Over the past month or two my marriage has taken a hit. There has been strife, discord, frustration, offense, anger, selfishness, and at the head of it all, PRIDE! But before I address that, let’s back up a couple months to the fact that I had found myself increasingly distracted from pouring into my relationship with Christ. I’ll spare you from listing all the different road blocks, because quite frankly just about anything can be a deterrent from spending quality time with Him, if you allow it!
When I regularly spend personal, quality, one on one time with God... Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control is the wellspring that flows from within me.
Another words, when you meet with Love, you become Love!
Although the opposite is also true.
If you meet with Pride then you’ll become prideful!
As distance with God grew, I quickly found myself snapping at my husband. Expecting from him, demanding from him, disrespecting him. Then in response, he would attack back and I would then partner with offense! Self pity would be my confidante and I would put my trust in her, a very toxic relationship.
If I had chose to spend time with God, He would quickly remind me of love, grace and mercy.
Instead, the wicked step-sisters, Offense and Self Pity, were encouraging me with anger, frustration, and self protection.
The more I joined with offense, the harder it was to give mercy, simply because I had none to give. That wellspring had dried up.
This past Sunday, I felt the Lord nudging me to come to church, to meet with Him! Clinging to Self Pity, I didn’t want to go. But the Lord was relentless and I agreed. In case you have not encountered an authentic relationship with God yet, allow me to paint a picture for you. It is extremely difficult to meet with Love while holding onto anger, offense, frustration and unforgiveness. If you authentically meet with Him, all of that poison will melt in His presence. Which is exactly what happened. God used the pastor to speak directly into my heart about my own behavior in my marriage. One of the things he said was,
“The divorce rate in the church is the same as out the church. How is that possible? It is only possible because churches are filled with professional listeners. What would happen to the divorce rate within the church if we truly followed God's word above our own SELFISHNESS? The world would change over night if we implemented just half a verse ‘Love your enemies’...We have to be people who follow Christ, not just talk about Christ and fool ourselves. We will never make a difference until we live different.”
This was God’s way of saying,
“Holly, I have commanded you to respect your husband. I have asked you to love people who are difficult. I have personally shown you that forgiveness and mercy are the only way! Go, make it right with your husband. Drop your ‘position’ and ‘rights’ and pick up Love! Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and when it’s time, I will lift you up in honor (1Peter 5:6)!”
The Bible says, “the Truth will set you free” and that’s exactly what happened that morning. If anyone reading this, has ever joined with offense, self pity, anger, frustration, etc ... you know how challenging it can be to set your PRIDE aside and choose humility.
As I left church, my best friend (God) gave me a gentle warning,
“Holly, when making it right with your husband, DO NOT bring up one thing he has done against you. Only confess your wrongdoings and ask for forgiveness.”
Which is exactly what I did and my husband immediately responded with gentleness and the foolish walls that had been our fortress began to crash down.
My old back-stabbing friends, Offense and Self Pity, tried hard to convince me I needed to tell him what he had done wrong, so I could vindicate myself and show Jason how he had been acting in response. But I was done listening to them. They had gotten me into the pit I was currently in, for crying out loud. I had enough!
But God, He wasn’t through! Later that day after confessing and asking my husband for forgiveness ...
The Lord then began to speak to my husband about his own behavior. You see, God didn’t need me to do that, it was never my job and it would never had been effective (especially coming from me)!
First, God spoke to him through a person and then The Lord confirmed it in a dream Jason had that night. Those encounters with God, shook my husband and Love gripped his heart! The rest of those “walls” came tumbling down.
The result: Peace, love, unity and respect once again ruled my marriage from both sides!
I share with you my struggles, in hope that if someone may find themselves currently befriending my ex-friends...
My prayer for you tonight, is that you refuse to drink their poison any longer and instead choose to go make it right, in Love! Because #LoveAlwaysWins