Category Archives: Marriage

I wrote this blog a few days ago.  I’m posting it today because it’s our son’s wedding day. I want to give God thanks and praise for where he has  brought me to today. He is good, kind and generous and delights to show mercy.

I think I have stepped over the line. I have begun to shed those negative emotions that have hindered and dragged me down. Bu God’s grace, I have left them behind. They may not be far away, but they are definitely on the other side of the line.

There has been a turning point today. I saw hurt in my husband’s face and I felt complete compassion for him. I wanted to absorb his pain and take it away. I didn’t feel hurt, or resentment. I didn’t view his hurt through the lens of my own hurt; I felt no prickly emotions. Rather, I felt liberated and healed. What  an amazing God we have!


Even though my husband is bearing the consequences of his actions, I was able to look at his pain through the lens of sadness for all he is bearing. I felt healing in my own soul as I acknowledged how hard this situation was for him. I was glad to hug him as he cried over all the damage done.

If I have really stepped over the line and I am responding to my husband as the Father  responds to each of us, then I shouldn’t just cautiously  step over it, I should  run over it and be glad to forgive and actually  look upon him as though he hasn’t sinned against me. This may sound a ridiculous thing to say, but after all, this is how our Father responds and continues to respond to the hurt and shame we cause him when we are repentant. 

If I’ve stepped over the line, I won’t  be tempted to use his past actions as ammunition when I’m under pressure. I will  love him unconditionally. I will be proud to step on that podium and say how much I love him. This is how God responds to us. If we love God, then this is how we are commanded to respond to each other. 

So when we sin  against one another,  I pray that we may look to the Father, see him looking for us when we are far off, and just like our Father, we will run and forgive and embrace and exalt each other when we’ve been sinned against. That we would forget self and remember Christ. 

He freely bore hurt so that we could know healing. I pray that we won’t abuse the wonderful gift God has given us. When we don’t forgive it grieves him because we just don’t appreciate or understand the sacrifice and the depths of love it took Jesus to suffer for us.

Lord, 

  We all fall short in our walk with you. When we hurt we don’t want to forgive, we hold back and bear grudges, we respond badly with self at the centre. Help us to respond like the Father. Help us to be the first to respond with grace and kindness and forgiveness, even when we feel our offender doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. We don’t deserve to be forgiven and yet you run to us. Give us compassionate and forgiving hearts. All marriages are imperfect, but we look forward to a greater marriage to come. The marriage of the church and her beautiful bridegroom. What a saviour.     Amen 

 

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Philippians 4:11-13

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

My life has plateaued, and the adrenalin that was frantically pumping in every direction has finally halted. Being in a constant state of high alert is finally over, and I am faced with my new life which I didn’t choose. I have struggled to find contentment with my life as it is now.

Rick Warren says:

“Contentment means my happiness is not dependent upon circumstances. Most people get caught in “when” thinking — “When I get such and such, then I’ll be happy.” ”

This morning, driving to work I  prayed for contentment. I also acknowledged that I didn’t want to pray this prayer, and I needed God to work In my life to enable me to mean the words that I was saying.  This took energy  and effort  because I was asking God to make me content with something I was discontent with.  Its hard to ask God for true contentment if  we don’t feel proactive about changing our attitudes.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11 that  He had to learn to be content. It wasn’t something that came to him naturally.  I’m sure he didn’t want to be in dire need or in prison or shipwrecked or hungry. Yet paul experienced all these things and through it, learned contentment.

I know my heart is rebellious and I know how wrong I am. I am struggling and grappling and trying to work through finding contentment in this situation I am now in. The key is loving God more and wanting every situation we find ourselves in, good  or bad to please God.

This is my prayer for today:

Lord,
I am discontent about many things in my life.  There is an unwillingness to accept the here and now. I am discontent over all I have lost. Forgive me for my rebellious heart that is so slow and reluctant to ask for contentment with the life I now have.

To know contemtement in every situation pleases you. You know best, and whatever happens in our lives, help me to trust you and understand that you are working out everything for my ultimate good. Help me to know that contentment can only come from you. It has  to be learned and applied as we look to you for help.Thank you for your willingness to forgive again and again. Thank you for Jesus who gladly gave up everything, and yet was content to submit to your will. Help me to do the same.

Amen.

Negative feelings are truly awful. They paralyse and debilitate and make us feel overwhelmed and crush our spirit.

Negative feelings are difficult to shake off, and I have never had the ability to compartmentalise my feelings by locking them away for a later date. I am consumed by them.

I have to learn not to listen to the lies that come into my mind. Sometimes they come with force like a huge violent wave. When they are believed,  feelings of despair are never far away. 

I think that my last blog is the link. Feeling flat, not having the energy to read and pray, and Satan seeing a huge chink in my armour. 

Satan is an expert in understanding and exploiting our weaknesses. He loves it when we leave the armour off. Christians who aren’t praying are a huge target. 

Yesterday I was overwhelmed by shame. When I try to break it down, I realise it’s because I’m still hung up about people’s perception of us now.

Thankfully, the only validation that we need comes through Jesus. 

When our mood is low, sometimes it seems impossible to be braced and prepared for those fiery darts. God is near to all who call on him in faith. As I am writing this I am struggling,  but I know it’s the truth.

This is a hard lesson to learn and I’m very slow to grasp it. I need to be always braced and there are good reasons that God tells us to pray continually.  I haven’t prayed as I should have done this week and I have struggled with pride. I want to feel affirmed by others and I want to look good in the world’s eyes.


Praying for grace and help to resist the lies of the devil, and for forgiveness once again as I come to the cross. 

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

Psalm 32

My life right now is inconsistent.I am having ups and downs. Good days and bad days. Times of joy and times of melancholy. Feelings of hope and feelings of overwhelming despondency. 

Acceptance is a big thing, and it’s so easy to look back and wish for what has gone. The past has gone and God has taken it away. This is right and fair. Even in the light of mighty forgiveness and overwhelming grace, I  am bearing the right  consequences for my husband’s sin. It could be no other way, because our Heavenly Father is a good parent, and there are always consequences for wrong actions. King David was forgiven, but he and Bathsheba always had the grief and sorrow of a son who died. Sin matters. 

My prayer is that the experiences that I’ve gone through won’t be wasted. That all this hurt and pain will be used to help and support others. That many will be encouraged to understand that it’s possible to feel all of these overwhelming and debilitating emotions, and yet know God in such a wonderful and intimate way. It’s such a paradox. Grief and sorrow and hurt, yet at the very same time knowing joy and hope and such a knowledge of our saviour. 

Eventually, this roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, twists and turns making me feel sick and disorientated will level out. But I will look back and I will be able to say:

I have really felt a sense of joy now and then over recent days, which has been welcome. I am making progress, but this morning I had a trigger that overwhelmed me. It weighed on my heart like a millstone. I have started helping in the toddler group at my new church. As we set up and then prayed, I felt suffocated with grief for all that I had lost. I missed my old group and the fellowship I had with them. I missed being known. I missed all the people I served with. All their names were in my heart. All that served the coffee, precious ladies that I caught up with over the hatch. I missed the mums and carers and grandmas. I loved all those I served with, and at that moment in time the hole in my heart felt unfillable. I began to quietly sob and had to escape. I know my life will be hard for months and months to come. 

There will be no easy fix. It’s a season I have to go through in order to get to the other side. There is nothing that can be done; it can’t be fixed or mended. As I write, I am quietly standing in a quiet spot in town and thanking God for smart phones. I can pour my heart out as I write, which helps me to put my emotions back in their proper place. 
Later in the morning, I talked to a mum from Morocco. She was telling me how hard it was to settle. I was able to see how bereft she must have felt and I was able to express that to her. At the end of the session she came and found me and hugged me. Empathy is often born out of pain; I learnt this morning that no difficult situation is wasted. 
Two steps forward and one back. We go on in God’s strength. 

Galatians 5:22-23 says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I have been reading through Galatians this morning, and I have been reminded of the beauty of living with Christ in view. God is so kind and generous in the way he enables us to respond to one another by  his Spirit. 

 That simple list seems at first glance to to be such an easy thing. And it is easy to react like that with those who please us, those  we get on with, and those who make us feel safe.

These verses become less easy when we are hurt, under the cosh, and offended. I was struck also by these verses in Ezekiel which reminded me that any goodness we have is a gift. 

In  Ezekiel ch 36 :25 God says to his people,

 ” I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees.” 
Praying that the Holy Spirit does his work in our hearts today, enabling us to go God’s way; being kind to those who have hurt us. Not avoiding or giving the cold shoulder to those who have offended us. Reacting with gentleness and kindness in the face of unkindness.
We need Gods help, it goes against our natural inclination. But God is willing and able and He loves to pour his grace on those who want to go his way, for his glory.

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. (Psalm 25:12)

Every miracle started with a problem. 

I have a screen saver on my phone which says “every miracle in the bible first started with a problem.” So countless times every day this is what I read. As I look back in the gospels and see all the miracles that Jesus performed, this statement is indeed correct. Jesus’ miracles are all about people in dire need and overwhelming despair.

They are about the dead raised to life, the blind seeing, and lives that are completely smashed and ruined by demon possession. We also see people who are treated badly and counted as nothing because of their physical disabilities, and the dreaded leprosy which separates loved ones. In all of these huge problems we see the power of Jesus smashing through it all. He loved, and had compassion on all people, and sorted the problem when humanly speaking there was no solution.

As I am on my phone all the time, I am reminded constantly that every miracle first started as a problem, God is the same God and smashes through our problems and finds a way when we see no way forward. 

For us, this weekend is a painful one. It should be a happy occasion but it’s not. Many churches are meeting together, and I am obsessed  and terrified about bumping into people we know. So, I have hunkered down, got out of bed late, talked to a wise friend and my husband went to church with a heavy heart. Shame is an awful thing. We know that there is huge forgiveness at the cross and we revel in his grace, but facing people that have been  hurt stings, and feels overwhelming.

I felt for my husband and texted him, asking him if he was ok. His response was:  “the sermon is on psalm 32!”

This is what it says:

1 Psalm 32:1-11 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding-place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! 

We were wonderfully reminded once again that God loves the contrite, and we felt his kindness to us in orchestrating this passage on this particular weekend. We often feel that we need to continue to be punished for something that God has forgiven. We often find it hard to accept the outrageous kindness and grace of God, in delighting  to show forgiveness.  Praying that God’s  miracle of grace smashes through our problem and all its consequences, so that people will be amazed at God’s  power and grace, and believe. What a wonderful saviour we have.