uses our honesty and breaks our hearts over our sin.
For me confession was devastating, heart-breaking, and trust wrecking. It was potentially damaging to my soul. If I wasn’t careful it was an invitation for Satan to use the sadness, anger, and hurt to get me to seek revenge on my husband. Thankfully, I was surrounded by wise counsel that advised me to “keep watch, and be aware” that Satan would try to use this angle to try to continue to destroy our souls and marriage. Scripture warns against this in Galatians.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But WATCH YOURSELF, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
If you are on the receiving end of confession, I caution you. Be on guard! Satan is lurking. Because the one confessing is finding freedom from his grip. He knows that confession brings healing, redemption, and forgiveness. He will do everything in his power to continue to destroy your marriage and your soul. Satan then moves to continue the destruction of the marriage by trying to thwart forgiveness. He will tell you that it’s ok to want revenge, or to make your loved one pay. I’m not going to lie, at the time, it sounds good. It even feels “fair” and just. DO NOT LISTEN TO HIS LIES! Be sure to surround yourself with wise and Godly counsel. The wrong advice or direction could send you into a whirlwind of destruction and further damage to you, your marriage and your soul.
God longs to use the truth revealed for HIS glory and goodness. His desire is for confession to be life giving and redeeming to our relationships, of all kinds. Good friends of ours Justin and Trisha Davis wrote a book called Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Isn’t Good Enough”. In it, they talk about the definition of intimacy stating that Intimacy is “being fully known” We often connect intimacy with our sexual relationship, However, By definition, intimacy begins with truth telling and confession. Let us be good truth tellers as well as good truth receivers.