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Monday, January 04, 2010

I'm Struggling in My Head Today...

I'm just going to share my heart with you all today...oh how I pray that you'll give me wisdom...that you'll help me with the answers to questions that are plaguing me.

I want to live as Christ. I so do. I feel I've been doing quite a miserable job of it lately, as I haven't been very faithful in much of anything.

I've faithfully attended my doctor's appointments, given my daily injections, tried not to accidentally overdose myself with all the stuff I'm taking, and have spent much time loving on my family.

Other than that, I question whether I'm truly living as Christ.

Here are my quandaries, I welcome your insight/reproof in the Lord, etc.

This question is what is stealing my sleep...night after night....oh, how I want to fix this...

 What is the church's role in the marriage of other believers?

God forbid someone should get sick as I have, the church is fantastic about that. They bring meals, love on my kids, offer their hearts across the board...anything we've needed, one of God's own has offered to do.

But where are we when we see our brothers and sisters about to throw in the marriage towel? What do we, as the American church, truly do for these families?

Several years ago, there was a woman in my town who was living through much of the same heartache that my own marriage endured, yet survived (only because of Jesus) early on.

A whole hen group of Christian women knew about what she was living through, but because her heart was hardened, no one thought it their place to go and reach out to her...everyone just resigned themselves to the fact that her marriage was over, thus we were to keep our mouths shut.

It seemed to me that they either didn't want to act "out of line" (UGH! Give me a BREAK!) or they were scared of her. She, like myself, was quite the strong personality.

You all know me too well....I couldn't do it. I had to call her....not to condemn her, but to tell her I'd been right where she was, and that God's grace sustained us, and healed our marriage.

In the days since, there have been several couples, and many wives, who have opened up to us about their own marriage struggles. It's been a miracle and a blessing from the Lord to be able to encourage them in the hope of Jesus Christ.

But...my question tonight is, WHY don't we do this more? WHY don't we show up on their doorsteps with food and love and just dig in and get muddy with them?

I mean think about it...if your marriage is in the dumps, and you see no other way for your life to ever improve, but to separate or divorce, and the very night that you're ready to roll, all of your Christian friends with whom you've shared your life (or not), show up on your doorstep to stage a prayer intervention.....wouldn't that at least make you stop for a moment!?

What if those friends were willing to pray over you, and your spouse, and with your kiddos.

What if they fixed you dinner and washed your sheets and held you while you cried, or held up a garbage can lid so you could throw softballs at them....

What if they got real honest, if their walls came down and if one by one, you could hear the amazing ways that God had worked in each of their marriages, thus keeping their families together, and teaching each of them what their God given rolls in marriage were, and how to live them out?

What if they:
cried with you
ate with you
sat silent with you
prayed over you
read the word over you
took your children for a weekend so the 2 of you could get away
took your children for the day, so you could sleep and pray

What if those of them who were victims of divorce, took a few minutes to share with you how hard:
each birthday had been
each Thanksgiving
each Christmas
each ball game
each play
each time they just needed their Mom to hold them or their Dad to roughhouse with them
each night that held for them a bad dream, without the softness of a Momma to help them through it
how hard it when they grew up, trying to parent, yet not feeling that they had their own parent they could call upon for help

the list goes on and on....

Funny little things are hard for the child of a divorced family...and that "hard" starts the minute that the family splits.

What if those children of divorce took the time, during this Christian intervention, to share with you how much their lives had changed....how the minute that they found out one of their parents was leaving, a switch in their head went off, and life was never the same again?

These are the things we don't talk about....we're not open and honest about....yet, if you are a believer who is thinking about walking away from your marriage, instead of trusting God to work THROUGH your issues, you have no idea how great the ramifications will be....

SO again my question.....

WHY DON'T we as believers do this for those whom we know and love?

In essence, what if we did whatever they needed so that they could focus on forgiveness, or on making a true apology and what if we as their friends took their kiddos for them so that the two of them could work out a game plan for how they were going to keep their family together?

WHERE IS THE CHURCH WHEN IT COMES TO THIS?????

I mean, aren't we being naive if we think it has to be the church proper, when the true church, the Body of Christ extends well beyond the roll call of our given denominations and specific church fellowships?

So...my question to you today, my sweet blog readers, is WHAT are we as the Body of Christ, to do in these situations?

Please give me practical ideas....practical steps, and Scripture would be superb!

Your comments are deeply requested.

In the interim, please pray like front line soldiers!

Love Ya'll,
Jes

6 comments:

Stephanie R said...

This has been on my heart lately too, Jes. I don't have an answer but I agree with you that we should be doing something! I have taken to praying over the marriages of friends and family. A preemptive strike I suppose. ;) Someone I went to college with started a ministry for marriages with his wife. Their story is quite amazing: http://refineus.org/

Love you, friend!

Shelly said...

Oh, Jes this is amazing! WOW! I share your same passion, that is why I continue to lead Precept Upon Precept Marriage Without Regrets course. Kay Arthur wrote that study b/c of the devastation she and her family experienced after she left her first husband, Tom. This all happened before she came to Christ. You see, she and Tom struggled in their marriage for years and finally she had had enough. She took their two boys and left him b/c she thought that was the answer.
Their boys missed their Dad terribly. Tom kept telling her he was going to commit suicide and she would laugh it off or say "do a good job so I can get all your money..." Well, in the meantime she gets radically saved and redeemed and transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. She tells the Lord that she would go back to Tom and reconcile their marriage. She was convinced that if He could change her the way He did that He could change Tom. (He was bi-polar but they didn't know it at the time.) But before she could contact him he committed suicide. He had hung himself. Talk about regret...she was left with much regret. The consequences of her choices lingered for years and years. Her first son Tom she says has been to hell and back.
Her desire in writing this course is explained in the course title. She desparately wants you and I to have marriages without regrets. Not perfect marriages but marriages lived in such a way that when we stand before the Maker and Designer of marriage we won't hang our heads in shame b/c we thought marriage was all about us when in fact it is ALL about Him. Bringing Him glory! You see our earthly marriage is to serve as an earthly picture of a Heavenly marriage. The marriage between Christ the Bridegroom, the Eternal Lover and His bride the church. John Piper says "Keep your marriage vows in such a way as to tell the truth about the unbreakable Covenant love of Jesus Christ." Wow! What a ministry, what a calling we have been given if He gave us a spouse! Amazing! In answer to your question I say YES to all of it. We mustn't sit quietly, passively by while marriages and families dissenegrate. Hebrews 13:4 says "Let marriage be held in honor among ALL..." So, b/c of that I can't and I won't sit passively by. Lives are at stake! Yes, pray, interceed, fast, bombard the gates of Heaven on their behalf and certainly on behalf of our own homes. But also we must equip ourselves with God's word so that we can accurately counsel them... not give them our opinion. May we learn from Jesus' example when He was asked by the Pharisees "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" And the Word made flesh spoke the Word back to them in reply "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL CLEAVE UNTO HIS WIFE AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.' So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore GOD has joined together (yoked together) let no man separate." Matthew 19:3-6 We must know the truth in order to tell people the truth!

Kim Green said...

Your prep work has been done. Your life, your ministry, your marraige laid bare for all to see. Your example, exemplary. This I know and this is bumping up against me in this time of anguish. Not the Holy Spirit. God's Word has struck me deep in what Shelly wrote but it is your example and your coming after me that is killing my flesh. Your prayer, your willingness to intercede, your calls to help are reminders that GOD won't let go. Not just Jes. GOD. The time sacrifice of offering to meet for MWR. Another stab through the cold, dark heart. Tomorrow will be better as God's Word is running through my veins now. Because of your words. Because of Shelly. There will be a tomorrow for my family. Words can not express the depth of my gratitude for what you have done and what you are doing. I love you, Jes.

Jes said...

Hey Jesica,
this is so wonderful and just at the time that I needed to hear it. I agree with all this. It is so wonderful what you said. I cried thru it bc today and the last few days and over Christmas has been very difficult for me and my marriage. I just do not know what is wrong in this situation. I think and my husband thinks he is battling depression and he sleeps and ignores us his wife and kids and wants to escape. I could ask him a question like what would you like to eat and he blows up at me. Leave me alone, _____ do not start on me and he is screaming at me while he says it. I say to him very nicely and sweet is there anything i can do to help you in this situation. Yes there have been times when he has hurt me so bad and made me so angry bc of the way that he talked to me that I grabbed him by the head of the hair and pulled his hair out of anger and I know that was wrong and it did not make anything better so why did i do that. Even in the midst of hell on earth sometimes in this marriage guess what I am here to stay bc marriage is a permanent relationship. I would love for someone to do these things for us that you have mentioned or do them for someone else struggling in marriage. _______ might question it. It sounds wonderful and why do we not do it. maybe we are to prideful and do not want others to know what we are going thru. very, very few know what i go thru sometimes not all the time bc I do not want to hear from them you need to get out of there you need to leave. why do you stay. sometimes i feel stupid excuse this word for staying but you know what in the end God will be glorified and that is why I stay bottom line. Thank you so much for sharing this it is wonderful. I know i have not put any scripture in here for you but wanted to let you know what i think and what i have experienced. Please do not post this unless you think it could help someone. I hope you are feeling better and I think of you and pray for you often. I think we need to be in much prayer about our own marriages and about other believers as well bc we never know what someone is dealing with on the inside even though they have a smile on their face and you think everything is ok when really inside it is not ok. I think in this world today men are under an extreme amount of stress and women as well and they both need to be able to come home to a peaceful sanctuary. I also think it comes down to do we want to honor God in our marriages or not.

Jes said...

I want you all to know that I posted the previous comment, but took out the names of the woman who wrote it, and her husband...she allowed me to choose whether or not to post it, and because I think it is of great benefit to others, I went ahead and did so.

I love you, my sweet friends.

I love you dearly!
Jes

Kim Green said...

I was in the shower this morning and heard God for the first time in a week. I have been filling my head with self-thoughts instead of God's thoughts. I heard Him tell me that He has never left me like I thought He did. That he was reaching for me and loving through you and Marilyn and Kim B. That He was using my friends to love ME. That while I was turning my back on Him, He was still holding me close, using human hands and hearts. That the prayers that were prayed for my marriage became like glue and allowed the Holy Spirit to reign again. That I have yet another chance to be tested and try to prove myself worthy of the name CHRISTian. That for all my husband's issues that I struggle with, I need to look at my own first and what comes out in times of trouble. Never give up, ladies. Pray for your friends but reach out and "pester" them. Call, email, text, whatever. But don't let them go. Hold them close until the Holy Spirit takes over again in their lives. NEVER give up!