Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The "S" Word

Ever been afraid? Me too! In fact, fear used to consume my life. But God (I gotta say it)!...Love that phrase! But God, in His infinite wisdom sometimes allows us to be put in positions of having to face our biggest fears. Why would He do that? I'm glad you asked!

One of the truths revealed to me during the time of my marriage crisis was that I had a deep fear of abandonment. This fear was deeply rooted from childhood. Experts can say what they want about what the greatest need is for men and women in a marriage. I personally believe what God says as he addresses this subject in Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NIV 

It's a funny thing though, our husbands can't and sometimes even won't attempt to love us wives in this manner. What then? Not only that ,but as wives, do we really respect our husbands? If our husbands are not loving us the way we think he should, are we still to respect him? I'm glad you asked! 

It was not until God placed me in a situation where I had to choose what I believed over what my circumstances were that He revealed to me that it was possible to respect a husband that was not displaying his love for me. God is so wise, and I am so "not"!

God reminded me during those days (and still does at times) of David in regard to respect for my husband. David was anointed by God to become the King of Israel. In the years leading up to David becoming king, the current king was becoming more and more jealous of him. King Saul's jealousy grew toward David as time went on to the extent that King Saul set out to have David killed.

During those days, David had opportunity to kill King Saul, not once, but twice and he refrained from doing so. These accounts are found in I Samuel 24 & 26. I Samuel 24:6 NIV says..."He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD'S anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD." NIV  A similar account can be found in I Samuel 26:9-11.

It was the position in which God placed King Saul in David's life that required respect. It is the position in which God places our husbands that requires us to respect them. Ouch! God's truth can indeed be sharper than a "two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). It is not always a pain free path we lead when choosing to obey God.

When my marriage was in crisis it was painful. Any choice I seemed to have available would be painful. As I searched God's word during those first dark days, I came across I Peter 4:15-19 NIV "If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us; what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."

God was in the process of cleaning house, our house. I could either join Him or hinder Him. I had that choice. I chose to join Him, even though I hindered Him many times in the process! To say it was easy would be a lie. It was one of the hardest choices I've ever made. I set out to seek His way of escape as He has promised us (I Corinthians 10:13). I loved my husband and my girls very deeply, lack of love was not the issue. In fact, my love for my family is what kept me going many times. But, that love was flawed.

It was me dying to self, that was what made it so difficult.We think we don't place much value on ourselves until we are put into a position of placing another person's interests ahead of our own. God has commanded us to do so nonetheless (Philippians 2:3 &4). BTW, that is pretty much the definition of submission.

In order for God to clean our house, He needed me to get off His throne and He also needed me to take my husband off His throne. Idol worship plain and simple.When I submitted to God's will and stopped trying to control my situation is when the miracles started to take place. I released my husband into God's hands and fell into them myself.

During one of my darkest hours I was just about ready to give up, but God (gotta' love it)! Sorry, I'll continue...He led me to Isaiah 54. He got my attention starting in verse 5 -7 "For your Maker is your husband-the LORD Almighty is his name-the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit-a wife who married young, only to be rejected." says your God. For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. NIV The rest of the chapter leads to promise after promise and it was based on God's promises that enabled me to continue on.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God knows me better than I know myself. He had just described me in His Word written thousands of years ago. He knew that from the time I had memory that I had a deep fear inside of me. He loved me too much to leave me in that condition. He used my love for my husband and for my girls to coax me out of that bondage and release it to Him.Wow. I did not ever have to be afraid of being abandoned again. God is my husband. He will never leave me, nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).

God kept reminding me of 1 John 4:18 when my marriage crisis initially started, which says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." NIV  I believe He was not only telling me what He was doing, but encouraging me to carry through with what He was wanting to do in my life during that time.

There is freedom in God's truth. Like they say though, freedom is not free. Sometimes, we have to fight for it. We have to be willing to sacrifice and submit to God's will in order for that freedom to come to fruition. When it does we realize it was worth it. Worth it all because it comes from a loving God who "...has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 1 Timothy 1:7  NKJ 

The power that fear held in my life ironically was broken when I myself became broken and submitted to God and His will over mine. I stand in awe of how our God operates. We tend to look at submission as a dirty word ( the "s" word), why is that?  My family was being torn apart, the stakes were made pretty high. They evidently had to be in order for God to get my attention. I had to face the fear I dreaded most as a possible reality. I have since come to realize that having my way just doesn't seem as important as it used to, not when I have seen firsthand the repercussions it would have left in it's wake.

But, God (yeah God)! But, God had other plans. I have learned that submission is not necessarily giving up that thing, or person, etc. that you want to hold on to. It is sometimes just the act of  being willing to release it to Him if He requires it of you. This is my prayer for us and this is my "song":  “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” ― Corrie Ten Boom


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