Unity

I felt like I was just dragging myself through the trenches this week.  Isn’t life just the pits sometimes?!  When I’m absolutely spent, I put so much pressure on my husband to pick me back up again; and let’s be honest, that’s way too much pressure!  I expect my husband as my partner to fill Christ’s position as comforter, and that is oh so wrong!  I desperately desire to be unified with him in those moments.  While my husband isn’t the most perfect consoler (he is a man after all), he brings me immense comfort knowing that he is a man of the Lord; a man that when realizing his lack of understanding, turns me to Christ instead.

IMAG0666

I desire unity with my husband more than anything else in this world, and in doing so, I completely miss what my husband is trying to tell me in his lack of action.  We expect our husbands to know exactly how we’re feeling, but the truth is, they just don’t; we as wives are complicated creatures.  When I’m unloading on my husband, expecting to be comforted, he sits in silence; It infuriates me beyond belief.  I’m swimming in absolute sin at this point, ladies!  I know in hindsight because of much prayer with the Lord, that he just simply doesn’t know what to say.   I work myself up in knots thinking he doesn’t care, but that’s just not true.  My husband is just as complicated as me, and if I took the time to pray in these instances, I would be reminded that I can’t read his thoughts either.  I expect the instant gratification of being comforted, but that’s just not how marriage works.  Every day of marriage is a learning lesson, and for ours, immensely so.  We have yet so much to learn about each other and to teach one another.  Christ has so much to teach us about unity in our marriage.

IMAG0662

I’ve been reading this short devotional on the You Version app that has really tugged at my heart and totally flipped my views upside down about our recent argument.  Isn’t it amazing how God’s word can change everything in hindsight?!  I wish I could turn off all my sinful tendencies, and His word wouldn’t be used in hindsight, but in that instant.

Only the Spirit can bring unity. Only the Spirit can free us from our pettiness and from the forces of guilt and sin that divide us from God and from each other.  I totally miss the mark when I forget that the Lord’s purpose for our marriage is to teach us the fruits of the spirit.  There is no foundation that can teach us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control quite like marriage.

IMAG0668

There is a reason that the Bible gives us reference to Paul the Apostle who draws a parallel between marriage and spiritual unity when he tells husbands to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). For Christians, marriage is a reflection of the deepest unity: the unity of God and his church. In a Christian marriage, therefore, it is the unity of God’s kingdom, in Christ and in the Holy Spirit, that matters most. Ultimately, it is the only sure foundation on which a marriage can be built. “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33).

I’m going to make it an absolute habit that when I feel let down and divided from my husband, to read this and be in prayer to understand how my husband is feeling and how I can bring more unity in those situations.

IMAG0669

Dear Lord, unity in our marriage is about so much more than just agreeing on things.  Your Word tells us that our unity actually reflects You to others.  Our disunity reveals how far we are from You in our spiritual lives and character.  Help us to keep a mindset of unity that is tied to the Truth in Your Word, rather than view our decisions and disagreements as competition of thoughts and will.

Signature_2

John 17:23

IMAG0670.jpg

Softly, the Holy Spirit Echoes in My Heart

“There’s a place of grace that allows me to love myself the same way I love others.

Echo_Session3Place of Grace Bible Journaling Page using Maggie Holmes Carousel

Truthfully, I’d never pondered this verse quite like that before, because I think that might mean I’d have to focus attention on the voices inside my head.  Session 3 of Illustrated Faith’s revival camp challenges us to love ourselves as dearly as we love others; moreover, it gives us permission to banish the condemning words that swirl in our minds and hearts.  It’s hard to believe that a tiny one-page devotional can rip you open inside, exposing a menacing cloud of self-doubt.  Boy, was I wrong!

PlaceofGrace_2

You see, I’ve been living in a dungeon of thoughts my entire life; an anxiety and guilt-filled thought dungeon.  From an early age, my life was littered with a handful of men that shaped the way that I speak to myself; they determined my value.  A decade of mental warfare left me bruised and broken, and most of all, left me as a monster, determining my value based on how well I pleased others. In fact, as we speak, it wreaks havoc on my marriage.  I toss and turn in my bed at night (next to my handsome boys), feeling guilt and filled with anxiety about things I said or did years ago; every little word and every little detail a punch to the gut.  My head is filled with an endless debate on whether I could have been better or behaved more pleasingly.

The dialogue in my head is like a devastating twister ripping through my self-esteem, my relationships, and the Holy Spirit living inside me.  The Holy Spirit reverberates inside of me like a deafening echo, but somehow my worldly view of myself still takes precedent over His sweet, sweet words.  I can feel Him changing frequencies inside of me, hoping to break through that menacing cloud, and I know one day He’ll succeed.  That’s a hope that I carry with me; one day he’s going to wipe me clean, and I will abruptly see myself the way He does.  Each year that passes I learn slowly and sluggishly to love myself with the same fervor that Christ has taught me to love others.

PlaceofGrace_1

I pray that His echo increases in frequency to a point that He’s no longer an echo; He’s a thundering loud speaker in my heart and soul, banishing every negative thought and pleasing tendency to anyone but Him!

Signature_2