Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don't be Dismayed by Delay

There will be times in marriage in which we reach a point of emotional exhaustion, or our romantic expectations come crashing down with disappointment. Perhaps one spouse has continually loved the other unconditionally, but because of walls in his/her partner's heart, there is not a tangible reciprocation.

The principles and commands in our Christian walk can and should also be administered in our marriage. You might feel discouraged or even disillusioned because you have loved your spouse and have done everything you know to do, but nothing has changed. What now?

Galatians 6:9 says, "And let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

Never grow weary in doing good toward your spouse. Think of it as a personal assignment from God and unique opportunity to show the attributes of God's unconditional love. One of your most impactful ministries can be toward your spouse.

If the marriage that God says you can have has not manifested yet, don't grow weary. Delay is a common tactic of the enemy and he will try to use it against you to sin.

Exodus 32:1-4 says,
1 "Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt we do not know what has become of him."
2 "And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."
3 "So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron."
4 "And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, 'O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!"
(NKJV: emphasis, mine)

Because the Israelites could not see the manifestation of the promise in the natural, they took matters into their own hands and built an idol. How often in marriage do we say, "This is taking too long! I don't see any results!" You might even at times be tempted to break the covenant of marriage. Do not take your valuable adornment of spiritual beauty (like golden earrings) and hand it over to the enemy. We can make idols out of anger, disappointment, feelings of inadequacy, or whatever becomes the center of our relationship instead of love. If you focus on it, it will become bigger than it was intended.

This week, examine any idols that you have erected in your marriage that interfere with your intimacy, commitment, and love toward your spouse. Remember your priorities. Keep your marriage only second to God.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Surrender Your Spouse

Surrendering your spouse to the Lord is one of the toughest acts of obedience, but it also comes with a big reward. When we enter into our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He asks us to surrender our life completely to Him. This means laying down our agendas, crucifying our fleshly desires, and embracing the freedom of resurrection power in our life.

I have learned that areas in which we try to control our spouse echo strongholds in our relationship with Christ. We may pray and sing "I surrender all," but when it comes to the test of obedience, we can see clearly the hidden stumbling blocks to experiencing true freedom in our lives.

This past week has been especially taxing as my husband has worked well over 80 hours. My natural reaction is to be frustrated and emotionally drained. Quality time is one of my number one love languages, and it is hard on my heart to not be with him as much as I would like to. I had to surrender my ideals and expectations at foot of the cross. My flesh wants so badly to text him, "When are you coming home?" I know that he is working hard and doing what he has to do to support us. I have to remember that this will just ultimately cause more stress on him, which is the last thing I want to do. When I surrendered my emotional disappointment and ultimately my husband to God, I felt a peace replace the resistance I was feeling. Oftentimes, when we are feeling pressure, it is because God is asking us to give Him our burden. It is for our benefit and His glory.

If we are not surrendered to the divine order that God has established in marriage, this will inevitably cause undo pain and frustration. As women, we constantly want to know the next step or where something is going. However, we are to wait for the husband to lead. As much as we would love for our control issues to be viewed as just a part of our personality or even an endearing idosyncrasy, we must at some point face the truth. Control issues are at its root, a form of idolatry. We are trying to assume a role we were never meant to. Eve had the same struggle...

God's plan and divine order is always best. He created the husband and the wife to work together as one. If we are experiencing pain, we can be sure that something is out of alignment. Just as a chiropractor will adjust our bodies in order to achieve optimal physical functioning, God will lovingly correct us if we do not line up with His plan. Stormie Ormartian, author of The Power of a Praying Wife, said it best:

"Part of making a house a home is allowing your husband to be the head so you can be the heart. Trying to be both is too much." (pg. 38)

Wow, is that not the truth? If we, as wives will just concentrate on our role and seek to be a Proverbs 31 wife, the pressure is off! God has a plan for your husband. You can pray for him, but you can't control him EVEN when your intentions are good. God showed me this revelation this past week. My husband, Adam is so determined and so hard-working that he sometimes will work straight through lunch! I have been texting him to not forget to eat, and became worried because he was neglecting basic needs. God told me to just make sure he had his lunch every day, and it was up to him to eat it! Sometimes we, as women will take on unnecessary stress because of our nurturing nature. I learned that even our caretaking has to at some point be surrendered to God.

"Lord, I surrender my husband to You. He belongs to you; he is Your creation. Thank-you that you have placed me beside a mighty man of God who loves You and serves You daily. Help me to embrace my God given role as wife and not add or subtract from it because Your plan is perfect. I know that I am called to be the heart of the relationship, and will refuse to live in condemnation when the enemy tries to tell me that I should be more. I will wait on You to change me from glory to glory. You are the one who changes my husband, not me. I give you all authority and all power to lead him into his destiny. Thank you that as I surrender to your plan, it allows you to demonstrate your resurrection power in our marriage. AMEN!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Finance Dance

It was once said, "The one unbreakable rule of couples dancing is that the partners must move interdependently, as a unit."

Undoubtedly, at one point or another in marriage, you will step on your partner's toes over financial issues. It has been cited for many years as one of the leading causes of conflict in marriage.

It is not a coincidence that there are over 800 scriptures in the Bible on the topic of money. Let's study various financial twirls, flips, and missteps that can occur between husband and wife that can cause a couple to get out of sync.

1) Financial Dips- With a swooping dip dance technique, the base partner is firmly supporting the "flyer" so that she will not ultimately fall to the ground. God designed the husband to lead the wife in the area of finances, and the wife must carefully follow his lead. I Corinthians 11:3 tells us, "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." A wonderful truth to remember is when the husband feels that he is falling in the area of finances, he can trust God to support him. God is the ultimate provider and support when both husband and wife feel as if they are weak and slipping. God hears our prayers and wants us to be careful to listen to His instruction and step out in faith in however He leads us. The Lord is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, and is not surprised by financial dips and the recession.

2) Lead Feet- In dance, you must always be "footloose and fancy-free" or agile to be able to smoothly switch to the next sequence. Worldly mindsets can weigh us down from being able to flow with the Holy Spirit and with our partner in finance. Luke 8:14b says, "...but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches, and pleasures." One definition of choked means, "to slow down the movement, growth, or action." Worrying about money or becoming consumed by riches and pleasures can immobilize a marriage from continuing on the dance path.

3)Don't look down!- In dancing, if you look at your feet instead of into your partner's eyes, you will stumble. Too often, one partner can become grounded in their own financial agenda and personal habits. Many times, one spouse is categorized as more of a "spender" and the other as more of a "saver." Resentment can develop along with unnecessary space and distance if communication becomes disconnected. Learn to be sensitive and in tune with your spouse in the area of finances. Pinpoint areas in which you can improve upon, plan accordingly, and resist "impulse spending" that can lead to waste. Proverbs 14:29 says, "he who is impulsive exalts folly."

4) Dancers must don proper apparel-Dancers must where light, flowy garments. Clothes that are too heavy will interfere with the dance. In this respect, financial hoarding can create spiritual issues in marriage. Proverbs 3:27-28 says, "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it.' When you have it with you." Part of learning to dance in the area of finances involves being clothed in the Lord's righteousness, not in our selfishness. All riches and glory and honor ultimately belong to the King of Kings.