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.