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.

Do you feel loved?

Ephesians 2:4 (AMP) But God, being (so very) rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us.

As I was sitting talking with one of my precious daughters in the Lord, we were talking about the struggles of trusting God the Father. We are both from childhood divorced homes and know the struggles of having our fathers let us down. We talked about marriage and I was reminded of what Christ said about husbands and the church. In reading this, look at it in the perspective of a woman reading it, and how she longs to be loved.

Ephesians 5:25-30 (AMP) Husbands. love your wives (seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love), just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (of God), so that (in turn) He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy (set apart for God) and blameless. Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives (being in a sense) their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own body, but (instead) he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body.

In the beginning God created all things and he put man in dominion. God saw what He created and saw that it was good. However in Genesis 2:18 we see that it was “not good” that man be alone, some translations say not “beneficial”. He then creates the animals and brings them to the man to name. They were created to be a helper to man, but it still was not a suitable companion for Adam.

Genesis 2:21-23 (AMP) So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at the place. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made (fashioned, formed) into a woman, and He brought her and presented her to the man. Then Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Eve was not mistreated, she was not abused by a father or her husband. Yet the enemy went to her for the first attack against mankind. Adam was right next to her.

Eve was not mistreated, she was not abused by a father or her husband.

When I was fifteen I prayed for God to send me my husband. I felt I was all alone. I felt like I had no one who could love me for me. I told God that if He sent me my husband I would serve Him the rest of my life. A month later I met my husband on a blind date. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, do you know what God spoke to my heart? He told me that everything I was making John out to be in my life is who He wanted to be in my life. That John could still hurt and wound my heart, but He never would. That is when I surrendered my life to Him.

The hurt and wounds we have from fathers (or some even their husbands) can cloud the ability to see the love that God truly has and desires for us, causing us to have trust issues. This is why Ephesians 5 is there. As I read the Word I see how much love God has for His daughters. We are so very important. We were created to be strong and to endure so much, but we were created with love. We are important. We have value. We are loved!

Yesterday during service, I had a moment, I was looking out during worship and saw how empty it looked in there. Just a few services before it was full and we were wondering what we could do to make room and still be safe because of COVID. I was taken back to when our church took a big hit because of the financial climate ten years ago, attendance and with that giving dropped tremendously. I was thinking, here we go again God, please help me keep my trust on you (considering we are in a building program).

Do you know how much God loves us? In that moment God spoke a Word to my husband just for me. He let me know that what happened ten years ago will not happen again. I have been confessing this whole time, God I know you can do even if… I have been praying for God to show out in a big way, in a way that it would be no way we could take credit for it. I will keep speaking His Word, I will keep preaching His Word, and I will keep going where He tells me to.

On top of that He gave me a little “I love you, daughter” by my pizza delivery guy making a mistake and I got the salad dressing that I had actually wanted but forgot to order. When I remembered I forgot to change the salad dressing it was too late because he was already on his way. He delivered our order without the salad (I like salad with my pizza). He had to go back for it, but I got to ask him for the correct salad dressing. Look at that! He even said when he returned, it just so worked out so that you could get the salad dressing you wanted. Those are what I call daddy moments.

God sees us and wants to do so much in our lives. Keep pressing in. Trust Him in His Word. Give Him all things that have you worried or concerned. He will calm the storm inside of you. Even if, He can still do in a big way! I am trusting Him more and more, it takes surrendering more and more. God I am going to keep doing what you called me to do, and watch what you do with it!

John 15:9 (AMP) I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love (and do not doubt My love for you).