To bear good fruit we have to also bear with the pruning process and it’s so worth it. Listen to the Podcast below.
To bear good fruit we have to also bear with the pruning process and it’s so worth it. Listen to the Podcast below.
Ladies, I believe God uses our everyday lives to speak to our hearts in extraordinary ways. I try everything possible not to use a public bathroom. Yes, I’m germaphobic. Not long ago, I had no choice but to use a public ladies room. Sigh heavily. As I entered, I became immediately uncomfortable with its conditions. I greeted the other ladies at the sink and attempted to find a clean enough stall to use. I thought about how much I hated cleaning the bathroom growing up and how much I still do, but I do it because I just can’t stand a dirty bathroom! As those thoughts rushed through my mind, I just wanted to hurry up and get out of there! Just then God spoke to my heart, Daughter, do you clean your bathroom with surrender? Abba Father, I love you but this is not the time to speak to me when I can’t hear you clearly for the dirt, smell and everything else in this bathroom! I just want to get out of here! Daughter, do you clean your bathroom with surrender?
As I washed my hands, and attempted to check my face in a mirror that had water, liquid soap and some dark substance I could not identify sprayed across it, I then exited the bathroom at 100 miles per hour, I paused outside the door and had to listen to God.
Stay with me ladies…
What God showed me is that there are negative thoughts that we allow to stick to us like soap scum sticks to the faucets, or to a shower wall. There are some emotions and attitudes that fester within our hearts that need to be scrubbed out with a strong cleanser and a durable brush just like the dirt that attempts to settle in the grooves of the shower and bath tiles. There are some stinky behaviors we have that we allow to hold on to us like those that wrap around the inside of a toilet bowl. And at times, we can’t even see the beauty of God in us because of the splatter of toothpaste, water or soap that is sprayed across the mirror. Perhaps that public ladies room was so dirty because several people didn’t care about the spills, splats and messes they left behind. If each person takes the time and cares enough to clean behind them—surrender to the process; then we’ll each enjoy a clean, fresh smelling public bathroom.
I told you that God will use our everyday lives to show us extraordinary things. That day when I exited that ever so nasty public ladies room, I received a lesson from God that I’m passing on to you and that is, let us clean our bathrooms with surrender and care. The bathroom in this message is a metaphor for the conditions of our own lives. Our thoughts, attitudes, words and behaviors can be stinky at times and need a deep cleansing. If we fight the process then we won’t enjoy the clean, fresh smelling life God has for us to live and we won’t be able to help other women to do the same. Does it mean we’ll never need to be cleaned-up again? No, but the more we surrender to the cleaning, the less work has to be done each time.
Here are just a few ways to surrender to the deep cleaning needed in our lives?
Ladies, that deep cleansing is not a one-time thing just as cleaning the bathroom is a daily or weekly event in all of our homes, so don’t fret or become discouraged when you feel the tug on your heart from the Holy Spirit saying, it’s time for some deeper cleansing in your heart, mind and life. He loves us that much!
I want to encourage you to fall in love with the God of the Bible and with His Word and that’s where the deeper cleaning comes from. Make the decision to ingest His Word the way a puppy devours a bowl of food the moment it’s put in front of him. He won’t come up for air until the bowl is licked clean. It took years for me to have that type of hunger for God’s Word. Thank you for the privilege to share with you today.
Praying with you and walking this amazing and challenging journey in Christ with you!
2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP) Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
Please read this fully to get my heart—not to offend but for us to examine ourselves in the American Christian culture today. I grew up in an era where it was natural to see a Bible open and being read by the majority of people in church. I also had the pleasure of being exposed to godly Grandparents on a regular basis so I saw a consistent flow of bible reading in their home, especially with Grandma. Grandma would have me sit on the enclosed porch and read passages and chapters from the KJV for discussion. While most of it I didn’t understand as a child, truthfully, I gained more understanding from the combination of my reading, hearing it at church, and sitting under Grandma’s additional explanations and teachings. From her I learned to read the Word and the importance of prayer.
“Love makes you kind. And kindness makes you likeable. When you’re kind, people want to be around you. They see you as being good to them and good for them.” Love Dare
Several years ago I ministered at a church in Virginia on the 4 ways to care for your covenant. At the end of the function a woman approached me and started to cry. She shared how the message touched her heart, particularly when I shared Proverbs 21:9; it made her really look at herself.
Proverbs 21:9 (AMP) It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.
She said she is that woman—nagging, fault-finding and always complaining about anything and everything. She said her Mother was the same way while raising them and she began to wonder if she hadn’t followed suit. She told me that she was always asking her husband why he was so late coming home and he said, “I’m not in a rush to get home! You’re always nagging at me and complaining about the children, work, your family, nonsense at your church and so on.” As tears streamed down her face, I held her and prayed for her and her marriage.
As I held her she whispered in my ear, “I don’t think I’m a very kind person. I wouldn’t want to come home to me either.” I felt pain pouring out of her as I ministered to her. She was a beautiful Christian on the outside but had a lot of wounds on the inside that needed the beauty and healing of Christ to penetrate and I was determined to guide her in the right direction that day—right to the arms of Jesus where true healing from her past could begin. Unresolved pain from her childhood was conflicting with her ability to be the whole wife and mother God created her to be. She was saved but not in fellowship with Christ; there’s a difference, I know this because I once lived it. My heart hurt for her. Our connection continued beyond that day as I meant with her and ministered to her from the Word. Her husband had areas he had to work on too, and as he saw the changes in her he began to desire to get himself together as well. I remember the day she told me, “he likes coming home to me again and we are laughing together again.” I cry as I write this just as I did the day she told me; there’s nothing like the healing touch of Christ within the heart-walls of a marriage!
Just last week my own husband said to me after he arrived home from a long day, “you know babe, I love coming home to you.” That blessed my heart tenderly. I don’t know that he felt this way early on but I’m so thankful he does now. I thought of that precious woman from many years ago and I dug out her email and reached out to her. I’m happy to say they are on year 10 of their marriage and all is going well in the Lord! I then found the saying from the Love Dare calendar and it fit perfectly with this message!
Now, ask yourself some tough questions–
Are you kind? Does your spouse want to be around you? Is your spouse eager to come home to you at the end of a long day or are they delaying their arrival home because they know they’ll be greeted with complaint, nagging, fault-finding, harsh words, yelling and a person who is unkind? Please do not beat yourself up right now if that’s you. But, please do feel the drawing of the Lord; He’s drawing you to Himself for the healing your heart and mind (thoughts) needs right now.
A few tips you may want to try:
1. Take action now–Pray and ask God to show you the reasons why you are complaining, nagging, fault-finding, using unkind words toward your spouse, etc. This may hurt but being transparent is the first step toward receiving the healing you need. Trust that God won’t hurt you and He will help you.
2. Ask God to help and heal you in those areas. This will be a journey not an instant process so be patient with yourself and the process and most importantly trust God.
3. If you can, talk to your spouse about what you discovered in numbers 1 and 2 above. Apologize wherever necessary. Have the discussion during a time you are both calm and at ease with each other. Involve your spouse so that they know you are serious about wanting a marriage that is whole.
4. If necessary, turn to Christian help—pastoral, counseling, etc.
5. Take a breath when you’re about to complain, nag or fault-find. Pause and pray right at that moment. You’d be surprised how that deliberate, on-purpose action will bless your marriage.
6. Journal some of your feelings (past and present) but also journal all that you are grateful for about your marriage and family. Keep that list in an easy to reach place.
7. Remember, there is no perfect person or perfect marriage only a perfect God and He desires for your marriage to be blessed. Lean on Him.
I want to invite you to read the message I shared previously titled: “I’m not wrong you are!” I hope it will encourage you. Marriage is a beautiful covenant that is filled with blessings and some challenges. It’s far more than the Wedding day or the Honeymoon night—it takes prayer, love, respect, commitment, a desire to bless each other and honor God, and lots of hard work and every bit of it is worth it. If I can pray for you I’d love to so reach out. I always say, we’re in this marriage journey together.
“Love is responsible—Can your spouse say that you have wronged or wounded them in any way and never made it right? Part of taking responsibility is admitting when you’ve failed and asking for forgiveness. God wants there to be no unresolved issues between the two of you”. Love Dare
I love this rich quote from the Love Dare calendar sitting on the bookshelf in my home-office. I looked over at it as I prepared to write a message for the Café on Marriage and this quote leaped off of the page and confirmed the message to be shared on forgiveness in a marriage.
Is there a wound within your marriage that has not been dealt with? Is unforgiveness fueling the distance within your marriage? Have hurtful words been spoken that no one refuses to own (take responsibility for), and each person is waiting for the other to apologize? If so, please resolve the issue now before it becomes bigger than your marriage. There are some wounds that when left unresolved, can create strife, separation and even lead to divorce and broken families.
Early in our marriage we would argue about some of the most ridiculous things—my meatballs vs. his Mothers meatballs, his holding up the newspaper to read while I was speaking to him which made me feel unimportant. There were also more serious issues that created wounds between us like the emotional wounds I brought into the marriage from being violated in my past. These wounds caused me not to trust him fully and to be emotionally needy. He brought into the marriage his own issues of living as an “island”–not needing the fellowship of people or what I called being disconnected. When you place a disconnected person with a needy person problems will arise—anger will flare, hurtful words will be spoken and neither will want to admit they are wrong—both are saying, “I’m not wrong you are!” This can cause deep wounds unless someone makes the decision to stop scabbing over the problem with a band aid and really desire for the wounds to be healed. When the desire to be whole outweighs the desire to be right in comes Christ and the healing begins.
After 22 years of marriage I can truly say that my hubby and I don’t have the type of communication breakdown we had during the first several years of our marriage. We’ve reached a place where when we upset each other we deal with it quickly because of four primary reasons: 1. We want to please God in our marriage. 2. It takes far too much of our energy, joy and peace to stay angry or distant from each other and we love each other too much for that! 3. It’s not a good example for our adult children and our grandchildren if they were to see or sense tension between us. 4. It would mess with our ministry—with our ability to serve others in Christ. The Bible tells us in Amos 3:3 Can two walk together but they be agreed? The answer is no, not fully and effectively and that includes within marriage.
3 steps toward wholeness in your marriage:
1. Be willing to look at your contribution to the problem. Pointing the finger out in blame is easy but a truly strong and humble person will point the finger inward and be willing to ask God to show them the areas where they need to be and do better within the marriage.
2. Create boundaries. I shared above four primary areas that we keep in the forefront of our minds within our marriage: pleasing God, our love for each other, being a good example for our children and grandchildren and being able to serve God effectively in ministry. What are your boundaries? It is important to create them and then maintain them as sacred within your covenant. I call them boundaries because they are the driving forces that keep you and your spouse grounded when distractions and situations arise within your marriage that would attempt to cause strife.
3. Let go of being a right fighter. If you have the need to always be right, to always have the last word and to be the last to apologize then you are a right fighter and that will cause great wounds in your marriage. It can also destroy your marriage or at the least it will cause division and zap the love and joy out of your relationship. Learn to apologize quickly and forgive easily.
The Love Dare said, “Love is responsible.” I agree with that statement, don’t you? We’re adults and we’ve been given the gift of marriage. Let’s be responsible in how we care for our covenant gift. It’s not always going to be easy but when done with Christ in the lead it will be rewarding!
I pray this message blesses you and your marriage. If I can pray for you please get in touch. We’re in this journey of marriage together. There is no perfect person or perfect marriage only a perfect God so let’s trust in Him together.
http://media.blubrry.com/thewholewoman/p/content.blubrry.com/thewholewoman/May2.mp3 Continue Reading