If your heart is heavy or burdened…

Are you having one of those weeks or months?  Has your husband broken your heart?  Are you an emotional wreck over a situation with one of your children?  Don’t try to carry that burden alone!  It’s too heavy.

Even though it would be so helpful to reach out to some godly female friends, many of us tend to isolate during really hard times instead.  Unfortunately, that only makes it easier for Satan to beat you down.  With no other voices speaking hope into your life, he has free realm to whisper one lie right after another. 

Jesus describes Satan this way in John 8:44: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  The lies may sound like this:  No one really loves you.  Your life sucks and there’s no hope.  You should have never married your husband.  God doesn’t really care about you. You’re a failure as a mom compared to all the other moms. There is no way in the world to recover from your financial mess.  God could never change your husband’s heart.  Blah, blah, blah.

One of the keys to drowning out the voice of the enemy is to listen to other voices!  Spend time reading God’s Word.  Also, spend time with godly women who can speak truth, wisdom, and hope into your life.  If you don’t know any women like that, then it’s time to start building new friendships.  I know you might be scared to tell another woman what’s really going on in your marriage and family.  However, you might be surprised to find that other women will start opening up to you and sharing their own challenges as you begin sharing yours. Just keep in mind that the point is to encourage each other and pray for each other…not to trash talk your husbands or have a pity party!

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

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

Who is your encourager?

Life often seems like a winding highway full of potholes.  We get bounced around by people who disappoint us.  We disappoint ourselves.  Satan loves to plant that seed of doubt about whether we can make it through current challenges in our marriage, with our kids, at our job, etc.  We wonder if we can handle what’s around the bend.

That’s why we need encouragers in our lives!  1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “encourage one another and build each other up.”  My question for you is:  Do you have a friend who encourages you?  Or do you spend a lot of time with women who are negative, critical, and “downers”? 

If you don’t have an encouraging woman in your life, ask God to reveal a woman who seems to have the gift of encouragement.  Then ask her if you could regularly get together, perhaps once a week or every other week, just to chat and mutually encourage each other.  That’s right.  You can be her encourager too.  We all need it!  Let’s link arms together ladies!

How to persevere 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.

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?

Finding hope when life is hard

We’re all anxious right now…maybe even downright fearful.  How will we recover from financial setbacks from 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. 

How to refresh your weary soul

Are you feeling weary, discouraged or burdened?  Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated with others or even yourself.  This remedy might seem strange, but God says that when we meditate on His principles and begin applying them in our lives, our souls will be refreshed!  Psalm 19:7-8 says “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”

Maybe your soul is weary or discouraged because you’ve been trying to handle difficult people and circumstances with your own wisdom.  Maybe it’s time to search out God’s wisdom instead.  For instance, if you are depressed about your husband’s continuing verbal abuse toward you and your children, maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for dealing with someone who is sinning against you.  You might want to read Matthew 18:15-17.  

Perhaps you’re dealing with a rebellious child who isn’t responding to your explanations about why he or she should listen to you.  Maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for molding your children into people of character.  You might want to read Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” 

Try this when discouraged

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.

Maybe the Lord is planning to answer your prayers in a way that will blow your mind!  When I’m in a time of discouragement or challenge, I like to give my concern to God in prayer and then encourage myself by saying this…”I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!!!”

God won’t waste your suffering

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.

Changing your “stinking thinking”!

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

Are you missing this vital ingredient in marriage?

Marriage is not one continuous fairy tale.  Your husband is not perfect, and neither are you.  Therefore, you will experience times of disappointment, frustration, and even heartbreak.  The question is…what will you do during those “valley” times in your marriage?  How will you rally yourself and stay in the game?  Where can you find the motivation to fight for your marriage?

One powerful key to battling all the way through those valley times is to receive encouragement from other godly wives.  You NEED encouragement!  You NEED fellowship with other Jesus-seeking women.

The enemy is constantly whispering discouragement to you.  He wants you to leave your husband.  He wants to destroy your family.  In John 10:10, Jesus says the enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy“.  But we can counteract the enemy’s schemes by asking godly friends to speak truth to us.  Seek friendships with godly women who know the truth of God’s Word and who are encouragers.  Be an encourager in their lives as well. You might have to be the one to initiate this time together, but it’s worth it!  Ask a woman to coffee.  Ask another woman to be your prayer partner and make an appointment to pray weekly for each other over the phone or in person.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  You need encouragement to stay in the battle!  It’s worth it.  Jesus has a good plan for your marriage.  He has come that you “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

— or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO HERE