Thursday, August 13, 2015

Marriage Can Be Restored

Recently I was going through some files and came across an article Jerry wrote concerning our marriage.  I thought I would share that with you today:

A good marriage doesn't just happen.  It requires lots of hard work; however, it is well worth the investment.  I believe every marriage is a target of the enemy.  The interesting thing is he always uses the same strategy.  Why?  Because it works!

I found myself after 14 years of marriage falling into that same trap.  On the surface we had a picture perfect situation -- nice home, good job, three awesome kids, a couple of pets, and my wife and I were also involved in church leadership.  Without going into the details, let's just say our marriage became another statistic.  In my mind, it was over.  However, God had other plans due to my praying wife.

After being separated for quite some time, I started to realize the devastation divorce would have not only on my wife and me but also on our children.  God allowed me to see the effect it would have on future generations as well.  (Exodus 20:5-6)

Rebuilding our family was as slow as building a real house.  In every building project, there are good days and bad.  That's the way it was with us.  We had to reestablish friendship and learn how to communicate once again.  We learned to overlook each other's mistakes and serve each other instead of focusing on our own needs.

Over time, we were amazed at the love we had for each other.  Because of what we have gone through, we are passionate about marriages.  We know if our marriage can be saved, so can anyone's.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Guard My Mouth, LORD!

Psalms 141:3
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips.

We all have probably been on a spiritual high, so to speak, by attending church or a special event in which we felt God really spoke to us.  It feels like God can do all things and nothing can hold us back!   Then we go home.... 

It happened to Jerry and me not too long ago.  Jerry went to a men’s meeting and came back really inspired.  I should have asked him questions and listened to what he learned.  I should have allowed him to bless me with the inspiration he gained.

Yet, once he went to the meeting I found something that irritated me to no end, and my anger got the best of me.  Instead of waiting until the proper time, I blasted Jerry the minute he walked in the door.  I can still see the shock on his face.  That should have been a clue to stop, but I continued on and on and on. 

I should have received blessing from my husband and instead I blocked it and conflict entered our home.  I chose conflict over blessing that day.

It’s not that I should have buried my irritations forever.  I should have just been more sensitive to timing.  I was angry at the moment and things were not relayed in a heart of love or in the “I feel…” mentality.  They were accusing, and I didn’t hear Jerry out.

Had I waited and cooled down first, we would have been able to communicate openly and heart-to-heart instead.

As I read 2 Samuel 6 recently, the Holy Spirit highlighted my mistake.  King David moved the ark of God to Jerusalem, and probably felt the presence of God more than ever before.  He danced before the Lord with all his might.  His wife, Michal, watched from a window and his method of worship, let’s just say, was not well received. 

2 Samuel 6:20 says David was on his way home to bless his household when Michal came out to meet him.  She didn’t even wait until he got in the house.  She highly criticized David for what he had done.  Michal could have received a blessing, but instead she stirred up conflict. 

I believe in my heart, had Michal worked through her emotions and reconnected with David, their relationship would have thrived.  The Bible says Michal never had children.  I don’t know if she cut David off, he just didn’t try anymore or Michal was unable to have children.   

I do know that fruitfulness in a relationship comes when we work through our grievances in love.  Conflict can actually stimulate our relationship if handled properly.  God put us together with spouses who are different on purpose.  We need balance.   

We have taught many times how to deal with conflict.  Did I implement those principles?  No.  When in the moment, sometimes knowledge goes out the window.  Hurt and anger take over and conflict becomes ugly. 

I’m thankful for a husband who says, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”  It’s not to silence the subject forever but just so we can process and give some time to settle emotions. 

 Now, I’m on guard and alert, and hope next time I'm tempted to blast Jerry for something I think about timing and take time to process things first.  Please learn from my mistake instead of making one yourself.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Little Things" Make Marriage Extraordinary

Allow me to reminisce a little.  If my dad was still living, my parents would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today.

My parents were the perfect example of marriage to Jerry and me.  We miss Dad greatly but know He is enjoying his home in heaven. 

My parents loved each other dearly.  Almost daily, I woke up to see little love notes my dad left for my mom.    They were just a few words but meant the world to her.  To me as a child, it made me feel secure and set the bar high for the marriage choice I would one day make. 

I did choose well.  My husband and dad are both amazing men.   Jerry is an encourager and loves me completely.  If you come to our home, you will see fresh flowers.  It’s one of the ways Jerry makes me smile. 

There are many ways to express love.   Let me challenge you today to find a way to say “I love you” to your spouse. I am challenged myself to do a better job at showing love to Jerry.  

Whether it’s through gifts, words of encouragement or doing something your spouse wants, it speaks volumes.   It doesn’t take long to do "little things," but it will greatly enhance your marriage.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Diamonds" Learned in Marriage

I looked down at my finger and was stunned to see the diamond missing from my engagement ring.

The night before, I sang, “Lord you are more precious than silver, Lord, you are more costly than gold.  Lord, you are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with you.”  I meant every word of it.  That’s when I let go of my struggling marriage.  I knew only God could bring me fulfillment, not Jerry. 

Three weeks later, Jerry moved out. 

Jerry and I had the perfect marriage, at least for a while.  When God brought us together, He spoke to us both that He had something special for us to do together.   It was a storybook life, three kids, a dog and a cat, but we know, in all good stories, a villain arises. 

We were busy.  You know the drill:  kids, sports, home and cars to maintain, an active church life.  We used to have regular dates and annual getaways without the kids, but this particular year we skipped them.   We just didn’t make time for each other.

Satan’s attack was subtle.  It began with little arguments and then Jerry started talking about leaving me.  Neither of us believed in divorce, so I was shocked. 

As I began fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit gave me a scripture in a dream one night showing me God would give Jerry a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).  I was relieved I had the answer and thought we could just get on with our lives. 

God was true to His Word, but it was quite some time before it came to pass.  Throughout our year and a half separation, God showed me many times He would restore our marriage and we would help others afterwards.  Friends and family confirmed it through things God had shown them.

There were days I really didn't care anymore.  I was worn out and ready for a new beginning.  One of those times, I took Nate, my two-year-old, to a nearby pond to feed the ducks.  Usually, they came quickly to be fed.  This particular day we could see them on the other side, but they stayed put.  We called repeatedly.  After quite some time, I got impatient and told Nate we just needed to leave.  I bent down to pick him up and was turning back when I noticed the ducks coming across the pond.  

The Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly, “You can turn and walk away one minute too soon and miss everything I have for you.”  

I turned back and stayed with the ducks that day and decided to wait for God to complete the work in our home.  Even though it was a few months before our marriage was restored, this incident got me through.  I knew God was up to something. 

There were many lessons I learned during this time.  Here are a few:

1.              The only person I can change is myself.

2.              God is with me regardless of my circumstances.

3.              God is the only one who can satisfy my soul.

4.              If God gives a Word, it is true and will be fulfilled.

5.              God’s answers to prayer come differently than expected.

6.              There’s a reason the Bible says to pray without ceasing. 

7.              It’s important to stay on guard and alert at all times.

8.              God’s plans and purposes will be fulfilled. 

Whether you are facing a marriage crisis or something else, God is capable of turning the situation around and using it for good, just as He did for us.  

True to God’s Word, we have worked with married and engaged couples for years instilling in them the tools they need to keep their marriage strong. 

Jerry and I have been back together now 23 years.    He replaced my diamond ring with one bigger and better than the first.    When I look at it, I’m reminded of the miracle God performed in our lives.  Our marriage became more phenomenal than it ever had been before too. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

God has Saved the Best for NOW!

I can’t seem to quit studying John 2:1-11 which is the story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee.   It is the place Jesus performed his first miracle.  I’ve read many versions, looked at different aspects and have been mulling over every word. 

As I reflect on the occasion Jesus chose to reveal Himself, I am fascinated that He chose a wedding.   I wonder how frequently people ran out of wine during wedding celebrations in Bible times.  They often went as long as a week.  I’m thankful that has changed in our culture. 

It really spoke to me that Jesus cared about what was going on with this family.  They had given to their guests till they had nothing left.   Jesus was willing to keep this family from being embarrassed. 

In your marriage, if you have given to each other and others till you have nothing left to give, I believe God wants to reveal His glory to you.     

Jesus told the servants at this wedding to do some crazy things like put water in jars and serve it to the master of the banquet.  The servants didn’t know the water would turn to wine, but they listened anyway.   

God may show you something to do that does not make sense.  Don't allow your logic to keep you from obeying His word.  The servants had to be willing to do what Jesus said to see the miracle.  

I believe God wants to intervene NOW in your lives.  Verse 10 says Jesus "saved the best till now."  I pray God moves in your situation today - whatever it is and brings you His BEST.