He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief…
Have you felt the pain of rejection? Has your heart been broken by someone who was supposed to love you? Have you lived with regret over your past? Have you experienced loss with indescribable sorrow and grief?
If you have lived on this earth for very long you soon realize your heart will not go untouched. To live and to love brings the opportunity for pain. There is no getting around it.
The good news is, there is hope. You are not alone. There is One who sticks closer than a brother.
Do you know HIM? His name is Jesus. He loves you so much that He suffered and died for you and now is seated at the right hand of God interceding for you!
JESUS KNOWS about rejection. JESUS KNOWS your pain. JESUS KNOWS your sorrow. Not only does He know about such pain, but He, Himself, has experienced all of these and MORE.
The amazing, beautiful thing about Jesus is that He experienced pain, rejection, and sorrow by CHOICE. He chose to experience these things in order to set your heart free. He chose to suffer because of His amazing love for you and for me. No one would choose the pathway of pain. No one would choose to walk through the door of grief and sorrow. We all know, It is one thing to experience unwanted pain inflicted on us by others. However, none of us would intentionally choose to be broken and to be wounded. Who would do that?
Jesus would. And He did. For you. For me. For the world.
Hebrews 12:2 says “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross… what joy could there possibly be in the excruciating death He suffered? YOU! You were His joy!! Joy which compelled Him to walk the pathway of darkness and to endure the suffering of the cross. He was filled with joy at the thought of redeeming you and me and saving a lost world. He knew you needed a Savior to heal you, to deliver you, to take your sins and my sins upon Himself.
He went through it all so that He could write your love story. He came to rescue you. He came to save you.
Do you sometimes have issues with self esteem? Do you sometimes feel like no one cares or that no one loves you? Turn your eyes to the cross and see His love poured out for you. You are so very valuable to HIM!! Because He CHOSE this kind of suffering, there is healing for you, there is beauty awaiting you in the midst of your brokenness.
There is no one, nor will there ever be, anyone who loves you like Jesus loves you! At the cross, He meets you there and He offers extravagant love, forgiveness, rest for your weariness and healing for your deepest wounds. Place your hand in His….His nail scarred hand, and allow your heart to be captivated by His love.
Will there be more pain in your life? More struggles? Yes. The difference is Him. He will give you strength and peace in the midst of your storms. There will be treasures to be found in your trials. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. He will turn all things around for good in your life. Your life of surrender will have purpose and meaning.
But you must Choose.
Are you going to hold on to your life, your ways, your sins, your pain, or will you surrender ALL to Him and allow Him to give you His beauty for your ashes?
You will find His grace is sufficient for you. Look into His Word, get to know Him and fall in love with your Savior, your Lord, your King.
Just as Jesus was resurrected from death to life, He can bring life to the dead places of your heart.
How do I know these things? I know them because I have experienced His love and mercy in my own life. His forgiveness has freed me from the chains of guilt and shame. He has brought life to places that were dead. I have seen His power and love change hearts and turn brokenness into beauty. He has given hope where there was no hope. His love has captured my heart. My future is secure in Him, My prince has come and rescued me. He offers the same love to you.
Run to His arms, my friend, experience TRUE love…. say YES to the extraordinary love He died to give you and allow Him to write your love story.
For God SO LOVED the world that HE GAVE His only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in HIM, would not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I have had lots of thought lately with regards to what it looks like to be a follower of Christ, specifically, a woman of God in a toxic marriage… only because I lived in one for so long. My heart hurts when I think about the many Jesus-loving sisters who share a similar journey. Thank the Lord that my story is now being rewritten and I no longer am living that life. God’s grace rescued me and rerouted my journey and now I am married to a man who shows me what it’s like to be loved as God intended. It’s not perfect as we are not perfect. We both have messy stories from our past. We both have scars. We both have had our walls. But God!! When our stories collided the walls began coming down and a new story began. It’s a story formed and being written by God’s incredible grace and I truly am amazed. I am thankful for my past – not because of the pain – but because of what I learned in the midst of it. I have gleaned some wisdom and see things much differently then I once did. So please bear with me as I try to put into words my thoughts as of late.
I have heard comments like, “She was such a good woman, she put up with so much from him!” referring to her alcoholic and cheating husband. Women have been deemed as somewhat heroes when spoken of with regards to standing by their man as he cheated, lied, and lived a life that not only dishonored the covenant of marriage but dishonored his wife with reckless living. Some of these women have been blessed with the fruit of their enduring stance…their prayers were answered and their marriage and hearts have been beautifully made new and whole by the redemptive power of Christ. BUT for some, that has not been the case…not even close.
Remember this song?
Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman Givin’ all your love to just one man You’ll have bad times and he’ll have good times Doing things that you don’t understand But if you love him you’ll forgive him Even though he’s hard to understand
And if you love him Oh be proud of him Cause after all he’s just a man
This song is similar to what my mom and countless others grew up believing (okay, maybe in part, I need to include myself in this…ugh!). This is what many were taught to do and how to live as a wife. I can tell you without a doubt that there have been so many wounded hearts and mentally scarred wives for having believed this way. Though this is not by any means labeled a “Christian” song, the Christian community embraces this kind of thinking and even MORE so. After-all, God HATES divorce! An underlying belief is that as a “Christian” wife, you stay with your man at all costs. He is deemed the leader of the home and you submit no matter what. He can lie, cheat, be a drunk, choose porn, frequent sex chat rooms, be abusive and more….but still, your calling in life is to win him over by your sweet and quiet spirit. Just pray more, read your Bible more, have dinner ready when he comes home, make yourself sexually available to him 24/7 AND have faith that one day he will turn his life around. You may separate from him if your life is in danger but don’t EVER entertain the idea of the “D” word. That is the unforgivable sin. As long as he wants to be your husband, then so be it. After all, he’s just a man. Part of your holy calling is to continually show him the love of Christ, even when you become aware of him habitually making a mockery of your marriage vows with reckless ways and lifestyle choices that wound your heart. You will be okay! Your heart matters but only to the degree that you sacrifice yourself at the mercy of his choices because after all, he’s just a man. Suck it up, cry those tears but hang in there. While he lives a double life behind closed doors don’t dare disrespect him by revealing truth to those who only see his mask. Keep his secrets and just tell Jesus. That’s respect and that is what you are called to give him.
AND before I get off this rant…… if your husband happens to be a Pastor or involved in some sort of leadership role within the church, just grin and bear it, sister. YOU would be the one to bring shame upon your family AND the church, should you reach out for help…YOU not him. No one would believe you anyway! Not him? Your words certainly would not line up with the way others see him in public, right? UGH!!!!
Oh, sweet sisters…..This. Is. SO. Messed. Up. Some of this may sound extreme but the harsh truth is…so much of it is true, even if nobody wants to admit it.
Let’s be real. The above picture of marriage is NOT the way our God created marriage to be. How in the world did we ever come this far as to put marriage on such a pedestal that the marriage itself is of more value than the hearts involved? Does the husband not have any responsibility? Of course he does. Read the Word. ALL the Word! Not just the parts about the wife being submissive. That ONE SCRIPTURE has been used and abused in so many ways. It is time the church rises up and protects God’s beloved daughters instead of telling them what THEY must do differently, then sending them back home to appease and enable the toxic, addictive and hurtful behaviors of their husband. It’s time for my sisters in Christ to rise up from their ashes and reclaim their strength and dignity as abundantly loved and cherished daughters of God Almighty! It’s time for our own daughters to be told and taught truth about boundaries and their value and worth in Christ. It’s time for those who have been in a toxic relationship to rise up and be a VOICE for righteousness and Holiness as we hold out HOPE for our wounded sisters.
IF you are currently living in a toxic marriage, by all means find a trusted confidant/counselor/pastor whom you can talk to. Do NOT allow your husband’s ongoing and hurtful secrets to become your secrets. You will become a shell of a woman in doing so. As a wife, you are called to be your husband’s helper; NOT his doormat. You were created by God Almighty. You are chosen, valued and treasured….so much so that Jesus died for YOU! If you are frequently being treated less than this, please realize this is NOT how God ordained marriage to be.
I know you are very familiar with the Scripture about wives being submissive to their husband’s but go BACK and read the verses that follow. Your husband is commanded to love YOU the way Christ loves the church. What does this look like? I am not saying he will be perfect but what I am saying is if your heart is wounded and broken by the same behavior and betrayal over and over again…you are in a toxic relationship and your marriage is NOT as God intended it to be. Get help, my friend. Do not overlook, deny, or enable. Rise up and show love to the man you married by holding him accountable to Truth. There is NO benefit in carrying on with life behind a mask and covering up his “stuff” in the name of pride, fear or even love. You must have boundaries if your man is habitually dishonoring you and the vows He made to you. I am NOT talking about a man who is repentant and taking full responsibility by working through and owning his stuff but is still struggling. I am no way condoning divorce nor am I encouraging it. What I am saying is do all that YOU can do to stop this destructive cycle. Don’t believe that if you just keep hoping for change that change will happen. Don’t believe that your “calling” is to simply love away your husband’s habitual, addictive and hurtful behaviors. It won’t work! That kind of love only enables his lifestyle of betrayal. You need to be brave and decide that this is NOT God’s best for you, your husband or your family! God WILL show you things and reveal things to you as you humbly keep your eyes on HIM. He will give you wisdom when you ask for it! If your husband has narcissistic tendencies, please read up on this and become educated on how to handle this type of personality.
Maybe you feel trapped? Stuck? You have the ability to change this but first you have to get fear out of the way. With an open heart, ask God to show you what you should do, then do it. I will ask you the same question that was asked to me…if not now, when? Just in case you didn’t catch it the first time….YOU ARE VALUED, YOU ARE CHOSEN, YOU MATTER! Maybe today is the day you embrace TRUTH and really hear what God is speaking to your heart. HE LOVES YOU and has GOOD plans for YOU no matter what lies have become your truth and painfully comfortable. YOU can’t be your husband’s savior nor the hero of your story. Only GOD can change hearts! Your husband needs a divine encounter with the ONE who died to free him. Just maybe it’s time for YOU to be brave, execute boundaries and get out the way so that God can do what only God can do. Truth WILL BE revealed as you give God a chance to work! I promise you this…no matter what is revealed, HE STILL HAS PLANS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOU!! They just may not look like what you thought they would but nonetheless, they will be undeniably beautiful and full of His amazing, extravagant grace! Believe it, sweet sister!
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:21-32
Are you at a messy place right now and your mind wonders if God really does redeem our stories? Not just when we enter our heavenly home but here and now, this side of eternity? Maybe you have found yourself on a detour that you never saw coming. Maybe you are facing this very moment some ugly, difficult and untended parts of your story that have left you face down on the carpet desperate for God’s intervention.
Friend, can you just pause for a moment from your tears, your questions, your doubts and hang with me for a moment? Our. God. Is. Faithful. Always. I get it….. your circumstances may NOT be okay! However, YOU’RE going to be okay! How can I proclaim this so boldly and confidently? Because I have walked through those kind of chapters and am now reaping the joys that God brings as the pages turn.
The pain in my eyes that I had for literally years is now gone and has been replaced with precious peace and radical relief. God DOES redeem! He takes the worst parts of our stories and redeems and truly creates beauty from the ashes that may surround us.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Is. 61:1-3
If you need hope this very moment please read the above scripture again. Pay attention to every word. Do you see it? Heavy words like brokenhearted, captive, darkness, prisoner, the grieving and all who mourn are the ones being addressed in this passage. Friend, if any of those words describe who you are or where you find yourself on this journey, your heart can be FULL of hope! You’re going to be okay!! Why? Because Jesus came for YOU! He has already made a way for you. Your ashes are no match for His abundant grace.
February 2, 2019 represents so much more than my wedding day…but a rescue of sorts. A day when God boldly declared to my heart as well as others that He is well able to redeem and take what the enemy meant to destroy me and my family and make it so beautiful. It represents the answer to countless prayers prayed by many that I did not even know were praying for me and my family. You see, it’s not just our victory in Jesus but other’s victory and testimony, too! Those who loved us, supported us, believed in us and more importantly those who believed that God had good plans for us in spite of how it looked then. My heart is so thankful. My prayer is that in sharing this it will give YOU a shot of hope because at numerous times, I was wondering and struggling, too! Broken, wounded, stressed to the hilt, and ever so desperate. It wasn’t just one hard thing but many that left me with eye twitches and stress rashes…..but God! No, things did not happened as I had prayed but God took me on a path that has been paved with amazing grace and beauty for ashes. If you are wondering if this could ever happen for you my answer to you is a resounding and confident YES!!! It is so hard to believe when your heart is filled with pain and you can’t see clearly for the fog that surrounds you. I get it. I really do. I promise you, our God is faithful. He sees you. He invites you to trust Him as He is working out the future that He has for you and those you love.
So my friend, whatever chapter you are in know this; it’s only for a season. Many times we have no control how long our painful seasons may last but you can be assured that God’s timing is perfect and purposeful. You, my friend, are on the pathway to greater joy and intimacy with Christ than you have ever known. Stay on the carpet, ugly cry and let your knees burn. Don’t ever stop wrestling. Stubbornly hold on to your faith as you hold on to your God. Follow hard after him…stay obedient no matter what your feelings tell you. Expect God to move! He will sweet sister, He will!! Your waiting time is not wasted time…He is creating room in you for the beauty that is yet to come! One day, you will see clearly that He not one time left you in your darkest moments. He was cutting away the lies from the past to make room for a NEW season, a NEW beginning that could not compare to anything you have experience before.
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the lord.