You never really know what someone else is facing. This is particularly true when you get to know people over the internet. For example, this past weekend, my family was restored after an 8 month separation.
8 months of single parenting.
I have 5 kids.
I had our littlest man during that time.
I would like to be able to say that it was because of some godly or glorious reason, but the truth is a lot more messy. It’s a story for many other days. But here’s another truth:
Marriage is hard work.
Relationships are hard work.
The relationships that challenge us the most have the potential for the largest impact upon our lives. This is especially true of marriage, and I believe that this is an intentional part of God’s design. The Lord continually uses my marriage to mold, grow, stretch and humble me. While this is probably true of most relationships in my life, especially those closest to me,
When counseling other couples, my husband I refer to this production process as grinding. Grinding is a process whereby God uses us to smooth and polish the rough (uncomfortable) and unsightly (ungodly) edges of the other.
In my marriage, the magnitude of brokenness that each of us brought to the table required that we undergo a lot of grinding.
In many ways, marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and His Body, the Church. At its best, marriage is a living example of self-sacrifice and selfless love mutually exchanged for the benefit of the whole, to the glory of God. At its worse, it is a picture of irate, misguided, and self-motivated people berating, beating and crucifying the one who loves them most. Most marriages are somewhere in the middle, continually on the journey from one end of the spectrum to the other. Many married couples move back and forth between opposite ends more times than they would like to admit.
As humans we are born with an innate inclination for survival. Yet the human experience is regularly, directly, and indirectly, influenced by marring hurts. And if we have been hurt at all, our minds and hearts compel us toward self-protective stances.
We long to be whole, healed and restored. But, since the fall of man, we’re born with God-sized holes, which we desperately long to fill. These emptiness we sense inside of us was designed to be filled with Christ, but foolishly many of us forgo choosing Him, and instead endeavor to a person to fit His place. In our search to feel complete, we often choose to partner with people who have specific similarities to the individuals whom we have been most influenced by. If these individuals were healthy, we are encouraged and inspired to seek out healthy relationships of our own. If these relationships were unhealthy, devoid of necessary love and acceptance, we can find ourselves in particularly troublesome partnerships. Subconsciously, we determine to overcome these original hurts by finding long sought-after love and acceptance through new relationships.
Inevitably we bring our past triumphs, hurts, lessons, and scars to these new relationships.
If during the course of this journey, married individuals have surrendered their hearts and lives to Christ, and are committed to walking in a healthy marriage, God can use them to traverse new heights of healing and restoration. Not only will the couple be used by God in each other’s lives, but they will also be used to consistently point the other to Christ, the only One big enough to fill the God-sized hole in their spouse.
However, if the married individuals have not surrendered to Christ, they will unwittingly endeavor to mend their brokenness at the expense of not only their marriage, but their spouse, as well. There is truth to the saying “hurt people hurt people”.
However, we who are adopted into the family of God, as sons and daughters, have the power of Christ dwelling within us! The Holy Spirit walks with us to encourage, empower, correct, teach and rebuke, and He will guide us into all truth, if truth is what we seek.
These commands are particularly important in the context of marriage. For while marriage offers us an opportunity to experience love at new heights, selfishness and poor choices can bring us to the very depths of pain, betrayal and disappointment. When faced with devastating hurts, the mandate to love, forgive and offer mercy takes on new importance. And, the valley that seems impossible to cross through human effort may very well be the vehicle that God will use to bring individual and marital breakthrough to our homes.
During these difficult seasons, we struggle with the natural human response of fight or flee, quietly weighing our desire, or ability, to deal with the pain of our circumstance. As we are confronted by these most personal storms, if we are willing to humbly examine ourselves, instead of pointing the finger of blame elsewhere, we may very well find we have arrived at a divinely appointed season of supernatural healing and restoration. When we choose to address our own sin instead of criticizing and judging the sin of our spouse, we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us instead of hindering His purpose in and for our lives. If, when given the opportunity to respond in anger, bitterness, and self-righteousness, we instead choose love, forgiveness and mercy we can become instruments of the power of God in our situation. These points of destiny interwoven onto our personal timeline are used by God to accomplish the impossible within and through our lives.
I call these God moments.
Choosing the path of humility for the sake of our marriage when our hurting hearts are screaming “What about me?!” can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. In a marriage, humility demonstrated through love in spite of perceived hurts is a powerful and life-changing choice. These are the choices that break down barriers, bring life to dead feelings, and stir up dying situations. But, most importantly, these are the choices that unite us past our differences, in spite of our divisiveness. Humility demonstrated through love, forgiveness and mercy is used by Christ to stitch together singularly focused individuals into a solidified unit dually focused on the will of God. This is the magnificent work of Christ: taking two me‘s and joining them together, through the journey of marriage, to create a Christ-like us.
For prayer on this topic visit today’s Daily Hope & a Prayer devotional.
So, for all of you who, like me, feel more like it’s a Wednesday than a Monday, here’s…
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Linked at Christian Mommy Blogger.