Tonight is the kick-off of our church's ministry year, which includes Awana, men's small groups, women's small groups, children's and teen ministry, etc etc.
I'll be attending the opening of our ministry year for women's Bible studies. This year we have a bunch of different electives to choose from, and I chose the one called Awestruck Women on: Marriage.
I have been convicted of speaking honorably of my husband in public and with any male friends - always, no exceptions, even if I think it's okay to just vent. I catch myself and don't allow myself to go down that road anymore [because let's be honest, I'm quite a talker and don't always think before I speak...].
I still share my heart and feelings with my closest girlfriends and prayer warriors, because I firmly believe we all need that. Support. Accountability. Uplifting in prayer.
I want to be cautious in how I speak here, in a public forum. I won't share details, but you also know me as being real and honest and open, and I am not going to change that. So with that said....
The truth of the matter is, it's been a very tough season in our marriage.
Like, super duper crazy hard. Like, I can't do this hard.
And I'm right, I can't do this.
I'm a broken, human, sinner. Only by the total grace of God has our marriage remained intact even when we could no longer see straight. Even when we thought there was no way to make it work again.
That it's all about God and what he can do in and through me, and not at all about me. That none of us can do this walk alone. That it's all with him that we are able.
Every day God uses circumstances in my life, and especially in my marriage, to remind me of my sinfulness. My pride. How I need to be humbled. That my failures are forgiven. How I've received his forgiveness and grace. How I need to extend that same forgiveness and grace to others, especially the man I share my life with day in and day out.
I have dear friends who remind me what grace and love and sharing-life-together really means and ought to look like. They absolutely astonish me. When you've been hurt so much throughout your life, it's hard to really believe it when fresh, God-honoring, amazing friendship comes into your life and sticks around a while.
It inspires me. They inspire me.
I want to do all of this better. Marriage. Friendship. Coworkers. Family. Living-life-together.
I'm so humbled that anyone wants to be around me at all, and then I come home and Tim sees the worst sides of me and still somehow stays by my side.
Oh that's right... he does so by the grace and strength of God.
And I am so incredibly thankful for and awed by that!!
We are not alone in our fight for our marriage. God is with us, fighting for us. He will have the victory.
I firmly believe marriages fail every day because Satan hates marriage. He doesn't want it to work out. He attacks, lies, manipulates, and contorts our thinking. We think we are always right, that what we want/desire matters, and that we deserve better.
But really, do we? If we're really honest with ourselves, is the grass really greener on the other side? Or do we need to really look at our own hearts and truly understand what's wrong on the inside?
Not every marriage, in my honest opinion, should work out. And I'm certainly not judging anyone whose marriages haven't worked out. That is not my heart at all. It's not an exact science and it's not always our fault. Sometimes people leave us. Sometimes they sin against us. Sometimes they fall apart and truly need to be gripped by God.
Sometimes life surprises us and we are abused, misused, under-valued, and mistreated. It's a shame. Such a shame. That is not what God meant marriage to be.
I've watched a lot of friends and family marriages succumb to divorce or difficult separation lately.
And honestly, last week/weekend especially, I thought I might be one of them.
Because it had all added up and had become just that hard.
But we stand firmly committed to our vows.
To fighting Satan's attacks. To not allowing ourselves to wallow in self-pity and pride. To be humbled. To be rocked for Jesus. To not let go, no matter how hard. To take a stand in a world spinning out of control, and to show that Christians really don't have it all together, but that with God's help we can make it work... and make it last for a lifetime.
This women's Bible study on marriage couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I believe that's firmly a part of God's plan for me. May it knock the pride out of me so that I may be used for more of his glory.
"Let marriage be held in honor among all...."
(Hebrews 13:4a ESV)
Please note this in nooooo way is meant to discourage anyone who is divorced or meant to imply you've failed in any way!! Marriage takes two and it often just doesn't work out. This is meant more for myself and affirming our marriage vows, despite the difficulties. Please hear my heart in this.