My heart skipped a beat as he walked into the room. He asked about my day, and then shared about his. It was like that, easy conversations ranging from light topics to deep issues of the heart. I enjoyed our discussions. But soon I realized I anticipated them more than I should. Why?
Because I was a married woman, and this man was not my husband.
Like weeds in a garden, wrong emotions had strayed into my mind and left unchecked began to grow. I started to pour time into this other man. I chose to receive emotional support from this man. I looked forward to the companionship of this other man. And before I knew it, I was on the brink of an emotional affair.
I could hang my head and weep.
My man was a good man. A hard-working man. Consumed with the worries of this world, a boatload of work buried him. He'd come home, eat dinner, and then dive into his work sometimes 2 to 3 hours long. Maybe I felt cheated or neglected, or second place to his work, I'm not sure.
But all I know was my emotional cup was empty, and I looked to refill it in the wrong place.
Temptation comes from our own desires,
which entice us and drag us away.
We women can easily slide into an emotional affair if we feel there is physical or emotional distance in our marriages. Having talked to many women on this very issue, I've felt compelled to share my story. By the grace of God, I caught mine early on, but that isn't always the case.
In the throes of an emotional affair, we are convinced:
- This other man understands me better than my spouse.
- This other man loves me more than my spouse.
- This other man is my true soul mate, unlike my spouse.
These thoughts knit discontentment into our minds, and before we know it we’ve entered the danger zone!
These desires give birth to sinful actions.
And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Having a thought is one thing, but playing it over and over in our mind is not only dangerous to us emotionally, but also spiritually because we're harboring sinful thoughts.
Thoughts such as what it would be like to be in this other man's embrace, to be kissed by him, and for scenes to unfold in our minds which should be reserved for our husbands. Too soon these thoughts lead to actions, and before we know it, we are having sex with someone other than our spouse.
My friend, an emotional affair is the path to a sexual affair. Jesus girl, you do NOT want that.
So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
Don't be misled! How do we slam shut the gate before we slide down the slippery slope? Next week, I'll share my climb back onto the path of life. Until then I have two words for you.
If this post has hit a tender spot in your precious heart, my friend, I beg you to flee whatever emotional situation seems all glittery and good. It's not. It's toxic and will steal your joy and your peace. Block his number, stop meeting him at your rendezvous spot, stop getting in his space, stop pursuing him, get another job, go to a different church, move, etc.
Whatever it takes, flee as if your life depends upon it, because it does.
If your thoughts are for any man besides your husband, take those thoughts captive like we are commanded to in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Think of it this way: My youngest daughter loves animals, the smaller, the better. We've had one too many hamsters in her short lifetime. These furry rodents are escape artists extraordinaire. When one escapes, a mad flurry is made to capture the escapee, place it back in its cage, and firmly secure its cage door.
So it is with our errant thoughts about men who are not our husbands. We need to pounce on those thoughts and manhandle them with the Word of God. A few good verses to help us take our thoughts captive include:
1 Peter 1:13
I'm praying for you, my sister. I'm praying for conviction, repentance, and life for you. I'm praying for the scales to fall off your eyes and for you to see this situation for what it is, an affair. A sin. A shallow crumb compared to the feast the Lord has for you.
Don't be mislead! Run, Jesus girl! Run to the cross and live!
One final note: perhaps this isn't you...today. We ALL must guard our hearts. All of us have desperately wicked hearts and are one step away from sin. My sister, keep your guard up, keep your heart soft to the Spirit's prompting, and keep pursuing a life of holiness and purity.
Unraveling An Affair - Part 2
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Can you remember the friend you have had the longest? I sure can...and she is still one of my dearest friends today! We laid in cribs next to each other in the church nursery. I bet if you can remember a friend like that, you will remember her mom, too! She was like my second mom and I was at her house as much as my own. I am thankful to have Glenda, my childhood friend's mom on the blog today! I am watching as many women are walking through what she faced many years ago. So, I asked her to share her story and she did so beautifully!
Hopes and dreams of an 18 year old bride:
1. A home like my parents
2. A husband like my daddy
We married young; it wasn’t unusual in the 70s to marry right after high school. Ricky was the ripe old age of twenty and I was eighteen. It was ok because we knew everything about everything. At least, we thought we did. Enter reality…
I can’t even explain how naïve we were, me especially. I’ve always been a reader and thought my life would be like a Hallmark movie! Our first year was pretty rough because we each had our own idea of what wedded bliss looked like.
In my eyes, the home my parents built was almost perfect. I rarely saw any disagreement, any conflict or any strife at home. If it existed between my parents, I sure didn’t know it, and to this day, I believe in family life, primarily because of my parents. My daddy was my hero and still is. He was a hard-working, respected man, who put his family first. In our home, there was never any question of where we would be on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I never felt rebellious about it, that was just the way it was. Ricky also came from a church-going family, but he fell out of church when he was a teenager. He would tell you he only went back after we began to date. He gave his heart to Jesus when he was nineteen, but once again, he gradually got out of church. While we were dating, he’d go with me on Sunday nights, but that was about it. Of course, I thought I could change all of that once we were married! It didn’t happen.
I have so much admiration for any person who is faithful to attend church by themselves. Church, just like anywhere else we go, is full of people who look like they have it all together. That’s just a big fat lie that Satan tells us! But, in my eyes as a young bride, I felt like all eyes were on me and everyone was wondering what was wrong with my marriage because my husband wasn’t with me at church. Another lie...perception is not truth! The truth was this: Even though Ricky wasn’t with me at church, he was still a great husband and we were building a lasting relationship.
But, my perceptions and expectations caused lots of arguments when it came to Sunday morning. I became that nagging wife that Proverbs says is like a dripping faucet. My insecurities led to trying to “make” Ricky come with me to church. I thought if he came, we’d have a perfect marriage. Little did I know at this time, God had a plan. You see, up until then, I had lived a sheltered life. I had a great home life and a great church life. No one had challenged my beliefs. For the first time in my life, it was up to me to see if my faith was real, or if I was living off of my parents’ faith.
God was growing me. I can’t express how hard this time was for me; the tearing down of my expectations was so painful. However, what was being built up was far more valuable. The lessons God taught me during this time only caused me to love Him more, to step up and be the wife He would want me to be and the mom to our daughters when they came along later in our marriage. I learned to nurture the most important relationships in my life, the one with my heavenly Father, my Husband, and those that I need at any time and in any place. He is perfect and is always with me. He loves me unconditionally; He is the lover of my soul.
Our first daughter, Jessica, was born about three years into our marriage. I felt the responsibility of leading her in the path that would lead her to faith in Christ. That responsibility was doubled when Elyssa was born. It takes a village to raise children, a village populated with folks who love Jesus, who care about people and a have a passion for sharing their love. I found that in my church. We need each other!
Fast forward about twenty-two years into our marriage….Ricky was still not attending church with me and our girls are now nineteen and sixteen. Life started throwing some heavy situations into our lives and into our girls’ lives. They were the kind of situations that only God can control, situations that became wake-up calls.
Through a series of these events, my husband was drawn back to church. Not only to church attendance, but to church service. Oh my goodness, it got to the point where he wanted to go to church more than I did!
Just because couples go to church together, doesn’t mean all is good in their home. Our marriage was great, other than the church thing. I’ve seen church-going couples split up. Just because you go to church together doesn’t mean you have a perfect marriage.
I was so frustrated! I just needed help, help getting the kids ready and out the door. I needed companionship, a companion to sit with so I wouldn’t feel alone in a crowd. I longed for “couple” fellowship. I saw other couples from church hanging out together, and I wanted that. At the time, nothing much was offered for single ladies at our church. Even though I was married, I felt like a single person at church.
I’m so very thankful for the season in my life where God strengthened my walk with Him. I would have been so tempted to “piggyback” off of my husband’s faith, instead of seeking after Christ. I’ve learned God is good in every season, that He alone is my source.
The most important lesson I learned is this: I am not the Holy Spirit. I can’t be the Holy Spirit for anyone. Only God convicts. But, His promises are true. If I seek Him and His will in my life, He will bring it to pass. I wish I had known this when I was nagging Ricky to come with me! I think all I did with my nagging was to push him away. Once I let go and let God handle it, He gave me the desire of my heart, a Godly husband, who loves the Lord with all his heart.
You are restless. Life doesn't look like you envisioned it. You keep thinking if only I had a different job, or a different spouse, or a different child, or a different ___________. Right now, the proverbial grass on the other side of the fence looks to be your favorite shade of green.
But what if? What if the job doesn’t improve, the spouse doesn’t change, the kid doesn’t wise up, the ______________ doesn’t change? Then what? Do we live in neutral or in a “woe is me” state or just give up?
God didn’t create us and put us in this time-period, in this location, in this situation for us to give up! As Christ-followers, we have the power of the living God inside of us!
In fact, Romans 8:37 reminds us that we are MORE than conquerors through Christ. But in reality, many of us are living as the conquered. We’re continuously striving, grumbling, complaining, and are down-right grouchy.
Goodness. We need to shake this Eeyore mentality of woe is me... my life is so wretched... my situation is so hard...etc. etc. etc. Wake up, O Sleeper! This life isn't about me, nor is it about you. It's about God and His glory.
That hard place you are all grumbly about? That's God's invitation to test Him, to try Him at His Word! He's inviting you to get up! Throw off the shroud of winter! Allow spring to bloom in your soul!
You know Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.” Have you glanced back two verses? Check it out?
“…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. “ Philippians 4:11
Content. Wow! Paul learned to be content in whatever situation. Do you know what content in this context means? It means independent of external circumstances. No matter what situation presented itself, Paul was at peace. He unwaveringly believed whatever hard situation - beatings, imprisonment, ship-wrecked, etc. - was before him; it was God’s will for him to make the most of it. That, my friend, allowed him to boast “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.”
That’s the secret, dear one. Contentment. Peace. Right where you are, whether in a stressful job, or a loveless marriage, or a terrible parenting situation, or _____________. Like Paul, we must learn -- get in the habit of -- to be content.
I wish I could take your hand into mine, look into your eyes, and speak this to your soul, "You, dear one, were made for hard things. Because of Jesus, your life should exceed the normal humdrum existence.
Bloom, Jesus Girl!
Bloom in that hard spot! Let God's resurrection power soften the soil of your precious heart with hope and joy and peace!"
When the marriage is hard, press in to God's promises. When the job is frustrating, press in to His life-giving Word. When the parenting is hair-pulling, press in to His peace and long-suffering. When the _____________ is tough, press in to Jesus.
Press in. Learn to be content. Like Paul, unwaveringly believe that whatever hard situation is before you; it is God’s will for you to make the most of it.
How do we bloom in those hard places?
Our hearts have to repeatedly pray, "Your will, not mine, Lord. Your will, not mine. Change my heart to beat like Yours."
Our minds need to fix on life-giving advice found in the Scriptures such as:
Marriage - Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:1-4, 1 Corinthians 7:16, Ephesians 5:22, 31-33,
Parenting - Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Malachi 4:6
Job - Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 6:6, Titus 2:10-11
People - Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12-17, Galatians 6:1, 1 Peter 3:9
Situation - Psalm 56:3, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 15:13, Exodus 14:14
Dear one, I don't know your hard situation. But if God hasn't closed the door, you are probably exactly where you are supposed to be. May you learn to be content so that you can thrive! I'm cheering you on as you press in and bloom in the midst of this hard situation. <3
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Other great posts to help you push thru the hard:
Self - When You're the Lost Sheep
Marriage - Winning at Marriage
Parenting - The Best Kind of Parenting
Situation - Confrontation. the Dreaded Word
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
How We Are Called to Have a Spirit Like Mary's
In one of the most touching scenes in the Bible, we see Mary, with hair unbound, kneeling at the feet of Jesus as she lovingly poured her expensive perfume onto him. The fragrance of this exquisite aroma filled the entire house. She poured it liberally onto his head, like one would do when anointing a King or a Priest. Then, she moved to his feet, as a servant would do for his master, and poured out the rest before using her long tresses to wipe them clean. It was an intimate moment that caused the men in the room, who were most likely dirty and dusty from all their travels, to look on. Devotion such as this can hardly be ignored.
The intimacy of this moment was quickly shattered as the naysayers began to pipe up.
“Why this waste of perfume?”
“It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!”
Their rebukes were strong and swift. But, so was that of Jesus.
“Leave her alone,” he said. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me… She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:6-9
All of this commotion started over one thing: where Mary placed value. Had Mary not valued Jesus above everything else, her expensive possession would have remained sealed in its bottle long after the dinner guests had left. But, Mary DID place Jesus above all others. Pouring out the costliest thing that she had–both her perfume and her affection–was a beautiful sacrifice that she willingly made. It was her act of worship. And, because of it, Jesus said that it would be remembered forever.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to sit at the feet of Jesus and pour out my affection like Mary did! I would gladly sacrifice my costliest possession because HE IS SO WORTHY OF IT! If only I had that same opportunity!
Or, maybe I do.
Last week, I wrote about a little thing that we do in our house called Operation Pretty Heart. I shared about a moment when I was led to put all my daughter’s pretty things away for a period of time so that we could focus more intently on keeping her heart pretty. As I boxed up all the pretties and looked for a place to stash them, I was hit by the surprising thought, “What if I packed away all my pretty things whenever my own heart was ugly? What if my outside always mirrored my inside?”
Led by 1 Peter 3:4 which says that your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight, I began to put great effort into modeling a gentle and quiet spirit to her. However, as hard as I try, some days are just plain tough. The ugliness of my sin is exposed. The fleshly desires of my heart dominate. Gentleness and quietness are nowhere to be found.
When studying this verse for last week’s post, I was surprised to learn a key connection that it has to the story of Mary anointing Jesus. Did you know that the word “expensive” used to describe Mary’s perfume in Mark 14:3 is the EXACT SAME WORD as “great worth” used to describe a woman’s gentle and quiet spirit in 1 Peter 3:4? This word, polutelés, equates the value of Mary’s costly perfume, which was so great that the act of “wasting” it on Jesus caused such an indignant response from his disciples, to the same value of a woman’s gentle and quiet spirit. Wow.
The word polutelés means very costly, very precious, of great value. Peter was telling the Christian wives scattered all around the world that the beauty hidden inside of them, marked by divinely-inspired inner calmness, is as costly and as precious in God’s sight as Mary’s perfume was. He told them to put their inner beauty on display, focusing on what comes from within instead of without, so that, "if any of them (husbands) do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." He encouraged these wives to give as lavishly and willing as Mary did but in a different way.
How We Are Called to Be Modern Day Mary’s:
Yes, I want to be remembered for devotion like Mary’s. And, through these two sets of Scriptures, the Lord is showing me how. Unlike Mary, I don’t need a bottle of perfume. Instead, I need a gentle and quiet spirit to pour out of me. Will it cost me something? Initially, yes. But, like Mary, there will come a day when it flows so freely, willingly and liberally, that I no longer consider the cost. The value will not be able to be calculated.
So, as Operation Pretty Heart continues, the Lord is showing me that the greatest way to show my daughter what a gentle and quiet spirit looks like is to show it to her daddy first. Devotion such as this can hardly be ignored. She will notice it. And, she will be changed by it.
And, so will he.
And, so will I.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
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This is my story of how I came to know Jesus as a child and then again as a woman. I would LOVE to hear yours! If you don’t know Him personally or if you have questions, we would love to talk with you. Please send us a private Facebook message or feel free to comment here.
You know those iconic small stain-glass windowed churches nestled in rolling hills? I was blessed to grow up in such a church in upstate New York. A myriad of memories flood my mind as I think back to my growing years in that church. Such memories as being baptized in a nearby very cold creek and yearly Easter sunrise services held in the back field followed by a yummy breakfast.
The most important memory, however, involves summer camp. Every summer the church members made sure we kids went off to church camp for a week. Amidst the greased pig contest and polar bear swimming club, my heart softened and permanently declared an eternal relationship with the Lover of my soul, Jesus.
I remember stepping outside that night after my decision to trust Jesus as my Savior. I looked up at the starry expanse spread like a canopy above me. I was overcome that the Creator of the starry realm loved me. Little ole me. I felt like Maria in the Sound of Music just singing and spinning with a soaring spirit. I was so filled with joy I could burst! I felt sure Jesus and I could conquer anything that came my way.
Years slowly slipped away and that night at camp became a definite but distant memory. My adult faith roller-coastered from joy-filled to joyless. Soon, my cup of joy was depleted. While I was active in my local church and wearing my joyful Jesus girl mask so skillfully, deep down I was miserable.
Miserable looks different for each of us but for me, it was as if a toddler had taken paint and splattered it over a beautiful masterpiece. There was splattered paint of anger, depression, and abusive and erratic behavior. I staggered from the high of Sunday morning worship to the deep valley of despair by Sunday afternoon. I was on and off anti-depressants and sleeping pills. My marriage was rocky, and my children trembled in fear at my sudden rage.
Something needed to change.
The joy I experienced that night years ago seemed so elusive now, possible for others but not for me. When I looked at much of what was wrong with my life - my marriage, my parenting, my friendships - I realized I was the common denominator. I had lost the joy of my salvation. I was the Titanic headed for the iceberg.
I needed to change.
I was in the midst of a Beth Moore study. I had always been in awe of her vibrant, radical faith and wanted it, but thought she was blessed with something special, something that was not obtainable for the average follower of Christ. But during one session, it finally clicked! Christ’s abundant life is a promise for all believers, including me!
The smoldering ember of my faith caught a flicker of air and started to burn!
Like a marathon runner, I began to train my flabby spiritual self hardcore. Instead of just a Sunday morning accessory, my Bible became my constant companion and lifeline. I asked the Lord, “Change me. I am willing to do whatever it takes to have the abundant life You promised in John 10:10.”
The Four Steps I Took to Turn My Titanic Self from Destruction:
1. Developed a Personal Bible Study Time
I was as inconsistent as an unreliable car with my quiet time. So, I determined to get up each morning before my family and spend time with the Lord. When my rebellious flesh wanted to stay in bed a little bit longer; I would pray Psalm 42:1-2,
“As the deer pants for the water, help me long for You.”
2. Studied and Applied God's Word
I dug deep into James 3:13-18 and into the Proverbs, like Proverbs 29:11, longing to be counted among the wise instead of the fool who is controlled by anger. My constant prayer was:
“Make me wise, Lord. Help my tongue speak words of life, not death. Allow my hands to be hands of healing, not hurting.”
3. Really Fell in Love with Jesus
I asked the Lord to help me fall deeply in love with and trust Jesus. With a renewed hunger, I studied the four gospels and every account of Jesus’s interaction with everyday people. With new eyes, I saw His love and compassion and miraculous healing of EVERY kind of sickness and disease. I prayed,
“Help my unbelief! Help me know you love me as deeply as those You walked with all those years ago."
4. Claimed Resurrection Power
I understood Christ's power to overcome death was available to me as a believer, yet I let that power lie dormant. I knew the only way to overcome my angry, depressed, abusive self was to pray Christ's death-defeating power over myself and my weaknesses. My steady prayer was:
"I'm weak and helpless to change myself. Lord, please help me believe Your resurrection power can save me from myself!”
And slowly, unlike the Titanic, I veered around the iceberg and started to feel a change in me.
- I started having joy which lasted longer than a worship service.
- I was experiencing peace that no pill or brownie or latest purchase could bring.
- I began to love being a wife and a momma and a friend.
I. Am. Changed! (Happy dance!)
Finally, I am experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10! All because the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is still available to us today! I just needed to receive it and believe it! Life has not become a bed of roses since my radical transformation. But now the joy of the Lord is my strength! His strength makes me strong where I am weak!
Just like that night long ago, the Creator of the starry host still loves little ole me. Just as important, Jesus and I CAN conquer anything that comes my way. When given the chance, I tell all who will listen,
"Jesus saves, not only from the literal hell, but also from the hell inside of ourselves!"
That is the victory of the empty tomb, my friend. That is the victory guaranteed to each person who humbles themselves, confesses their sin, and accepts Jesus as Lord.
Oh my friend, it's NOT too late! You are NOT too far gone! The victory of the empty tomb is possible for you, also. If He can save me from a Titanic-like existence, He can do the same for you!
May you believe it and walk and flourish in the power of Christ's empty tomb this Easter and beyond!
How to THRIVE in Your Wedding Vows Series
“Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.” I loved this sappy, secular sentiment so much I put it on the back of our wedding program. To me, it reflected the longing of the human heart: undying love, "till death, do us part," you and me against the world forever.
"Till death do us part" is the finishing touch to the traditional wedding vow. It's every couple's dreamy end goal, growing old together, weathering life's circumstances side by side. But, some days the finish line seems so far away. To top it off, society tells us if we get tired of our spouse, it's ok to step away from our promise "till death do us part."
But "till death do us part." provides us with an endpoint to focus on when feelings come and go like waves on the beach. It's commitment. It’s resolved. It’s unmovable.
In fact, the commitment of "until death do us part" is living and loving well like Jesus.
Loving Like Jesus Loved
While Jesus never married, He did choose 12 men to do life with for three years. Three years might seem like a cakewalk compared to the length of our marriage, but those three years were filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. Just like marriage.
These were men Jesus lived day in and day out with. He knew their good, bad, and ugly. Knowing what we know about this motley crew, I love what He prayed in one of His final prayers leading up to His crucifixion.
“During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me;
I guarded them so that not one was lost,
except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” John 17:12
What stands out to you in this verse?
Two things stand out to me:
1. By the power of the name you gave me.
What a strong, death-defying name is the name of Jesus! When the last drop of hope has drained from a situation, all we have to do is say His name. No matter the marital situation, calling on His name renews hope and the strength to stick to loving our spouse well even on the hardest of days.
2. I protected… I guarded.
Both of these words — protected and guarded — come from a form of the word “kept.” meaning to attend to carefully, To take care of, Focused, Purposeful. Jesus chose to take care of those in His care to the end. Likewise, our spouse's heart is in our care. On those hard marital days, looking to Jesus's example enables us to love our spouse with focus and purpose.
A few examples of Jesus protecting and guarding His motley crew:
Judas - betrayer
Jesus washed his feet knowing He was going to betray Him soon.
He called him friend as Judas walked up to betray him.
Knowing what He knew about Judas (betrayer), He still chose to take care of Judas well to the end.
Thomas - doubter
Jesus washed His feet knowing he’d doubt His resurrection.
He invited Thomas to touch his scars when he declared doubt of Jesus’s bodily resurrection.
Even when Thomas doubted, He lovingly invited Thomas to make his faith sight. He chose to take care of Thomas well to the end.
Peter - denier
He washed his feet knowing he’d soon deny Him three times.
Jesus warned him, but Peter denied Him anyway.
After He rose from the dead, Jesus sought Peter at the water's edge. He fed him a warm breakfast and gently realigned him for even greater service. He chose to take care of Peter well to the end.
Jesus protected and guarded Judas, Thomas, and Peter. By following His example, we can live with the mindset of “till death do us part.” despite our spouse's brokenness.
The Ultimate Finish Line
"Till death do us part" is the ultimate finish line. If we outlive our spouse or step into Glory first, we want to look back at our marital life and know we cared for them well.
So, how do we get to the finish line? The wedding vows show us how to protect and guard our spouse:
To have and to hold - the physical beauty and necessity of sex inside of marriage, the ultimate picture of oneness.
For better or worse - the pressing in and respecting our man even on the worst days.
For richer or poorer - the one-minded mentality when it comes to money and marriage. What’s yours is mine. What’s mine is yours.
For sickness and in health - the patient, long-suffering kind of love whether our spouse is physically or mentally or emotionally unwell.
To love and cherish - the purposeful 1 Corinthians 13 approach to loving our spouse well.
Intentionally living our wedding vows guides us across God's finish line.
When I think of God's finish line, I think of the passage in Scripture where the master tells the faithful servant, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." That to me would be the ultimate prize we could receive for choosing to thrive in our wedding vows.
I don’t know about you, but this series on the wedding vows has renewed my commitment to love my spouse well. I love acrostics. To help me run across the finish line, I am choosing to C.O.M.M.I.T. to thrive in my wedding vows.
C - compassionate - be kind-hearted in my words and actions.
O - optimistic - believe the best of my spouse.
M - mediator - pray for my spouse.
M - mindful of my own humanity - looking at the log in my own eye rather than dwelling on the speck in my spouse’s life.
I - intentional. Purposely pouring life into my marriage.
T - true to my word. Choosing to thrive in my “I do.”
Lock arms with me, my sister. May God find us both faithful to C.O.M.M.I.T. to thrive in our wedding vows "till death do us part." I am praying this blessing from Jude over you and me. <3
24Now to him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Wedding Vows Series
I Do? Who Knew? - Part 1
Heat Up Your "To Have and to Hold" - Part 2
Winning Solution in "For Better or For Worse" - Part 3
Do not Grow Weary "in Sickness and In Health" - Part 4
Content in "For Richer or Poorer" - Part 5
Love AND Cherish no Matter What? - Part 6
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
How to THRIVE in Your Wedding Vows Series - Part 6
Disclaimer - Because of sin, there is serious dysfunction in some marriages today. This series does not mean to whitewash any problems inside of broken marriages. Instead, I desire to uncover the beauty of the vows thru a Biblical worldview and how they are meant to play out in a healthy marriage.
My husband made a comment. I replied with a snarky remark. Without missing a beat, he quoted, “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” He had a twinkle in his eye which caused me to laugh, diffusing the fight in me. But it also made me stop and think,
"Are my callous remarks and digs causing my husband to want to be anywhere but at home with me?"
On our wedding day, promising to “love and cherish” our spouse seems like an easy task. Yet, how often do we hear, “We just don’t love each other anymore.” when couples choose to divorce. When I thought about skipping this line in the Wedding Vows series, the Spirit slowed me down and prompted me to dig a little deeper. What a treasure trove I discovered.
What does this line of the vow look like for the Jesus girl yearning to thrive in her wedding vows? My hunt began with the wisdom book of Proverbs. As I dug, I began to formulate a question to guide my research, "Which Proverbs wife am I?”
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Am I like the wise woman building up those in my household, starting with my husband?
Do I resemble the foolish woman by tearing down my house, beginning with my husband?
Proverbs 31 helps us answer these questions. Let's personalize them to see which wife we are.
The Proverbs 31 "Love and Cherish" Litmus Test
vs. 11 - The heart of her husband trust in her.
Wise wife - My husband’s heart trusts me, no question about it. Like a bird in a nest, he trusts his heart in my gentle, kind hands.
Foolish wife - My husband’s heart used to trust me, but now he’s not so sure I’ve got his back. Some days I’m encouraging and loving, but other days I slice and dice him with my words and actions.
vs. 12 - She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Wise wife - I do him good not evil ALL the days of my life.
Foolish wife - I do him good some days, but other days I do him evil if I am feeling hormonal or tired or I didn’t get my way, or he just isn’t living up to my standard of an excellent husband.
vs. 26 - When she speaks, her words are wise.
Wise wife - I only open my mouth when I have something wise and encouraging and edifying to say.
Foolish wife - I open my mouth with wisdom some of the days, but other days folly spews forth like a toxic brew.
vs. 26 - and she gives instruction with kindness.
Wise wife - My words and actions are those of a lover, rather than a mother. They are kind and gentle and patient with him at all times.
Foolish wife - Some days my words and actions are kind and compassionate, but other days, I nag and demean and belittle.
vs. 30 - But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Wise wife - I am a woman who fears the Lord and thus even on the hard marital days, love my man well for the glory of the Lord.
Foolish wife - I fear the Lord some days unless my husband irks me then I let my flesh take over.
Ouch! This litmus test hurts and is convicting. Proverbs 31 is the standard God has set for us Jesus girls. I fear I fall short more days than I care to count. But I want to measure up. I want God to find me faithful to this task He set before me.
On our wedding day, this task to "love and cherish" others well moves our spouse into the top spot below God. And... above our children. Goodness, that's a whole other post.
So, how do we "love and cherish" our husbands well thru the good, the bad, and the ugly? God in all His kindness provided us with a list full of attainable ways to "love and cherish" our men well. In the place of the word love, however, we're going to insert ourselves. Lol - come on, don't check out on me! We want abundant life for our marriages. No better place to start then on ourselves. Join me, my sister!
The 1 Corinthians 13 "Love and Cherish" Checklist.
I am patient - I will love with a long-suffering kind of love, through the good and the bad, with a "til death do us part" kind of patience.
I am kind - I will be mild and gentle in my manner toward you. I will do simple acts of kindness, a "just because" loving act, because I choose to be kind.
I am not jealous - I will rejoice when others prefer you over me for we truly are one.
I do not brag about my accomplishments to undermine you or appear superior. Nor will I trumpet the little or big things I do for you.
I am not arrogant. I will not look down my nose at you because you don’t know something or act a certain way. I will focus on your needs rather than my own.
I do not act unbecomingly - I will not be rude or disrespectful to you in my words or actions.
I do not seek my own way - I will not manipulate a situation for my own good or favor.
I do not provoke you - I will not seek a fight or a rise from you. I, in turn, will not be provoked by you, or become irritated by your ways or habits.
I do not take into account a wrong suffered - I will not hold an infraction over your head over and over again. I will let the past stay in the past and hope for tomorrow!
I do not rejoice in unrighteousness - I will not color the truth or paint a scenario to mislead you or negatively influence you about others or a situation.
I rejoice with the truth - I will stand on the truth in a loving, encouraging way.
I bear (or cover) all things - I won't go around telling all your deep secrets or faults.
I believe all things. - Even in the worst of times, I choose to believe the best of you.
I hope all things - Some days seem long, as do some seasons, of marriage. Yet, l will hope for brighter days and for the best in you.
I endure all things - I won't give up on you, no matter what. I will keep on bearing, believing, and hoping until death do us part.
And that's it. God's doable checklist on how to "love and cherish" our spouse well. It's a tough list, but through Christ, it is not only doable but also the way to thrive in our wedding vows.
Why do we want to "love and cherish" our spouse well? At the end of the day, we want to be the safe place where our spouse chooses to land. So, we will choose to be the wise woman and build our house by loving and cherishing our spouse for the glory of God and the good of our marriage.
I don't know if you or your spouse wish the other was living on the corner of the roof. But dear one, you obviously loved your spouse deeply at one time, or else you wouldn’t have married him. Listed below are some tips on how to rekindle that loving feeling.
How to Rekindle that Loving Feeling:
- 5 Love Languages - take the test to find your spouse's love language and intentionally serve him that way.
- Husband Encouragement Challenge - a 30-day encouragement challenge
- Love Dare - Take the 40 days Love Dare
- The Three Things Thankfulness List - Write down three things you’re thankful for about your spouse each day.
- One Act of Kindness - Choose to do one kind thing each day for 30 days for your spouse.
How about you? How did you fare on the Litmus Test? Which area do you need to move from the foolish wife to the wise wife? What about the Checklist? I know as I was writing there were a couple of areas the Spirit convicted me. Let's lock arms and cheer each other on in this race called marriage!
Wedding Vows Series
I Do? Who Knew? - Part 1
Heat Up Your "To Have and to Hold" - Part 2
Winning Solution in "For Better or For Worse" - Part 3
Do not Grow Weary "in Sickness and In Health" - Part 4
Content in "For Richer or Poorer" - Part 5
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.