Avoiding the trap of counterfeit comfort!

We all inevitably hit rough patches in our marriages.  In fact, there will likely be moments when you think “Why did I even marry this man?!”  He may break a little piece of your heart when he forgets your anniversary, or is overly harsh with the kids, or develops a habit of satisfying himself while viewing pornography instead of making love to you.  At these moments, you need comfort for your broken heart.

It’s our tendency to reach for something easy and tangible as a source of comfort.  You might try to find some joy in buying lots of new clothes.  I might turn to excessive food.  But neither one of those choices truly comforts us.  They actually lead to additional grief in the long run!  Instead, both you and I need to train ourselves to run to God at those heart-breaking moments.  He is waiting with open arms.  Plus, Jesus knows what it feels like to suffer grief, betrayal, and a broken heart.

I love these two verses of comfort.  Psalm 103:2-4 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  And Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.  Meditate on those 2 verses and ask God to come close to you.  He will, and I believe you will experience the warmth of his love!

God notices your distress

We all go through challenging days in our marriages and in our lives in general.  It’s at those times; we tend to feel so alone.  We desperately need to know that God notices our distress.  We need to know that He is with us and that He cares.

Well, despite what Satan is whispering in your ear…that nobody cares…that you’re all alone…that your broken heart will never get better…the Bible tells a different story!  I find so much comfort in these verses:

  • The Lord is close to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18)
  • Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
  • You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13)
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
  • Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:2-4

Develop the skill of waiting…patiently!

Are you in a waiting phase?  Maybe you’re waiting for God to answer your prayer regarding your husband.  Maybe you’re waiting for your rebellious child, stubborn child to finally become mature.  Maybe you’re waiting for your heart to heal after being betrayed by your husband.  Whatever the thing you’re waiting for, I think we can all agree that waiting is hard!  It’s hard because we have to be patient, and let’s be honest; most of us aren’t very good with the whole patience virtue.  These two realizations have helped me learn to be a bit more patient when I have to wait.

1)  God’s timing is often very different than what I think it should be, yet He is always faithful to show up.  Psalm 40:1-2  “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…” 

2)  Some of the great women of the Bible had to wait and wait and wait before finally experiencing a HUGE answer to their prayers.  Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Rachel, and more all had to wait ridiculously long periods of time before God finally allowed them to give birth.  But when their prayers were finally answered, oh my!  They gave birth to some of the giants of the Bible:  Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, Joseph.  In other words, what they experienced in the end was well worth the wait.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doycs0hUzUk&t=23s

A key to persevering during challenges

It’s inevitable.  You will eventually hit some rough patches in your marriage, and in your life in general.  So how do you hang on and press through those storms?  If your husband is caught in a pattern of sin against you, you will need to respectfully confront the problem.  If you guys just plain disagree on how to handle something, you’ll have to work for a compromise.  But when the situation in your marriage seems hopeless, or when a challenge in life feels insurmountable, that’s when we have to learn to persevere.  That’s when we must remember that God isn’t finished writing our story!

One huge key for me in terms of perseverance is reflecting on the many times in the past that God has answered my cries for help.  When I look back and take an inventory of the miracles he’s performed in my life and the times when he clearly orchestrated events…then my faith is increased.  As my faith increases, I can more easily persevere through the current crisis.  By recalling the past deeds of God in my life, I find peace knowing that He was in control then and He’s still in control now.  This is the counsel given to us in Psalm 77:11-12 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

 One of the best ways to remember the past deeds of the Lord is to write down “God-sightings” in a journal. I have a journal filled with little notes about answered prayers or “God-wink” moments where I can see that God orchestrated something amazing in my life.  I re-read these entries several times a year, and my faith is increased once again.  As my faith in God builds, I can persevere more easily during my current trial.  Do you have a “God-sighting” journal?

How to pray for your husband

You may have an “impossible” situation going on in your marriage, such as a husband who doesn’t believe in God, or who is an alcoholic who refuses to get help, or who is harsh and critical with the kids, or who is hooked on pornography.  I would certainly recommend that you establish some serious boundaries and consequences if your husband is sinning against you or the kids, but here’s the thing you and I need to realize.  Only God can change your husband’s heart.  That’s where your prayers make a gigantic impact.  Prayers that are offered in line with God’s will can accomplish the seemingly impossible!

That’s why praying actual Bible verses is so powerful!  We know Bible verses are in line with God’s will.  If your “impossible” situation involves your husband, let me point you to a list of suggested Bible verses to pray for your husband on the “Free Resources” tab at www.squadronofsisters.com.   It’s a free PDF that you can print.  I urge you to do so, and begin praying for your marriage, your husband, and your family.  Your prayer offered in faith and trust in God is extremely powerful.  Jesus says in Mark 11:23, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” 

One more thing.  Don’t grow weary in praying.  Sometimes it takes months or years of praying before you see results.  Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 to get inspired to press into sustained prayer for your “impossible” situation.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

Finding hope when life is hard

We’re all anxious right now…maybe even downright fearful.  What will happen to our finances during the coronavirus outbreak?  Will we lose our job, our home, our cars?  Will I be one of the people who catches covid-19?  And if you’re not worried about that, then there are a myriad of other things that might be stealing your joy and your hope.  Perhaps your marriage is falling apart or your kids are making poor decisions.

The truth is that, until we get to heaven, we will all experience tough times here on earth.  And of course, Satan loves to pile on by whispering negative, hopeless thoughts into our minds when he sees that we’re struggling.  We tend to start reciting a list of complaints and fears…about people in our life, health problems, finances, the way we look, and on and on.  Instead of reflecting the love of Jesus to those around us, our facial expression portrays “woe is me”.

For a believer, that’s ridiculous!  If you’ve made Jesus your Lord, you have his protection and power at your disposal.  Your prayers are powerful!  James 5:16  “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective”.  And even if your prayers aren’t answered EXACTLY how you think God should, you can trust Him to redeem every hardship in your life.  I love what He tells me in Psalm 103:4 “He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”.  When life gets discouraging…when anxiety starts eroding your hope…bring your concerns to Jesus and relax into his strong arms.

I grasp hope and peace when I choose to trust in Jesus.  He is at work!  His ways are perfect.  Seek His perspective on all that’s happening. Ask him to help you understand what he’s doing in this challenging moment.  Ask him to redeem your seemingly hopeless situation.  He’s so creative!  He’s working behind the scenes right now.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

Dealing with fear over the coronavirus

I’m sure most of you feel like I do.  You feel like this is all surreal…a nightmare perhaps…and that we’re all going to wake up and realize it was just a horrible dream.  Tragically, it is all too real.  Covid-19 is here and it is killing people, mainly people in my age group and older. (Yes, I just turned 60).

If you’re a young adult in your 20’s or 30’s, you don’t have nearly as much to worry about in terms of dying from this thing, and therefore, you are likely incensed that the restaurants are closed, and you have to find childcare for your children who no longer have school, and maybe your job and steady income is now in jeopardy.  I get it.  And yet, we must all sacrifice right now, because if we don’t take serious and painful action, it is very likely that many of your moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas will be taken out by this virus.  Yes, that is what’s at stake.

So, how do we deal with the fear that comes from this insidious disease…fear of death, fear of financial collapse, fear of a lost job?

First, we do what we must in terms of practical steps that can protect us and our loved ones from getting this disease.  We minimize our contact with others, we wash or sanitize our hands every time we touch a common surface used by others, and we definitely self-quarantine if we or our kids are showing any sign of sickness.  We have to be smart.  These are tough measures, but essential.

Second, after we’ve done all the practical things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe, we turn to the Lord and ask Him to protect us.  We ask Him to be in complete control of our lives, our health, our finances, everything.  We put all our trust in Him.  He has performed mighty miracles on behalf of his people in the past, and He certainly has the power do it again.  He can make a way for you to pay your bills, or for some of your bills to be forgiven at this time.  He can supernaturally heal you.  He can make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! Ask Him!

Would you join me in praying these things?

  • I have specifically felt led to pray that God would cover every doorway of every believer’s home with the blood of Jesus, so that the angel of death would pass by just as he did for the Israelites during Passover. (Exodus 12:23)
  • Pray that God would leverage this crisis to draw the hearts of many unbelievers to Him. I think of Genesis 50:20 “You intended this for evil, but God meant it for good, for the saving of many lives.”
  • Pray that God fills you afresh with the knowledge of His tender love for you. When you realize how much He cares for you, your fear will start to fade away.  1 Joh 4:18  “Perfect love casts out all fear.”
  • Pray that, as you set your heart on seeking Him above all else, He will provide for all your needs in His own very creative way. Matthew 6:33  “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Trust me when I say I have witnessed God do some crazy, creative things in the past when I needed Him to provide a financial miracle!)
  • Pray that God would fill your heart with peace, knowing that even if you were to be taken from this earth today, it would be a magnificent upgrade! Luke 23:43  “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”