It was really a hysterical sight. All 20 lbs of my two year old sporting his mamma's winter coat. Try as he might, there was no level of arranging that would make that coat fit him. He was simply too small. I watched him fidget and tug for quite sometime. At first, he was all smiles, but soon his inability to change the situation led to frustration.
As I watched him, I couldn't help but think of myself. Oh how often I "put on" my God sized circumstances and try and do something with them. I fidget and fumble trying to arrange and manipulate the situation in hopes of easing the pain. It doesn't take long before I find myself in a heap of frustration. I forget that the circumstances aren't mine to begin with. They don't fit me, so why am I trying to make them?
After nearly 3 years of standing for my marriage, I find that I still fall into this trap from time to time. Somehow I fail to translate the absurdity of a toddler wearing an adult jacket into a practical life lesson. I convince myself that I am capable of handling the situation and I set out to try it on. There's no doubt that other people struggle with this exact problem. In fact, as of today, there are 3,647 books in print on the topic of saving your marriage.
Clearly people are frustrated over their circumstances. If you dig a little deeper, the number drops to 860 with the addition of the term "christian." Did you catch that? There are over 3,000 MORE books in print for saving your marriage that don't involve God? Wow, I am seeing visions of a toddler trying to wear an adult jacket right about now. Honestly, I can't even imagine what kind of solution these books offer for saving your marriage, but I assure you that it won't work.
In fact, absolutely nothing that you do will work. Anything you or I do to bring our spouses home will end up leaving us feeling frustrated, because the problem is not ours to handle. There is no level of zipping, pulling, crying, or loving that will ultimately make a difference in your spouse's heart. Oh, you might get a temporary change, but make no mistake---> God is the only chance that a person has at changing his/her heart for good.
I've talked with so many standers who are lost in a sea of worry over their choices. Friend, stop fretting. Don't let the enemy talk you into trying to control something that doesn't belong to you. Don't worry about what you will say the next time he picks up the kids or what you should do about that request that he made of you. Pray about it. Listen to God and just obey. Because if you can't do anything to win your spouse back, then you can't do anything so bad that God can not work in his/her life. Trust Him.
Of course, this is not a license to file for divorce or treat your beloved disrespectfully. By all means, those things are clearly not in obedience to God. This is a call to lay it all down. A call to realize that nothing that you say, do, or think will change the circumstances. God wants the glory for the restoration of your family. He isn't going to get that glory if you have a hand in it. He's already got 1000 things in motion. As long as you are not working against Him, there is no burden to carry. You just need the faith to walk in obedience. No more tossing and turning over legal decisions, spoken words, or specific behaviors. You need only be still.
The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still. Exodus 14:14
Looking for encouragement as you walk through the valley? Join us in a private Facebook group for standers: Intentionally Standing.