Button Pusher

Button Pusher

Are you a button pusher? Is your husband?You know what I'm talking about, it's that 'thing' you two just can't talk about without it becoming the biggest issue in the house, just short of exploding into World War III. And it may be over something as simple as pork rinds, how your husband chews his food, or the route you take to church.

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Living with an addict

My husband is a pornography addict. All addictions are extremely dangerous to the spiritual and physical life of those ensnared in them. Regardless of the outlet-drugs, alcohol, sex-the root of addiction is the same for every person enslaved.  

Pain.

I watched for 12 1/2 years as my husband continually chose pornography. Time and time again, he went back to his lover. Over and over he fell down. He would feel the pull. Give in. Binge. Feel guilty.  Hide it all away and vow that this time, it was the last time. It was a never-ending cycle that kept him enslaved for over 20 years.  

Addict As a spectator on the sidelines, I watched this struggle, feeling helpless. I look back and see now that there were steps I could have taken to survive with my addict, without falling into my own trap of sexual sin-a cycle that I continued for over seven years. I believe that no matter what addiction you are watching someone struggle with, there are things you can do to protect yourself from being dragged down by it.

#1.  Guard your heart

I do not mean that you should wall yourself off so that you can't feel the pain that addiction causes. Proverbs 4:23 says Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

If you allow yourself to be weighed down by the burden that living with addiction bring, you leave your own heart vulnerable to attacks from the enemy, whether it be lies that he tells you, or someone else coming along that is seemingly in a much more stable place than your loved one.

#2.  Arm yourself

Ephesians 6:10-11: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

God has not left us ill-equipped for this. He has given us His power to rely on, and assures us that our loved one battling addiction is not what our struggle is really against. Ultimately, the fight is against spiritual forces of evil that are constantly at work. He explains what His armor looks like. And it isn't just partial armor. It is FULL armor. Head to toe, covered with protection that will stand up under the enemy's attacks.

I love the NIV translation of Ephesians 6:13 - Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

To me, this speaks of holding on to hope, after you have given it all you have. It implies that when you are finished doing everything that you need to do to stand, you then STAND. There is more to it than simply putting on the armor of God. You must put on the armor, and then be prepared to do battle. Be ready to bear up under the attack, trusting God that His armor and strength will sustain you.

#3.  Pray in a selfless way

For five years, I said the same prayer over and over again. "God, please take away his addiction. Free him." I asked, 100% sincere, and it seemed that God didn't answer. Looking back, I think that my motivation wasn't fully centered on my husband's freedom though. It was more about me.  Take it away so that I don't have to hurt. Free him so that our marriage can thrive. I think what I really should have focused on was Romans 8:26: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

#4.  Forgive often

I didn't know just how unworthy I was to receive forgiveness from both God and my husband until I had strayed so far from God and my husband that I thought there was no way to ever go back home. And it is very likely that your beloved that is battling addiction doesn't understand this either. Sin has a way of clouding not only our judgement but our understanding. Shame and guilt lay waste to our hearts and we become enslaved to self-loathing and condemnation, on top of the addiction itself. If I learned anything from the destruction and eventual restoration of my marriage, it was that because I have been forgiven much, I HAVE to forgive much.

Colossians 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you. If I can't forgive at least as much as I have been forgiven, then I am doing something wrong.

#5.  Love unconditionally

How this plays out in your own day to day life may vary from the person next to you, but the bottom line is the same.  Your addict needs a safe place to land. They need to know that there is at least one person that doesn't seem them as this vile, loathsome creature that can't be loved. Unconditional love has no strings attached. It isn't about saying "If you get clean, then..." It's "I will stand by your side through your addiction and your recovery."

There may be times, as the drug of choice tries to lure the addict time and again, when you feel frustrated and just want to give up on that person. But just keep in mind that if you give up, the addict loses all hope. If the person that loves them the most (apart from God) doesn't love without wavering, then the addict naturally assumes that all hope is lost and there is no point in trying to break free.

I love the bluntness and practicality of The Message, especially when it comes to 1 Corinthians 13:3-7: If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.  So no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.  Love never gives up.  Loves cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.  Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always 'me first,' doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in  the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.

#6.  Don't give up

Galatians 6:9 says So let us not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

It all comes down to this:

If you truly want to survive living with an addict, the focus has to shift from the addict and their behavior to your own heart. The only way to guard your heart, arm yourself, pray in a selfless way, forgive often, love unconditionally, and keep going is to surrender control of your situation to God.

Somewhere along my own painful journey, I stopped guarding my heart. Piece by piece I took off the armor of God, until I was left completely unprotected. I began to pray in a way that would make me feel better-asking for an outcome that would stop my own pain. I grew weary of forgiving my husband, and believed that he was destroying our marriage. This allowed bitterness to take root in my heart until I grew cold and distant. It is no surprise that in this state, I also withheld love from my husband. I didn't realize it until now, but my love towards him was conditional. I would love him and give 100% to our marriage, if only he would choose me over pornography. And ultimately, because I didn't get what I wanted, when I wanted it, I gave up.

Living with an addict is never going to be easy.

We were never promised that life would be easy, but we were promised that we serve a faithful and loving God. One who is strong enough to carry us through the trials, no matter how bleak they may look. One who has the power to free the addict and break all chains.  God will heal. God will forgive. But we have to do our part too.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

Every Heart Restored and Ever Man's Battle are two amazing resources for couples who want to stay in the battle for their lives and marriage. 

Wives, hear this loud and clear- your husband's pornography is NOT your fault. You can come alongside him in his battle!

Learn more about winning the war on pornography at XXXChurch, and protect yourself and your children with X3 Watch.

Sherry and Beverly have spoken at events throughout the southeast, including our own annual Intentionally & Wonderfully Made women’s event, and we’d love to come speak at YOUR women’s event! We share on topics such as insecurity, sexual intimacy, lies women believe, comparison, discontentment, people pleasing10 questions to ask your husband, and more. Don’t miss Beverly's next speaking engagement- September 13 at Goldsboro Worship Center!Cafe Chocolate

Whether your marriage needs a tune up or an overhaul, REGISTER today!!

 

BOGO

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

New Name

New Name. Sometimes I suspect that Jason Gray knows a lot about the difficulties of marriage and hardships of life. At the very least, he tends to write about difficult situations and finding hope through them. Perhaps this is why you will find that so many of my posts include his songs. newname

Your past does not define you.

I feel as if he has lived in our shoes; specifically with regards to addictions and strained marriage relationships. His songs are so powerful and he doesn't write your typical Christian music. It goes much deeper than that. Beyond the surface. His lyrics touch at the heart of man. At our inmost struggles, thoughts, pains, and sinful desires. He addresses how we beat ourselves up, with lies the enemy spews at us, or for some of you, lies your spouses tell you as they live in sin, and how we are so much MORE than the lies tell us. In fact, we are not at all what the lies tell us we are.

From his song, "I Am New," which will forever remind me that my past does not define me, Jason Gray wrote this line at the end, with words that describe who we REALLY are:

"Forgiven. Beloved. Hidden in Christ. Made in the image of the Giver of life. Righteous and holy. Reborn and remade. Accepted and worthy. This is our new name."

Old Name

All the names I used to call my self, names that I finally learned to recognize were really lies from the mouth of Satan himself, are completely contradictory to that list above. Here is how I used to see myself:

Unforgivable. Unloved. Hidden FROM Christ. Made in the image of all the mistakes I had made. Unrighteous and unholy. Confined to a life of sin, unable to change or have one more second chance. Unaccepted. Completely unworthy. Those, among many others, were my names.

New Name

But along with counseling and understanding my story, Jason Gray took me deeper. He took me so much deeper into the heart of God-into the love of Christ-and helped me to understand that I AM NEW! I am no longer the person I was--the one who lived under the weight of adultery. I am in the refining process, being remade, by the Master Craftsman. I am a new person. The old Jamie is long gone, and the new Jamie, who understands who she was and who she is, is here to stay. I am chosen by God, holy only through God's righteousness and grace, and dearly loved.

That last one.

Dearly loved.

That one was the biggest hurdle for me.

But thank God for showing me how real and sincere his love really is. Through my husband, through Christ's death on the Cross, through thinking I was only loved by another man, I have learned the truth behind this concept that I am dearly loved.

It doesn't mean that I don't struggle. I have my days. We all do.

But I can't hear Jason's song "I Am New" without feeling as if God is personally reminding me that His words about me are TRUTH. His words are what matter.

It doesn't matter what the world says I am--I'm an adulterer and a hypocrite.

It doesn't matter what Satan says I am--I'm meaningless, unworthy, beyond forgiveness.

Only how God defines me matters.

That, and nothing more.

I am new.

And you can be too.

If you have lived under the weight of similar lies, take this moment to try to see yourself the way that God sees you. That He cares about you so much, that He loves you so much, that He let His son Jesus DIE for you. To demonstrate the depth of His love.

You don't have to be defined by your past.

God wants you to understand that you can be made new. And that He is the God of second and third and fourth and fiftieth chances. He will NEVER turn His back on you, no matter how far you may stray.

He will always pursue you.

He will always take you back from your lovers (whether they be physical, emotional, or material).

He doesn't care what you've done. He just wants your heart devoted to Him, and even if it is shattered to pieces, He wants you just as you are.

He wants to pick up the pieces and remake you.

He wants to give you a new name.

Will you let Him?

 

Sherry and Beverly have spoken at events throughout the southeast, including our own annual Intentionally & Wonderfully Made women’s event, and we’d love to come speak at YOUR women’s event! We share on topics such as insecurity, sexual intimacy, lies women believe, comparison, discontentment, people pleasing10 questions to ask your husband, and more. Don’t miss our next speaking engagement!

Cafe Chocolate

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

...unless you TRY

It's easy to give up.

Deep down, and sometimes right up on the surface, isn't that what we really want to do?

Don't you just want to quit?

Quit fighting?

Quit hoping?

Quit standing?

Quit trying?

Of course you want to.  We all go through difficulties in life, and at some point along the way, the thought goes through our mind that it would be easier to just give up.

try

Sometimes I find myself wondering why we think this way.  What will be easier about running away or "moving on?"  Life doesn't get easier just because you give up on something.  Do you know what really happens when you give up?

You feel better.

Sometimes.

Sometimes you don't even get that benefit from running away.

I think about it, and I think this desire in us to give up--believing that life will be easier--it is the same reason that an addict continues using.  Bear with me here.  Addicts turn to drugs, alcohol, or sex because they want something to be easier.  They want to feel better.  They want to forget about their problems.  Correct?

But isn't that exactly what we do when we want to quit the very thing that is causing us pain in our lives?  For many, we're talking about standing for broken marriages.  You think you'll feel better if you just give up your stand and move on with your life.  You want to give in to the desire, the pull towards living by what you want to feel, instead of by what will really give you peace.

But what if you're wrong?

What if, by not trying, you never see the blessing, or the ultimate reward that comes from remaining steadfast in your stand?

While I am not a great lover of music by Pink, she has several songs that lyrically I cannot stay away from.  Amidst the worldy outlook, they speak to me.  The song below draws on the side of pain that some of you are on now.  You've been hurt; you've been cheated on; you've been abandoned.  But I believe that you can take something deeper from the chorus of this song.  You can see it through the eyes of perseverance and what it takes to get through these difficult times in your life.  It may be painful, true. 

But you won't die.

This--while it feels anything but--is NOT the end of your life as you know it.

It can be just the beginning.

I know that there is a lot of pain that you may feel listening to this song, but I hope that you to see that you can interpret it differently.  I don't want you to think for a second that I condone adultery or addiction, or living a life of causing pain to others.  What I want you to take from this is that it is the very essence of who we are- as sinners.  What Pink meant to be a song about being cheated on and pressing through it anyway, she hit the nail on the head when she said:

"Funny how the heart can be deceiving

More than just a couple times

Why do we fall in love so easy

Even when it's not right"

Has your heart ever been deceived, just as your prodigal's has?  I'm not talking about adultery or addiction, though this certainly applies to some of us, myself included.

What about by food?

Or unmet desires?

What do you fall in love with?

The idea of love?  The desire for the perfect life, the perfect marriage, the perfect job?

There are a lot of things that we fall in love with that aren't right.

I fell in love so easy, with a person, though I knew it wasn't right.  While it is tragic and sin is sin, her words ring so true.  The heart IS deceiving.  Time and time again.  We fall in love with things or people or desires.  Even when they are not right for us.

I can promise you that where God's hand is involved, if you press on through the pain, climb the mountain and come through on the other side, you'll be grateful.  And you'll see that the worst moments in your life were simply stepping stones into the better life that God has planned for you.  He will not let your pain be wasted.  He will carry you through it and the blessings will outweigh all the pain and heartache.

But you will never know this, unless you press on.

Unless you keep fighting.

Unless you keep standing.

Unless you try.

I know it's hard. 

Right now, while you are in the midst of your pain and what may be the most difficult period of your life, it is so tempting to give up.

What I want to propose is that it won't solve anything.  It won't bring you happiness, or the fulfillment you are looking for.  That can only be found in God.

Even if giving up makes you feel better temporarily, something about it just doesn't seem right.  It isn't right.  I know, from experience.  I only thought I was happy.  For seven years!  But it wasn't real.  Giving up didn't make things easier.  It just provoked more anxiety and fear in me, not to mention the heaviest weight of all: guilt and shame.

If I hadn't stood while my husband battled his addiction to pornography early in our marriage, and if I hadn't fought to recover from living the later years of our marriage steeped in adultery, I wouldn't have learned what I have today.  And while tough life lessons have certainly been learned, what I am really talking about is the reward that is on the other side.  The blessings that come through persevering.

Through trying.

What I couldn't see or even imagine, when my marriage was buried under rubble, was the immense joy and redemption that was waiting for me.  Jason Gray writes,

"On the other side

Where it's easier to see the way His hand provides

Just in time to save the day

And I realize the mountains I was scared to climb

Aren't as big as I thought they were

When I'm on the other side."

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some AMAZING bloggers…check out the links at the bottom right of the page.

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Stop Defending Yourself

The straw that broke the camel's back when my husband and I finally separated this last time, if I'm honest, was me telling him to leave.  I didn't ask, we didn't discuss it, I made a decision and enforced it upon him. Stop Defending Yourself

The entire time we have been separated, I justified my decision based on behavior he was exhibiting at the time. I can give you a run-down of all my reasons, which would basically sound like this:

He did this... He was doing that... Well, he...and he...then he....so I...

I take no personal responsibility for his behavior whatsoever. Only he can answer for the choices he has made. The problem was, I wasn't taking any personal responsibility for my choices either. I held him responsible for his choices AND my choices.

Every time he would bring up how I 'kicked him out,' I had my long list of reasons, justifications, excuses ready...all based on his behaviors. Round and round we would go. Until one day, once again, the old argument arose...I didn't want to argue with my husband anymore. I desire reconciliation.

I had an opportunity to respond differently. God blessed me with divine wisdom right when I needed it.  Instead of rehashing my same old rebuttals, I simply took ownership; "You're right."

I was surprised by what happened next. Real truth came tumbling out before I hardly realized what the 'real truth' was.

"I was desperate and didn't know what to do. I thought if I told you to leave it would force you to change. Force you to get help or wake up. I was trying to control you and that was inappropriate. I should not have done that. I am sorry."

Silence.

There was no response...and for the first time, in over a year, there was no longer an argument to have.

Again, I was free. Confession sets us free. When we can be honest, about ourselves, there really is no condemnation, there is freedom. There is peace.

The other day, in a quiet moment, God brought to mind another offense I had not recognized. I began to make my defense in my mind. I mentally went through every valid excuse as to why I acted and reacted the way I did. Blaming my husband the entire time. Defending my behavior.

God reminded me of Exodus 14:14  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (ESV) Usually I view this verse as God fighting my battle. This time I interpreted it as God fighting or defending 'my case', like in a courtroom. He already knows all the reasons I have done what I have done. Reasons for my actions and reactions, whether right or wrong, justified or not.

I don't need to defend myself, especially to God. In this instance, all I needed to do, again, was confess and repent. The bottom line was, I had not treated my husband the way God instructs in His word to treat my husband.

It wasn't about how my husband was treating me or how I perceived he was or wasn't treating me. It was a question of whether I had been doing what I was instructed to do. I wasn't. I wasn't being selfless, I was being selfish. I confessed and repented for the specific offenses God held me accountable for.

As long as we keep trying to justify ourselves, there isn't freedom. We're holding on to the offense under a banner of guilt, trying to prove our innocence. God offers forgiveness freely. We don't have to keep defending ourselves because the offense is no longer there. It is washed away. We've become holy and blameless. The cleansing won't happen if we keep carrying around an offense, continuously trying to justify our behavior.

Admitting our guilt, instead of fighting to prove our innocence, ends the 'trial' and our 'sentence', is forgiveness. Christ defended us once and for all, on the cross. Now, go and be free.

Stop Defending Yourself and be free

Keep Praying!

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with lots of great bloggers...check them out at the bottom right of the page!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

Putting the Pieces Back Together

I had run so far away. I had no one to turn to. Making matters worse, I found out I was pregnant. I was abandoned by my boyfriend and had a strained relationship with my parents. WHAT A MESS I HAD MADE! Putting the Pieces Back Together

I felt like God had failed me because my grandfather walked out on us all. I was under so much stress I thought I was going to lose my mind and began to have warning signs of problems in the pregnancy. Being the black sheep in the family and having no one to call, I called my grandfather. We hadn’t spoken but twice during the previous three years and I didn’t know if he would even talk to me.

As I began to tell him what was going on, he immediately said that "we" would be there as soon as possible. I had mixed feelings about the WE, because I knew that included his new wife and child. I still do not know how they got to me so quickly that night! They put their arms around me, loved me, and told me everything was going to be okay. I wasn’t so sure... how was I going to raise a child on my own? They convinced me to move in with them so they could help me.

Granddaddy made the dreaded phone call to my mom letting her know I was pregnant. I will never know what was said during that conversation, but things started to slowly change for us all after that call. We began talking and relationships began to mend. It was awkward at times, but God was at work. When I had the baby, my family was there with me. Several life changing things happened that weekend...

First, I became a mother receiving the beautiful gift of a baby boy. I saw a broken family joined together celebrating this new gift of new life. Hope for a brighter future entered my soul.

Next, my parents asked me to come back home so they could help me.

Lastly, my parents' pastor and his family came to visit me at the hospital. It was their first Sunday as pastor and they had never met me, however, they came and LOVED me. This display of God’s love began to break through the walls around my heart and reminded me of who I really am…a daughter of the King!

Days were not always easy and I felt so ashamed of the mess I had made. I moved back home and began putting the broken pieces back together. People encouraged me, accepted my child and me, and prayed for us. I rededicated my life to Christ and we continued to heal. I felt like the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.

Take a look at some of the things shown in these scriptures as it applies to all prodigals.

The younger one said to his father, Father; give me my share of the estate! ~Luke 15:12

The first signs of trouble in our lives come when we focus on ourselves and what we believe we are entitled to have. OUCH, that hurts! For me, it was my grandfather had failed and God allowed it to happen. I deserved better, I deserved to do what I wanted to do. I took what I thought was MINE and ran straight into trouble, just like the prodigal son.

He ran away, lived wildly, began to be in need, hired himself out...no one gave him anything. ~ from Luke 15:13-16

Prodigal living focuses only on yourself and the result is losing everything. I needed something so desperately to fill the void and I sold myself…right into the hands of Satan and he gave me NOTHING but DESTRUCTION. The void grew!

But when he came to his SENSES!!! ~Luke 15:17

Isn’t this what many of us are waiting on in our lives? Waiting for someone to wake up and smell the coffee? If I could only knock some sense into them... Notice, though, that when the prodigal was at rock bottom he began to realize even the servants at home were better off than he was. He had a GOD moment. Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom before you come to your senses!

When he noticed his son from afar…the father planned a HOMECOMING. ~ from Luke 15:21-24

The father gave his son the best robe and put a ring on his finger. How many times have we acted selfishly when someone asks us to forgive them? How many times do we respond with the attitude of the prodigal’s brother? I encourage you to praise a prodigal on their return. My family encouraged and empowered me to make positive changes.

The father responds with love to the angry son. ~ from Luke 15:31-32.

You see, I was once dead, broken, destructive and wild. I squandered everything that was mine and sat in the pig slops alone… BUT through the love of others, the prayers of the faithful, and the revelation of God’s truth, I AM ALIVE AGAIN! We are blessed to have a father who loves us no matter what and rejoices in our homecoming!

This Father's love helped me put the pieces of my broken life together and gave me the strength to share this life changing love with others. I encourage you today to LOVE everyone…especially the broken. Love the prodigals, show them unconditional love that only comes from Jesus. It’s through Love the lost are found, the dead are raised, and the pieces are molded back together into the beautiful image of God.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

Fall 2013 brochure with codeAOM at Sea rotating slide 07.01.13

We're linking up with some amazing marriage and family bloggers! Check them out at the bottom left of the page....

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Do You Trust God?

Do you ever wonder how and when God will meet your needs? Have you ever really needed something and the time was so quickly approaching that you weren't sure if it would happen? Do you believe God's word? Well, if you answered yes, I have good news! God will supply all your needs, and He is always right on time... never too early or too late!!!

Do You Trust God

The devil tried to fill my mind with fear and anxiety right after my husband left ..... especially about finances!! The thoughts were constantly rolling through my mind ....

How will I pay all the bills?

I can't afford to stay in our home!

I don't have the money for repairs!

How will I buy Christmas for my boys?

And the list goes on and on...

I remember sitting down with my sister to make a budget. The crazy thing is that it didn't even begin to make sense on paper. I had cut everything I knew to cut, but the amount of money coming in still wasn't enough when you looked at the bottom line. The devil tried to put thoughts in my mind about not tithing, but thankfully I knew that I couldn't afford not to give God His part.

I began to seek God for wisdom and guidance in this area like never before. He showed me that it was time for me to TRUST Him COMPLETELY!!! You see, my nature is to be a fixer and be in control. This was beyond my control, and it was time to relinquish all control to my Father!

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I remember listening to His Radio one afternoon and they were giving away free tickets for Chonda Pierce, a christian comedian. I called in and won the tickets!!! The show was very anointed as she candidly shared her struggles with depression. Near the end of the show as Chonda began to pray, I really felt the Holy Spirit ministering to so many hurts including mine. Then she gave the opportunity for audience members to adopt a child from a third world country. The Lord prompted me to make a $35 a month pledge. At first I was very hesitant because I knew it wasn't in the budget I created. Thankfully, I trusted the Holy Spirit and made the pledge. You see, when God moves you to do something for Him, He will ALWAYS supply the means to make it happen.

"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19

As I began to walk in obedience to God, He started teaching me about how to trust Him and be used by Him. He taught me to become a cheerful, obedient giver with the time, talents, and gifts He has given me. He has poured out His grace abundantly upon my family by opening doors of opportunity and provision. As I sit here and begin to think of the countless "right on time blessings," Christmas miracles, and random acts of kindness that have been poured into our lives, my eyes are filled with joyful tears. There is a list that would likely be a mile long. He has used so many people to bless us and meet our needs during this journey.

Luke 6:38 ~ "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Is there an area of your life that you are holding back from God? I encourage you to relinquish all control and trust Him with every part of your life. There is NOTHING too big for God. His word says come as you are. He is patiently waiting for you to trust Him with your whole heart!

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Your Marriage Won't Save You

It can't. Your spouse won't save you either. They aren't your savior.  We are often told, "You can't save your spouse, only Jesus can." This is true. Your Marriage Can't Save You

Then we turn right around and behave as if all our concerns, hurts, worries, childhood issues, wounds, sadness, depression, and loneliness will be magically cured if only...our marriage was restored, our spouse came home or just did this or that. Right? If you could save your spouse or them you, if your marriage could save you both...there would be no need for Christ, no need for His death.

Your spouse and/or their return home, will not cure you. It won't heal the pain. It certainly won't save you. There is only one man, one God that can do that, Jesus Christ.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Being separated from a spouse, when it isn't your choice, is hurtful, to put it mildly. It can create soul wounds that only Christ can heal. Their return, however much it is wanted, will not heal you or solve all your problems. Actually, upon their return, is a whole new set of issues to work through.

Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.

We need to understand this longing within us. Nothing will satisfy it. You can have the best marriage in the world and still feel unsatisfied and empty. God created us with a longing that only He can fill. We must go to Him daily, if not moment by moment, to satisfy the emptiness in our hearts. Psalm 145:16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The desire toward our spouse is only a symptom of our emptiness. Our soul poverty can only be filled with the richness of Christ.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 

You can read more from Katy at www.ktbunch.blogspot.com.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Supporting the Other Parent

When you have experienced a broken relationship, it is still important to support your spouse or ex-spouse as a parent. Children feel the pain of broken marriages and even try to take the burden upon their own shoulders. As the parent, it is your job to step up to the plate, give your children a soft place to fall during the emotional journey, keep them out of the middle, help them to heal, and to advocate for a strong relationship with the other parent. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

As I begin to write, It is Father's Day. It has been over 4 years since my now ex-husband left our family. At first, he was very inconsistent in our boys' lives. Over a two-year period, they stayed with him only a hand full of times. He only occasionally visited them at our home and phone calls were sporadic as well.

At first, I was an emotional wreck and unable to help myself, much less my boys. I was blessed to have family and special friends around that supported us and helped to fill in the gap until I got myself together. My daddy was always a rock of consistency in their lives, and he really stepped up to be there for them during this time.

As time passed, I grew stronger and spent time seeking God. I wanted to help my children to heal. We prayed together for their father regularly. You see, regardless of our marital problems he was still their dad. I knew it was important for him to be a part of their lives and that there was no one else that could take his place.

A righteous man who walks in his integrity; How blessed are his sons after him. -Proverbs 20:7

Finally in April of 2011, there were many changes in our lives. My daddy had been very sick and hospitalized. While he was in the hospital, my divorce was finalized. One week later, I was supposed to go pick him up from the therapy rehabilitation center. Instead, he took a turn for the worse and was placed back in the hospital ICU. My boys were both home sick with a nasty stomach virus, and I didn't have anyone to watch them. So, I called their dad at work. At first he said he couldn't leave. Then he called back, stepping up to the challenge.

Soon after arriving at the hospital, I found out my dad wasn't going to make it. I called my boys and asked their dad to bring them to say their good-byes. After some time alone with my daddy and my boys, I took them back to their dad. I saw a rare sight.

Their dad was an emotional wreck. I approached to ask him if he'd like to say good-bye to my daddy. I walked him back, and I witnessed something I will never forget. I watched him walk in and wrap his arms around my daddy as he fought back the tears. I can still hear the words that he spoke to him. He said, "I am so sorry for the hell I put your family through. I love you, and thank you for being the most amazing man in my boys' lives."

From that moment forward, he was different as a father. He supported our boys through the loss of their poppy. They regularly go to stay with him. He attends their special activities and games. He truly supports me as their mother, and makes sure that the boys are well cared for. He is truly an active part of their lives again. If anything good could come from my father's death, he would be pleased to see that the boys have an active relationship with their dad again.

So today, I sent him the following message as a thank you for his role as a father. I'm truly grateful for his role in our children's lives.

I just wanted to wish you a very Happy Father's Day! It's hard to believe how quickly our boys are growing up. As their dad, you are the most important role model in their lives. At the beginning of our split up, your input in their lives was inconsistent. I understand that was a confusing and rocky time in your life. I'm very thankful that you are now active and a vital part of their lives. I'm very proud of you for how you have stepped up to the plate despite the obstacles. They are blessed to have you and be loved by you! I am very proud of the father you've become, and I will ALWAYS support you having an active, strong relationship with them. Thank you for all you do for them and for supporting me as their mother. Enjoy your special day and know that you are appreciated!

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

My Two Dads: A Double Portion

As I pray for restoration of one area in my life, I am reminded of how much God desires restoration in all areas of our lives.  Before my husband and I separated, over a year ago, I had not set foot in my dad’s house for three years. After my mother (the love of his life) died, he remarried. It was not a good situation and my brothers and I became estranged from my dad. We rarely saw him, which was a complete change of how close we used to be as a family. Restoration When I started this restoration journey for my own marriage and family, I began to see God work in all the other fractured parts of my life. Soon after my husband and I separated, my dad re-entered our lives.  I hadn't even realized what a profound affect this was having in my heart and marriage. As my heart was filled with love from a father to a daughter, I felt myself begin to ‘grow up’.  As I began to experience healing in this area, I was able to begin to relate to my husband less as the ‘wounded little girl’ and more as a ‘grown woman and wife’.  As my relationship with my earthly father improved, so did my understanding of my Heavenly Father.

There was going to be more to God’s amazing redemptive power and desire for wholeness in my life than just this though. You see, the story of the relationship with my father goes beyond three years of estrangement. It starts with my birth. For the first half of my childhood, I thought I was brown. My dad is of Latino descent, my mother is white. One evening, my mother shared with me that my dad was not my biological father. They began dating when my mom was pregnant with me, at 17 years old.

It would take me decades to realize how much the technicality of my biological origins impacted my soul and every other aspect of my life. I was in denial for years that there was a deep ache in my heart and unanswered questions about my identity. Again, during this marital separation, God would show me, how much He desires restoration and wholeness for every part—even the parts we swear never affected us, the parts that seem impossible to reconcile.

I turned 40 this past April. Maybe a week later, I received a message on Face Book…from my biological father, Alan. He offered condolences on the passing of my mother and indicated a desire to be in my life. God had been working on my heart, all this time, in such a way, that I was ready and willing to accept this man into my life, ‘As Is’.  A man, a father, I never knew, suddenly here, like the missing piece of a puzzle that I didn’t even have the picture to compare—that I would never have known how to put together. But God knew. He knew the timing. He knew what I needed, even before I did.

I never would have, nor could have, imagined I would ever meet this man. My dad (who raised me) was enough in my life. He is an awesome dad and did his best. Suddenly, there was this healing. No longer was my identity of one who was ‘rejected’ but one who was ‘chosen’. My dad chose to raise and love me as his own, regardless of biology. Now, no longer was I ‘forgotten’ but ‘remembered’. My biological father never forgot me or my existence and he sought me out. God has given me an opportunity that I know many never have.

double portionHow could I reject it? There was no feeling of resentment or bitterness or anger. Only healing, forgiveness and openness to what God wanted to do with this. I still can’t believe it when I look at it myself. A life time of inner struggle and striving to figure out and be who I am meant to be, and here I am.

How blessed am I to have not one, but now TWO dads in my life. TWO men that both claim to love and care about me. Prayers for restoration are never only about a situation or just a marriage or one relationship. Restoration goes beyond that. God desires to restore our very souls. The deep hidden places we sometimes can’t even admit exist. But He knows.  He keeps His promises and He is always working...above and beyond what we could ever possibly imagine. I know it won’t stop there either. I can’t help but be excited and look forward to the day my marriage is made whole too. Keep praying.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

Peace Maker or Breaker?

Take a moment to reflect on how you interact with people and how you respond to various situations. Would you say you are a peacemaker or a peacebreaker? How would those that know you best describe you? What message do you send to non believers that you meet? peacemaker

As I wrap up the school year and I think of these questions, it reminds me of training new groups of students each year. The beginning of a new school year is always an exciting time of year, but it is also a lot of hard work. Teachers have to start off with teaching new students the rules and expectations of their classroom. I remember reading students a book about a boy named David that often made inappropriate choices. He had a very hard time following the rules and accepting the consequences. We followed up the story by talking about "peacemakers" and "peacebreakers".

The truth is, as christians we are no different from little David in that children's book. We start off as baby christians and don't really know all the rules. However as we grow and develop in Christ, we should start to develop more Christlike attributes and become peacemakers instead of peacebreakers.

So what are the qualities of a peacemaker? The attributes of a peacemaker can easily be seen by examining the life of Barnabas in the book of Acts. He was a man of great character. First of all, to become a peacemaker you must be full of the Holy Spirit. This is a prerequisite because the Spirit is what makes a peaceful character. As I began to study the character of Barnabas, I began to desire to be more like him.

James 3:17-18 ~ "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."

I learned that a peacemaker is someone who is ...

  • full of the Holy Spirit
  • wise
  • prayerful
  • encouraging to others
  • considerate
  • loving
  • willing to resolve conflict
  • willing to confront difficult situations
  • a mediator
  • joyful
  • courageous
  • persistent
  • observant
  • willing to stop and think
  • not judgmental
  • forgiving
  • sincere
  • discerning
  • accountable to authority
  • trustworthy

I must admit that throughout most of my life, I don't think people would have described me as a peacemaker. My human nature is to frankly speak my mind, pass judgement, and to react quickly without much thought. I know that I am merely a sinner that God saved by his amazing grace. In the past few years, I have developed some attributes of a peacemaker, but if I am being honest there are still some "peacebreaker" qualities that I need to work on. I believe God is trying to cultivate the qualities of a peacemaker within me as I grow in Him. I know He doesn't expect perfection within me, but He does expect me to strive to continually be more like Him ...the ultimate peacemaker!

Through Him, we can each become all that He created us to be. I pray that you will reflect on your life and ask yourself those tough questions. If you are like me, you might not like some of the answers. Perhaps it is time to seek God, and ask Him to help you shine His light to those around you by becoming a peacemaker.

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ~ "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All Ours, Becoming His Eve, Marriage Mondays, Matrimonial Monday, Time Warp Wife, The Better Mom, Marriage Moment, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

 

Why Wait Through the Wandering?

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14

Many of us know the “feel good” verse that  is Jeremiah 29:11. It has encouraged me many times over my million year life…ok, not a million, but it sometimes feels like it in the dry spots and deserts. What we often miss about the verse is its context. The plans God had for his people were to be looked forward to AFTER the 70 year exile.

why wait through the wandering

I miss that so often when I think that whatever it is I am praying for is clearly in the Lord’s will. It is worth circling and I know the request fits the bill of honoring God’s heart. It should happen now. I know it should. Praying for the salvation of a lost someone…praying for the healing of a loved someone…praying for the temptation never to be seen again in my life because I cannot seem to pass the test… And most significantly for many…praying for the restoration of a marriage that you want the Lord to bless and grow to honor Him from a place of desolation and prodigality (if that is a word…sometimes I make them up, and I thought I should be honest about that, since I love words).

Why would God wait? Why will He not respond to my request and plan for myself and my spouse right now? Why is the waiting so much harder than it sounds? And why are the words above, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon,” so incredibly softer in their writing than in their experience?

So many “why?” questions. Most of which we will never really get the answer to. It is not for us to know the “whys” sometimes. God doesn’t want us to stray and wander. He doesn’t want for us to walk in disobedience, but some of us do at times. Some of us seem to have to in order to come out richer and more intimate with Jesus in the after. I am not sure of the whys, but I have done it. I have wandered. And I have been so very lost that I know I never deserved to be forgiven. Neither do your wandered and prodigal spouses. But there God is and there you are ready to forgive and grow through it. Your steadfastness is a testimony to God. If I did not have people praying for me…I would not have made it.

I write this, not as a spouse, but as one who is so thankful that there was God ready to forgive when I returned. I write this as one who is so humbled that there is you ready to forgive and there is you who is standing up for what is righteous. I write this as one who knows that God KEEPS HIS WORD.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’  Jeremiah 29:11

BELOVED, KEEP STANDING!!! God rewards the faithful. It may not always be when we want. It may not always seem to be just what we want. BUT IT IS ALWAYS JUST WHAT WE NEED.

You are prayed for. You are thought of. You are a testimony. YOU ARE HIS. As we journey together in this standing. I know “standing” feels like you aren’t moving at all. But your prayers and standing with and for each other are moving mountains. I am so grateful for the journey that brought me to the passion for praying and the passion for marriages and parenting and families. I stand with you for all of those things. I pray with you and for you, for all of those things.

And mostly, I was a prodigal who came home. I cannot tell you how grateful I was there was somebody waiting and ready to love me and help me to start growing in the right direction again. Thank you for being those “someones” in your prodigal spouse's lives.

In His Great Love and With mine,

Jody-Lynne

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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We're linking up with Yes They Are All OursBecoming His EveMarriage MondaysMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

Honey, I'm Home ..... Now what?

To be honest, I never experienced an actual “homecoming” because my husband never actually walked out of our home. However mentally, physically and emotionally, he might as well have been gone. So, when God turned my husband's heart back toward me, it was like he had come home again. If you are facing this type of situation now, you know it is just as scary as they day they left! Now what?

welcome home

The Pendulum Shifts. For so long, you have been focused on reconciliation, forgiveness, salvation and God’s grace to restore your marriage but from the moment they walk back in, your focus will shift. All of a sudden, you will begin searching your spouse for confirmation!

You will watch every move and listen intently to every word to determine its meaning. You will measure every hug, kiss and intimate moment against an invisible scale! They will either measure up or they won’t, but you will begin determining their level of commitment to you based on what you think they showed you in each moment. With this perspective, you can quickly walk out of a place of security and the complete trust in God and into a world of doubt and misery.

The reality of this is monstrously harmful because he/she is doing the same thing! Your spouse is listening to your words and searching your actions too! They are looking for you to be a different person than you where when they left in the first place and as you fall out of a place of strength, you start to look like the same old person you were when they left.

Husbands

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. Ephesians 5:25-26

Your job is to love her. You will, undoubtedly, face a situation that will require you to set aside your headship and let her make some bad choices! She will test whether or not you can be trusted to love her if/when she makes mistakes.  Trust God to fill her heart with the desire to follow you as you lead your home, and know God will require you to learn to be sensitive with her. Live out your trust in Him until she comes to trust Him too! This will take time!

Wives

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:23-24 

Let your husband be the leader of your house.  If there is a decision that you need to make and you can’t come to an agreement, then the decision is his! It is your husband's God given responsibility to take this position in your home; your unwillingness to do this is a direct reflection on how much you trust God. Live out your trust in God as you trust your husband to lead. There is freedom in submission!

Once a stander always a stander! To live a restored marriage requires you to stand in the strength, forgiveness and the trust in God’s plan that you developed during period of separation.

Keep in mind....

#1 Satan is real. He roams the earth looking for YOU and will draw your focus to any area that you have not fully handed over to God! He will highlight these areas in your spouse, make them present in every conflict and use it to tear away at your strength and your marriage. Fight Satan by focusing on God and allow GOD to finish what He started!

#2 Prayer is essential. Prayer and personal time with God becomes even more important at this point since Satan does not want your marriage restored. He will not let you stroll down the red carpet of restoration that God has laid before you without throwing all the darts he can at you!

#3 Don't measure. Know your spouse is NOT going to measure up to that invisible scale that you will begin measuring him/her against. The scale will inevitably appear but you don’t have to use it!

#4 Expect difficulties. Some of the original problems will still be there and you will have to work on them together but in a different way than you did before.

#5 Your spouse is watching you! Your wife/husband, whether openly admitted or not, is longing for what developed in you while they were gone! It’s that which brought them back in the first place! They want what gave you the strength to stand for them when they were away…so remain strong in your conviction and show them how BIG YOUR GOD REALLY IS!!

#6 Stay Resolved. Trust God no matter what things look like around you. At one point in our restoration process, I discovered that Mark had been continuing his affair. God told me, loud and clear … “You learned the lessons I had for you in this trial, but Mark has not. Give Me time to finish what I started."

You have been looking to God for your strength and hope for restoration… don’t stop when he/she comes home! If anything, focus even harder at this point and see what other lessons God has for you!

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All OursBecoming His EveMarriage MondaysMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

I Am Gonna Make It!

My husband took my hand and slowly he pulled it to his wet cheek and began to kiss each one of my fingers. Overwhelmed from his forgiveness and grateful to God for restoring our family, I began to weep uncontrollably.  I pulled him close and whispered into his ear, "I love you, please never forget that I truly love you."

Make It

We held each other for what seemed like hours, we laughed, we cried, we prayed and then we cried some more…It was at that moment that I knew that no matter what we would face in the future- sickness, financial uncertainty, family situations and even death- with Christ in the center of it all, we were gonna make it!

Only five months before, we had both contacted divorce attorneys, drew up paper work and had began to itemize all of our assets so that they could be divided equally. Our children walked around like zombies, broken, and at times, bitter from the events that were unfolding in our family. I can still remember the somber looks on their faces when I would go to pick them up at their grandparents. The car was unusually quiet. There were no silly noises, no sounds of laughter, not even the sounds of music, only silence. I reached out to touch my young son’s hand, but he forcefully pushed it away. Tears filled his eyes and he blurted out, "I want my family back..."

In late 2010, our marriage and our family was broken, shattered into a million little pieces.

My husband was overwhelmed with the depression from not being able to fix it, I was full of conviction, and slowly in January 2011, we began tapping into our checking and savings account for additional resources to meet the demands of living in two separate households. Everything seemed to be spinning out of control.

It was during that time, my husband surrounded himself with godly mentors, camped out in  the book of Ephesians and the Word of God, read the Five Love Languages and began praying and seeking God for wisdom like never before. You see, to the world it seemed like a hopeless case, yet to our GOD it was a beautiful story of redemption yet to come….

Perhaps you find yourself in a situation similar to what we were in years ago. Loneliness, isolation, unforgiveness, bitterness and pain are so real and so overwhelming that you wonder... when will it ever end? Maybe you are in the middle of a battle in your marriage, or a crisis with your finances, or maybe you are struggling with a prodigal child, the death of a loved one, the pain from remembering something terrible that happened to you in your past...

There are some nights when I sit there as I read your text messages, your emails, your blog post responses and my heart just breaks for you. Some of you have written to us, saying,"I am so confused, I hurt so much, how am I going to make it?"

My friend, if  you knew you had an incurable disease wouldn’t you want to speak to a survivor?

Your heart longs to talk with someone who has made it through, who understands this giant you are facing, someone who will just listen….  I just want you to know that YES!  YOU ARE GONNA MAKE IT!

FIRST: You cannot make it without GOD! Honey child, you gotta’ tap into the source of all resource! Get into the word of God, what does it say about your situation, what does GOD promise?

SECOND: You have got to surround yourselves with godly people who will encourage and empower you. If your friends are not sharing strong Biblical truths you need to bid them farewell! Surround yourself with people who believe in the HEALING and restoration power of GOD.

THIRD: You must pray. I can tell you there were nights when I just could not find the words to pray. It seemed like my prayers would ricochet back from the top of the ceiling and around the room. I want you to know that there will be nights when all you can do is breathe the name of Jesus!

FINALLY: Keep your eyes on the prize! Yes, you can become debt free, yes you can fight this cancer, yes your marriage can be restored, yes you can overcome that fear you are facing, yes you can overcome that addiction, yes you can overcome those past failures, all through the grace of GOD! You are gonna make it!

I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE YOU...and GOD LOVES YOU EVEN MORE!! Keep seeking and trusting GOD even when it hurts and it feels as if it all is falling apart.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All OursBecoming His EveMarriage MondaysMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

No Regrets

Throughout my life, I've made many mistakes. I've done things I'm not proud of, said things that I wish I hadn't said, and I have regrets about choices I've made. However, there is one thing for sure that I definitely do not regret, and that is fighting for my marriage!  no regrets

Many of my friends and family thought I was crazy for even trying to fix my marriage. They just simply didn't understand my actions. Yes my husband was unfaithful, but I certainly was far from being the perfect wife. After he walked out in 2008, He came back home two more times. During those times, I fought desperately to save our marriage. God used that time to reveal my mistakes in our marriage. I had spent years putting my children and career ahead of God and my husband. I was also a control freak who didn't stop to consider my husbands needs or feelings. So, when my husband came back home the second time in January, we set-up counseling and mentoring sessions and made a new commitment to God and each other.

January to June of 2009 was filled with ups and downs! My husband eventually decided that he could not keep his end of the new commitments, so he moved out for the last time in June. Sure, I was devastated, but God spoke life and strength back into me because I had been obedient and had truly tried to become that Proverbs 31 woman, wife, and mother. For the first time in years, I had truly given my husband the respect and proper priority in my life. God had taught me how to be the wife He created me to be, and I had been obedient to His calling. So even though things seemed to be going from bad to worse, I had peace in my heart.

After my husband left, he eventually asked me to try counseling again. I did agree to try that again, but soon after that stopped as well. God still asked me to stay committed UNTIL. He wanted me to stand firm, fight regardless of the circumstances, and trust Him with all my heart. There were times when God led me to do things that most people would find absurd: like listening to my husband when he was having problems, calmly interacting with him when he was neglecting our boys or making bad choices, allowing him to spend time in my home with our kids when he was unable to drive, and meeting the woman that he had an affair with face to face to discuss her role in my boys' lives.

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND." ~ Ephesians 6:13

After two years of learning more lessons, growing in God, and walking in obedience, I felt a directional shift in where God was leading me. It was like Jesus just began to calm the storms of my life. I was uncertain of what was to come. So, I began a month of intense prayer and fasting to seek His direction. God eventually showed me that I had done everything He asked me to do, and that I needed to give my husband to Him. I didn't need to carry the burden any long. A few short months later, we were divorced.

You see, I finally began to realize that the journey was about so much more than my broken marriage. It was about me building a true relationship with God, learning to trust Him and His timing, walking in obedience to Him in all circumstances, and sharing His message of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love with hurting souls.  I learned that the outcome of my life doesn't depend on people. God wants only His best for His children. I truly have NO REGRETS about my journey! I know that God works all things together for my good, and there is a purpose. I trust Him completely!

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMLLYMIAOM at Sea Rotating Slide

We're linking up with Yes They Are All OursBecoming His EveMarriage MondaysMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

God is Big Enough....or He isn't

God is Big Enough....or He isn't

Six years ago I would have told you I had a good marriage.  We had the normal issues of every couple, but I knew I was loved, that we were committed to each other, and that God was a central part of our lives.  At least, that's what I thought I knew.  It all changed one day as the word divorce was introduced into our 12-year marriage.

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A Mother's Day Love Story

Love Story

Bev, you need to bring your father and your sisters to the hospital right away. I am so sorry, but it doesn't look good.” It was the most devastating, frightening call I had ever received and I remember it so vividly, as if it was yesterday. A dear friend of mine, Goldsboro Fire Chief  Gary Whaley, was working back then as an emergency medical technician on the EMS truck. He had responded to my mother’s horrific automobile accident. When we arrived at the hospital, and for the next few days everything remained critical.

Love Story

I remember walking into mom’s room and seeing her disfigured swollen face, the tubes protruding from her mouth, and most notably all the bandages. Our family was told that she had cracked ribs and severe vertebrae damage, major lacerations on her face and forehead and had severed her lips and tongue. Only days after being admitted, she had stopped breathing, her body weak and fighting for life.

It was the announcement we all had feared, “Code Blue Third floor, Code Blue Third Floor!”  Some will say it is just plain irony, I will tell you it was the very anointed plan of GOD, that the very first nurse to respond  to the call from my mother’s room to resuscitate and bring her back to life would one day become, my mother in law...

I have always been drawn to the love story of Ruth and Naomi. In all honesty, I am blessed in that I have shared a very similar relationship with my mother in law. I can’t help but giggle as I recall the midnight hour Black Friday shopping excursions, the "all nighter” home renovation projects, and the countless times I have sneakily crammed my size eight feet and stretched  her nearly  200 pairs of size seven shoes and slipped them back into the closet. Yet, I have also seen her uncontrollable tears as she stood by the grave of her young son who was accidentally electrocuted, her courageous battle with breast cancer,  witnessed her hushed prayers at the altar for a husband who was fighting pancreatic cancer and I have seen her relentless hours as a caregiver to my husband’s grandparents before they passed away.

Several years ago, I saw her stand by a son as his wife walked out on him. I remember seeing the tears stream down her face as we stood there under the car port.  Heartbroken, full of questions, filled with worry for her son, and a face full of hurt , she looked at me and with her voice breaking she asked, “Do you realize what you are doing? Have you thought this through? Bev, he wants his family back, he loves you.” She proceeded to tell me how her marriage had fought some very tough battles of her own, but never once had she walked away.  Her words stung, were full of conviction and I selfishly refused to listen.

For months she cared for my husband who was battling depression from the separation,  and yet she never once stopped praying or stopped loving me. You see she practiced the many traits of a godly mother. She realized she would face problems, and as a godly woman her first response was to pray. Things didn’t look good and at times felt like they were out of control, but she was confident in God and trusted his word. In the end, she was sure to give HIM all the glory and praise for working everything together for His glory and the good of those who love Him.

I like to  picture her in my mind out in the field working, her frosted hair pulled back to reveal the wrinkles and the tired eyes from the sleepless nights, then she sees me driving up Westwood drive,  she throws her hands up  to the sky and shouts out “Praise the Lord!” I can hear her yelling out to the neighbors, somebody  go and grab my son, prepare the fatted calf, my prodigal daughter in law is coming home. You see just like Ruth, my story had reached its beautiful day of redemption.

To My Mother In Law:

It was a little over two years ago that you stood on the promises of God and your faith never wavered. There were friends, family and even those in the church  who said, it’s not worth it. Give up on her and move on. Yet you prayed even harder, refusing to allow Satan to have victory in your family. I want to say thank you for praying that hedge of protection and for standing firm. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me unconditionally. Because of your love and the beautiful redemption of Christ, I to will be able to leave with my children the legacy of a godly mother. 

  Happy Mothers Day!   Love, Bev

 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  -Proverbs 31:10

 

 

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

WTR Cover Spring 2013AOMAOM at Sea Rotating SlideLLYMI

We're linking up with Becoming His EveMarriage Mondays, Yes They Are All OursMatrimonial MondayTime Warp Wife, The Life of a Not So Ordinary Wife,  The Better Mom, Marriage MomentMessy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, and No Ordinary Blog Hop!

Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!
 

 

 

Standing in Silence

Standing in Silence

We watch them slip away. We suspect things that we refuse to allow our minds imagine. We are broken and at the moment loud as we lash out and with words seek to destroy. With no impact for the good, we feel defeated and alone.  In those moments of defeat we have a choice. Do we quit? Do we seek revenge?  Or do we stand in silence?

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