A Difficult Question – A Gracious Answer
Call to Me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
G.R.A.C.E. – Gently Radiating A Christ-like Example
During a time when I thought our many years of marriage was over, I looked everywhere (especially my friends who read the Bible) for advice. Not all the advice I received was meant for me. I asked those who had been in a similar circumstance, “How will this turn out?” I wanted to fast- forward the video of my life to see if our marriage would turn out positive and good. I needed someone to fix what was wrong in our marriage. Someone suggested that since my husband was not taking care of me or our children’s needs, I should, “Stop serving your husband his morning breakfast, stop taking care of his needs!”
I tried it. The next morning I didn’t get out of bed with him, fix his breakfast, or his lunch. I had decided not to serve him. The entire day the Holy Spirit pricked my conscience as I asked myself, “What was I doing? He is still my husband!” I remembered the cliché,
“What Would Jesus Do?”
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15
I was convicted. I needed to humble myself and apologize. No one else knew my husband like I did. Above all, I determined to show him the love of Christ by serving him even when I was being emotionally hurt.
That evening as we sat across the dinner table from each other and the children had been excused from the table, I humbled myself and apologized. His stabbing response was, “It doesn’t matter ~ the marriage is still over!” At that moment the Holy Spirit reminded me of Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)
I thought… why did I never notice how beautifully blue are my husband’s eyes? I realized I always showed my love to him by serving, but I needed to show him that I desired him, the person he IS! God was showing me things about my husband, yet it felt too late. While he was still physically at home, mentally he was not. I decided I would show him unconditional love, all the time dwelling on his excellent and praiseworthy qualities.
I continued restlessly and exhaustively looking for resolutions. I was uncomfortable everywhere I went. I felt like I needed to get out of the house and go somewhere, but when I got where I was going, I wanted to go back home. I had no peace. Frequently, I would lock myself in the bathroom away from the children so I could cry. One day I just fell to my bedroom floor, screaming to God, “I don’t know how to pray anymore! I feel torn apart! The children need their Dad! I need my husband! I have such a love for him and he is leaving! Come, now Lord, let this life be over!”
Then I felt something so unusual…I knew it was total peace. Except for the children playing outside, I heard stillness. Confusion was gone. God had my complete attention. In the stillness I surrendered our marriage to Him.
Isaiah 43:1 and 2 says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Joyful that God would orchestrate such a situation for me, I realized that he wanted me closer to Him! He used my unhappiness over my relationship with my husband to enlighten me about what I needed to see about myself, proving His agape’ love to me…which eventually spilled over onto my husband! God reached down and made all this happen for ME, and for our marriage.
God revealed to me that I had made my husband not only my priority, but my idol. My relationship with him was paramount to everything else in my life, including our children. God tells us He is a jealous God, and because of His desiring the Best for me, He was going to take away that idol. I knew then that God had to be first before anyone, especially my husband.
Psalm 91:1-3 impressed me with God’s thoughts and care about me: “ He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my Fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
God reminded me of a wonderful picture of how safely I am in His shadow. I remembered a bright and sunny day where I stood on the sidewalk with the person who comforted and protected me when I was a child. Standing right behind me, their loving arms embraced me all around.
When I looked at the sidewalk, all I could see was one shadow. That is a picture of The Holy Spirit, comforting me. God was reassuring me that His arms are safely holding me.
My heart has engrafted this scripture, and God has allowed many truths to express themselves in my life:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt
you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7(ESV)
My husband is still with us. I praise God that several years have passed since that painful time in our marriage. Realizing how much God has brought us through gives me encouragement that I may bring hope from my own experience and help someone else. I believe God shines His light in times of darkness. I praise God for the new love he has given me for my husband, renewing our marriage, and blessing our family.
I pray that one day my husband will share what he experienced through all of this with other husbands, and will encourage them as he has been encouraged. I believe God will use this time in our lives to help others and for His glory.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:7,8
• The Bible, New Testament, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 8-10, NIV
• The Bible, New Testament, Philippians 4:7, NIV
• The Bible, New Testament, John 13:35, NIV
• Book, “What Makes A Man Feel Loved” by Bob Barnes, Harvest House Publishers
• Book, “The Power of A Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian, Harvest House Publishers
• Book, “Peacemaking Women” by Barthal & Dabler, Baker Books Publishers
Written By: Name Withheald