Do You See Your Spouse as Grace from God?

As Valentine’s Day arrived this year I received a very sweet card from my farmer.  He is usually the funny card kind guy so the card he chose for me this year really touched me.

I am so thankful for him in my life.  Moving beyond divorce and the disappointment, shame and hurt was not an overnight journey for me but it was so worth it.  If you find yourself in a place that you never expected, divorced, take heart there is hope.

God can restore what was or provide you with something new.  Seek Him, repent of your sin/your part in the end of the marriage, embrace grace, forgiveness and healing.  You can find the life you always thought you would have.

This weekend my farmer and I attended a marriage conference together.  It was such a great reminder to fix my eyes on all the things I have to be thankful for in my marriage.  Looking for the good in my husband will help me to see more of it.

Mingling of Souls is an annual marriage conference by Matt & Lauren Chandler.  During the conference, Matt reminded us that as Christians we are not yet what we will one day be.  We are a work in progress.

Strange how we want our spouse to be a finished product but we see in ourselves we aren’t there yet.  We often compare our very best moments or features with our spouse’s worst.  Keeping our eyes focused on the truth of our journey can help us show more grace to our spouse and find more growth in ourselves.

Matt also said when he was young and questioning his relationship with Lauren, a mentor once told him you will fight with someone the rest of your life; do you want it to be Lauren or not?  It is funny to think of our spouse being the person we will fight with our whole life but it is true.

We are both a work in progress so there will be conflict.  Too often we see conflicts as something that reveals our spouse’s weakness.
Instead we must see our struggles and conflict as a gift of Grace from God. Matt Chandler #TakeHeart Click To TweetInstead we must see our struggles and conflict as a gift of Grace from God.

How can that be a gift?  Each struggle or conflict reveals what is going on inside of us.  God is revealing to us something about ourselves so we can grow.

When he is late, do I give him the benefit of the doubt or do I become impatient and selfish?  When he leaves his clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper, am I playing a martyr or being prideful?

Examining my heart will help me grow and progress in sanctification.  Being angry and holding him to an unfair standard will just make us both miserable and break down our relationship.

The process of becoming more like our Lord is not an easy one but it is one which we are called to engage in.  Our spouse is just one of the many things the Lord uses to help us grow.


In what way, will seeing your spouse as a gift of Grace from God change your relationship?

 

 

I held my children in my womb but never in my arms….

My entire life like most little girls I have always wanted to be a mommy.  I never imagined I would be a mom of 2 precious children I never got to hold, cuddle, kiss or even have to discipline.

After my first marriage ended I was still hopeful I would remarry and have children.  No I would not be the young mom I thought I would be but I never dreamed I would not be a mom someday. Eccl 11:5

Then it happened.  Ron and I had been married over 2 years and I was finally pregnant.  If you have struggled with infertility you know what the monthly rollercoaster ride is like.  I didn’t even bother to take a test until I as a few weeks late.  We were so excited!  I was so sick.

It was an answered to many hours of prayers for sure.

Then it happened.  Just the Friday before our fist doctor’s appointment, I started spotting.  It wasn’t much so I was totally unprepared for the news that Monday.

As the nurse did the ultrasound she told us there were twins.  But the look on her face was not one of joy, rather concern.  Our first baby, Isaac, looked to have stop developing at a little less than 8 weeks.  The second baby, Lillian, was much bigger, at least 10 weeks old but there was no movement.  The doctor came in to confirm neither of them had made it.

I was in shock.  My heart was shattered! How could this be happening?  They were the answer to my prayers!

After losing the twins life went on and I did my best to trust God in this and wait for my chance to be a mom.  The longer time went by and we still were not pregnant the more my heart crumbled.  I had been through tough stuff before and always found God Good but this time I struggled.

How could God give me two babies and never let me hold them, play with them, or even celebrate their life?  It felt cruel not good!  I really struggled getting past it.

Thankfully I had a good friend who lead me to the lap of God and encouraged me to ask Him to understand.  Our father always wants to talk to us and bring healing, we often just don’t know how to ask for it.

That day my Lord helped me to see His eternal perspective.  He had answered my prayer.  I am a mom.  In my mind’s eye and in my heart He showed me my two beautiful children.  They were on his lap laughing and happy.  He reminded me that just because they did not grow up here on earth did not mean they didn’t exist; they just went on ahead.

They are waiting for me in heaven and we will spend eternity together.

That day I started to call them by name, Isaac & Lillian and I embraced motherhood.  Mother’s Day has always been a difficult holiday for me.  Between losing my mom to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis at 16 and the struggle of infertility and now miscarriage I would rather just sleep all day to be honest.

But now I have the vision of my mom, Isaac and Lillian all together in Heaven with my Lord and I praise my Great God for answered prayer.

Of course I would rather have had them live here with me first but I know that God is faithful, loving and good and I trust that eternity will be long enough!

Is there something that you have experienced that doesn’t make sense or goes against the character of God?  Go to Him.  Ask to understand, He will give you clarity around the situation if you ask with an open heart.  People often stay stuck in the whys of hurts when clarity can help you move forward.  Clarity gives us hope.

Being able to ask God what I needed to heal gave me clarity and brought healing I wasn’t even sure was possible.


When has God met you in a place that helped you find clarity?

3 Things I Learned from Abigail’s Extravagant Obedience to God

As a young woman who wanted to love the Lord our God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I struggled with the concept of submitting to my husband.  Not because I rebelled against submission as some do but rather I struggled with checking my mind, convictions and common sense at the door so to speak in order to submit.

I married while still in college and desired more than anything to join my husband in loving and serving the Lord in our marriage.Matthew 22: 37-9

Sadly, though he did not spend the majority of our 10-year marriage submitting to the Lord.  His selfishness and rebellion made our years together difficult rather than being filled with blessing we experienced trials and struggles.

I tried to be quiet and follow but I bet if you asked him he didn’t see it that way.  I felt the need to express my opinions but always gave in to his leadership in the end.  Our marriage did not survive.

I am remarried and one of the things I spent much time in prayer about before marrying again was submission.  I was thankful the Lord helped me understand His heart for marriage and submission as I sought him.

Just recently I read about Abigail and Nabal.  It was good to have a reminder of those things which God had taught me years ago about a marriage relationship.

3 Things I learned from Abigail’s Extravagant Obedience to God in Numbers 25

  1. Abigail was a woman of great worth apart from her husband….

His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.”

It really stood out to me how valuable Abigail was to be highlighted in the Old Testament.  As a young wife I did not find myself in a relationship that valued me or my thoughts.  I ended up losing myself and forgetting my value.  I became unhealthy in the struggle of caring for my husband.  At one point of brokenness and pain I was poured out my needs to the Lord, He assured me that He loved ME and I was worth DYING for.  I had forgotten that.

  1. Abigail knew God and honored Him even when her husband did not…..

18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.”

As soon as Abigail heard that Nabal had sent David’s men away with insult she jumped into action.  Her drastic response to her husband’s foolishness was eye opening.  In that day and age, she definitely took her life in her hands by honoring David even when Nabal did not.  Her quick action brought a blessing from David instead of the revenge he was on his way to extract on Nabal and all those he was responsible for.

  1. Abigail was blessed in her obedience…..

35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

It can be confusing at times when it appears that scripture contradicts itself.  After all Ephesians 5:22 states clearly “ Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”  Obviously, Abigail did not do that.

I think that God is clear, we are to follow the first commandment always and all the others after that.  If we are being asked by our husband, father, boss or anyone to break the first commandment which Christ told us in Matthew 22:37-9 “ Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.   All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

I was blessed and encouraged by the reminder of Abigail and her actions in Numbers.  I don’t spend a lot of time looking back to find things I would change or regrets in my life rather I look to learn and do better today.

In my marriage today I am thankfully I have not had the struggles of submitting to my husband in areas that I know are not God’s will for us.  But even as I read of Abigail I am encouraged to Love my Lord and my Husband well!


What are your thoughts about Abigail’s actions?  Have you ever experienced a time when you had to follow the first commandment rather than submit to someone in authority?

It can’t be the end….

This is the end; things haven’t been good for a while but it didn’t mean that I was expecting that phone call.  A phone call from my husband’s girlfriend?   Who sees that coming?   I sure didn’t. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, (1)

He had cheated before and I knew things hadn’t been good but I never dreamed he would cheat again.  The Lord and I had been talking a lot about my marriage and I knew a big change was coming.   I just didn’t know that this was it.

Me divorced; of all the people you know I would not be the one you expect to be divorced.  I was deeply saddened but I knew now, this is the path I was to go down.

But how do I live like this?  How do I hold my head high and tell people I’m divorced?  Divorce is for people who gave up on there a marriage, not me. I fought, I fought for almost 10 years to make this marriage work.  I forgave the first affair.  How was I supposed to live divorced?

It felt like such a failure.

As time went on and I moved into a new phase of life it was difficult, it was embarrassing.   But I knew I had been released from my covenant of marriage.  I just didn’t know how to communicate that to others.  I knew how judgmental I had been regarding divorce, I just hated for people to look at me like that.

Then I met Alice.

Alice attended the church that I was attending.  We met in small group setting where she shared her testimony.  I will never forget what a blessing it was to meet Alice.  She was a few years older than me and she was happily married to her second husband.

Alice was an amazing, godly woman who had a testimony and ministry in our church.  She loved people and she loved her husband.  Because she was willing to share her story of divorce and remarriage I found hope.  Hope that I would have a ministry again too.

I also had hope that there might be a happily ever after marriage in my life someday.

Today when people meet my husband and I they never guess that we’ve only been married for 6 short years.  We fit together like a hand and glove or salt and pepper.  We love each other dearly and you are able to be committed and live what a godly marriage looks.

Marriage today is easy, unlike in my first marriage that was always very difficult.  Sometimes it is hard to say I’m thankful that the Lord took me through that, but I know that I am the person I am today because of that journey.

I cherish my husband now.  I honor and respect him.  I’m so thankful to have an opportunity to have a marriage like I do today.  

I hope and pray that as I share my story through this blog that I will be an encouragement to you.  That you will know that no matter how hard life seems, no matter how unfair things are and no matter what happens to you …even when you think it’s something that could never happen to you.  You can move past it, you can, there’s hope!

Our God is sovereign, he loves us more than you know and his plans are perfect!  Trust Him and walk close beside Him through this time to the life you didn’t know could exist.

If you are still searching for hope and a relationship with the Lord who loves you more than you know please reach out to me.  I would love to talk with you about Him.

My Promised Land

Joel 2 25 26

Life was full of changes.

I had the green light to move forward in life as a single lady.  Letting go of my ten year marriage was difficult but I knew that the Lord had released me from that covenant.  I will write about that another time.

Love it but I want a life.

Now how was I going to get out of the job which I loved but was tired of having no life because of.  I had spent 18 months living in hotels working in 9 different Sylvan Learning Centers.  I was ready for a life again.  Where would that life be? As I prayed and searched the Lord for answers all I knew was that big change was coming.

I know it is time to move on but where, how?

After months of praying and even sending my resume to a ministry organization in another state, I still did not know what was going to happen; I just knew my life was not going to look anything like it did now after this transition.  Then the decision was made to close a Sylvan Learning Center in a small town in Kansas, 4 hours from home, which I had been helping run.

I knew the decision made logical sense but my heart was broke for those families.

Nudges from the Spirit

Then the first nudge happened.  The director of that location which was moving out of the country said to me, you should buy this center.  I laughed and went on with preparing the location to close.

A week or so later my dad and I were visiting about how I felt about the center closing.  He said, “Do you know how much it would cost because I would love to buy it for you, you would do a great job of running it yourself?”  I laughed him off.

Less than a week later my direct supervisor asked me if I had ever thought of owning my own Sylvan Center.  I told her no not really.  She said I needed to pray about it because she really thought that the center we were closing would be a perfect start for me.

Like Peter hearing the cock crow I realized I had heard that same message 3 times…… could it be the Lord trying to get my attention in the middle of my frantic prayers for direction?

Hello Rayna, are you listening for my voice?

After spending some time in prayer I began to think that it was.  I went back to my dad and asked him if he was serious.  He was.  Less than 3 months later we were partners and owners of a Sylvan Learning Center…

The move

We packed up all my belongings, moved me into a duplex in a small town where I only knew the 15 employees in my new business.  As my dad drove away I thought, OK Lord what have you gotten me into this time.

He whispered to my heart….welcome to your promised land.

I had wondered so long waiting to see if my marriage would be saved and if the life I had dreamed of with my ex-husband would become what I knew it could be.

When I was released and told I could move on.  The new business, in the new town, with just my Lord, I knew it was a land of milk and honey….. a land of provision I never even knew to dream of.

Life is hard in many ways but the Lord is always there.  Take Heart, He is always walking along side of you, willing to restore what the locus has eaten.


 

“Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame. “

Joel 2:25-6

But I don’t want to be alone Lord!

shareasimage (63)

Divorce, this can’t be your will?

I married while still in college and sadly enough my husband struggled with a sexual addiction and just did not find the desire to be healed and live a life of committed marriage.  So the marriage ended after 10 years and multiple affairs.

The end would bring a new beginning right? I did not want to be single now what?

I had not dated much before meeting my ex-husband and here I was in my early 30’s and having to start all over again. After praying and praying and even trying to bargain some I still had not met a guy.  Not a single date.

I want to have someone to share life with, Lord, Please!

I kept feeling the Lord telling me I needed to get outside my comfort zone and put myself out there.  So I joined a dating service.

12 first dates and then there was Ron

Each month the dating service would call me with a new name and a little information about a person.  We usually talked on the phone and then would meet for dinner.  I talked with 14 guys went out one time with 12 of them and  I was feeling frustrated and discouraged.

The Lord and I had many conversations about this process.

I knew I was doing my part but I was still alone. Then I was matched with Ron.

Ron, the farmer

Our first date was amazing.  We hit it off so well we stayed up all night talking in the parking lot of the restaurant.  By the end of the date I concluded I am really interested in getting to know this man better.

But we have 3 major challenges:  he is Catholic and I am Baptist, he had 4 kids (I would need to win over) and he farmed 90 miles away from where my Sylvan was located.

5 years later

We still had the same challenges but we had fallen deeply in love and felt confident God had brought us together.  We would not change how we express our faith, we both worshiped the same Lord and Savior we just expressed it differently so we support each other in those expressions.  I have won over the kids on most days.  They know I love their dad and see our relationship as a good thing for him.

Now what to do about work?  We felt so blessed to have each other but it was still complicated.   So we took the plunge.  We became man and wife……

Married and Living Apart

I kept my place and called it the Winter House. We worked on making his house our home and called it the Summer House.  I wanted the individual homes to transition into ours, not his and mine, so we used these fun nick names.

I worked 4 days a week and stayed at the Winter House and then went home to the Summer House 3 days a week.  We had Tuesday nights as our date night each week.

It worked.  At least for a while.

We continued to seek what the Lord had for us and frankly I was excited to see how the Lord was going to solve this challenge.  Little did I know that solving this situation would lead to one of the biggest transitions in my life?  I will share that in another post.

I am so thankful the Lord gave me my farmer.  Being his wife has blessed me beyond my imagination!

 Do you see your spouse as the answer to prayer you prayed to our Lord for?

 


Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.

Ecclesiastes 6:10