Begin Again

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and for the past few years my husband and I take the time to talk to the church together about marriage and relationships. This year it was important that we talked about managing conflict and walking in forgiveness. This year with the pandemic we have spent more time with our families, especially if you were in a stay at home order like we were.

I think we did pretty good with it. The stressful activity we did was to paint the outside of our house. We have a ranch style home built in 1968, addition was done in 2000. Part of the house is on foundation, the other is crawl space. It is a brick home that was painted a sea foam green. When we moved in thirteen years ago I had always wanted to paint the house, I did not like the color. The home has sixteen windows that looks to be original to the house (except for the addition) and they have the pained glass. We had gotten quotes to get the job done. They ranged from six to eight thousand dollars. The pandemic hit, and we all had to stay home together. My husband and I went out and bought a paint sprayer, rollers, brushes, paper, tape and lots of paint. Stay at home did not mean we could not go outside, and I did not want my kids playing video games all day.

Marriage, more than any other relationship, is going to highlight your flaws. A project of this magnitude with two teenage boys, was going to highlight some flaws as well. We each had a job, and we assisted each other when our job did not need to be done at the moment. The struggle that we found was when we needed help, how to communicate that. In the middle of the frustration on not being able to do this task or problem solve it, how to communicate without filtering that frustration in how we talked to each other.

Ephesians 4:1-3 (TLB) I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.

We each have faults. In love, we must make allowances for each other. Grace needed to be applied to each other. Be patient with your children and spouse. Have faith in what your marriage/family can become. Do not heap on expectations on where you think you should be. Enjoy the journey.

Hebrews 12:2 (MSG) Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. 

If in the process of painting the house we fixed your thoughts on the faults and failure’s of each other the project would probably had never gotten completed. Our family relationship would have suffered a great loss. The problems in our marriage/family are going to be magnified if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus. Study how He lived His life. He had some different personalities to do life with.

The problems in our marriage/family are going to be magnified if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus.

The bigger picture is that I want my children to have lasting relationships. The highlighted flaws that their parents have are going to come out in front of them. When my husband and I first got married my reaction to a question or statement would have been returned with a quick straight to the point answer. I filtered my responses through defense. I thought I was always under a microscope waiting for someone to point out my flaws, this person now being my husband. In return, how I answered was not clear or was often misunderstood because of how I said it, not in what I said. This escalated the conversation into a fight. My husband when he is flustered can come off as very aggravated, this combined with filtering through defense was a combination for disaster. One of us needed to do something. I went to a really good source. I went to my Word.

Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Philippians 4:8 (TLB) Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

When tensions started to flair, we had to go back to this. Someone was not ready to change how they approached the problem, that is okay because they need grace in the moment and we are going to give it to them. Did we have a few blow ups? Yes! We are not perfect. In the end, I do not recall what they were about. I do know that the house is painted. We have to redo the porch, we did not seal it…oops! We still love each other. We still enjoy each other’s company. We have had to tackle other projects together and did not dread it!

It is not too late for your marriage or your family. For us, it started with one person making up their mind that they were not going to hold onto offense and to be quick to forgive. I just so happened to be that person in my home. I had to lay down my pride and me wanting to always be right. In turn there was a change in me. I no longer responded in defense. Peace was raging in me, so it was also becoming a part of what our home would be.

You can make up your mind to begin again. What if you spouse is not wanting to make the change? You make the change. Let God work on them. At the end of all of this, we will give an account of what we did, not what they did. I want to hear “well done good and faithful servant”. We are not going to hear “well done perfect servant.” So please stop putting that expectation on the people you have relationships with, including leaders. I want to point out that He uses the word servant. Are we serving in our families? If not, you can begin now. It is not too late. I do not regret making that change. I have my moments, because I am not going to be perfect at it all the time, in return my family have made allowances for me as I have made allowances for them. It is pretty nice.

If you need prayer or would like to talk about anything feel free to email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

What if I do not FEEL chosen?

We shape our identity on how chosen we feel at any given time. What can hinder a person from feeling chosen? For me it has been rejection. I remember a relationship with my father up until the age of five. My mother took my sisters and I to see her parents when I was around that age, we did not return home. I did not realize how bad things were for my mom until I reached adulthood. As I look back, and see the signs of abuse, I know she did the right thing. That does not mean there were not seeds of rejection put inside of me. It is a hard thing for your father not to try to keep a relationship after divorce. That is just what he did. He did not try to see us at Christmas. I honestly cannot remember anything but a phone call on my birthday. That was the extent of our relationship growing up. As a result, rejection was my identity. It was hard for me to feel chosen.

1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. 

There is something in each one of us that longs to be loved and wanted.  The Bible refers to us as the Bride of Christ. That was the first step for me into my relationship with Christ. He showed me a love that would not fail. A relationship that desires my presence just as much as I desire His.

There is something in each one of us that longs to be loved and wanted.

Psalm 68:6a (NKJV) God sets the solitary in families

Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV) Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Maybe your family background is not necessarily godly, healthy, or hopeful.  You might feel doomed to repeat certain patterns or addictions, mental instability, or any kind of brokenness.  You might feel like you can never break free.  No matter how hard you try the world may say that you are going to end up in predetermined way  Or maybe just hearing the word “family” stings your heart. There are a lot of self help books out there to help, but nothing can make you whole except Jesus.

1 Peter 1:18 (NKJV) For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP) Therefore if anyone is in Christ (that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior), he is a new creature (reborn and renewed in the Holy Spirit); the old things (the previous moral and spiritual condition) have passed away. Behold, new things have come (because spiritual awakenings bring a new life).

Matthew 7:11 (NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Psalm 40:1-5 (NKJV) I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth– Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.

As God’s treasured possession, we wait patiently and know God hears us.  As I look back over my life I see how treasured I am to my Father. I may have been rejected by someone who was suppose to love me, but I am full of with an over abundance of love from my Father. I often look for what I call “daddy moments.”

Psalm 62:1-6 (NKJV) Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will you attack a man? You shall be slain, all of you, Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly. Selah. My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

What in your life tempts you to feel less than God’s treasured possession? I still have to fight the feelings of rejection. The enemy knows that this is a tactic he can use against me. I have to remind myself that I am lovable, that I do have something to offer, that just because I am awkward does not mean that others do not see the value in me.

One of my favorite verses to share with a precious daughter that has also had the hardships of rejection in their lives is Psalm 45:11 (NIV) “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” He is enthralled with us. He cannot keep His eyes off of us. This relationship is why I choose to honor Him. What we honor we see value in. I am chosen and so are you!