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Welcome to the New Normal?

I took a huge step today. I really want everyone to know because it was a REALLY big deal for me, and I’m super excited about the Lord working in my heart! For the first time since separating from my husband (October 2008), I allowed him to visit my home. My home that has been my private place, my refuge from the world. My home where I’ve only allowed people that I really trust to visit. My home. With my things.

Originally I was supposed to just pick him up and the girls and I would go eat somewhere with him…his treat. When he brought up the idea of want to watch a movie with me…at my house…I was a bit taken aback and totally unprepared. For some reason I said yes. I figured there’s only one way to start trusting God in this situation and that’s to jump out of the safe zone and do it. So as I’m driving us all back to my safe haven, I’m nervous, apprehensive, mistrusting and pretty scared. I felt like I was letting a stranger in my house. I know he’s not. I mean I’ve been married to him for almost 8 years. But this Husband is not the same Husband he was three months ago. Hence, he’s a stranger.

We decided to watch Fireproof…appropriate for our situation. Wow, what a movie! Husband and I cried while our children slept. We talked and cried some more. Husband and I both related to the characters in that movie in some form. Late in the movie when Caleb (Kirk Cameron) addresses his wife after she’s found the 40 Day Dare book, Catherine (the wife) says to her husband that he’s not acting normal. She was looking at him like he was a puzzle, like she was trying to find her husband…her REAL husband. I was thinking how I could relate to that sentiment. Who is this man? This new creature. Caleb responds to his wife in that scene by saying, “Welcome to the new normal”.

‘Aha!’ I thought. What a concept! Normal. What is that? I really have no experience, no understanding of what is ‘normal’ for a godly family because I’ve never really been in one. How cool! How awesome! How exciting that this man, Husband, could be my new normal! He WANTS to be with me! He wants to be the leader, the head of our family. He wants to guide us. He wants to be reliable, dependable, loving, respectable, the provider, a godly husband and father. AND he has every single tool he needs! Most importantly he wants to serve the Lord through our marriage!

So I’m still not quite sure who this man is, but I think I like him. Somehow, while it was still very strange to have Husband in my home, it was ok. It was a blessing. It was a beginning. Not a beginning of me trusting Husband but a beginning of me relinquishing control of the situation to the Lord. A beginning of forgiveness. And, hopefully, a beginning of our family’s new normal.

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Do I Trust Him? A Look At Whether I Really Trust God

So, some of you may know that my husband and I have entered into counseling. We’ve only had two sessions but we think a lot has been accomplished. There have definitely been ups and downs, but we are both seemingly committed to the Lord and to reconciliation…or are we?

On this journey so far, I have sinfully felt that I’m the one who knows it all. What could my newly saved husband possibly teach me? I’ve been a believer for, like, ever. I’m the one who’s been attending church without him, who’s been dedicated to seeking more ways to serve the Lord and my church, who’s made friends and networked (a small feat within itself…at least for me). I’m the one who’s been studying the Bible, seeking counsel, and striving to be a godly wife and mother. How is it, then, that I missed something? I mean not just any something, but something big.

I’ve struggled with forgiveness for a while now. I want to forgive my husband, but I just haven’t been able to muster it up. I’ve prayed for it, but nothing’s happened. A few days ago my husband and I had a conversation about forgiveness in lieu of a pamphlet we were given to read for counseling “homework”. Note that we both read it. But somehow I missed the page that talked about forgiveness. So when my husband told ME that it’s an action first not a feeling, I indignantly retorted that he was wrong and that I couldn’t just say the words “I forgive you”. I had to “FEEL” like I forgive him. I mean, HELLO, Husband, where have you been? Right? Umm, no.

After a little more research into this subject, I have found a lot of things out about forgiveness.
1. Forgiveness is a command from God (Luke 11:4).
2. Forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean we forget but more that we don’t make the offender continue to suffer the consequences of his/her sin.
3. Not obeying the command to forgive is blatantly not trusting in the Lord. He gives us this command because by obeying His command (and all of them) we will be blessed.
4. Forgiveness is the only way to reconcile. Reconciliation helps the offender experience God’s grace practically through the healing of a relationship. It also is for the benefit of God’s church, unity, fellowship, ministry, and holiness (Matt. 18:18-20)

So, the issue is not really will I or can I forgive my husband. The question REALLY is, “do I trust God?”. How much do I trust Him? And why or how does my newbie husband trust Him more than I do? What is he doing that I’m not? How offended the Lord must be that I’m not trusting Him in this way! I am not only not trusting God to bless me, but I’m also sinning even more by hindering the physical view of God’s grace. How can my husband see the Lord in me if I have no grace or forgiveness for him? How is my unforgiveness affecting the body of Christ?

So, it seems, I have a lot to work on. My comfort comes from the Lord. He will change my heart. He will give me the strength to obey His commands. He will help me to trust Him more and strengthen my faith. I think, as Christians, we all have trust issues with the Lord. We all have something in our lives that we haven’t handed over, that we don’t trust to the Lord. I just want to remember that whatever it is in my life (in this case forgiveness), it’s never a matter of can I or will I obey. It’s a matter of trusting our Savior who has already suffered every trial and already obeyed every command above and beyond what we will ever be able to do. If I love the Lord, I will obey. Does that mean it’s easy? Absolutely not! Scary? Probably (definitely in my case). Worth it? Well, God is good…all the time.

Not A Box of Chocolates

You know when Forrest Gump says his “mama always says ‘life is like a box of chocolates. Ya never know what you’re gonna get.'”? Well his mama was not smart either. Life is NOT like a box of chocolates. It doesn’t come in a pretty box. Nine times out of ten it’s not even sweet. And while I get the similie that the inside of each one is different, but sorry, life isn’t usually that tasty…especially if it’s Godiva.

No no no. I think life is like a roller coaster. Ups downs and the feelings that accompany riding a roller coaster apply to lots of times in life. For me, I’m on the upside down loop dee loop of a roller coaster. I’m feeling scared..no not scare, terrified, exhilarated, hopeful (I’m always hopeful on a roller coaster…hopeful that I’ll get off alive…especially on the upside down part), and happy. I’m also, however, on that part where you’re really wondering if the equipment is going to keep you in the machine or if it’s just gonna dump you out right when your upside down…but you’re willing to take the risk anyway. I think that’s called mistrust. But the feeling isn’t strong enough for you not to go on the ride.
Yes, I think that’s exactly what the thought of reconciliation with my husband is. Yes, a very touchy subject for many. And some might even gasp at the idea that I’m so public about it. But why not? I’ve found it’s better to satisfy curiosity with the truth than to let people make up something. And I also know that there are those that care and truly want to know how I’m doing. Well, if you’ve every been on a roller coaster that goes upside down, then you know.

Well I talked about that mistrust. I read some good verses this morning:

My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble.When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:22-26

I am reminded of several things: The Lord will give me His divine wisdom when I seek it. He will not let me fall. He will save me from my fear and protect me from the wicked onslaught. I learned that I am not trusting my husband to do right. I am trusting myself to my true husband, the Lord.

When we walk in divine wisdom, we can rest assured that the Lord is with us always. He won’t allow us to enter into any situation that He has not anticipated. Nor will He permit a circumstance unless He intends it for our good. – Dr. Charles Stanley