Saturday, June 15, 2013
To the "Ruths" who are waiting for a "Boaz" to walk into your life:
I remember the day my Momma and I went to a powerful church service at Jesus Pursuit Church in Albany. We we're both going thru some painful and difficult times. My heart had been severely broken by my husband of 13 years who walked away from God and his family. The air was thick in the sanctuary. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so sweet. The music was going and I was lost in worship. This place felt safe. In my heart I leaned against Poppa God on a white horse. I call God Poppa. I have always wanted to be a Daddy's girl, but my real Dad couldn't be there for me. In His presence I felt like I was the only one. And I spiritually felt bare and naked with my broken heart exposed but felt so safe and so warm resting in His arms. After the music and message that was given my Momma wanted me to go up front to the altar area to be prayed for. I felt shy and awkward about it, but at my Momma's request I did. She's my hero in so many ways. Anything she's asks of me I will do. I was prayed for and given a precious and memorable word. I was told by the prayer lady that God wanted me know it wasn't my fault and that Poppa loved me. He called me His favorite. And at that moment I felt like I truly was. God is so awesome how He does this. We truly are His favorite. Each one of us. After some time I went and kneeled at the altar and cried out to Him. I heard Him say so clearly- I'm sending you a "Boaz". I pondered what He said. I knew it was His voice. I've never really been interested much about the story of Ruth and Boaz. I went to Sunday School as a child and it was never my favorite story. But since then I have studied the book of Ruth. Listened and gleaned from it. Applied it to the areas of my life. Have I bumped into my Boaz, Yet ? No. But I have learned to be busy about my Father's business. Loving others and working in the fields that God has called me to. I have met so many "Ruth's and Naomi's" along the way of this healing journey. I have spent the last few years gleaning and sharing wisdom of what a godly woman and wife should be like. Sharing my own journey, being transparent with my readers, praying and standing in the gap for marriages. We have helped soothe some broken hearts. Poppa God has been faithful. I see so many strong women who have been hurt and disappointed. But their faith shines like the sun and I am so privileged and blessed to know them. The story of Ruth is about redemption. Poppa God covers us with His love and redeems us from our painful past. He celebrates us as the Bride of Christ. He provides for us single mommas and is a Husband when we need one. He is also a Father to the fatherless. He is all that we have need of. I learned to let go of searching for the affections of a man and to put my broken bleeding heart into the hands of the Almighty. There I know it's always protected and safe. I have come so far and I feel so grateful that I'm no longer broken or dismayed. He has given me purpose. Given me a message that burns on my heart to share. Keep trusting God, Keep walking in faith and do what God has called you to- And when the time is right Your "Boaz" will see you from across the field.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I kept waiting night after night for his truck to pull into the driveway. I slept in his t-shirt just to keep his scent near me. My days were blurred in a thick foggy haze. I barely slept, I barely ate, I lost the desire to live. I was truly heartsick. I can still remember my teenage son's voice saying, "Mama...don't you think it's time you slept upstairs in your bed again?" I felt so lost. I told myself he would come back; that somehow his truck had broken down and that he wasn't able to call. I tried to reason with my heart that he wasn't really gone; that he would be back. I was completely heartsick. I never really fully understood what the words meant when someone said their heart was broken. Oh, the sure pain of it -now...so surreal. I don't take those words for granted anymore. I have learned to pray, comfort, listen and hold someone's hand when they say those words. I am so eternally grateful for Poppa God walking me through that difficult time in my life. He truly healed that shattered broken heart, and then He gave me a purpose -even a rare beauty out of what was meant to destroy me. It's been several years now and those memories have faded, but I have not forgotten. What should you do when your heart is broken? Here are some things that helped me through that painful season:
* If someone has left you, don't beg and plead for them to stay or come back. The best advice my grandmother gave me was: "If a man wants to walk, let him walk." Begging, pleading, crying, manipulating, or pining for them to stay will only prolong your pain and suffering and that of your children. If someone wants to stay they will do it out of their own free will. You can't force someone to love you or to be faithful to you. Love is a choice, so let them choose. I know it hurts. I know you can't imagine your life without them, but you have to let them decide on their own.
* Decide and determine in your heart that you will hold onto God no matter what. It's not His fault that a human you loved disappointed you. Cling to His promise that He will never leave you or forsake you. Cry out to Him. Pray. Choose to read His word, stay in church. Even if you feel like your world is falling apart remember that you are in the palm of His hand and He will carry you. He is closer than a brother and a friend at all times. Let Him hold you and comfort you. He can handle your pain and your tears. Life may not make sense right now but life will get better again. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning.
* Reach out to someone you can trust; a prayer partner, a best friend, a pastor or mentor. Let them know what's going on. A true friend will care and be there for you during difficult times. Don't allow the lies of the enemy to tell you that you have to go through this alone. You need help during this time and it's okay to admit that. Ask others to pray for your strength, peace of mind, healing in your heart to take place.
* Remember to take care of your body. When you go through heartache your overwhelming feelings invade you and you may forget to eat. Your appetite may be completely gone. Choose to at least eat some protein and drink water daily to keep yourself hydrated.
* Choose to live life. You probably want to stay in bed all day and do absolutely nothing. Force yourself to get up and get out of the house. Go for walks, see a movie with a friend, grab coffee and read the Word. I know it feels like your life is void and empty, but whatever you do, do not stop living. If you were happy before this person came into your life, you can be happy again without them. It will just take time.
* In the moments when you are completely overwhelmed by the grief and surges of feelings, have a friend you can call or text so they can pray for you. Sometimes the pain in your heart will feel like a sneaker tidal wave. You may feel completely like your drowning, but imagine yourself holding onto God's hand. He is right beside you and He will not let you be consumed. He is your anchor during the storm. Allow yourself to feel the pain and remind yourself that these feelings are temporary and they will pass. Breathe.
* Take time to reflect. You can't do a thing about the person who broke your heart, but you can reflect and think about what you could do differently. Listen to God's voice and be honest with yourself. It's a healthy approach to admit your mistakes and to glean wisdom from them. Ask God to show you what was unhealthy about the relationship. The truth sets us free. Don't beat yourself up though and do not condemn yourself. Don't blame yourself for everything either. It takes two people to have a relationship. Everyone has something they can do better and things to work on.
* Determine in your heart that you will forgive the person who hurt you. It doesn't mean you don't feel the pain anymore. It doesn't mean you are letting them off the hook -it means letting God deal with them. It means that you choose to walk in God's love. He can deal with people's hearts better than we can ourselves. I know it hurts. I know you're angry. I know you feel betrayed. It's okay to feel these feelings, but make the decision to forgive them. Ask God to help you in this. God can handle your feelings. Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision.
* Do not choose to date or get involved in another romantic relationship until a lengthy time has passed. It's the worst mistake you can make. To start dating while your heart is broken is like walking around with a broken foot on novocaine. When the numbness wears off you will hurt even more. The damage will be greater. A second heartache is worse than first. Trust me -I know. Just because you feel better does not mean you are completely healed and ready for a relationship. Healing of a broken heart takes time. It's a process. God is a gentlemen and He heals our hearts one layer at a time, like an onion. Do yourself and the other person a favor -guard your heart. Get healthy first.
* Do special things for you. You are worth it. Go for walks, exercise, get a pedicure. Pamper yourself. Pamper a girlfriend. Do something kind for a neighbor. Do things that are stress relieving. Comfort yourself by surrounding yourself with good people and good atmosphere. Buy candles. Try a new hobby. Join a choir. Do it for you.
* Remember that tears are part of the process. It doesn't mean you are going backwards. A memory, a song or a smell might trigger feelings of the person who left you. Allow yourself to feel the pain and then move forward. Tears are cleansing, they're part of how God designed us to heal. He cares about you and the tears that fall on your pillow at night. So much that He actually records them in heaven.
* Avoid seeking comfort from places and things that will only temporarily numb your pain. Stay away from alcohol, drugs, sex outside of marriage, online dating services, or people who are a bad influence. All these things may feel good for a while, but your life will end up in destruction. Seek comfort from Jesus, His word, your friends, church, etc. Anything that is good, pure, lovely -think on those things.
* Know and remember that your pain and broken relationship are not your identity. You are lovable. You are a child of God. Nothing you can do can separate you from His unfailing love for you. He loves you right where you're at. Your mess is not who you are. Just because someone stopped loving you does not mean that you are unlovable. That is a huge lie of the enemy to try to destroy your confidence and self esteem.
Praying for you, Dear one. God is with you in this season. Love will bloom again on the branches of your heart. Written by Jenny Williams, Ruby Wives. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share for encouragement purposes. All scriptures are taken from the NIV Bible Version.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Monday, April 8, 2013
There's a song that came out this past year. I am a country music fan and I enjoy the stories that these songs tell. Lately, this particular song has been reminding me deeply in my heart of the love I had for the one who broke me in two. It seems so long ago -like a very distant memory. As this song was playing in the car on the radio I felt an ironic moment of epiphany...Wow, Poppa -that's exactly how I loved him. He was what you would consider a "bad boy". He has a past and a trail of mistakes, drama, and broken hearts, and I was one of them. He's rough around the edges, kind of scruffy and not one for the highest hygiene award ...but I loved him. I called him "Tramp" and he called me "Lady" -from the Disney movie. It described us perfectly. I am a girly girl -sweet smelling and enjoy being clothed in heels and dresses.
The country song blared out these surreal lyrics:
The country song blared out these surreal lyrics:
I always thought she'd give up on me one day.
Wash her hands of me leave me staring down some runway.
But I thank God each night and twice on Sunday
That she loves me like Jesus does.
All the crazy in my dreams,
Both my broken wings,
Every single piece of everything I am.
She knows the man I ain't,
She forgives me when I can't.
That devil, man, he don't stand a chance.
She loves me like Jesus does."
She loves me like Jesus does...
I don't fully understand why Poppa God allowed me to meet this broken, messed up man; to fall so in love, so deeply in love with someone who would not value or cherish the unconditional love I would give him, but our paths crossed at church one day. I never have loved any man the way I did him. His guitar, his rugged hands, and his quirky humor -deep conversations of spiritual things and our cheesy, almost delirious love words we would say to each other. I inevitably would hang on to the good I saw in him, even with all his hang ups and addictions. I could see the potential in him and sought to bring this goodness out of him. I was a fool. I was crazy in love -that's just it..Crazy. No smart woman would put up with crap like that. Love should never hurt that badly. One of his hang ups was a woman who was already married. He left me for her one day -left my world crushed into pieces, and my kids' hearts hurting as well. No good can come out of that. Adultery on any terms is destruction. I thought he was insane to leave when we seemed so in love together. I was under an illusion, though, and maybe it was just a one sided kind of love. I never should have given him a second chance when he came back the first time, but I thought that showing love and grace to him would make him realize the truth and depth of my love for him, and then he would learn to value me and the kids. He was and still is a wanderer -one who likes to just come and go. If life gets hard he goes "Dodge", just like his beat up old truck. Sometimes I could swear he loved me too, but not enough -not enough to stay. Not enough to be faithful. Not enough to provide or care for me and the kids. Not enough to fight for a better existence. I got tired of tears -of spending days and nights on my knees praying for a breakthrough or miracle that would set him free of the spiritual chains and bondage. I sometimes wonder: did I waste my love on him, or will he someday realize (if he ever gets set free and delivered) that I was a good woman who showed him what real love is? I may never get the answer, but it's okay. I know I deserve someone who appreciates what I have to offer and doesn't take it for granted. I'm not a back pocket kind of woman. I'm a keep me close to your heart kind of gal, and I deserve the very best. Loving a bad boy won't make him change. If he's good, then he already will want to be a better man on his own. No love from a good woman is going to make a bad boy better. He has to be willing to do it on his own. She loved him like Jesus does....Jenny Williams, Ruby Wives Copyright 2013
Song lyrics by Eric Church http://youtu.be/RGF6c0tjAgI
Song lyrics by Eric Church http://youtu.be/RGF6c0tjAgI
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I am so grateful that my heart is no longer shredded in pieces from heartache and abandonment. Did I get my husband back? No, But I laid him on the altar and have found Poppa God has set me free. When you can get past trying to chase a man's love and affections, when you can stop dwelling on every single little word and action he is doing, when you can finally surrender and say, "Jesus, no matter what I'm going to trust You because I know You know what's best for me. With or without him, I will always serve and love You. I tell you that's when your true healing begins. A peace and contentment comes and you'll feel purpose and hope again. Then your heart is ready to be in love again...In love with Jesus. I am so in love with His presence -so in love with His beauty and goodness. Sometimes the testimony isn't what you wanted, but it will be what is truly best for you. I have found my treasure. I have found my worth -in Christ alone. God promised me love again. A Boaz that will walk into my life. Until then, I am so content and happy. I love encouraging women on their journeys of healing and sharing wisdom from the mistakes I have made. God is so faithful to bring good out of every circumstance if we trust Him.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Upon awakening, I know that this was a dream of meaning; and I know exactly what the meaning is. I pray to God that it is just a warning of what could happen and not a foretelling of what will happen. I tell my husband about the dream (leaving out the new husband part) and he understands the meaning of it as well. He tries to assure me that it will serve as a warning, but he makes no changes in his life or to the path he is on.
We met and were married is less than a year’s time. He had a “past” and made no secret of it. He had been abused in childhood, and had been in trouble with the law. He had been to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, and was happily clean and sober for about a year and a half at the time we met. During that time he had come to know the Lord in a very powerful way. I took this as reassurance that the things of his past would remain there. God had brought us together; there was no doubt of it.
During our courtship, he informed me that some of his past ways of thinking and relating to others might surface from time to time; that he might he might tend to try to “bulldoze” me. He told me in no uncertain terms that if this were to happen, all I would need to do would be to stand up for myself and he would come to his senses and back down. It didn’t go that way at all. When, after we had been married a few months, it happened that I needed to defend myself against being “bulldozed”, it was made perfectly clear to me that I was not to defend myself in any way. I did not deserve to be defended, as this would mean that he had behaved wrongly, and how dare I insinuate he had done anything wrong by defending myself! I quickly became depressed. If he detected that I was feeling upset or depressed in any way, he would rebuke me for it, attempting to guilt me into feeling better. I couldn’t understand the logic of him trying to make me feel terrible for feeling terrible. The depression rapidly became all-consuming, and I withdrew from all other friend and family relationships with those who would truly love me.
Drugs and alcohol had entered the picture. I was expected to partake. When a new drug was introduced, I was usually forced to participate. I hated doing it, but at the same time it served to keep some of the anguish at bay. Over time, I continued using as a way to numb myself to the pain that my life had become, despite continuing to loathe doing it.
Our son was born just over a month before our second anniversary. Upon finding out I was pregnant, I was allowed to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and did so without there being any issue with it. He was born robustly healthy and grew rapidly. He provided the only joy there was in my life at the time, and I was consciously aware that if not for him, I would have no reason to live. I did my best not to allow him to become aware of this fact as he grew, as I knew that would be way too much responsibility for a little guy to bear.
During all of this, God would speak to me from time to time. It actually began before things went bad; quite a number of years before having the aforementioned dream. I was lying in bed awake one night, my husband was at work (one of the very few times he actually maintained gainful employment), and I heard the Lord say to me, “My dear, you’re probably not going to have him for very long.” Somehow I knew He was telling me that my husband was going to die young. “No, NO!” I pleaded, “Don’t let it be!” Then I thought to myself, “Hey, wait a minute, what does ‘probably’ mean?” To my surprise, I was provided right away with a twenty year timeline broken down into five year increments, and the probability of it happening (or not happening) within each of them. During the first five years it was possible to happen, but not likely. During the second, the probability would increase, but not be as great as it would be during the third five years. If we made it to the last five years, the likelihood of it happening would be considerably less, but not completely gone; and if we made it the full twenty years, we would be together the rest of our lives. I considered this to be a more than acceptable answer and hoped against hope that we would make it through.
It wasn’t long after that that things went south. I could see the writing on the wall. I was continually reminded of how worthless I was -that my feelings had no value and my attempts at defending myself were meaningless. Just to make these points crystal clear, he would berate me severely if I even hinted that I might be thinking differently about something than he did. “You’re against me! You’re my wife, you’re not supposed to be against me!” he would say, among other things including name-calling, belittling and the like. By doing this he made it clear that I was not allowed to have my own opinion on anything. He would gladly shame me in private or in public; and when he did it publicly, it was apparent that he didn’t harbor a single thought that he might be making himself look bad in front of anyone. His only aim was to completely humiliate me. It worked.
While I still clung to the love I felt God had created between us, I knew that living this way was not sustainable. I occasionally was reminded of what the Lord had told me as I laid in bed that night, and would plead anew for my husband’s life. One day He gave me an answer in the form a promise. He said to me, “I will not take him unless or until you become ready for him to be gone.”
“It’s a deal!” said I. Little did I realize what “becoming ready for him to be gone” was going to entail.
Years went by. Nearly six years after the birth of our son, we had a daughter. The level of stress I was experiencing had become so extreme, it made my milk supply dry up so I was only able to breastfeed her for three months. I can remember noticing it happening when she was only two months old. I curled up on the bed, sobbing over not being able to be an adequate mother.
The drug use had become rampant at this point. I can hardly think of a drug that did not enter our home at one point or another. He was pretty much always on something, and I was right there with him quite a bit of the time, once my milk was dried up once and for all, which didn’t take long. Because of his constant drug and alcohol abuse, he became unable to have sex with me. He was not, however, unable to become initially aroused, and he regularly forced me to “service” him. I got nothing in return – this went on for years.
I started pleading with God to make it come to an end. It had gotten to the point where I knew absolutely that God was not going to allow things to continue this way indefinitely. I prayed for my husband to be healed so I could be relieved of the hell I was experiencing. It was then that the Lord made me a new promise. He said that if I stuck it out to the end, I would not have to wait for some kind of happiness to occur in my life; that it would just be there. This promise sustained me for quite some time, but the situation continued to deteriorate. I went from praying for God to fix my husband, to praying that He would either fix him or take him, I no longer cared which. I was becoming “ready for him to be gone”.
I continued pleading with God, begging Him to bring this season of my life to an end. He said to me, "Please don't leave him yet." I could tell that the Lord was asking, rather than commanding me to stay with my husband. I was intrigued by this, and by His use of the word "yet". I struggled with understanding why He would use that word. My immediate reaction at the time was to ask, "Yet? What does 'yet' mean?” I was incredulous. I thought to myself, “Does this mean it's going to be ok for me to leave him in the future?” I heard no answer; He only repeated Himself, "Just please don't leave him yet." Despite the amount of heartache I was experiencing in my marriage, I could not even begin to entertain the idea of not doing something God was directly asking me to do; so I agreed without reservation.
You know how sometimes you get that little involuntary muscle twitch just below your eye? I developed these kinds of twitches all over my body. Both of my eyes twitched, my face twitched on either side of my nose just below my cheekbones, I had twitches on my arms, my legs and my torso. Severe stress was completely consuming me. I have this memory of lying prone in the middle of the living room floor, contemplating the absurdity of being incapable of willing myself to death -seeing as how I had come to wish for it so very intensely. I had reached a time of feeling totally overwhelmed with despair; I cried out to God, “Please, PLEASE make this end! I can’t do this anymore! I’m breaking… losing myself!” He answered me in the strangest way. He said, “Alright, you got Me.” –as if I had just said, “Tag, You’re it!” I was quite startled to hear the Lord say something like that to me, and I asked, “What? I got You? …What?!”
“You got Me.” He said again, and elaborated, “You have every right to leave him, and you even should; but I’m going to ask you one last time, please don’t leave him yet.” I was shaking; and I was really stunned by the “and you even should” part. On one hand, God had just told me something that hardly any person would ever believe He would say; on the other hand, I knew that He had just revealed truth directly to me, and had again asked me to do something very specific. I still found myself incapable of refusing a direct request from the Lord. I gritted my teeth. My fists were balled up and my knuckles white. I barely was able to squeak out my answer, “ok.”
About a week later, I was working an extra shift on a Friday night. I got “the phone call”. It was just over two months before our twelfth anniversary. Our son was less than a month from turning ten, and our daughter had recently turned four. The police were at my house. “Come home immediately.” they told me.
“He did something, didn’t he?” I asked rhetorically. They would say nothing anyway. As I drove home, I began to open my mouth to pray aloud, “Please let him be alive.” In my heart I knew what was really going on, but a small part of me hoped that this might be his final wake-up call. Interestingly, those were not the words that came out. I felt a mild shock as the phrase formed in my mouth, “Lord, Your will be done.” I said instead. My husband had passed away of a drug overdose. I can’t say that I was terribly surprised. I took vague notice that it had happened during the “third five years” -the period of time when God had told me it was most likely to happen. It was, however, an astoundingly shocking experience. I awoke the next two mornings to find myself already screaming as I entered into consciousness.
Soon thereafter, God granted me the ability to understand that despite the fact that He had asked me to stay, I would have been within my rights to remove myself from the “marriage” at almost any time, not just at the end. God had only asked me to stay, He hadn’t commanded it. There is a reason for that. You see, my husband had abandoned me by failing miserably at holding up his end of the marriage vows. He had, in fact, refused to keep them, effectively divorcing me in every way except on paper. I have heard it said that there is no loneliness greater than that caused by being with someone who makes you feel alone. I can attest to that being the absolute truth.
There is a pervasive belief among Christians that the one and only legitimate reason to leave a marriage is when sexual infidelity occurs. This is a backward way to view the situation. When a spouse has been unfaithful, it is they who have already left the marriage. It has become clear to me, however, that there are more ways than just sexual infidelity by which a person can “cheat” on their spouse. Marriage vows include the promises to “love, honor and cherish”. Persistent failure or refusal to keep these promises is also cheating. I do not recall ever attending any wedding ceremony where the vows were: “I promise to avoid having sex with other people, but that’s the only promise I’m going to make”, and then someone says, “I now pronounce you man and wife.”
Yes, I am aware that there is also a vow that says “for better or worse”. I think a more accurate wording of that vow would be: “through better and worse”. Marriage is supposed to be filled with ups and downs, not just downs. God has not called us to be dragged through the mud throughout the duration of our lives. He did not create the institution of marriage to be used as a torture chamber by those who would wield it in that way. I have come to understand that He has created an out for those who have found themselves abandoned or in marriages that were entered into in bad faith by a spouse who lords the marriage license over them like it’s a certificate of ownership.
Let me be clear. I do not wish this to be an endorsement for divorce. I do not want to see marriages end, if those ends can be avoided in any way. I absolutely believe marriage should be held in the very highest regard, and that marriages should be supported and held together whenever possible; but we live in a fallen world here, folks. This is the very reason Jesus was sent to die in our place. Human beings make mistakes, sometimes grave mistakes (also known as sin). In marriage, some may have married the wrong person in the first place; some spouses may have turned from God and allowed themselves to take a path that they never would have had they stayed with Him.
Whatever the mistake is, Jesus’ death and resurrection have covered it. God did this in order to perfect all things and provide healing in all situations. It can be a very trying thing to do, but we must have faith that He will give us the wisdom and strength to endure through difficult circumstances as we wait on His perfect timing. His answer will come. If we have done this, we will see that He has chosen to take the slow (and often surprising) route to perfection; but as humans, who don’t always pay attention to such things, we regularly try to tell God what we think the perfect thing to do is, and when and how it should be done. We often don’t realize that what we might regard as being perfect in the here and now may not be so in the long haul. Only God knows. We have to trust in Him alone and be open to the idea that He might teach us something different about Himself and His kingdom than what we have been taught by this world, even by Christians of this world.
The truth of the matter is, marriage is supposed to be about love. More specifically, it should be a reflection of the love Christ has for the church; and the Bible is very clear on the subject of love. It provides unmistakable instructions on how husbands and wives are to show love to one another. Ephesians 5:21-29 states: “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord, for a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of His body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault . In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies, for a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No-one hates his own body , but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.”
There are many who interpret the phrase, “wives should submit to your husbands in everything” as giving husbands free reign as to how they are allowed to treat their wives, and saying that wives have no choice but to take any treatment that might be dished out; but if you look at the passage as a whole, wives are called to submit to husbands who treat them as Christ treats the church -with loving leadership. Colossians 3:19 spells it out explicitly for husbands:“Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” To sum this all up, a very specific inventory of how to identify love, stating exactly what love is and what it isn’t, can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”.
The Lord used my circumstance to teach me a truth that is not well known; that continual failure to adhere to any and/or all the vows of marriage with no effort to remedy the situation, is tantamount to leaving (or divorcing) one’s spouse; and the one who has been abandoned, in whatever way the abandonment occurs, may no longer be bound by their vows. As 1 Corinthians 7:15 states: “but if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace." I personally like that last part, “for God has called you to live in peace.” It makes it pretty clear, doesn’t it? God does not want us to continue living in a tortured relationship! This may be a difficult pill for some to swallow, as it may mean having to realize that a spouse they were sure was saved may actually not be. 1 John 4:7-8 has something very straightforward to say on that subject: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God; but anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love”
For whatever reason, I had to stay until the bitter end in order to learn the lessons God wanted me to learn. By doing this, I have realized that one reason the Lord asked me to stay in my marriage, rather than ordering me to stay in it, was so I would understand that probably within the first year of my marriage, my husband had already failed so abysmally at being a husband, I was no longer bound to the vows I had taken. I now know that He said, "Please don't leave him yet." because, by all rights, I already could have, and the end of the marriage would not have been my doing. I have slowly come to understand that whatever “salvation experience” occurred in my husband’s life must not have been the real thing. His seed fell among the rocky soil, sprouted quickly and then died (see Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23). I don’t say this to pass judgment on him, as that is not my job; it has just become more clearly true as time has gone by. I am gradually learning to be at peace with it. It’s in God’s hands.
There is more to why God personally asked me to stay in my marriage. He wanted me to come out of the experience knowing this truth absolutely: there is such a thing as being “spiritually divorced” from one's spouse. There are those whose spouses have divorced them in spirit, yet they cling with all their might to their marriage vows, in many cases believing that they will be punished by God for not doing so. Certainly the Lord appreciates this kind of dedication to one’s vows, and He may choose to use such dedication to affect a miraculous change in a faltering marriage; but when a person has been wholly abandoned by a spouse who has completely failed to keep the promises of marriage, or if a person has been physically abandoned by their spouse entirely, that individual may no longer be required to stay in the marriage, as it may no longer be a marriage at all.
Care must be taken with how to interpret the meaning of this. This does not mean that any and every time you get into a fight with your spouse you have the right to say, “You’re not showing me love according to our marriage vows! You’re failing at keeping your vows! I want a divorce!” May that never be! I’m talking about continuous actions-speak-louder-than-words refusal to keep the promises that were made at the wedding ceremony.
There are many people who have found themselves in this situation; people whose spouses have already divorced them in every way except on paper. I wish to pray effectively not only for people who are trying to save their struggling marriages, but for those who are in marriages that have reached the point of hopelessness. I wish to counsel husbands and wives who are having hard times in their marriages to learn how to come together in Christ. I do not, however, wish to counsel people to stay in marriages that are unsalvageable, or where spiritual divorce has occurred. I pray that people will realize when they have been spiritually divorced, so they can move into the next phase of life God has for them unhindered by the feeling that they have failed Him, because they’re not the ones who have failed in this circumstance. We must never forget: God loves us all so very much, and He makes all things new, often in unexpected ways. Be in prayer about the will of God for your life. Listen to Him alone, and avoid allowing yourself to be confused by so many different loud opinions. He will make His answers clear. May God bless you as you seek to find His will in your life and marriage. Written by Amy Rippee, editor at Ruby Wives. All scriptures are from the New Living Translation. Please feel free to share for encouragement purposes only.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
You've been standing on a heap of ashes -your burned up dreams.
You have been waiting for beauty.
Waiting for beauty to come again.
You have called out every day -wondering if He even remembers your name.
Seasons come and seasons go, but somehow this one has been so long.
Is it ever going to change?
All those silent tears will turn to perfume; its fragrance will sweeten the air.
Forever it will embed a pretty memory of your laughter and smile; you've trampled your fears.
Those who call out His name will not be left in shame.
He sees the struggles. He sees the pain.
You've lost love. You've lost friends. You've lost happy. You've lost yourself within.
You have wondered -is this the end of it all?
Close your eyes, dear one. Imagine yourself free.
Flying high -even higher than the eagles, on a sweet summer breeze.
Above the pain. Above the heartache. Above the disappointment.
Above it all -above everything.
Beauty is going to come again, and those ashes of dreams will be blown away.
Those who look to the Lord and stand in faith -it will not be in vain.
He hears you when you call on His name.
Hold on, dear one, hold on. Beauty is going to come. It's going to come to you again.
Friday, December 7, 2012
She is looking in the mirror tonight ...harsh reality is all she sees: lines of tiredness on her face -a forced smile is hard to come by. Behind her eyes are tears yet to be shed, and she knows she can't let them slip down her cheeks until she's alone in the darkness of her room in her empty bed, where her pillow greets them every night. Some say she's strong, but the dress she wears feels like loneliness. Her silent prayers unspoken: "Oh, Poppa God, just let me know You are here, and hold me tight because I can't go on like this tonight. Send your angels to help me find my way." She straightens herself up, sighs, and walks out the door to make dinner for her kids. "Poppa, help me tonight."
(To be continued. My Story, my Heart, my Testimony. written by Jenny Williams, Ruby Wives Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.)
Clear memories remind me of that September fall day when the truth hit me, and I realized that he had not only abandoned me, but he had left me for another woman, a woman who was already married to someone else. I can still vividly recall the sobs of brokenness that literally took my breath away as I crumpled to the floor. The pain of emotions was like drowning in tidal waves, sending my soul crashing down again and again with no comfort or relief. Now, though, I can see that Poppa God was there with me the whole time...Ruby's Story.
(To be continued) ~Jenny Williams, Ruby Wives Copyright 2012 all Rights Reserved.
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Monday, October 22, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
(Quoted scriptures are from the NIV Bible Translation.)