Music is what really gets inside of me and draws me to the feet of Jesus. Among a myriad of other things, music reminds me that there is always hope. Even when there seems to be no end to your struggles.
I don't think I ever quite understood 1 Corinthians 13 until God restored my marriage and showed me what love really was. I am sure that I still don't comprehend even half of what is really packed into those thirteen verses. Verse 7 is tough, as it describes what love does. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It always perseveres.
I spent five years standing for my marriage and a man that was enslaved by a pornography addiction. In the depths of my hurt and frustration, I turned my back on God. I quit believing that His word was true.
I stopped hoping.
I stopped trusting in the God that tells me that He loves me and He is ALL I need. And when my husband failed me, instead of understanding that God was the only one who could fill that void inside me, I turned to the arms of another man. And I spent the next seven years in a vicious cycle of sin and running from God.
I could write for days about those seven years, but I want to talk about the first five years of my marriage. The years where I begged God to change my husband. I prayed and prayed that God would free my husband from his addiction. But he went back. Over and over again, he betrayed me and our marriage bed.
I became weary. And I gave up hope. No one really understood how hurt I felt and how broken my heart was. Who could I share my pain with and still keep my husband's secret and pride in tact? I thought I had to bear it alone. I think now about what I put myself (and my husband) through, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I had not wandered through that desert of sin because I stopped hoping, I would not understand hope like I do now.
I wear a ring on my left hand that encompasses 1 Corinthians 13:13. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
That ring on my finger has three words on it: faith, hope, love. Hope is in the middle and any time that I look down at my hand, I see hope staring back up at me. If I had not endured the trials that broke my marriage down, if I had not allowed God to rebuild what my husband and I had shattered, I would not understand hope in the same way. I wouldn't understand it at all.
Hope is so important, and if you do nothing else, you have to hold on to hope. I know some of you have been hanging on for many years now. My heart aches with and for you, and I think about you often. I pray for you, for your marriages to be restored, and for your prodigals to return home. But while we wait, I'm begging you: Do NOT give up. Do NOT allow the lies of the enemy to distract you from what God has called you to do. Keep standing. Keep fighting. Do not abandon what you know is right and true, and do not lose hope.
It may feel as if the world will cave in on you. You may be exhausted and torn to pieces from trying and waiting, and seeing no change in your own situation. But you know what? There is someone who sees you. There is someone who is holding you. His arms embrace you, whether you can feel them or not. Someone feels your pain, as deep as it runs. Someone understands. LOVE does.
Loving our guest blogger, Jamie Bishop of Loving When It Hurts. She shares candidly and passionately from her healing heart how to love your spouse, even when it hurts.
Jamie and Kris have been married for just over 13 years. 12 1/2 years of that time, Kris was weighed down by an addiction to pornography. After 5 years of praying and wishing it away, Jamie quit trying and slowly found her way to the arms of another man. That relationship lasted on and off for over seven years before Kris found out about it. A year into God’s restoration of our marriage, their story is one of unconditional love, forgiveness, and hope. It is their prayer that their story encourages anyone who is struggling to put the pieces of their marriage back together.