When you’rein the pit of despair

In our marriage and in all our relationships, we will face challenges.  In response, we often wring our hands in despair, get mad at God, sink into depression, lash out at people around us, get really grouchy, and on and on.  We act as if we’re surprised that we’ve encountered heartache and trials.  Well, here’s a news flash for you.  Trouble is normal and to be expected.  After all, Jesus says in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble“.  Drat.

However, God has a plan to do something wonderful in the middle of our challenges…if we decide to move out of despair and self-pity.  God wants to teach us something.  He doesn’t waste any opportunities for our personal growth!  In the middle of our suffering, God gives us the choice to either wallow in depression or contemplate what He might be trying to teach us.  Romans 5:3-5 sums this up well: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

 The choice is yours.  You can stay mired in despair if you want to, or you can anticipate a time of great personal growth and shaping of your character.  Could God be teaching you patience, or perhaps teaching you to be courageous in confronting abuse, or maybe teaching you to help and comfort others who share a similar heartache?  Maybe the Lord simply wants to teach you to draw even closer to Him and to trust in Him completely.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

God has a plan to bring beauty from your pain

No one really embraces heartbreak or suffering.  We usually do everything we can to avoid it, and we often complain to God when He doesn’t put an end to it at our first request.  But maybe he is allowing the suffering for a really good reason.  Maybe He has purpose even when he allows us to experience disappointment or even heartbreak.

I think of several stories from the Bible.  Joseph’s story in Genesis, chapters 37-50, is a prime example.  Even though Joseph endured great suffering for many years as he wrongly spent time in prison, God had a masterful plan he was executing behind the scenes….a plan that would involve Joseph rising to great power in Egypt and helping his family gain food during a famine in Israel.  I also think of the great apostles Peter and Paul.  They were beaten and thrown into prison, but God later miraculously freed them from prison and their story inspired many to follow Christ.

The Bible reveals that there is purpose in suffering and heartbreak.  Romans 5:3-5 says “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”   So, perhaps instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or feeling anger toward God, maybe you and I should choose to trust God even in the midst of heartbreak.  Maybe we should ask God to use our suffering to build our character.  God won’t waste your heartbreak.  He will use it to do something beautiful.

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE

Changing the thinking that’s holding you back!

You’ve heard the expression “You are what you think”.  Well it’s true, and unfortunately many women stay stuck in oppression, poverty, chaos, and loneliness because of the stinking thoughts the enemy has whispered to them repeatedly over the years.  Often these women truly did suffer a wounding event in the past, but the enemy piles on by getting them to believe lies about their identity, their abilities, God’s ability, and their future.

These lies, that then become our “stinking thinking”, may sound something like this:  “I’m unlovable”… “I can’t handle this”… “I’ll never get over this”… “I’m broken”… “I’m not able to”… “It’s hopeless”… “God doesn’t seem to care”… “I can never trust anyone”…

It’s time we start bossing around these thoughts!  The minute you hear one of those thoughts in your head, remind yourself that the enemy of your soul WANTS you to embrace that stinking thinking so that he can keep you oppressed!  Jesus WANTS you to have the opposite…a fulfilling life!   John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Ladies, it’s time we take a stand and refuse to align our thoughts with the devil.  The moment those negative, hopeless thoughts enter your mind, immediately coach your soul with the truth.  Here are a couple of truths to get you started:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”-Philippians 4:13…”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.”-Psalm 40:2…..”If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”-Romans 8:31-32…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight”-Proverbs 3:5-6

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

3 questions to ask when you’re discouraged…

Sometimes, we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope!  You may be discouraged because you’ve been praying for God to change your husband’s attitude or behavior, and it’s just not happening.  You may be discouraged because you hoped your children would turn out a certain way, and they seem to be making bad decisions.  You may be discouraged because you’ve been searching for a new job and you can’t find one that fits your abilities and availability.  Now what?

Well, first, don’t give up praying.  In Luke 18:1, the Bible says…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”  So, keep asking God for a miracle.   However, maybe it’s time to put on a new set of glasses.  Maybe you’ve been insisting that God do what YOU think is best, instead of praying that God’s perfect will be done.  Now is the time to ask God to reveal his perspective on this issue.  Why don’t you ask him these 3 questions, and then spend some quiet time listening for his response:

1)  Lord, can you help me to see this situation through your eyes?

2)  How are you trying to change me or teach me through this situation?

3)  Is there a lie the enemy is trying to get me to believe about this situation?

The good news during trials and dark valleys

None of us welcomes emotional pain and heartbreak.  Yet, on this earth, we know we will encounter trials and pain. Often, that pain is experienced in our marriage.  We can get really frustrated that God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayer to “fix” our marriage or husband!   But Jesus never promised he would take away all our problems during our temporary stay on earth.  In fact, he said in John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble.”  Fantastic.

However, if you look closely, you will discover two rays of sunshine in the midst of your darkest hours.  First, Jesus finishes that verse in John 16:33 by saying, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world“.  That is a great reminder that though we will have temporary troubles here, Jesus has prepared an eternal destination for us that will be completely free of heartbreak and suffering.  It will be glorious beyond our imagination!

Secondly, and here’s the point I really wanted to make….it is at the time of our biggest heartbreak that we often experience God’s presence in a way we’ve never known before.  When we choose to cry out to him and seek him during our time of grief and suffering, he promises to come close.  Very close.  Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit“.  If you’re in the middle of a really difficult time in your marriage, don’t miss the opportunity to draw close to God and encounter his love, compassion and comfort at a spectacular level!

3 ways to start to regain your joy

Sometimes, life just gets plain hard.  You forget to pay a bill on time and get hit with a giant “late fee”.  You catch your husband looking at pornography.  You teenager lies to you.  Your child accidentally drops an entire jog of milk on the kitchen floor.  Ugh!

At times like these, it’s easy to feel weighed down.  It’s so common for us to give into despair and depression.  But instead of conceding defeat, we can regain our joy by practicing 3 things:

1) Recognize this is a scheme of the enemy to try to steal, kill or destroy your joy  (John 10:10 “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy”)

2)  Remind your soul of the enemy’s inability against our mighty God (1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”)  *Sometimes I even laugh at Satan’s pitiful attempts to drag me down!  I like putting him back in his place!

3) Trust that God will carry you through this challenge and even redeem the circumstances so that something good comes about in the long run. God is an expert at turning lemons into lemonade! (Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”)

Don’t fall for these big, fat, stinky lies!

I am on the war path…against the devil!  I will not stand idly by while he tries to destroy the marriages of beautiful Christian wives who fall for his diabolical schemes.  I should know all about his schemes because I fell into them in my first marriage.  So heed my warning.  I know from first-hand experience that Satan wants to lure your thinking down the wrong path.

You’ve probably heard the verse in John 10:10 where Jesus reveals Satan’s mission to “steal, kill and destroy”.  Well, a primary tool of Satan is big, fat, rotten lies!  Jesus reveals this in John 8:44 where, referring to the devil, he says, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Be on high alert for the devil to whisper lies that might sound something like this:  “Your husband is a total jerk”, “Your marriage is hopeless”, “You deserve a different husband”, “You should file for divorce”, “Your kids would be better off if you divorce”, “You don’t need to listen to advice from your church friends who think you should work on your marriage.”, etc.  These are big, fat, rotten lies from the pit of hell.  Don’t be impulsive.  Don’t rush into a divorce.  Give God time to work on your husband…and on you!