This post is a little different from previous posts. Next week I will be starting a new Bible Study of the life of Elijah from 1 & 2 Kings in the Old Testament.
Looking through the new study book for this course, one of the questions ask is,
What things in todays world is discouraging to me?” As I thought about that question, one of the things that came to my mind are the many marriages which are struggling. It seems that each week brings a new story of friends or acquaintances whose family is being torn apart by divorce. As I think back about my life and the struggle which resulted in divorce and the pain it caused for those in our family and friends, it made me stop and think about things we hear and know which certainly have not helped in today’s marriages. Yes, today’s marriages seem to be so different from the marriages of years past. What I am writing today is part my story and partly, stories of what I hear from friends whose kids are in the midst of trying to either save a marriage or trying to reconcile to the new season of being a single parent. Hopefully this post will allow someone to see themselves or someone they love and know that there is hope and there is a Heavenly Father Who is there to walk with them through what will be a very tough time.
As I listened to a friend the other day talk about one of their children’s marriage, we began to think back over our lives from when we were the age of our kids and what we felt contributed to some of the problems we had as young marrieds.
In the 70’s, I remember watching soap operas during the day while doing housework or taking care of babies. Thinking back over those years, it came to mind that as I would sit and watch, the addiction began that I couldn’t just watch one; as one ended, another would begin and I would tell myself that I would just watch one more. It became something that I found myself adjusting my housework or meal prep for times that I could sit down and watch my programs. When my husband began to tell me that my mood changed depending on what had happened that day on my “soaps” I laughed. But after a while I began to look at my marriage as one which did not look like the one on TV. My view of marriage became distorted. I began to expect my husband to be like the one I watched everyday in a world that definitely was not real. Reality became blurred.
Yes, there were other problems in the marriage, but this loss of reality certainly did not help. I remember a friend talking to me about my marriage and was I doing everything I could to make it whole. Yes, the old saying that “it takes two” to make it good or bad is true. But what was I really doing to help make it “good”? At the time, I thought I was doing my part. I kept a clean house, always had meals ready, took care of the kids and was always up at the school volunteering for anything needed. But, what was I doing for my husband and I? Now, when it is so easy to see some of the things that we now know were certainly not contributing to a healthy marriage, it would be so great to be able to help young marriages by using the wisdom gained through the years.
Looking back, when our marriage was deteriorating, I choose women for my friends whose marriages were falling apart. Instead of choosing wise Godly women who would have helped me and been able to guide me with God’s Truth, I choose the ones who sometimes encouraged me to divorce or would sympathize with me to the point to where I thought it was all my husband’s fault. It is so easy to criticize the younger generations today in saying that they are the “entitlement” generation which thrives on wanting everything they feel will make them feel better about themselves. But didn’t I do the same thing all those years ago? Now, it is easy to see that I wanted it to be all about me and what I needed and wanted.
Also, I did not do “everything” I could have done to help the situation. Reading today’s devotion from Jim Cymbala led me to think so much of our young marrieds. So many make decisions that hinder not only their spiritual growth, but hinder God’s working in their marriages. It’s not only the younger marrieds but couples who have been married for years. When we are facing battles in our lives, why don’t we turn to the Lord, instead of to the world? Why do we think that the world and friends who are not walking with the Lord, can give us the Godly wisdom which will insure that we can truly say, “we are leaning on God and His guidance? We don’t live in a sin-free world and we do know that Satan is out to destroy families and marriages. Knowing this, why does that not make us lean on God that much more? We struggle with daily life decisions. We struggle with daily relationships. We struggle with knowing how and what to do to help our kids have a life that allows them to see how important God is to us.
All these struggles are real. BUT…there is an answer. That answer is Jesus Christ who wants our hearts, our lives and our worship. Why do we think that we can walk in the world, yet expect Him to work a miracle in our life? As I mentioned in this mornings devotion, Pastor Cymbala wrote, “God is ready to radically change things because no obstacle is too difficult for him. Possibly you face a dilemma of some kind today. Maybe it is related to your marriage or a son or daughter who is not serving God. Or possibly you need the Lord to heal you in the realm of your emotions. Whatever the case, remember that we have a God who can “break out” and supernaturally help us. And it all begins when we slow down and humble ourselves in prayer. We must bring our individual circumstances before God, as David (in the Psalms) did, with a yielded will that desires to know what he wants us to do. “Break Outs” begin not with noise and clamor, but with a surrendered heart.” *
Why not commit our lives to daily walking in His ways, read God’s Word, surround ourselves with people who lead us to the Cross, not away from it. Attend a Bible believing church and allow ourselves to have Christian friendships which will walk with us in our struggles. Begin our day asking the Lord to guide us into ALL TRUTH and then use us for His Glory, not our own.
Soap opera marriages are not real. But God Is…trust Him and depend on Him wanting to “Break Out” of our old patterns and expect Him to do mighty and glorious things.
*taken from Jim Cymbala Daily Devotions