Monday, February 25, 2019
RECONCILIATION – OUR PUT BACK TOGETHER
This is how couples learn that God is truly the glue to their marriage!
“Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
— John 15:13
I open up, (with permission from my husband, Frank) to share our experience so that you may live with the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10!
We often hear Christian couples declare, “God healed our marriage,” but because it’s so personal and intimate, you never hear, “How exactly did Jesus do that?” It’s as if God waved his Hand over their marriage and all the bad and ill feelings just went away.
After my husband and I sold our home we were staying at his mom’s. I was so upset with him. I felt there was no way to fix it. I made the determination, “I’m not staying with him.” It takes a long time to get a person to this state. These are the words I said to my husband.
“Frank, I’ve decided to leave. I have rented a townhouse close to here and I am taking the kids with me. I’m sorry, but I cannot live this way. (Fighting). We are two different people, with different ideas of what we want out of marriage.”
It was Christmas time 2003 when I left my husband. He could not change my mind at this point. (So, I thought), I gathered my items and walked out.
LEARNING AS A NEW COUPLE: FRANK AND KARI
“Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath,” (Ephesians 4:26) wasn’t being followed, and yesterday’s hurts were following into a lifestyle that I didn’t want to live in. Weeks passed into months, I saw no changes in our circumstances. Don’t let your marriage get this far!
You must recognize, “This is NOT good!” Make the necessary changes! Begin to read books on marriage. Look up articles on the web. Do something! You cannot just quit! The Holy Ghost inside of you is urging you, “Don’t let go!” And God has given you eyes to see. He has given you a beautiful mind to consider and ponder. He has given you His power to execute changes. We are NOT victims, but VICTORS! You are victorious! II Timothy I:7, “We have power, love and a sound mind!” Praise God.
You are to do something about it!
WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING – BUT DID NOT KNOW TO:
My husband, Frank and I should have been fasting together – in unity! He should have taken his young bride by her hand and knelt together in the morning and evening – in unity until these emotions are in check; until every ill feeling is laid to rest and joy returns to the union.
So, now I share with you, take the time to sit down on your couch with your love, and intercede for your marriage to be respectful and holy! Each of us, as husband and wife, are to be ministers and high priests in our homes! I was a new convert and I didn’t understand it was a spiritual attack. I had never learned to exercise discernment. (Hebrews 5:14). In 2003 I didn’t even know the phrase, “Exercising discernment” was such a thing.
Pastors, if you see a newly married couple struggling, pray for them to recover. Don’t just be glib, “Well, they should know how to fix it?” Why? How should the newly married know how to fix it? According to the Word of God,
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised
to discern both good and evil.”
— Hebrews 5:14
BEGINNING A SEPARATE LIFE
2003-2004, I left my husband, Frank for two months. So, for me, and my two younger daughters, our life began separate without Frank.
My children really didn’t understand what was happening. (Which I am eternally grateful for – in fact, they don’t even remember it!) I believe they were three and four years old. Today they are sixteen and eighteen years old and we are still a family serving God. They thought it was fun to have two homes. The girls slept in my king size bed. I found the solitude peace I was longing for, but I was internally shattered.
Christmas 2003, I had pictures taken with just me, and my two younger daughters. Besides our regular pictures, the photographer offered other items. I picked up one item. It was a jigsaw puzzle of one of our images. When I got the package home I just stared at it. That is how I was feeling, like a jigsaw picture. I was hurting. The image would later bother me, so I hid it away.
I will share, “because we both love Jesus…and God had to get us apart, in order to fix our marriage.”
The move was what woke us up. Now, without each other’s presence every day, God was about to step into the situation with power and authority.
Spiritual fact: God is for you and your spouse. (He loves you both).
He loves your marriage. (Marriage was His 1st institution created in the Book of Genesis!)
This spiritual fact tells me that He, alone has the ability and power to fix it all – make it (even more so) to make better than it’s fallen state. Just as the New Creation in Jesus Christ is better than the fallen man, so is your new union after the fall! You just have to trust Him; allow God to touch the hurting areas and then wait on the LORD.
I work in the Radiology department and x-ray broken bones. When patients are seated in my x-ray room and I extend my hands out to place that area on the image receptor, they generally are holding that part very close.. For example: if it is a wrist that they have fallen on or a shoulder. I ask them to bring their part to me. It has to be image separate from their whole body. I have to see it. I have to position them into place. In the same way, God is asking that of us. “Let me see it.”
Reconciliation takes time and communication. The type of communication that is difficult and messy – dialogue that can trigger a barrage of emotions and easily get you into another fight. However, your marriage is worth fighting for and It’s going to take tears and a relentless dying of oneself and forgiving your spouse to recover. But, I lovingly declare with full assurance and boldness, “Nevertheless, go through the battle!”
Spiritual Truth: Arguing every day is a destroyer of marriages!
You need to stop doing this because you are grieving the Spirit of God and weakening your union. Arguing is carnal! (Fleshy – the old man). It truly grieves the Spirit of God inside of you. Grown adults must lay aside old behaviors, and develop new, healthy ways to communicate. Today, there are so many resources now, even on YouTube on this very topic.
Use flash cards. (Memorize the word.)
“A soft answer turneth away wrath:
but grievous words stir up anger.”
— Proverbs 15:1
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
— Proverbs 16:32
“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger;
and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”
— Proverbs 19:11
A fool uttereth all his mind:
but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
— Proverbs 29:11
She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
— Proverbs 31:6
Even Jesus, (when tempted in the wilderness), said, “It is written….” (Matthew 4:1-11). You are going to have to control your feelings first in order to conquer dialogue between you.
Spiritual Truth: Communicating your needs in love.
The other element we were hit with was our expectation in one another. Each had our own version of what our marriage should look like, (in our head) but because the communication had broken down between us, we just didn’t get it out to one another. The big one, “Lack of preparation.”
Another spiritual fact: Your Pastor is for you and your spouse. It’s important to include him in your world when you need help.
GIVE ME TOOLS!
Couples need skill sets. They need to learn how to talk, and to listen with respect. How do you respond lovingly, in the face of anger? Or rejection? How do you fight fair? How do you not react when upset? They need to know how to pray together and find the scripture they need. They need to know how to partner, NOT RELIVE THEIR MISTAKES.
— Sitting and counseling with Jesus is free.
— He doesn’t pick sides. He is capable of loving both, and being 100% objective.
— When He corrects, He is always accurate! (There is NO bias).
— He never embarrasses His children.
— He always keeps our secrets.
— He gives you divine inspiration that is designed specifically for your marriage.
— You will feel much better being in His presence! (Thank you, Jesus!)
A new marriage has to learn new skill sets; this is why I placed the 40-day challenge in the back for you to see, and try out. Find what works best for your marriage. Married couples have to learn to partner with Jesus Christ, and apply the Word so that they may find that help that they need. God will come through. But you have to do your part FIRST.
NEXT, WE WENT TO OUR MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP
We finally involved our Pastor. That’s a good start. He is there to be the “under-shepherd.” However, not following his instructions was bad for us. (And, I hate to say this, we really did waste his time because we were too lazy and stubborn to change – God. forgive us.) But, the beneficial point was that our Pastor began to pray for us. That’s huge!
You need that intercession breakthrough, and that’s what his office is for. If you hide your mistakes, and circumstances from your pastor, how will he know what to pray for? Prayer works! Prayer will change the circumstances because it allows God in. Another benefit is prayer circles. The Pentecostals of Alexandria (POA) have in their church, a 24hr prayer chain. If you go to their website, you can submit a prayer request. And, at least, you know it is confidential, and there is no way, that it would be repeated. They take prayer very seriously!
- Our Pastors are to love us, and to desire our wellbeing and good. Essentially, they should care about the flock. If you have that in your life, you are very blessed. Your pastor is your gift from God to help you. Love and pray for your Pastor.
In chapter twenty-two, I share statistics that I actually pulled from a divorce attorney’s website as I researched this book. I just cringed as I read through it in 2019 because it was so accurate – alarmingly accurate. I never knew these types of statistics existed. It is worth reading and knowing about because it just might help you avoid becoming the statistic. Also know this: With Jesus Christ, we beat those odds! Hallelujah!
- We were not prepared for the unknown in our marriage.
- We didn’t realize we could recover from the upset.
- We had to believe in each other, and learn that no matter what, it was all going to work out.
We were in the process of selling a home all around Christmas time. Watch for those stressors: Finances, Selling homes, and Christmas season.
Spiritual Fact: Just as there are seasons in nature, there are seasons in marriages – regarding the finances of being in want, or being full. (Philippians 4:11).
In the beginning, things are tight. But with planning and a good budget, your income increases and things become easier. At this point in our marriage, we had a home mortgage, car payments, and two children in daycare. It was tight. We were not to spend frivolously. When going grocery shopping, we developed a family motto: “Just what we need, and nothing else!” We were to be a good steward with our money. Frank and I agreed in regards to tithing. But we really should have also including tithing into our own savings account, too. (To have for a rainy day.)
Please create a saving account for yourselves, and let it grow. In marriage, there will be unexpected bills. It is better to have something set aside. If that bill never comes, then at least you can go on a nice vacation paying cash for it.
Young couples must learn the art and warfare of the family budget to make it work! If parents and peers don’t teach them how to figure this all out, they are going to be floored or buried alive in debt. Finances need to be taught in schools and shared inside the family. It needs to be addressed in Churches. Algebra and Trigonometry are great for higher learning but how do you balance a checkbook, how do you understand interest rates and credit cards? How much of a balance should a person have on their cards? Should they have a balance? Why or why not? Why is it important to just make payments to one card, as opposed to applying for new promotional cards, and transferring high balances? As a grown adult, you may know right away, but young people do not understand the snares and traps of credit card companies.
From the desk of the Divorce Attorney
STATISTICS AND YOUR FINANCES
- An annual income of over $50,000 can decrease the risk of divorce by as much as 30% versus those with an income of under $25k.
- Feeling that one’s spouse spent money foolishly increased the likelihood of divorce 45% for both men and women.
- Couples that argue about finances at least once a week are 30% more likely to get divorced.
- The same study also found that couples with no assets at the beginning of a three-year period are 70% more likely to divorce by the end of that period than couples with $10,000 in assets.
NEW CONVERT VERSES SEASONED CHRISTIAN
Young men out there, when you say, I do, to a new Christian convert, then you accept the lessons that come with it. This is WHY young Christian women should never go out into the world to evangelize a husband!
Seasoned Christian woman, you do not want a New Convert as your Spiritual Head of the family! Mature Christians must patiently teach them everything in regards to applying the Word of God. You have signed up for walking them through the supernatural principles of Jesus Christ.
Questions: What is Headship? What is the value of faithful church attendance? What is Christian doctrine? What is faith? What is tithing? Why is it important? What is the role of a Pastor in your life? What is the role of the Church? What is the invisible element of the spiritual realm, why is it important?
Spiritual Fact: The book knowledge of these Christian disciplines aren’t the most important element – but it’s navigating through the supernatural!
It’s discerning what is actually coming against the marriage; it’s offering up your flesh in a fast to combat the invisible demonic realm; its husbands and wives folding their hands together and kneeling in prayer to fight in the supernatural – against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places! (Ephesians 6:12). It is also Christians behaving as Christians. (Christ-centered! And under self-control).
Mature Christians, when you marry a new convert, you have promised to hold their hand as they learn the world of true Christianity. The new convert must learn to walk by faith, and not by sight! (II Corinthians 5:7). They must learn, (through experience) letting go of handling things through the “Arm of the Flesh,” (or personal resources, or know how), but learn godly patience. The new person must learn “Lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct their path” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
There are natural growth steps (from a baby to toddler to young adult, into maturity). They must learn how to trust the LORD and take him at His word. Once they pass the test, (hallelujah!) they have acquired experience and their own “testimony!”
“…And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death. ”
— Revelation 12:10-12
Spiritual Fact: Have you ever heard, “I’ve served the LORD….this many years!” (Usually means, twenty, thirty or forty years).
Time-vested, doesn’t necessarily mean maturity acquire. I wish it did. Then, we could just hold out for the long run, and get the same results. But, that’s not how the LORD created it to be. God is not television or a video you watch. Our Heavenly Father is interactive – and real time. What counts is, “Did they pass their test?” (Ask the children of Israel in the wilderness. Joshua 5:6). They wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they obeyed not the voice of God. I read one commentator say, “They could have arrived at the Land of Milk and Honey in ten days after they crossed the Red Sea, but because they would not listen to God, nor obey His leadership, He purposed them to wander in the desert – which accomplished many things. (But that’s a different Bible study.)
However, as Christians, how do we know that we pass the test? Did you obey God? Did you obey the voice of God? Did you obey the Word of God? Did you obey the sermon He sent you over the pulpit? Generally, peace follows obedience.
Spiritual Fact: When you “pass” the test, you walk forward into a new dimension in the spiritual realm. If you fail the test, you keep trying until you pass. That could take a week, a month, a year; or sadly even a decade. Why? Because, you have a factor called, “Free Choice.”
Spiritual Fact: Free Choice. Your will directs your levels. (Just as a young child does through their video games.) And your partner, (spouse) has to pray for you to get through it. They watch as the person learns the lesson grows spiritually and emotionally.
Spiritual fact: Applying the Word of God and the Principles Taught.
Do you remember that part where I shared that Frank taught me the Holy Bible and bought me my first Strong’s Concordance?
- In 2003, “The spirit of Unforgiveness” was an uninvited guest in our home. It was ever present. But you can kick it out!!!
SPIRITUAL HELP — COMING TO THE ALTAR OF GOD
Spiritual Fact: You have to go to the altar after the Wednesday and Sunday messages are preached over the pulpit.
You have to ask God to change you. Go to the altar and pray! Even if the message had nothing to do with you – reach for Jesus Christ! You have to pray through your hurts, every opportunity you have. Let me share, this is what the Bible says, Ephesians 4. Look at the entire thought, not just, “Don’t let the sun go down upon your wrath” but the whole expression of God:
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” — Ephesians 4:24-32 (Apostle Paul)
Another spiritual revelation for new converts: It’s never over until God says so! It doesn’t matter what you think or feel.
I am sharing these memories because there is HEALING POWER in Jesus Christ. Frank and I recovered from this time in our marriage, and so can any other couple! God can put a NEW love for your partner; He can supernaturally give you a stronger relationship – one based on the knowledge and revelation that the Word of God will get you through the storms!
Today, when he says, “Babe look up,” he’s greeted with a warm, loving smile.
JESUS CHRIST IS THE RESURRECTING POWER
When Jesus declared Himself to be the “RESURRECTION,” (John 11:17-44). He really means that He has resurrecting power to bring back the dead. I’ve seen it over and over in regards to marriage. Look at what Jesus said to his disciples:
“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go unto him.”
— Jesus Christ, John 11:14-15
What?! Lazarus is dead? How is that good? How can anything be good – dead? Answer: So that the glory and power of God could be revealed! Sometimes we fail, and life comes upon us – God knows exactly where we are at; and He knows what going to come out of it! He is our Savior, and we often forget to engage him in our everyday life. But, He is faithful! And He is always on time!
Spiritual Fact: WE ARE NEVER TO DIVORCE! (Deuteronomy 22:19; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Jeremiah 3:1,8; Isaiah 50:1; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 1:19; Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:8, Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; I Corinthians 7:11-13, 39; Romans 7:2-3; Hebrews 13:4;
God really does bring people together – for their good.
Divorce is a sin! It was written into the Old Testament, and addressed in the New Testament because of the hardness of their heart! It’s truly a heart issue!
Dear reader, I feel I have to state the obvious: “Husbands are not boyfriends, and wives are not girlfriends.”
When we marry, it’s for life and we are to live out those marriage vows, (promises) that were said before God, and family and community. Allow your partner to mature in new areas! Extend grace and mercy. Pray for your spouse to overcome, and succeed in new areas of their life. Ask God to remove any judgmental attitudes you may have. God will come through for you. There is an amazing song by Yolanda Adams, Take Away! I like to sing it during my early devotions. It takes courage to pray it. You can google it on the web for the lyrics.
HEALTH AND MARRIAGE – ARE YOU PHYSICALLY HEALTHY?
In 2003, Frank did not even realize that he was sick. Frank was an untreated, undiagnosed diabetic. Frank was not aware that he had high blood pressure. This was serious. He could have gone into a diabetic coma, or had a stroke. Yes, even at forty years old. Changes occur in our body with both of these conditions. They exhaust the body of its strength – taxing it. Another element was that I noticed he was holding his breath at night. That would later be treated as sleep apnea. A lot of men have this. It makes them feel miserable! It is very dangerous for the human body. The brain needs oxygen and when he was holding his breath at night, this was hard on his heart. Health is vital! If you find that your spouse is brooding and moody it might be their health. That fix was a little easier. Once we got Frank on the right medications he felt so much better. He was happier, and had more energy. Within two years, God had healed his sleep apnea, so he was resting all night through. This helped us as a couple.
Today, 2019 Frank bicycles and is healthier than before. He’s lost about thirty plus pounds.
KNOW THE ENEMY’S TACTICS – HE HATES MARRIAGE
AND THE BATTLE IS IN THE MIND!
Spiritual Truth: You do not have to believe every thought that comes across your mind.
If it doesn’t line up to the Word of God – call it out! Now, that I recognize where these types of thoughts were coming from, I declare out loud, “No, I am not going to think that!” Whatever the thought is that is contrary to the Word.
This is what I heard over and over in 2003-4:
“You have walked away from marriage before?”
I thought I was just reasoning things out in my head – that was not my thought. (But why would I think in the 3rd person?) That was a demonic attack! I, today, recognize where the thought was coming from: The devil played on my hurt feelings. He was relentless. It’s time to grow up spiritually, but also as an adult.
Spiritual Truths: Destroying Generational Familiar Spirits
Within generations, there are what’s called,“familiar spirits.” They are nasty devils that attack generations. (Alcoholism; drug addiction; violence, self-destruction, anger and temper issues) A lot of time we use ethnicity to just our behavior: “I’m Italian, and I just have a bad temper. Or, I’m Irish, and I like to drink.” Or, place any nationality here: _________And. “We fight and yell in our family.”
Nope, do not accept these terms! That is a lie from hell that says, “I’ve always been this way, it’s just the way I am.” No, it’s a carnal nature that needs to be repented of, and stopped!
Here is where BLESSING factor plays into the spiritual equation. Always go back to the Holy Bible as your reference point. Remember the Fruit of the Spirit of God, is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Galatians 5:22-23). So, that’s your pattern to look for. There is also another example given in Galatians: “Works of the Flesh.”
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” — Galatians 5:19-21
If anything in your life resembles Galatians 5:19-21, you are to personally change it with the help of the Holy Spirit of God. God imparts to us His wisdom of, “how to.” He shapes us at His altar. He, alone, leads us on “Paths of Righteousness.” And no one just “arrived” there. Not one person comes out of the gate, PERFECT, but Jesus Christ, alone! This is called our journey of our faith. Habitual carnal behavior we cost you (or anyone) their salvation. I was not the first to say that, God was, “they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:21. We are His children and have the power and authority of self control, a sound mind and His power to overcome – anything; including bad habits. Yes, we can change! God expects it.
Spiritual Truth: God has given to His children power over the enemy! To defeat his ungodly tactics against our marriages! (Luke 10:19).
We have the power, (as children of God) to cast out the devil! You just have to learn how to do it. Because these personal events are hidden in the four walls of our homes, we feel ashamed to share them. By the time we ask for help, we are in bad shape.
Use your anointing and voice and declare,
“Devil you are liar, I will bless my marriage.
I will bless my husband!”
“I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my marriage,
Over my family!
Then I had to learn how to intercede by calling out to Jesus Christ, my High Priest, and ask Him to plead His blood over my mind, my marriage, and my house! (Hebrews 4:14-16.) JESUS INTERCEDES FOR YOU!
Open your mouth wide, and declare out loud,
“I love my husband, and I love my family;
I will NOT accept anything less than God’s love
and mercy over my family.
Thank you, Jesus for the blessings in my life.
I plead the blood of Jesus Christ over my life; the life of my spouse
and children, in JESUS’ name, amen.”
And keep saying it.
Know this Spiritual Truth: The Devil is a quitter! (James 4:7 )
“Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
– James 4:7
Spiritual Truth: Anything you ask Jesus, in His name, and according to His Will, He will do it! (Matthew 18:19; Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13; John 15:7; John 15:16; John 16:23-24; James 1:5-6; James 1:17. ) You have to take Jesus at His Word. You have to really believe this kingdom knowledge: Ask!
So ask for Help for your marriage. Ask God to reveal what is really going on in the spiritual arena. Ask God to help you tear down strongholds! Ask!
Spiritual Truth: When we are born again of the water and the Spirit of God, we are birthed into a new family, with God being our heavenly Father. (The old things and behaviors are passed away! II Corinthians 5:17). That’s why it doesn’t matter who your mother was, or who your father was…We are a new creation!
Spiritual Truth: These things come out by prayer and fasting! (Matthew 1721).
The enemy was there at this time to egg on fights, and stir up a mess. Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life! (John 10:10). He really meant it. We just had to find our way there.
Satan’s got to go! Evict him!
We must be on guard to what is influencing us, and line our mind, behavior, and attitudes to Jesus Christ. If you attempt to do it, over and over and fail. It may be time for a serious fast until “it” breaks! Isaiah 58 speaks of a specific fast that God was requiring Israel to do.
Spiritual Truths: Learning to Exercise Discernment — Get in the Ring with spiritual knowledge!
I had to learn that there was very much a DARK UNDERWORLD, present. But my Brothers and Sisters, I learned how to fight the invisible supernatural! And now, I’m going to teach you!
Spiritual Truths: Put on Your Armor of God! (Every day!) Ephesians 6:10-18.
We don’t war against PEOPLE. We, as human beings, are influenced by an invisible world. We fight Satan and his demonic influence. Satan feeds off the negative energy which is caused by fighting. So, starve it. Make an agreement with your spouse that your talking won’t go there.
Understand this phenomenon: Divorce can set off a chain of events in others lives.
- If a close friend gets divorced, you are 147% more likely to become divorced and 33% more likely if a friend of a friend is divorced.
- Studies at the University of California and Brown University cite that when a married person works with someone who is in the process of divorcing, it increases the married person chances of divorce by 75%.
In his tremendous wisdom, our Pastor asked us not to share that Frank and I had separated.
Why it is important to keep your marital relationship in the Body of Christ, private:
1.) Because you and your spouse are not the only ones going through a marriage crisis. Despite its imperfection, the church is a tremendous source of strength, and safety. The lost world finds salvation and the Good News in the House of God. They see couples just like them and need to know there’s hope. We need each other. Through the preaching of the word of God, we are saved; we are prayed for; we are directed and given sound counsel. Our hearts can be transformed; we can grow and be better people; we can develop our own ministries. You don’t want to be the person or family who crushes the church.
2.) Why keep it to yourselves? The kids. Don’t embarrass your children. The kids hang out with a group of youth. You don’t want your marriage to be the talk of the young people.
3.) Loss of respect from the congregation. It’s private, others do not need to know all the details.
Confidentiality in marriage reconciliation gives the couple the freedom to come back together without the reproach of the separation hanging over them.
4.) Prayers vs. Naysayers. Some people just like to see a train wreck. Safeguard your marriage, your spouse, your children, and your personal lives.
In muddy waters,
Keep your mouth shut!
And His Word.
Don’t even trust yourself!
Lean on Jesus!
It’s challenging to know who to confide in about such a matter and who to steer clear of. The only person you really can share all the “411” to is JESUS CHRIST, LORD of All.
And, I will share another interesting point: There might be others attracted to your spouse, you don’t want to make any marital partner vulnerable to fall into immorality and adultery during this difficult time. One writer put it this way,
“It’s embarrassing for everyone involved and is only made worse when the couple decides to reconcile after forcing everyone in their social circle to awkwardly stand by and watch them self-destruct in public. I genuinely don’t understand how, more than a decade into this whole social media experiment, we’re still watching adults strip themselves of all remaining dignity and use their news feeds to lash out at the person they claim to love more than anyone. Look, I don’t believe in being completely fake in any facet of our lives, and in the past, I have shared personal struggles online because I’ve experienced the benefits in sharing our stories with each other. However, there’s a difference in announcing a breakup to your social media followers and attempting to get everyone on your friends list involved with your ongoing drama. I understand asking for your support unit to rally around you during times of struggle is often necessary for dealing with grief, but that’s what Girls Night Out is for… or group texts if you live far away from your besties like I do.” — Liz Pardue Schultz, Blogger, Your Tango.com.May 2, 2017 “If you want your relationship to last, keep your problems private!”
DURING THIS TIME OF RECONCILIATION STEER CLEAR OF THE CHURCH GOSSIPER
I have come across some older women in Christian circles that thrive on hearing gossip and sharing it. You will recognize their works: they are the types that will corner you and “pepper spray”you with questions (one after another) – digging and digging for very sacred, personal information, (that they know is NONE of their business!)
This ungodly behavior is called “trespassing.” It is willful iniquity and sin. These are the types of individuals that offer you no personal information of their own. (No, they keep their cards close to their chest.) Don’t share information with these types of people. I call them “bottom dwellers” feasting on poop. They are addicted to be nosy and revel in it. Excuse yourself, and say, “I am sorry, I am not comfortable with discussing my marriage with you.”
Showing our young people how to get out of the “corner” is very important. My parents never told me about people like this. I was killed when I went to my first work environment. Help your children to recognize the signs of foul play, and give them skills to navigate through it.
First, the young people need to know this fact: “People/Individuals who ask you very personal questions like this are NOT FOR you.”
Teach your children how to put them in check. For example: say this, “Please stop asking me!” Next, teach them how to successfully avoid them. Besides the nosy “Snooper,” is the seductive “Flatterer.” This type of person, (snake) approaches you by slithering over with choice words. The type that let your guard down. We are always taught, if someone compliments you, “Thank them.” What we should also teach them, “Don’t drop your gloves, too soon! Beware the flatter!
If your church is doing their best to win the lost to Christ, have your new converts read: John Bunyan’s, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” His characters, Christian and Hopeful were snared by the Flatterer in an evil net.”
I frequently see this happen with young, naive new converts because they are pure and vulnerable – and the disturbed older women, (venomous snakes) slithers over to the unknowing new person, to steal from the information that should not be shared. (They are fascinated by what God is doing – but also jealous – inside their heart is a cruel hatred for the new person’s progress).
WE NEED CHURCH
When we go to Church, we are in the very presence of our Father. The resurrecting power of Jesus Christ is there for us. Even if we don’t feel Him working, God is working. If you are making your effort, He will make His. (James 4:8). There is peace in the presence of God. When we sing praises to God, it blesses Him and helps us. We need to keep focused on His loving qualities. You don’t get that sitting at home, missing church. The provisions of God are in His sanctuary. The LORD lovingly provides a table before us. Come to the House of God.
OUR PUT BACK TOGETHER- WHEN GOD STEPS IN!
I began to pray late at night after the kids went to bed. I thought, “Well, it’s just me and Jesus.” I had bought a Jewish prayer shawl. I would cover myself with it and begin to pray. The candlelight flickering, and the smell of vanilla immersed my prayer closet. The first week went by. I prayed, but I felt like my prayers weren’t ascending. Some call it,“Prayers hitting the ceiling.” I chalked it up to a new home and having a new prayer area, until the night I knew within me, that the Holy Ghost was prompting me to forgive my husband.
“Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remembers that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” – KJV Holy Bible, Matthew 5:23-24 (Jesus Christ).
I shook off that feeling, “be reconciled to your brother.” I reared up, “No way!” I thought I will read my Bible. My emotions are playing tricks with my head. I had unpacked my stuff; I was settled in my new home. I wasn’t going back.
I read the Scripture, Zephaniah 1:8,
“And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord‘s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.” — Zephaniah 1:8
I put down the Bible and took off the prayer shawl. Zephaniah 1:8 was the “Fat Boy,” Hiroshima atomic bomb that blasted through my conscious free will. God stung me, “I have strange garments?!”I was so hurt!
When you read the Bible, it can be one chapter after another; but there are times when it’s like God has highlighted in deep black ink – “THIS ONE’S FOR YOU – I DON’T ACCEPT YOUR OFFERING!” I felt like Cain.
The Holy Spirit faced off with my strong will. I was embarrassed and took the prayer shawl off me. I began talking with God – not as a petition or prayer language, but a one on one – talk; He is my Heavenly Father, and I had His full attention – and He finally had mine! I talked to him for hours.
I begged God to change His mind and bless my decision to walk away. He would not. God does NOT argue. God does not yell. He is NOT dysfunctional in ANY WAY! He speaks once, and it gets inside of you. I cried. He lovingly sat with me; His arms embraced me and I wept and wept. I watched the morning come up. At that moment, I did not consider sleep. I had hoped to change God’s will and ruling on this decision. As the sun came up, I agreed. Okay, I will walk with You through reconciling with my husband, Frank. But You will have to touch my husband’s heart. You will have to heal our hurts. I did not hear any voice. God was silent, but His presence filled my home. I felt the spirit of reconciliation enter into my spirit. God is powerful, precise, brilliant, and perfect. There are no errors or faults in Him. His ways are beyond human comprehension; truly magnificent and I was in His loving arms. The God who created the entire universe was holding me. He gave to me a Word. He imparted to me a supernatural anointing of reconciliation. God and I had partnered and the next day I would go to my husband with this revelation and commissioning. Frank would not be fighting me, He would be coming head to head with God. God was putting this all back together! Satan could do nothing now because I was hidden in Christ. The final scripture:
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” — Luke 9:23-24
THE FEAR OF GOD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM!
God began to give me the revelation of what my marriage meant to Him and to the world around me. My marriage in church wasn’t governed by me as the ultimate authority but by God, and through His Word. That’s called a holy conviction. It comes with having a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the acknowledgment that I am His; and allowing Him to be LORD over your life. Him, being LORD, doesn’t mean you always get your way. We either bow; kneel to His supreme ruling, or walk away from Him. I would not divorce Jesus! He truly was my everything. I discovered my marriage served a greater purpose, then just me and Frank.
- It was a physical example of Jesus Christ and the Church to the world around us. And there was no way the Church was divorcing Jesus Christ!
- It would forever lay the foundation to my daughters own relationships, vows, promises, and commitments. The scripture: Train your children in the way they should go…meant just that. I would not walk in any way that would lead them to divorce.
- By walking away from Frank, I divorced myself from the head of authority. Meaning, I threw out my spiritual hedge (wall) of protection, and the enemy would go after my kids. In essence, we were sitting ducks! The devil’s sights were on my future posterity. Do you remember Psalm 90 that was our family verse? That could only happen if I stayed in the confines of the vows of my marriage to Frank. “…And Thy glory unto their children.”
“Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” — Psalm 90:16-17
- The realization that it would tailspin my daughters in selecting the wrong men in their lives. (Divorce causes couples to sign on a dotted line, and fully accept the consequences for their choice to separate without knowing what you signed to.)
- The spiritual wellbeing of Frank. There would be a chance he would not recover. I was his helpmeet, designed by God. He needed me.
- The future ministry picture – the relationship I had with Frank, ministered to the needs of the poor community especially at our church New Life Church, Morgan Hill. (2008- Present). We were teaching Bible studies and baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. We were helping other couples who were like us. That element in today’s world would be missing. There would be one less couple sharing the gospel. All this matter to Jesus Christ.
- Our Christian divorce would be a poor reflection on our own unsaved families. “So, your God is NOT strong enough, or powerful enough to work things out between the two of you?” It would give God’s enemy the opportunity to blaspheme God.
As I flipped through the Holy Bible, the LORD directed me to the story of Joseph. Read it! Joseph’s life is the greatest example of how to rise above circumstances, sufferings and false accusations. Because Joseph allowed God to break him, and guide his footsteps, (even in shackles through the desert), (Psalm 105:15), the world was fed through the seven years of famine and saved his entire family. All the world would come to Egypt for food including his brothers on bended knee. God knew how Joseph would behave as the Governor, and 2nd in Command in Egypt, by how he acted in Potiphar’s house, and in the prison. Joseph had passed his tests. Here is the entire passage:
“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: to bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.” — Psalm 105-17-22
My husband, Frank and I were in ministry; God was using us. For twenty years we have been sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ; conducting Bible studies and helping those less fortunate than us. We have baptized multitudes of people. I wish I could proclaim thousands, ten thousand and millions. But, with what Jesus entrusted us with, we have doubled our talents, and continue to be faithful to His purpose and kingdom.
“Maturity begins to grow
when you can sense your concern for others
outweighing your concern for yourself.”
— Jon McNaughton,
quoted in Lloyd Cory, Quote Unquote.
ALLOW GOD TO CORRECT YOU!
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you,and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” — Hebrews 12:5-12
Think of how many families and children’s lives have been changed by the knowledge of the Holy Bible? Because Frank and I were there to share it. I received from God a full revelation of what my marriage meant to Him. I had to go forward. It mattered in eternity.
HOW DID I BREAK IT TO FRANK?
That weekend, Frank came by to pick up the kids. He was, of course, guarded. He pulled up in a brand-new truck. I didn’t even blink, nor I didn’t say one word about his purchase. “I need to talk to you.” He got out and came into the kitchen. And there we sat and talked about our marriage; our expectations; and our ministry. The anointing of God was upon me. The spirit of reconciliation was in my spirit. (To me, my marriage was already put back together). I was resolved because I had a “Word” from God – for myself and I had a personal experience in God’s loving arms! I was walking in the will of God. I’m not sure if he particularly liked the story or the role he played in it, but we were able to reconcile shortly after. Within weeks, we were in one mind again; in one accord. Our marriage was on the right track, and Jesus Christ was at the helm. Our pastor asked us, “How did you get it back?!” He had never seen a couple go so far, and then bring it back together.
My husband’s response, “We prayed through.”
“…Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God.”
— Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:2-9
(Sermon on the Mount).
Success: A young man asked the elder, “What is the secret of your success?” He replied, “Good decisions.” The young asked, “How do you learn to make good decisions?” The older man responded, “You get that by experience.” The young man looked at him, “How do you get the experience?” He smiled, “By making bad decisions.” — Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat
“How do you measure success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics,
And endure the betrayal of false friends.
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better
Whether by a healthy child,
A redeemed social condition,
Or a job well done;
To know even one other life has breathed
Because you lived —
This is to have succeeded.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now, I just want to bring to your memory what I wrote in Chapter 3, and realize how this applies:
“The reality today is this: We know the fallen world has made thorn and thistles that is recorded in Genesis – and by the sweat of our brow we shall work – in every part of our lives, relationships, but even more in holy matrimony. The honeymoon phase of niceties, and steady peaceful surroundings doesn’t last. So, if we are going to be successful in obtaining a blissful union, we must tend our marriage as we would an expensive, precious garden. The Bible says that marriage is honorable, but we are the ones responsible for maintaining and safeguarding that place of honor.
We must know the lighting that brings life, (a warm smile; kindness through loving acts), we must check for pestilence and bugs; (unseeingly bad habits), that would weaken or destroy our work. Then we must also enjoy our gardens; sitting in them, seeing the beauty in them. (Appreciation and admiration.) Speak well of your union.
As soon as you see a weed, pluck it up. (Weeds could be attitudes, moods, or lack of communicating.) If you see any resemblance of a mole, or gopher, kill it. A mole or gopher is anything that invades the marriage to steal its strength. (That could be relationships with other people, such as your family, or coworkers, hobbies or job.) Yes, even a job.”
I am speaking from personal experience – so that it may reinforce that Jesus Christ can put any marriage back together, and make it better; make it stronger, and make it sounder and loving. Allow Jesus Christ to touch you, and your marriage. It’s worth it all.
1.) God is very much a part of your marriage.
2.) Scriptures and instruction have to be physically carried out. Apply the word. But continue to do daily devotions. Create rituals.
3.) Keep the communication lines open, and health. (With both God and your partner.)
4.) Don’t stop going to church! And when you attend, don’t share your marriage problems with members of the body of Christ. That is meant between you and your Pastor, not the congregation. Safeguard your marriage from onlookers, and gossip mongers.
5.) Check your health. Have a physical. Begin exercising together. Eat healthy, and get enough rest and sleep. Drink a lot of water.
6.) Get your Pastor involved in intercession and guidance.
7.) Know your adversary. (Spiritual revelation) It’s not your spouse, but Satan.
8.) The fight existed long before us. There is a demonic realm that hates marriage. (It’s a fight – because it’s valuable). All the enemy needs is an open door to destroy what you have built.
9.) The option was there: Do you want to really live for Jesus, or do you want to live for yourself? Do you really trust God? How do you engage the enemy? How do you partner with the ministry to get your marriage back? How to mature and grow in the Spirit and come out better and stronger!
10.) Extending grace and mercy to your partner, before you see any changes. Also allowing them to develop, mature and grow without criticism. (Keep your complaints to the prayer closet – and extend compliments and edifying speech inside the marriage, out in the open.) Be loving.
11.) Engage in healthy tools for success.
12.) Read about loving marriages, (together), as a team. Share your dreams and visions. Never stop getting to know your spouse.
13.) Share the load of the finances. Stick to a budget. Tweak, when necessary. Make it livable and fair. Do your best to live within your means, and try not to get into debt. Develop a new method, ask yourself, “Do we have the cash to pay for this, then maybe we should wait.”
14.) Learn to serve one another. Put the entire family unit first, above personal needs. But, don’t neglect your own needs. So discuss them with your spouse.
15.) Restore intimacy, and be consistent with it. Touch, hold hands, hug and kiss. Be loving.