Recovery After An Affair: There is Hope

Recovery After An Affair: There is Hope

I could sense the fear in his eyes, as the tears began to flow down the side of his cheek. “You just don’t love me anymore, do you?” I selfishly ignored the question and continued to drown the sound of his trembling voice with the vigorous  roar of the vacuum cleaner. Frustrated, my husband snatched the cord from the wall and began to cry out, “Tell me, I have to know do you still love me?” I stood there callously, unmoved by his daunting words and then without thinking or even showing the slightest remorse I blurted out my reply: "I just don’t “feel” a thing!"

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How did I not know?

How did I not know?

"I feel like such a fool!"

We hear that all the time from spouses who have found out that their husbands or wives have been having an affair and they didn't know about it. And they feel like such a fool because they feel they should have known about it. They beat themselves up with the question "how did I miss all the signs?" They feel like everyone in the world knows except them.

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No Regrets: Living a Regret Free Marriage

No Regrets: Living a Regret Free Marriage

Divorce statistics are not surprise, we live in a selfish, impatient world that says 'I want what I want, when I want it.' We rationalize the consequences of our selfishness, deciding that children are resilient, we deserve to be happy and everyone is doing it. We make decisions made under the guise of no regrets, leave no path untravelled, no stone unturned, or doing things my way, as Frank Sinatra put it.

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I'm Done: What to do when you are sick of your marriage

I'm Done: What to do when you are sick of your marriage

The sleepless nights, waiting for my husband to come home from fire calls...driving past the local dive in the afternoon and seeing his truck parked there...fighting about everything...I was just plain done. I was sick of our marriage. Surely, there had to be more to marriage than the cycle of disappointment, hurt, fighting, and making up.

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I Can't Forgive Myself

I Can't Forgive Myself

Forgiveness is not easy but it's also not optional. Our partner in ministry, Beverly Weeks, has shared before so eloquently about forgiveness and how it can be hard to let go of the pain that has been inflicted by others through their harsh words or unkind actions. As I was reading I thought, what about all of those folks who are struggling with not being able to forgive themselves?

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It's YOUR fault: The Blame Game!

It's YOUR fault: The Blame Game!

I'm done with this marriage because of him. It's his fault. He always works late, he never calls, he leaves dishes in the sink, he never brings me flowers, he leaves his wet towels on the floor, he doesn't tell me I'm pretty, he doesn't romance me, he's addicted to pornography, and the list goes on and on. I'm done with this marriage because of her. 

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Can God Forgive My Broken Past?

Her voice began to break, and the tears began to flow swiftly down the side of her face. I placed her trembling hands within mine and began to squeeze them tightly. I could sense the pain, anguish, the shame as she began to fearfully share with me how she had chosen to end her pregnancy by aborting her child. “I feel so ugly, so sinful. I took my child’s life and it was all because I wanted an easy way out. I was so selfish. How can God ever forgive me?” forgive

She then went on to describe to me how she had awaken from the  procedure at that stale, cold, clinic and felt so all alone. Her story was filled with so much grief as she spoke about the remorse and sadness she had felt. I found myself as her counselor becoming bitter, frustrated, and teary eyed as she recounted the harsh, apathetic tone in her nurse’s voice whose only advice had been , “Here take this heat pad and sit in that chair until you get yourself together. Everything will be just fine…..”

Yet, everything had not been just fine. This young mother had been haunted by her hidden, past sin, she had awaken many nights to the false cries of a baby, she had been attacked by lies from the enemy of how she was worthless, would never measure up, and how God could never forgive her from her broken past. For years, the sorrow and guilt from this unmentionable secret had weighed so heavily upon her, until all the joy had been sapped from her young life.

God Offers Restoration

I found myself sitting in that office chair thinking back to some of the decisions I too had made in my past. Sinful decisions and poor judgement that at one time in my life had wounded friendships, almost destroyed our marriage, grieved my family, and nearly cost me everything. Regrets that for so long caused a deep constant pain, and overwhelming shame.

You see the fact is we are all just one poor decision away from changing the rest of our lives. There are times that the enemy will come at you like a howling wolf, with sharp fangs, just foaming at the mouth with his one intention to attack your mind, create confusion, scar your memories with shame, and make you believe that you cannot break free from the dreaded bondage of your past.

The truth is we cannot break free from our sin on our own, but in Christ there is healing, freedom, forgiveness, and restoration for you no matter what you have done!

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.    Psalm 40:1-3

Breaking Free From The Guilt of Your Past

There are some of you reading this right now, and you have been trapped in the guilt of your hidden past sin for so long. You have allowed that scum bag, pathetic, scally wag Satan to convince you that you can never be forgiven.  Adultery, coveting, pornography, addictions, a past abortion, a hidden sexual sin, harsh words, stealing… It is time to remind yourself to rely on the grace of GOD and the POWER of the Holy Spirit, and rest in the assurance of knowing that GOD loves you and wants you to be forgiven. NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING you have ever done can cause God to love you any more or any less!

The Word of God tell us that when we repent and confess, that our GOD is FAITHFUL to forgive us. No matter how bad your situation may have been, no matter how much pain or anguish you may have caused someone else, no matter how bitter the words or how hurtful the gossip was that leaped from your tongue, God’s love and Jesus death covers it all. If you have turned from your sins to follow Jesus, then honeychild, glory to GOD, those chains have fallen, you have been set free! You have been FORGIVEN for what happened days, months, or even years ago!

Hallelujah! I praise my GOD, because I have been tee-totally forgiven of my past. By his wounds, I am healed. In Christ I am a new creation. SO don’t judge me, Beverly Weeks by my past, I no longer reside there!!!!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. ~Romans 8:1-2

 

FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprint for marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

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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 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!

They Said We'd Never Make It

"We were just kids just living in Wide-eyed, innocence minivan floor like a tenement We were just kids who believed in More than just dreams in More than just justified Ends to a meansWith the sky wide-open Like a child, eyes-open like a child, unbroken by the wheels gone by We knowWho we are (in the fever of our youth) Who we are (We've got nothing left to lose) Who we are (There's still time enough to choose) Who we are Who we are Who we are"

 

The above lyrics are from the latest Switchfoot album.  It is a song called "Who We Are."  The first part of the song reminds me of when Kris and I were first married.  We were 19.  Young and in love, completely naive.  We thought we were invincible back then.  When you are young, everything seems possible.  You are less jaded, because the world hasn't had enough time to show you reality.

theysaidwednevermakeit

They Never Should Have Made It

It didn't take long for our innocence to be shattered.  Newly married, at just 20 years old, Kris and I started down a path that led to destruction.  He had his vices.  I had mine.  The months and years following weren't all bad.  We had good times.  But we had enough bad to destroy any faith we had left in one another.  We were as far gone as every other couple that divorces.  We had so much pain between us, had hurt each other so badly, that we shouldn't have made it.

From the world's perspective, Kris and I should have divorced two years ago.  When the truth of my affair came to light, Kris should have left me, or kicked me out.  He should have tossed me aside and moved on, finding himself a woman who could be worthy of his love.  That's what we do, isn't it?  When we get tired of the person we're with, or in mine and Kris' case, the pain is just too great to bear, we set it aside.  We turn aside and start over.  With someone new.

I Could Never Do That

Do you remember how odd it was to hear of divorce?  When I was growing up, very few of my friends were children of divorce.  I lived in a small town, and it just wasn't common.  Nowadays, the opposite is true.  Couples who stay married after they've been through hell and back are rare.  That isn't common, and perhaps that is why people ask me things like "How did you stay together?"  Or they'll say, "You're so strong.  I don't think I could have done that."

Because our society tells us that if things get too tough, you don't have to stick it out. You deserve to be happy.  You don't deserve to be treated the way you were treated. Society says that you just can't make it.  That the pain is too great, and the trials too insurmountable.

Switchfoot uses their music to oppose that worldview.  In the same song I referenced above, Jon Foreman writes:

"They said it's complicated They said we'd never make it this far But we are

They said the fight would break us But the struggle helped to make Who we are"

Yes, it was complicated.

Yes, the world said we'd never make it this far.

But, we are.

The fight should have broken us, and really, it did.

But the struggle helped to make us who we are.

How do stepfamilies handle stress? How do you choose between spouse and child? Learn powerful, practical tools to build YOUR successful stepfamily from world renown expert Ron Deal!

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FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprint for marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

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Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us! 

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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 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!

Act Like a Husband and Wife

Act Like a Husband and Wife

On the way to an Art of Marriage event we were facilitating a couple of years ago, the drive was long enough for Scott and me to get to a point in the conversation where we heatedly disagreed and misunderstood each other. Yep, we had car-itis, a condition where driving brought out the worst in both of us, and we didn't have enough time to resolve the issue before having to meet with the hosts of the event and get set up. So we put our unsanctified emotions aside, put on our best smiles, got out of the car, and acted like the husband and wife God created us to be...shelving the conflict for resolution on the drive home.

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Double AFFAIR That Rocked My Marriage

“Answer me. Do you still love me?” I could sense the anguish and frustration in my husband’s trembling voice as he began to yell out and weep uncontrollably. I had not seen that look of distraught on his face since the day he had stood beside the grave site of his brother who had been unexpectedly taken away at such a young age. I glanced his way and proceeded to vacuum the floor, all the while ignoring my husband's question. Each time my sinful, self-seeking, desires had drawn my thoughts away from my commitment to my spouse and had left me blind-sided to the false hopes of finding affirmation and happiness from another man. affair

The Adulterous Heart

My cheating on my spouse never involved sex, touching, or even the slightest kiss. It didn’t have to. I had already committed adultery in my heart. It began with innocent text, emails, phone contact, running into each other at the same restaurant…At first I tried to justify the relationship by saying that “he was just a friend”. He was so easy to talk too, we could openly discuss the frustrations in both of our marriages, he seemed to understand just what I was going through…. The secretive conversations were followed by months of deleted text messages. It soon led to my coveting and desiring " the greener grass" that other married couples had. My ungodly fantasies led me to seeking a way out from my marriage.

We Prepared For This, and This, But Not THAT

Didn’t I deserve to be happy? I mean isn’t that what marriage is all about, my happiness? For years, my husband and I had been caught up in the affair of "things." We had gotten our priorities so out of line. We had anxiously prepared for kids, college, retirement, living debt free, we devoted all of our time to careers, PTA, civic groups, kids activities, church “stuff” that we had no energy left to invest in our marriage. If this makes any sense, we had gotten to the place where we were merely living together as roommates. We had prepared for this, this, and this and not "THAT!" I am reminded of the story of a spiritual attack on Job in the Bible. In Job 3:25, Job said, That which I feared has come upon me.”  You see Job had prepared for everything, he was wealthy, influential, had great things, a large family, but he had not anticipated the “that” to attack his family.

S.O.S. Tips for Moving Forward After An Affair

When there is admission or discovery of an affair everything begins to spin out of control. At times your world will seem like it is falling apart and crashing down around you. You can move forward and begin to make God honoring decisions that are in the best interest of you, your spouse, your marriage and your family.

For nothing is impossible with God. ~Luke 1:37

The word nothing in this scripture means even your broken marriage can be completely restored. We serve a powerful God!

Stop & Take Control of Your Thoughts - The enemy will jolt and attack your mind with the what ifs, why’s, the how could you, the blaming, the doubting, bitterness, anger, hurt… You will have to take control of your thoughts. Infidelity is a very difficult and painful situation. Can I just get real with you? For us, as a couple it involved all kinds of emotions. In all honesty, even for the Christian you might even find it can stretch your faith almost to the breaking point. The best thing to do is to "Turn all your worries over to Him. He cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7). Determine to let God be your comforter and allow Him to provide you with wisdom and direction on a daily basis.

Obedience to GodFor the healing to take place my husband and I had to be willing to pray together, to hear one another’s hearts, and to offer forgiveness to one another. We cried, we read lots of godly resources, we cried even more and for the first time we realized  that for the change to come to our marriage, it had to begin within our own hearts. Even though it was painful, I had to accept the responsibility for my actions and the gravity of what I had done to my family. My first step to reconciliation was to fall on my knees and repent to my God and then to seek forgiveness from my husband.

Surround Yourself With Godly Counsel Is the advice being whispered in your ear, godly Biblical advice? If not, you need to RUN from it as fast as you can. When we hit this crisis in our marriage, there were all kinds of people wanting to offer advice. People who hardly even knew us...people who had been unsuccessful at honoring their own marriage covenants. Ask yourself, “Does this advice fit the character and nature of God as portrayed in the Bible?”  In every area of our lives,we should always test to see whether the counsel we receive is true and honest, just, pure, loving, of good report and would glorify God.

It's Okay To Reach Out For Help

I'm not going to sugar coat this for you. There were hurt feelings and some pride issues that we had to lie down. My husband and I  realized that it was o.k. to reach out for help and we recognized that in order for healing and restoration to continue we needed sound, Biblical, Christian Marriage counseling.

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. ~Proverbs 11:14

I am amazed at how GOD has completely redeemed our marriage. Years later, I can say our marriage is better than it has ever been. We have an emotional intimacy like never before.  I love him more today than I did the day the we were married. Are you finding yourself in the fight of your life, struggling just to keep your marriage together? Whatever you may be facing, turn to Him as you face it because nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is impossible with God!

 

FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember gave us God's blueprints marriage and continues to strengthen and transform our marriage, it can change yours, too!

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Are you in your second, third, fourth, fifth marriage? We want THIS marriage to go the distance!! Learn how to Build a Successful Stepfamily!

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Want to unplug on FamilyLife's Fifth Annual Love Like You Mean It Cruise 2015? Book with our group and sail away with us!

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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 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 Deserve It

In the early stage of developing an affair relationship with the other woman (OW), a thought became firmly planted in my mind - like leaven in bread. My marriage wasn't going like I wanted. I was lonely, isolated, and "needed" the attention I was getting. The thought that just seemed to mushroom:

I deserve it.

 

I firmly believe this is just one of the lies that the enemy whispers into the ear of the wayward spouse to lure them into the snare of seduction, and then to trap them there as well. I have also become convinced that the enemy's bag of tricks is only so big, but he doesn't really need a big bag. The tricks he uses just keep on working - over and over again. This lie has got to be one of the worst, most-often employed tricks in his arsenal.

i deserve it

I soon gave in to my desires. After all, I deserved it.

 

But, like many - if not all - other wayward spouses, I set myself up for further failure. As our "relationship" developed, the OW confided in me how she'd been hurt in relationship after relationship in the past. I vowed that I would be different. I would be the one person to never hurt her. I would be her Knight in Shining Armor. And she - she was exactly what I needed! She understood me on a new and exciting level! She knew just how to make me feel really good about myself. I deserved her.

(Notice how self-focused all that really is? And how delusional! What starts in secrecy and lies can never be healthy or good!!)

But in time the fog of fantasy began to wear thin. I started to see the OW as the broken person she was (we're all broken people, I just didn't want to see her that way). And I started to see the futility of the fantasy. There's a reason it's called fantasy. And honestly, all the secrecy was getting old too. Living the dichotomy that was becoming my life - or more precisely, my two lives, was just tiring. I began to want out. And I wasn't really sure I cared which life I got out of (my marriage or the affair), just so long as one of them ended.

But then the lie - the trick 0f the enemy - became my snare.

I deserve it.

Staying involved with the OW became a burden. But a burden I felt like I had to shoulder. I saw no choice in the matter. I didn't want to "let her down." Hah! Ludicrous, I know.

Only Jesus never fails.

That shining armor I'd donned so confidently turned out to be made of garden variety iron. It was getting heavy and beginning to rust. And let's face it, I was no prince. But, I'd made my bed and...well, yeah...now I had to lie in it. I was either going to stick it out at all costs, or become just another one of those guys who discarded the OW - another relationship gone bad. I did NOT want to be one of those guys. So, I tried to stick it out - for a while.

I still feel a pit in my chest when I think about this part of the story. The incredible pain I caused in the end because I couldn't see past my own selfishness in the beginning. The needless, wasted emotional destruction!

Some wayward spouses, I think, just decide it's easier to inflict the damage on their (already hurting) spouse and destroy the weakened marriage relationship rather than risk "hurting" the affair relationship or the other person. It's the attitude of I've come this far, there's no turning back now.

But that would be a road that could NEVER lead to integrity, or to a godly legacy. I simply couldn't live with myself. I decided that even though a divorce was what I deserved and would likely have coming, even though my wife would be hurt even more deeply than the wounds already inflicted and I may very well end up separated from her and our children, the only way to even have a chance at godly living - at a good life - would be through truth. A painful truth for all involved. But truth at any cost was better than living a lie for the rest of my life. So I chose truth. It was (and always is) the right path.

If you are even considering becoming involved in an affair, I encourage you to carefully consider where the whole "I deserve it" lie will take you. It IS a lie - from start to finish. And nothing less than a trap designed to ensnare your soul!

Is your spouse involved in an affair?

If your spouse is currently involved in an affair, I encourage you to pray that many holes will be poked into the web of fantasy, such that the full light of truth casts that web off entirely. And that this "I deserve it" lie will become incredibly burdensome to your spouse, just as it did to me, so they will desire to break free from it and choose to walk in truth. I also encourage you to be ready for that truth - and the pain it will bring.

It's not too late- God can bring life and healing into your marriage.

You can work through the damage and the pain, together - using God's blueprints for your marriage and for your future. You can build a worthwhile legacy based on mutual trust and integrity. It's never too late! The same God who raised Christ from the dead can - and desires to - bring life and healing into your marriage. It is the right path.

If you're struggling in your marriage, or maybe just need a better blueprint, I encourage you to attend Weekend to Remember. This one weekend can be the instrument of life and legacy change!

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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 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 Choose Love

“What if God is more interested in changing you, than in changing your spouse?” I wish I could tell you that I sat still on that cold, harsh brown  sofa, as the words from the Christian counselor’s lips echoed and replayed over and over again in my mind. Just being candid, it was NOTHING even close to still! I actually began to fidget, get antsy, almost jumped off that couch and stuttered helplessly for words to spout back! Her soft-spoken response was FULL of conviction and had followed my list of complaints and selfish demands for changes I yearned for in my marriage. Changes that all centered around my spouse.

choose love

Wasn't Marriage Created To Make Me Happy?

Didn’t I deserve to be happy? I mean, isn’t that what love and marriage were created for, my Happiness? The tears began to flow from my eyes as I began to try to justify to her my reasons for asking him to leave. “You just don’t understand, I don’t feel a thing. I don’t think I love him anymore.”

Unwavering in her stance, she did not seem to empathize with my reasoning of wanting to desert the marriage.  How could she ever understand what I knew to be years of wanting more in a relationship, the outbursts of verbal abuse, feelings of  isolation, mixed up priorities….. Although her words were convicting, I wanted to reject them and remain in denial. It did not help matters at all that I had been confiding in a friend of the opposite sex about the struggles in my marriage. I loved the way he listened and understood. I appreciated his compliments, and I won’t deny it, I even liked his flirtatious remarks. Deep down, I knew they were so wrong and my emotional involvement in this inappropriate relationship was doing nothing at all to help heal my shattered marriage.

The Change Had To Begin In Me....

The ride home that day, the continued counseling sessions with my husband, and the steps of marriage restoration were some of the hardest difficulties I have ever faced. In all honesty, I remember several nights, lying on the edge of the bed and crying out to God. It was a desperate, painful cry. Have you ever been there? When you don’t know what else to pray….when you just can’t find the words to say? It takes all your strength just to muster a whisper of the name, JESUS. Yet, I knew that if my marriage situation was going to change I needed to repent of my  sin and ask God to change my marriage. I came to that harsh realization that the change had to begin in ME!

I began to pray and ask God to resurrect my marriage and my feelings for my husband. Over those next few months, I woke up every morning and I purposely chose to love him!  Just getting real, I am sure there were days when I had my cranky rotten attitude that he had to do the same….. and he chose to love me.

I learned that marriage was not created just for me to be happy. It was created to make us more holy. Rick and I  were created to sharpen each other into the image of Christ. Even when we did not feel a thing we had to choose to love, sacrifice, listen, empathize and affirm one another.

♥ I Am Grateful That We Chose To Love

It’s been a little over three years now since that attack in our marriage. I love him more now than the day we were married. I am so glad we chose not to listen to the world, it offered us little hope. There were those who thought we were crazy, insisted we move on, “find someone who will make you happy, you deserve it.” We had to shut them out, and instead we focused on prayer and stood on the promises and marriage truths found in God’s word. I am so grateful that we chose to LOVE! 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

In which area do you need to choose to love?

 

FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember saved our marriage and continues to strengthen and transform it, it can change yours, too!

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Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 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 Saw Mommy Hissing At Santa Clause

Somebody pass the double stuffed Oreos and a jar of crunchy peanut butter. This girl is about to step all over her hot pink, polka dot painted toes, and I'm gonna need a pedicure by the time I am finished! Seriously, could I have Ebenezer Scrooge’s DNA in my genes? It never fails, about this time of year I get me a little Grinch ATTITUDE.  You know I  have been known to pucker up that bottom lip, sway those hands in the air and do some  momma mania shouting. Need I remind you, NONE of my actions honor the King!

christmas

There is the stress of the parties, functions, plays and events, the traffic, the endless search for the last minute gift (that you NEVER can find), and even the infamous throwing of the bathroom scales, after weighing in almost four pounds heavier in one week! Of course, I guess the weight gain should come as little surprise considering I devoured a whole sleeve of my favorite white chocolate- covered Oreos and ate more than my share at a local buffet.

Blame It on The Time of The Month

Ladies, just being candid, my Christmas stress always comes along at the wrong time of the month! You know, that one time when you cannot get enough of anything, chocolate or deep-fried.  It is that one time of the month when you feel you weigh a ton and your hormones are so out of whack that you cry even at coffee and dog food commercials. Heaven forbid you turn on It’s A Wonderful Life or Little House on the Prairie……pass the Kleenex! Seriously, last night, while watching The Waltons I felt like I was having an emotional melt down...

The Part Where I go to Hissing

Honeychild, I ain't gonna lie, it is during these times that I have been known to lash out at my husband. Yes, you heard me right. No matter how spiritual you are, we all have sinful selfish desires because we are all sinners and sometimes when we don’t get our way, a quarrel is sure to follow.

There have been occasions that I have had to remind myself to take the focus off of me and my wants, and through God’s power, I have to pray for what is best for me, my husband, and our family.  You see God’s word clearly tells us in the book of James that when we don't handle our words and thoughts in a gracious manner, trouble is sure to follow.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~James 4:1-3

Humbled & Seeking Forgiveness

Just being candid, I had to do something this weekend that was very humbling. I called a family meeting and in front of my husband and the kids, I just had to say “I am sorry.”  You see, anger is inevitable. Anger itself is not wrong, but as a child of God, I have to choose: Will I  handle that anger and hurt with bitterness or will I  handle it in a Christ-like manner?

There are times when I just have to  pour out my heart to God. I have to seek forgiveness where I need to, and ask  the Lord to help me to seek Him first during the Christmas season.

This Christmas season when I start to feel sad, I will start counting my blessings. When I begin to feel myself getting down, or depressed, I will count more blessings. Believe me, my life and your life, my friend, are filled with plenty of blessings! I want to be intentionally thankful and grateful!

Trading In My Hissing For A Little Kissing!

This Christmas season when my kids sneak down the stairs, I want to hear  them  singing, “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the Mistletoe last night.”  Better yet... hmmm...I am thinking  there is a verse coming on that says "I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus…"

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. ~Colossians 4:6  MSG

 

  Dove recording artist Sarah Groves, Sherry Jennings and I will share from own personal struggles and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert and a TONS of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus and van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

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 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!

Pray for Crop Failure!

Last fall, I wrote about sowing the indestructible, unshakeable Word of God into our lives and marriage in Beyond My Wildest Dreams. Something I didn't mention was what do to with all the bad seed we'd spent years sowing into our lives!

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You know what I'm talking about...all those horrible things we'd said to and about each other. When we recognize that the words we speak are powerful, they are seed, they go forth and accomplish that which they are intended, we realize it's as true with the words of death we speak as the words of life.

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. ~Galatians 6:7-8

As our marriage imploded, God stopped me in my path. I realized I had been sowing seeds of the flesh, seeds of my will and my desire to control, seeds of isolation and the destruction of our marriage. I had to take ownership of my beliefs, attitudes and words, hold them up against the Word of God, see how they were so far apart, and repent. I sought God's forgiveness, (and Scott's, when he would listen) and began to sow new seeds of righteousness- of submission, love, grace, mercy and legacy. It is only through the grace of God we can reap a different harvest.

I said, ‘Plow new ground for yourselves, plant righteousness, and reap the blessings that your devotion to me will produce. It is time for you to turn to me, your Lord, and I will come and pour out blessings upon you.’ ~Hosea 10:12

Yep, I prayed against the things we'd said and done in our past, I prayed against the consequences of our ignorance and running from God. I continue to pray for  Him to search me and show me my iniquities, so I could continue to repent and walk differently.

Word Power

I wouldn't let anyone sow bad seed into our lives! From the moment I understood the power of our words, I would not permit anyone to speak death into Scott's life or our marriage. It's so easy to speak death, isn't it? "Honey, he is living with his girlfriend, he is never coming home" or "He'll never change." NO! I rebuke that! I come against it in the name of Jesus- my husband WILL come home, he WILL turn his heart toward God and me.  Sometimes it's as simple as listening to yourself talk about your spouse with other people...would you be hurt or angry to hear your spouse speak about you the way you speak about him/her?

You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say. - Proverbs 18:20 Good News

What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words. - Proverbs 18:21

Multiplication

When we sow, we will reap abundantly more than we planted, right? When a farmer plants one seed of corn, he doesn't expect to reap one seed of corn, he expects to reap a tall stalk with many cobs: a bounty! That is how God designed it, so that when we sow, we reap abundantly more than we planted....which is a good thing when we're sowing the indestructible Word of God into our lives and marriage. And conversely, multiplication magnifies what we'll reap when we sow selfishness. There is no such thing as sowing a little sin- the consequences will be vast and wide. Even when we seek and grant forgiveness, there are still consequences for our actions.

The moment to moment decisions to speak life, to sow righteousness into your life and marriage is a mission in and of itself. Don't compound your mission by allowing yourself or others to speak death into your life and marriage- it doubles your work as you pray crop failure over their words and then sow the indestructible Word of God!

Where are you praying for crop failure in your life?

 

Ladies, do you struggle with low self esteem or other insecurities? You just don't feel pretty enough, smart enough, or even like you fit in? Join recording artist Sarah Groves, Beverly Weeks and Sherry Jennings for this amazing life changing event. We'll share from own personal struggles, past addiction to food and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert & a lot of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale NOW at www.bridgechurch.cc . Bring your church groups! Bus & van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

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

WEekend to Remember

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 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!

Being Ruined through Marriage

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you. I never had a selfless thought since I was born. I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through: I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek, I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin: I talk of love —a scholar's parrot may talk Greek— But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack. I see the chasm. And everything you are was making My heart into a bridge by which I might get back From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains You give me are more precious than all other gains.

                                                                                   - As the Ruin Falls - by C.S. Lewis

Oh! How this poem speaks to the very core of me! I'm naturally such a very selfish person. There's not a day - probably not a moment - when I do not have a selfish thought. Even when doing what would seem to be an unselfish thing, I often wonder who's looking, who will notice, what kind of credit or reward I will get for it. It's pitiful really.

marriage

But marriage ruins us, doesn't it?

I mean, it takes us right out of our comfort zone. We have to learn the skill of compromise. We get to learn how to truly think of the other person's needs ahead of our own. And that just destroys us. In marriage, I get the opportunity to become unselfish - more so than in any other situation on this planet. Then add in kids, and I get even more chances to be selfless. Add in conflict, marital struggles - even more opportunity to be ruined, but with a great purpose. And it hurts. My, does it hurt sometimes!

Maybe, when Lewis wrote "The pains you give me are more precious than all other gains," he was simply echoing the writing of another poet from another time:

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend" Proverbs 27:6

How much more faithful, how much more precious, are even the worst hurts received by a spouse, when placed at the feet of Jesus in faith, as we continually endeavor to honor our covenant - not with our spouse, but with God Himself?

How much more faithful do we have opportunity to become?

 

And I think; just maybe that's the point.

 

Ladies, do you struggle with low self esteem or other insecurities? You just don't feel pretty enough, smart enough, or even like you fit in? Join recording artist Sarah Groves, Beverly Weeks and Sherry Jennings for this amazing life changing event. We'll share from own personal struggles, past addiction to food and how you can be set free from your bondage in the name of JESUS! That's not all! We will have over 50 vendors on site with shopping, a concert & a lot of PRIZES!!!! Tickets are on sale at www.bridgechurch.cc Bring your church groups! Bus & van parking is available!

IWM 2013 cc

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

WEekend to Remember

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 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!

How Do I Forgive Myself?

My wife and I were sitting in the counselor's office. I was a wreck! My poor choices had destroyed our relationship. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, she was offering me forgiveness - no easy thing, considering my choices against her, against our relationship. She took a sheet of paper, tearing it into little pieces, then threw it away. This represented how thoroughly she had chosen to forgive my actions. And yet..I could not come to grips with that forgiveness. I could not accept her forgiveness, because I could not forgive myself. I spent days at a time in bed, severely depressed. Only going to work because I didn't want to lose my job. Avoiding everyone when at all possible. Especially my own family. Beating myself up in every way possible. Unable to get over myself. Unable to forgive myself.

And then I was reading Psalm 51, and it hit me.

forgive myself

None of us can forgive ourselves.

It's really not a biblical concept. It's not part of God's design.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment." ~Psalm 51:1-4

What I gleaned from this?

  • God is ready to forgive me, and even "blot out" my transgressions - it's the idea of an eraser on a white board. Permanently erase - cleaner than clean. Completely remove, obliterate sin and any traces of it. In Christ, God looks at me as a completely holy person - totally unblemished.
  • Like David, my sin was continually in my face. I just wanted it gone. This was the part that destroyed me. How could I do something so disgraceful? How could I - a professed believer and follower of Christ, someone who had lived a pretty straight and narrow life up to that point? My actions were "beneath me." I was better than that. But this attitude was really just a false humility - aka pride.
  • Like David, I realized that my sin was ultimately against no one but God Himself. Sin is only sin because God has defined it as such. Think about it. Sin is doing that which is outside of God's design. So even though my sin had a clear and negative impact on others and on me, my main problem was that I was operating outside of God's plan for my life.
  • And then I realized that I really could NOT "forgive myself" because that would be putting myself in the place of God. What I was doing was self-condemnation, when Jesus Himself had already said "neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more." This self-condemnation was nothing less than mocking what Jesus Christ did for me - the atonement He bought at the ultimate price of His own life!

And that was the core issue.

By not "forgiving myself" I was actually trying to put "me" in the place of God. It's the faulty mindset that my sin isn't worthy of Christ's sacrifice (isn't forgivable). But either it is (and it IS), or He died for nothing.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. ~Psalm 51:10-12

In Christ, He has already done it. He did it for David - the adulterous murderer. He did it for me, and my sin is no less offensive to Him. He did it for all who believe in Him, regardless of their sin (John 3:16).

I really can't forgive myself.

I don't need to. In fact, I don't have that right or authority. I can only receive the forgiveness readily available through Christ, and then walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, trusting that in Him, I am redeemed.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 8:1

Oh...and that forgiveness my wife was offering me - it wasn't really from her either. She was simply allowing the forgiveness of Christ to flow through her - for both our benefits, and for the benefit of our marriage. She's told me many times since, that's the only way she could've ever done it. Real forgiveness always comes from God through Christ and then flows through us to others. It is never meant to be simply received, or just bottled up.  When we come to understand the gift that God has given us through Christ, our response will be to receive it fully and then pass it along to others.

If you have trouble forgiving yourself, I encourage you: stop trying. Just receive the forgiveness Christ has already paid for at the cost of His life!

 

IWM 2013 cc

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

WEekend to Remember

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 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 Was That Prodigal Wife

I Was That Prodigal Wife

The drive on the way home was somber an unusually quiet.  There were no sing-alongs, no laughter, no music, only grim silence.  It was  if my two young children were in mourning and had just left a freshly dug grave.

As I turned to reach for his hand, I could see the tears flowing uncontrollably from my young son’s eyes.  He forcefully pushed my hand away and with his voice breaking, he yelled out,” I can’t take this anymore. Why did we have to leave dad? Mom what have you become? I  want my family back!”

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