It was the eve of the new year and most were celebrating. To some, it may have involved getting all dressed up to attend a party containing an abundance of confetti and noisemakers. To others it may have been a quiet night at home with family, watching the television as the traditional ball-drop in Times Square. My past "celebrations" were the latter of the two. With an incomplete family and an uncertain future, for the past 5 years, my New Year's Eve has taken neither form.
I pray for resolution, trusting God's will for our life. I have no doubts about whether I made the right decisions or not. There's peace about them. Whatever it is that other people feel about me and my decisions to not walk away from my marriage, it has never robbed me of that peace God has given me.
I disagree with those who would argue that I am not a strong woman because I want my husband in my life. That I am foolish to choose to forgive, weak and manipulated - or even brainwashed. The problem with the assumptions made by that share this opinion is that they don't understand (or choose to reject) the concept of "oneness" in marriage.
Matthew 5-6: It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ 6 So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together. (NLV)
Self-fulfillment and enlightenment, and the "empowerment" of women undermine God's perfect plan for marriage and family.
Marriage symbolizes Christ's relationship with "the Church." Consequently, we are to follow His example in marriage. Our issues arise from the fact that we are imperfect people trying to carry out His perfect plan without His perfection in us. Rather than elevate the concept of selfless love as John 15:13 defines, we champion self-interest and our own "right" to be "happy."
There is no question that we, the creatures made in God's image have misused and yes, even abused His perfect model of marriage. This does not, however, make His plan imperfect and cannot justify abandoning it. God hates divorce. But for the hardness of our hearts, He has permitted it.
Matthew 19:8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. (NLT)
Imperfect people sometimes hurt, neglect, abandon and betray those to whom they've pledged their hearts. As the world drifts further away from God and His principles, we continue to see more hurt people hurting more people. As we give more credence to the message of the culture rather than the message of God's redemptive love, we will see fewer people forgiving and less reconciliation and healing.
Sometimes it is difficult but with God, all things are possible according to His will and purpose for our lives. - Not some things but ALL things.
The Father's will is revealed in John 3:16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (HCSB)
Jesus gave His life to fulfill the will of His Father in Heaven.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I could not have married a man who did not. I, an imperfect follower of Christ, married a believer in Christ, though not a follower of Christ.Two imperfect people joined together before God in Holy Matrimony.
The Bible warns against being unequally yoked. It is a warning to protect us from the heartache that can accompany such a union. But what about when one spouse accepts salvation after they marry or when one spouse grows deeper in faith while the other drifts - or worse yet, turns away in rebellion.
A once equally yoked union will feel that heartache and experience first-hand, the reason for the strong warning. Again, God has allowed divorce. But it is never His desire. The Bible tells us a believing spouse should not abandon a marriage. God can work through the life of the believer to reach the unbelieving (or rebellious) spouse. God has allowed them to be joined. He does not want to see their union fail.
This biblical principle has been twisted and misunderstood to imply that a believing spouse must be a doormat and that "anything goes." That they must take abuse in whatever form it is served. This is a lie and a deception satan uses to destroy marriages.
Forgiveness and patience with a struggling spouse demonstrate the love God has shown toward us. He forgives us... continually, as we seek after Him. When we repeatedly fail and return He is quick to forgive. He does not expect perfection in our humanness. He offers it through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, who died to make us perfect in Him. The love, forgiveness and patience, we show toward a less-than-perfect spouse should reflect that which God has shown toward us.
Seeking godly counsel is wise. Ultimately, however, the peace God places in one's own heart is what confirms His will. At times, His inner peace must reveal itself in the midst of outward turmoil. Unless one experiences it, it may be a difficult concept to grasp. Peace in the midst of turmoil. Joy in the midst of heartache. Loving the "unlovable," and forgiving the unforgivable.
So another year has passed. Another ball has dropped in Times Square. Another New Year's Eve has come and gone without the blessing of my husband's kiss at the stroke of midnight. What I did have was the company of our little doggie and a peace and joy that contradicted my heartache and loneliness.
BANG... BANG... BANG-BANG-BANG! At 12:00 the neighbors broke the silence in the house with their 2016 proclamation with fireworks (or multiple rounds of gunfire.)
Baby-Dog barked. He remembers that sound and it is unsettling to him. He calmed down when I petted him.
...They have no affect on me. I have the undeniable peace of God in my heart.
I want to thank Janae Rice for her willingness to come forward and explain her relationship. I want to thank her for explaining her decision to stay committed to our marriage. - Not that she 'owes' any of us an explanation.
So many people feel entitled, even responsible, to intrude into other people's lives. There are some (far too many) who will use the heartache of others to advance their own agendas. This is disappointing. The unfortunate consequence of that is the potential destruction of people's lives in a misguided effort to 'protect.'
The current mantra is 'no more.'
Of course it would be wonderful if everyone was good to everyone else. Wouldn't it be wonderful if nobody did anything wrong? That we lived in a world where people did not hurt each other. A world where no marriage had no conflict. A world in which every childhood was idyllic. Why, yes, that would be wonderful.
Our world, however, is not perfect. our world is full of people who make mistakes - sometimes horrible mistakes. We sometimes make one bad choice, that can lead to us into habitual captivity. Additionally, a single bad choice on one random bad day can lead to a very tragic event.
To arbitrarily decide that a particularly person is without redemption is to declare that we are all trapped in condemnation. God's word clearly states that we are all sinners. His word also tells us that it is not necessary to live in condemnation - but not without Jesus Christ. He alone is our only hope. Our lives can be renewed and we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Dealing realistically with this fact, and the fact of relational conflict exists, would be far more effective than believing that a 'no more' slogan and 'just leave' advice (and at times manipulation or coercion) is going to eliminate the problem.
A very simple fact is that we love people who are capable of doing bad things. We cannot continue to insult the intelligence and question the motives of women who choose to 'stay with the jerk.' - Particularly when we have no insight into their life.
We diminish the seriousness of the real victims of abuse. We should do all we can to help and protect these victims. We must also be careful not to declare that everything is 'abuse.'
Happy Birthday to the man who:
Makes me laugh
Helps me grow
Laughs with me
Brings smiles to my day
Makes me laugh more
Laughs at my humor
Loves me and our son
Was lost but now is found
Loves God and seeks Him
Gives the BEST hugs EVER
I want to grow old with
I love you Larry. 'Happy' Birthday!
I am so thankful for you, and for the sense of humor God gave us that bonds and strengthens us!
We ask the question all the time. Why?
Why is there suffering? Why can't I get a break? Why aren't people just nice to each other? Why would she do that? Why does he stay with her? Why doesn't anyone like me? Why would God allow that to happen? Why didn't He answer my prayers? Why? Why? Why?
I guess it is our insatiable need to know things that we cannot know, to comprehend that which is beyond our capacity to comprehend. It is this weakness that satan preys upon. He first used it against Eve and it worked. - But look where it's gotten us. The fall of humanity happened as a result of her pride. Eve wanted to eat of the tree of knowledge. And we, like Adam, follow along after those offering worldly 'wisdom.'
What they fail to understand (and many don't care to) is that we are spiritual beings. Spiritual warfare goes on around us all the time. We may laugh at the idea of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, but it is not a laughing matter. Who do you allow to win in your personal spiritual battles?
I don't know the day or hour, but I know the difference when I declared to satan, 'You will lose! You cannot have my husband. You cannot have my son. You cannot have me. Jesus Christ has rescued us and He has defeated you, and it is in His name I claim victory.'
I threw down gauntlet and I was ...confident of victory. That didn't, however, prevent satan from taking on the challenge. He didn't slither away. He fought back with a vengeance. His goal was to 'take me out.' I was the one praying. I was the one with the faith. I was the one calling on the name of Jesus. With me out of the equation he would be free to continue his destructive work.
I ask the question too. Why? Why did God enable me to have the kind of faith that gave me the confidence to shake my fist in the face of satan? This faith is available to everyone but few embrace it. So why me? I know that I'm 'different' but I'm certainly not extraordinary.
Why did He choose me and Larry to demonstrate His love in such and extraordinary way?
If you wonder why I am still living- why (and how) I am still loving? The answer is quite simple - Jesus Christ. He died to save every one of us. He is still living. He is still loving - every single soul... and I choose to let Him live in me.
I may not fully understand why certain things had to happen the way they did. But I don't need to. I trust in God who is infinitely more wise and loving than I am. He knows the 'why'... and that is good enough for me.
I pray that our faith will continue to grow and will not waiver when faced with the next 'why?'.
I will see Larry tomorrow.
It will be our early anniversary 'celebration.' It certainly is not how we would have envisioned this milestone moment in our lives. Emotions are on overload. It's hard to explain how it feels to be so blessed and yet so sad at the same time. Thinking about the days and years (and hours) of reflection, meditation and prayer over our situation it is clear that God is in control of everything.
He has worked out every specific detail long before our lives became our what they are today.
I never would have believed that my life story would end up including a chapter where my house gets destroyed with tear gas, my husband gets sent away for 20 years because the one time in his life (arguably the most important time) he didn't compare and check and re-check (thoroughly), the qualifications of a service provider before hiring them. The time when his life literally depended on it.
The grace of God has made a way for us to have visits. I don't see how i could have survived otherwise. I know it seems a bit ungracious to want more but i do. I want my husband home with me.
Thank you for your mercies Lord. Forgive that in spite of all the blessings of protection and provision I still come to you asking for more. But You are my Almighty Father in heaven , there is no better place to go.
Friday was a day to remember. Tears of joy fill my heart but I try to hold them in. Still unsure of how strangers will interpret them, I don't feel secure revealing my emotions.
Outsiders, those who think they can read a few headlines and determine what's best, have come to annoy me. I guess my arrogance, my own indignant sense of right and wrong, allowed me to be one of those people. Superiority, maybe that's what it is. That feeling that because we were raised in a 'normal' home, because we are responsible adults living responsible lives, causes us to think we can evaluate everyone else's lives and decisions.
Sometimes lessons are learned by traveling a road you never imagined walking. It doesn't take me long to learn lessons though. I thought I was a compassionate person. I truly believed I was strong supporter of personal rights and responsibility. Living life on the 'other side' showed me that I had a lot to learn.
No longer do I watch the evening news, or scan the headlines of the paper and take it at face value. Yes, I still wonder, "How could they do that?" It is followed by an unfamiliar sensitivity to the 'how'. It is a result of the sin in the world that we are all capable of falling into. The sin that can penetrate anyone's life.
'Perspective'. That interesting word was used to inform me that basically is why I face an absurdly long future separated from my own husband....perspective.
Thankfully, the 'perspective' of another has given me hope. I will see my husband soon. My prayers have been answered.
My desperate prayers for my husband's salvation and freedom from alcohol addiction, the years of prayer, have been answered. As I prayed for him, I prayed for my own spiritual growth. I asked God's will for our lives, that we serve Him and worship Him in unity..... God's will ... that none should perish. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matthew 18:12-14 (The Voice)
12 A shepherd in charge of 100 sheep notices that one of his sheep has gone astray. What do you think he should do? Should the shepherd leave the flock on the hills unguarded to search for the lost sheep? God’s shepherd goes to look for that one lost sheep, 13 and when he finds her, he is happier about her return than he is about the 99 who stayed put. 14 Your Father in heaven does not want a single one of the tripped, waylaid, stumbling little ones to be lost.
The wisdom of the world says the shepherd should forget that one missing sheep and chalk it up as a loss. In God’s economy, each soul has its own value apart from all others. Jesus calls the people of His kingdom to help the weak and the friendless, the small and the frail, the mute and the poor, the ugly and the disfigured.
Sometimes the answer to our prayers doesn't come when we want or do they come on our time tables. Many times we don't see how God has answered until we're looking back and can see how He made all the pieces fit.
Our lives are to be lived for His glory. THAT is his purpose. His love, mercy and grace is so beyond our comprehension that we can't always understand what's going on.
Faith is all about trust.... I trust.
....and He has never failed me yet.
Today is the anniversary of the day that changed everything.
Some would remember it as a horrible day. I sit here calmly, rationally, and with a clear mind see it as the day that did indeed change everything.
It is the day that God proved to me that he indeed heard my prayers. He demonstrated His awesome power over the enemy. And He has, through much trauma and loss, confirmed what I knew to be true.
He preserved my marriage, given forgiving hearts to the ones I love, and restored relationships. Most importantly, for the salvation that those I love have now received.
I am praising Him today for His faithfulness and for all the great and small things that he does that reveals His glory!
Still I wait.
Still I long to see the curves of Larry's face. There is hope now - not false, but expectant, hope. I WILL see him, but when? How can they not realize how important it is? When is patience no longer in order? How many weeks... months... years, will I be made to wait?
Sometimes I wonder if the wait will be long enough to break me. I wonder if that is the plan. It is in those moments that God speaks to my heart. I can feel His hands holding my face, His eyes staring into mine, "Look at me. What did I tell you?"
His Word tells me in Proverbs 3:5 (NLT)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
I am sure the disappointments are bound to keep coming. The challenges will not stop. Though satan has lost, he does not give up. Like an evil 'energized bunny' he will keep coming and coming and coming. He may pounce, or he may sneak up on us when I least expect it. I must remember to keep my guard up. I must never allow myself to just relax and believe that I will remain safely beyond his reach. That is where the danger lies.
I can remain safe, but it takes effort on my part. I must always keep my eyes on Jesus. I must daily place my life in his hands. I must daily remind myself that I was created for His glory. He is not just sitting back waiting for me to make my request de jour.
When facing relentless disappointments and difficulties it easy to become distracted - to take my eyes off of Jesus. The focus becomes the problem instead of the source of strength.
Those are the times I stop and envision my broken bleeding Savior dying on a cross - for me. His love for me is so great that he willing suffered that torture - for me. He cared that much then. He cares that much now. I can trust in Him and His plans for my life.
...Strengthened again, I can rest ...in Him.
Thank you Lord for Your strength for today. Thank you for giving me the faith to trust, and hope... and rest.
I never learned to swim when I was a child. We just never went swimming often enough for me to learn. I never felt safe in the water until I went in with my husband. He was sensitive to my fears while he helped me to become more comfortable in the water.
Larry loves the water - boating, fishing, swimming, water-skiing - he did it all. And with such confidence. Though he did not fear the water he did respect it. I wanted our son to possess that same confidence and respect for the water that his father had. My husband signed him up for lessons at the local YMCA when he was four years old. And even though there were two instructors for the class, it was Larry that pulled our son up from the bottom of the pool when he slipped himself off the edge. Our son was safe because Larry was right there with him. It was then, at the age of thirty eight, that I was determined that I would finally learn. I signed up as well.
I am not now, nor will I ever be a 'natural' swimmer. There are some that feel at home in the water. I am not one of them. I lost a brother in a drowning accident. There are legitimate reason that I am not at ease in the water. I may never be able to save anyone, but I don't want it to be because i was too to make the effort to learn.
While attempting to learn to dive into the pool, my instructor was completely dumbfounded that I could not make myself just do it. Standing there at the edge just thinking about going head first into the water. it gave me great anxiety. I told her that though I am standing there, telling myself to just jump, envisioning myself doing it, my body refused to move from its position. I simply could not do it.
She could not understand. Looking at me incredulously she asked, 'This?'... like it was nothing. She was simply incapable of understanding. It is difficult to teach when you cannot empathize with the student's anxiety, or confusion, or whatever it is that is standing in the way. It is not always something that can be explained. But it is very real. She requested the assistance of another instructor. She could empathize a bit better. Then with great patience, the new instructor finally discovered a technique that worked for me. Eventually, I did learn to dive off the edge and swim across the pool.
I find myself in a similar place now. Only this time, I am the one that cannot understand. the one who is confidently assured, the one who knows that what I am trying to do is absolutely safe. Contrary to simply dealing with a fearful 'student', it is agencies and stubborn attitudes. Perhaps experience has given legitimate reason for apprehension. Like my empathetic instructor, I can see that the concerns, though very real... though they may be based on experience... they are fears about what has happened in the past... or fears about what they believe could happen.
I understand. I was there on the edge of the pool with those same anxieties... and I chose to jump. I chose not to concentrate on my fears but on my goal. In my head I recite Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I knew there were safeguards and chose to focus on them. i knew that I would be safe. In spite of my fear, I jump.
While in a lesson, the instructor was sharing how she had to tread water for an hour to pass her test. An hour! How could she have done that? She did it because she didn't have a choice if she was to become an instructor. She didn't just give up and quit.
I have been treading water for the past two and a half years. Patiently (and sometimes not-so-patiently) waiting to be approved to visit my husband. I can keep doing it for as long as I have to. I shouldn't have to, but I will.
I will continue until someone finally tells me I have passed this imaginary test and that I can visit my husband. I through the strength and grace of God will not just quit.
I prayed for it. My heart ached for it. But truthfully, I couldn't really see it actually happening. Larry showed an interest in spiritual things but only to the point of curiosity. He showed no signs of a willingness to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ.
My belief in the promises of God is what gave me the faith to believe that one day Larry and I could be serving and worshiping the Lord in unity. The Word tells me that whatever I ask, according to the will of God, I will receive.
John 6:39 New Living Translation (NLT)
And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.
God knew my heart. He knew the depth and sincerity of my faith. I knew He would hear my prayers and answer them according to His will. It is God's will that none perish. It is His will that He be the center of all marriages - that he is the foundation of families.
Hebrews 13:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. 5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
My petitions were according to His will. Now, even though I am prevented from occupying the same room as Larry, we are sharing faith. Larry shares with me what he has learned in Bible study or in his daily reading. He asks me about things he doesn't understand. He confides in me that prior to God 'getting his attention', he did not understand a lot about faith - and that he probably would not be where he is spiritually if God had not allowed the tragedy to fall upon our family. He also honestly confides that he has a difficult time understanding why it had to happen the way that it did.
In spite of my sins... in spite of both of our sins, God forgave and chose to bless us.
Thank you Father for our all-knowing and merciful Savior who will see us through any necessary pain in order to bring us into Your perfect will.