Monday, April 4, 2011

The Crucible

I've been taking a mini hiatus from blogging for about 2 weeks, because the truth is I have been far too emotional to write anything rational.  I've had great up's seeing God answer big prayers for us and loved ones and great low's as I see how messed up this world really is.  When I write, I'm sharing with you a piece of my heart, and lately, I haven't known how to put it into words.

This morning, I'm going to explode if I don't write again.  Here's what is on my mind.

I am absolutely going to freak out if I hear of another marriage failing right now.  

I am so tired of seeing sweet friends struggle with crazy husbands.  It breaks my heart.

As a girl, I am biased to our side, but here's the deal.

Guys, if you don't fight for your wives, we are doomed.  We are the weaker vessel, according to the Bible, not because we do not have anything to offer this world but because of the intentional way God created us. We are fine china.  When you beat us up verbally, emotionally, and physically, we break- sometimes permanently.  When you do that, you are not loving us the way you are commanded to in Scripture.  You are supposed to love us like Jesus loved and still loves the Church- talk about a high standard!

Ladies, your husband is a sinner.  He likely isn't the main character of a romance novel, but you can help him out a whole lot of you will just respect him and learn to practice Godly submission as the Church is supposed to relate to Jesus.  I'm not talking about bowing down to a dictator or enduring abuse (if this is you, get help fast from a Godly counselor!).  If we do not build our husbands up and believe in them, who else will?  The world is going to tear him down. Satan is out to destroy your marriage.  If we are not wise to that, he will.

I expect to hear about nasty stuff going on between unbelievers, because they don't know our Jesus.  Hearing about it going on in the Church is shameful and saddening.  I'm not talking about misunderstandings and disagreements that are inevitable when two different people come together to become one.  I'm talking about cut-throat fighting, verbal and physical abuse, and hatred pressure cooked in a home that is supposed to be living out God's grace.

Now, I'm not writing this to cast condemnation.  I'm pretty sure that we all feel enough of that each day from our own consciences that you do not need to hear it from me.   My marriage isn't perfect, and I am not the wife I should be yet.  Listen up.

Jesus does matter.  He died and rose again so we could have life now.  If your marriage is struggling, He can heal it.  If your spouse is a jerk, He can give you the strength to respect him.  If your wife is impossible, Jesus can change her heart (you can't).   If your marriage is in trouble, don't bury your head- admit it and find help.  Look for older couples that are happily married, and ask questions- lots of questions.  Seek a worthy Biblical counselor, and don't think that your pastor is always a good substitute for that.  Plenty of ministry marriages are in shambles too.  Pray big prayers with a trusted friend.  If your marriage fails or has failed, you are not hopeless and forsaken- Jesus can redeem that too.

I am convinced that God did not create marriage just to make us happy (though it is hopefully a great side benefit).  Marriage is the crucible that God often uses to purify us and sanctify us.   As a single person, I thought I was pretty spiritual and had it together.  Marriage has revealed just how sinful I am to the core of my being, and guess what, I found out Bryan is a pretty big sinner too.

Years ago when our marriage was headed down a path of destruction, God woke us up and began to really work in our hearts.  Today, I am so thankful that I stuck it out.  We'll be celebrating five years this summer.  I love my husband more than the day we married, and we have seen really good times and really bad times together.  I pray that as the Church we will strive towards seeing that our marriages represent the Gospel and become part of our world's redemption story.  May God give us the grace to live up to such an impossible goal.  May our children see the joy and fruit of our struggles and know that God really can make two sinners become one flesh. May God save our marriages.  An unbelieving world will find Jesus completely unbelievable if His love doesn't change how we love each other (Jn.13:35).

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