March 06, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #25

I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "wedding problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

Thank you to Jennifer Bartlett for her post today.

Thought from the heart on marriage:
Rob and I spoke the sweet words of Ruth 1:16-17 to each other on November 17, 2006.  It was an intimate candlelit service in a tiny little white antique wood floored chapel in the woods.  It was absolutely breathtaking-- not in the regular (Grand Canyon beauty) meaning of the word, but it literally took my breath from my body.  For a minute, I think I stopped breathing.  But, at that moment, God breathed back into me the most amazing sense of peace for the life altering choice that I had just made that precious November evening.  I had publicly knitted the fibers of my heart to a man that God chose just for me.  Never did we dream of the roller coaster ride that we would then embark on within a year of our "I-do's", but honestly, I wouldn't change a thing.  If I did, then I would be telling God that His plan was not good enough for me.  I would also be missing out on the incredible amount of spiritual growth that God has so graciously brought me through.  

My friends, I could write more than a hundred pages of the account of the trials that Rob and I have had to experience in almost seven short years of marriage (several major surgeries for Rob; childless at 40/45 years old; reuniting of Rob and his Dad after 36 years of separation; losing his dad within four years of finding him; walking through colon cancer with my then 36 year old sister in law who had 4 precious babies at the time of diagnosis; having my dad sustained twice on a ventilator...just to name a few).  I have been asked more times than I can count "why did you stay", "how do you do it", "what keeps you faithful"?  It's quite simple.  My God...the Great I Am.  The Alpha.  The Omega.  My Creator.    There was a time that I did question God and quite frequently would ask Him "why me Lord, WHY ME?".  His answer was quite simple, and painfully clear.  "My child, WHY NOT YOU?".  Punch to the gut.   My Abba was right and the sound of His words was more piercing than a thousand of the loudest whistles in my ear.   Why NOT me?  Why NOT my marriage? Why NOT my husband? Why NOT my family?  

At times I couldn't go another step.  But, instead of curling up and dying in a dark corner, I decided that The Lord Himself had CHOSEN me.  He set me apart. He set Rob apart.  He CHOSE our marriage to minister to other other people...almost at every turn.  Yes, my friend, there were some incredibly dark days.  But when I finally grabbed hold of the truth from The Lord that these trials were not punishment but pruning, it was liberating.  It was a compliment from my precious Savior.  He has big plans for our marriage and our testimonies and He has to refine us by the fire.  Yes, that fire has been quite painful at times.  It has often robbed me of what felt like every ounce of oxygen in my body.  But the Giver of life continues to breathe through me.  He continues to sustain me, as He has always promised that He would.  He continues to do the same for Rob.  And in the process, we have seen the fruits of our trials lived out as blessings to others as our trials ministered to them.  The verses in Ruth that we spoke that candlelit night--well, they are what I have clung to in my marriage.  I can close my eyes and remember that night...the smell of the candles burning, the smell of the old wooden pews mixed with the sweet smell of the flowers that surrounded us...and then I hear us reciting God's word to each other. And at that moment, God's peace washes over me like a sweet rain shower.  He reminds me that He created perfection and that He is continuing to perfect us through Him daily.  He breathes that sweet reassurance into me that I so desperately need in order to take another step.  God is good.  He is faithful.  He is trustworthy.  He is our advocate. 

Dear friends, I can assure you with the greatest of confidences that my God has done all that He has promised me in His Holy word and He has at times delivered and at other times simply sustained.  His sustenance is amazing and like none that we could ever forage for ourselves.  

Psalm 119:73-80
"Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in Your word.  I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right,  and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant.  Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.   Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.  Let those who fear You turn to me, those who know Your testimonies. Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, that I may not be ashamed."

Jeremiah 29:11-14
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.   I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

Dear Abba, I pray that those who come to read this will come to realize and experience the joy that truly does come in the morning, especially those going through trials in their marriages and in their lives.  I pray that Your words of peace and comfort would envelop those who feel overcome and overwhelmed by storms and trials in their marriages.  I pray that you would help them to hide Your word in their hearts daily so that their power of recall will hush the storms of doubt that the Enemy will most certainly stir up.  I pray that they will know and experience Your great power and that they will be a blessing, a witness and a testimony to others as they weather these times that will most certainly come.  We thank You Father for the storms and trials and the refinement that they will most certainly produce.  We thank You for Your sustaining power and grace and I humbly ask these things of you on behalf of those reading this and for myself and for my husband and family.  Thank You Abba that it IS finished.  In Christ's holy name, amen.