God keeps speaking to me this year about marriage . . . I keep ignoring the message.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a total heathen, and completely disregard God’s voice and direction. If you were to peak into my life, it would look more like the mom that is going 100 miles per hour with children constantly chattering in her ear, and her response is, “uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, that’s great, that’s great, that’s great” without really paying any attention to what was being said.
That’s what my ignoring looks like.
But much like children, the longer you hurry along your way without truly acknowledging God, the louder He gets.
So let’s just say God got REALLY LOUD this week.
I first noticed God’s volume staring to rise when my husband asked me to go to the dreaded bible study class on marriage. Now you must understand that a few years ago we already went through this same bible study called iMarriage by Andy Stanley, and because I love you and you all are hopefully my sweet sisters in Christ that won’t judge me, I’m going to be real with you . . . I totally hated that study!!!!
After sitting through it for a few weeks I just couldn’t take it any more and I completely dropped out. Yes, that’s right . . . I am a marriage bible study drop out. I was the lady that suddenly disappeared from the group, leaving everyone puzzled and thinking, “I wonder why she’s not coming back?”
I’ll tell you why . . . because I hated it!!
It was painful! And why was it so painful? Two reasons, first because I completely disagreed with Andy Stanley’s main point (basically that we are not to have expectations of our spouse, that we are to be servants and love sacrificially), and second I hated it because I knew I wasn’t doing the first thing!
I felt this awful mixture of conviction and frustration every time I went to the class, that then carried over into our home, so I just stopped going. I couldn’t stand dealing with the frustration of why it was so wrong to think that in a marriage we have expectations and should fulfill them for each other. To me that made perfect sense, and yet simultaneously I would feel conviction deep inside because I knew I was called to love and serve sacrificially, regardless of my spouse’s ability to maintain the level of my expectations.
The power struggle between these two conflicting emotions was enough for me to finally call it quits, but the Lord has a funny way of bringing things back to our attention, and this time He had a fool proof plan.
For the first time in our marriage something happened that has never happened before. My husband’s unsaved brother and his fiancee accepted an invitation to come to church with us and go to this marriage bible study. They had been struggling in their relationship and were contemplating marriage and thought maybe this study would help. The opportunity that we had been praying for for over a decade finally arrived, but it all hinged on whether or not I would go and do a second round of iMarriage . . . ugh!
I have to tell you that if it wasn’t for the fact that their salvations were on the line, I would have said no. And God knew this. He knew it would be the only way to get me back into that class and finish the work that He started. Because at the end of last year God was already bringing all these things about how I was acting in my marriage to the surface.
Matter a fact if you read my blog posts from January and February of this year they were all about learning to be a spirit led, sacrificial wife. I had made it my New Year’s resolution to focus on that, and yet over the busy months of the year it started to take a back burner.
But during this past week God’s voice started to get louder and louder, slowly trying to remind me of my previous focus for the year. First I heard his voice prompt me with the study. Next I opened my online ministerial course work I am finishing and the lesson was on marriage. Even while I was working out at the gym I looked over at the announcement board and read the quote, “Fitness is like marriage, you can’t cheat on it and expect it to work.”
Now, don’t misinterpret what I am saying with that quotation. I am not cheating on my husband in an immoral way, but I am cheating him out of what he deserves as my husband . . . to be unconditionally and sacrificially loved by his wife without expectations and regardless of his actions.
Finally, with this revelation, God’s voice got loud enough to fully grab my attention. It was like He was saying through each of these prompts . . . “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?”
Yes. Yes Lord. Yes I can.
And with the opening up of my ears to the Lord I hear the truth of His ways. He tells me that there is no other relationship were I will have a greater opportunity to love and reflect Him like I can in marriage. That’s why Jesus’s relationship with the church is referred to as a marriage, and we are His bride, that He sacrificially gave up His own life for, and that He unconditionally loves.
However, for a moment, I couldn’t help but feel a bit discouraged when I thought about how easy it was for me to lose my focus, and fail at this call of reflecting Him . . . until I heard Him speak again. This time directly from the word in Phillipians 1:6
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
And with those words I suddenly have hope for tomorrow, that some day the mighty work He is doing in me will finally be complete.
Until then if you are like me, finding yourself needing some encouragement and tips in this area, click on the links below to read posts on being a sacrificial, spirit led wife. Lord knows I needed to go back and reread them for myself!
Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook – Pinterest – Twitter – Website