Jesus’ Message to the Wounded Wife


Being in ministry to families, I have often had the privilege to counsel couples in their marriage. It is not an easy privilege mind you, but it’s been a blessing to help couples heal and move past their past and find hope for their marriage in their present and for their future.

What qualifies me to counsel others? It’s not a counseling degree. It’s not a professional license. It’s marriage. It is 30 years of marriage. It is understanding the ups, the downs, the hardships and the blessings of two people becoming one in the Lord. This process of oneness is a difficult one. Yet, when a marriage between two people can cross over to that place of unity, the blessings are more than words can describe. The best word I can come up with is – harmony.

In most of my counseling experience, I have seen marriages find this harmony, but in some cases there are those where scars run too deep; they have a hard time getting past them, therefore, they continue to destroy the marriage leaving gaping wounds. While one may want to heal and move toward restoration and reconciliation, the other would rather continue in the darkness of despair. It’s almost as if they have lived in that state so long they are afraid to come out. It has become strangely comfortable for them. The sadness in all is the one partner who wants healing is forced to endure the hardship of the other’s inability to move past their past to a place of peace.

It’s for the one partner left in the darkness and wanting to come out into the light that I write this blog. In some cases, this one left in the darkness is the husband and in other cases, it’s the wife. It is for the woman, the wife, that I write this blog. Yet, husbands, if you are the one in this place of holding, please just change the gender and find hope.

There are many things in this world that leave me speechless and overwhelmed with great heartache. One of those is seeing a wife who has been wounded in spirit by her husband.

At one point her husband had promised her protection, guidance, safety, forever love and faithfulness. So, she opened the most sensitive part of herself to him – her heart of trust. But then, as time went on all of this changed. His promises break, and he chooses to replace them with condemnation, attacks, oppression, and aggression.

He hurts her with his words. His eyes are filled with hatred for the woman he once called “His love.” He rejects what is most valuable only to embrace what is wicked and filthy. He is a man who once enjoyed the favor and strength of the Lord, yet now, he only knows God’s wrath, discipline, and judgment.

It’s as if he changed into a completely different person.

“Who is this man,” the woman asks.

Instead of facing his sin and dealing with his part in the brokenness, like a frenzied animal, he chooses to blame her for his failings. Accepting no responsibility because of the painful reality of it all, he chooses to ignore it by heaping more coal on his wife’s spirit. Creating more wounds, more gaping offenses and putting a wedge so large between them, the marriage seems impossible to repair.

How blind and corrupt he has become!

Jesus sits beside the woman who’s disgraced, rejected, and abandoned. He puts His arm around her; He comforts her with his warmth; He refreshes her with His love. He says,

Woman, Your husband is your Maker – His name is Yahweh of Hosts – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. He is called the God of all the earth.

For the Lord has called you, dear woman; you are a wife deserted, wounded in spirit and rejected. While deserted for a brief moment, I will take you back with great compassion. I will have compassion on you with an everlasting love. I have sworn I will not be angry with you or rebuke you.

Though the mountains move and hills shake; though all in your life seems to be crumbling down; My love will not be removed from You and My covenant of peace will not be shaken.

Though you fear for your children, know this, all of them will be taught by Me, your Lord, and their prosperity will be great.

If anyone attacks you, understand that it is not from Me. No weapon formed against you will succeed; you will refute any accusation raised against you in court.

You are my beloved; your heritage is founded upon my promises to you. You are the Lord’s servant and your righteousness is from Me.” (A rendition of Isaiah 54).

To the woman who is in the holding cell of your current marriage state, I urge you to focus on who you are in Christ. It’s the safest most peaceful place you can plant yourself.

Jesus is our horn of salvation. He is our strength. Our very good and great Lover!

It’s tempting to fear while in this holding place. It’s also just a tempting to react in anger. Neither brings about the righteousness of God in our own hearts or in our marriage.

The presence of fear is the absence of faith.

The presence of unrighteous anger is the absence of godly love.

God’s pleasure is found in our faith and in our love. For these never pass away in His kingdom. And it is His kingdom and heaven’s atmosphere that we want to bring down to earth.

So what do you do when your husband seems unattractive to you and you seem unattractive to him? Seek to attract the Lord instead. He is your Maker. He is your Husband. He is your ultimate pleasure in life. Attract Him with your faith in Him and your love for Him. For these two give off a sweet aroma of hope and courage. Not only will you attract the Lord, others will find great strength from that which you emit from your presence. Don’t let the voice of fear and the emotion of anger rob you of God’s pleasure in you.

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Is Being Rich Lots of Money?


The love of money brings about all sorts of evil. While a rich man may be successful at being rich (having lots of money), this does not mean he is successful. For one must look at how this man became rich and the purpose he has for his money to decide if his wealth is truly fruitful.

Sadly, humanity is tempted to judge a person’s success by their material outcome.

For example, a man can become rich by deceit, robbery, and trampling the poor. There is no end to the evil this person may do to gain his wealth. The outcome is their value. Their focus is self-reward at any cost to others.

Even their own moral code is for sale. Whatever is necessary to get rich is the open highway they cruse.

Amos, the prophet, writes of these people, “…they cheat with dishonest scales. They buy the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and even sell the chaff!”  (Amos 8:5-6).

Self is their center. Self is their matter. Self at the cost of others is their process to becoming rich. And joy never fills their heart. Enough is never enough.

On the other hand, a rich person who gets his gain by giving is one whose process is praiseworthy. They have boundaries and limits that they set for themselves to follow. These provide guard rails that keep them on the righteous path.

Their value is not money; it’s giving. Success is found in charity.

Paul tells us about these people and their idea of being rich. They know where their richness comes from… We read in 2 Corinthians 9:10, “Now (God) who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

Their righteousness is the ability to give to others, especially to those who are in need.

These people also fully understand the purpose of the excess, the profit, the richness; You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11-12).

I had the opportunity to give someone some money earlier this week. They did not ask for it. I had not planned on giving any money to them that day. We had a conversation, and she told me of her family who was suffering great loss. She shared that she was saving money to send them things they needed. She did not have enough to mail them this package.  As she shared her story, I remembered that I had $47 cash on me. I had planned to use it for myself that day…you know some lunch, a little Christmas shopping, etc. But in that moment as this woman talked, the Spirit led me to give it all to her. The tears of joy and gratefulness that streamed from her eyes were joy to my heart! I feel rich, not because my bank account has lots of money, because it surely does not, but because I gave. Giving makes us rich. I trusted that the $47 dollars could be provided by my Father in heaven if I should truly need it. Did I eat lunch that day? Yes. Did I have enough to buy a few gifts for others? Not really but that was okay. Do I miss that $47 dollars? No. What I remember is not the loss of money but the joy and peace of the one in need.

You may have one dollar in the bank and be rich; what you do with that money and the process by which you increase it determines if you are the selfish person or the selfless. Likewise, you may a $1,000 dollars in the bank and be poor because of how you use the money and the process by which you increase it.

The outcome of the selfish person is more money for himself. The outcome of the selfless person is more people giving praise to our God in heaven. Money is not the issue, it’s the tool. And the tool must be desired for the right reasons.

As you meet situations in your life where giving or keeping is the choice, which will you choose? Determine if the giving will encourage praising and pleasing our Father in heaven. I have often seen God grow the dollars in my account because I have given of my last dollar to one in need. I have had the opportunity to meet a need and trust the Lord for His provision. And you know what? I have never been disappointed in the outcome! God has always provided! Always!  Has He adjusted my pathway by it? Yes. However, the adjustment has righted me on a path of great peace and joy, for it is better to give than to receive.

It’s heartbreaking to see a need and not have the means to meet that need. The Spirit calls and we are unable. I’ve been there. Nothing is more distressing. In those times I have discovered that my priorities of self-serving have gotten in the way of the Spirit’s leading. And when God has peeled away my selfishness, He has shown me that even in my “poverty” there is seed to sow.  In those times of little, I have given to others and have seen God increase my seed. In turn the ability to give has matched the Spirit’s leading.

This is joy, my friends! This is joy! Being rich is not lots of money; it’s lots of giving!

We are in that season where giving is easy; we hear it all the time that Christmas is the season of giving. Sadly, the season of giving stops after December. Then selfishness takes is ride again.

How about we change this habit and seek to be givers all throughout the year. Why limit our joy to one month, when we can live it twelve months out of the year? I’m not talking about having Christmas every month; I’m talking about being attentive to the needs of others and realizing that gaining wealth serves a greater purpose than being richer for ourselves.

 

 

Waiting, When Our Loved Ones Pass On


My heart is heavy for those who have lost loved ones. I see the pictures posted on Facebook of those who have passed. My sadness runs deep for those who are left behind. I keep thinking that their heart just wants to go back to when their loved ones were here or just leave here and join them on their journey. Separation was not what they planned or wanted. It never is!

It has always been doubly discouraging to me that many lose their loved ones around the holidays. But today, for the first time, I see a blessing in this. For it’s during the holidays, we are more keenly aware of our Savior. And this is good; for it is He who heals, comforts and gives us the fortitude to carry on. It is during the holidays, we pursue the Lord even more. We long for the One who offers us good. And He delivers!

This does not take away the sadness. For those who have passed on from this life to eternity will be greatly missed; memories are comforting; but their absence is so painful. In all this I am reminded of a valuable truth in the midst of great loss and in the waiting process to see those we love again.

Death has a way of teaching us that life on this earth is temporary. I’m so glad!

We are just sojourning here. We are just passing through till we come to our final home. It’s wonderful to know that loss, suffering, worry, persecution and pain in this world is NOT our end. Instead our end is…

Glory

Hope

Peace

Joy

It’s gazing into the beautiful face of our eternal salvation – Jesus Christ.

Our loved ones who have passed on from this temporary home know this so well now. If they could, they would tell us, “You are not going to believe what I’m looking at today! God’s creation on earth doesn’t compare to what I’m seeing here! I can’t wait to share it with you when you arrive!”

Until we arrive home with them, what can we do?

How can we wait fruitfully?

How can our sojourning be well spent?

My mom sends me a text this morning to encourage me. She knows that I’m waiting. I’m hoping. I’m wondering. I’m trusting. She knows I fear a potential loss of my loved one. I feel unprepared for this. I pray for it to not come. But I also know that to never suffer is not an assurance in this life. Quite the opposite. It’s inevitable. It is not my choice to choose what happens. It is my choice to walk faithfully in God’s will for whatever happens. Yes, I pray for good, I pray for safety. I pray that my loved one will come home – whole, safe, and alive. And that is certainly okay to do. I believe God can answer this prayer. However, I am learning to direct my heart to trust God’s will in whatever comes. I’m trusting that His will is greater than my longing.

So, my mom sends me some “wait” statements that she found in “The Treasury of David” by Charles Spurgeon – his classic work on the Psalms. I see that these are “wait” statements that I can do. I’m encouraged.

And as you wait for that re-connection with your loved one one day, I pray these “wait” statements will comfort you as they have comforted me in my waiting; I pray they will give you direction – that next step forward as you sojourn here on earth.

Wait at Jesus’ door with prayers.

Wait at Jesus’ feet with humility.

Wait at Jesus’ table with service.

Wait at Jesus’ window with expectation.

In the midst of all sorts of suffering we face in this world, we can trust that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; in the land of hope; in the land of eternity. As we courageously wait, we gain strength, we grow in wisdom and faith, and we prepare ourselves for that day we finally go home.

“I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27: 13-14).