Welcome to week 7 of Marriage Moments with Missy and Garrick!!!! We are SUPER glad you are here!
Last week we visited the book of Ecclesiastes and focused on how when the 2 become 1 flesh God desired for this to bring many blessings to our life and to make the load we carry in life.... lighter... as we have a mate to help us along the way.
We also discussed how placing God in the midst of our marriage, creating a three strand cord, will strengthen and enhance our marriage as God cannot be shaken!
This week, we chose a scripture reading that expresses ways Christians should conduct themselves in relationships. Tonight we are going to put this in a marital perspective!
Paul, the writer of this book, first commands us to NOT repay evil with evil, meaning, do not take revenge or seek vengeance on someone who has hurt or wronged you!
So... here is the million dollar question.... have you ever sought revenge on your spouse after they had done something hurtful or what you perceived as wrong? Have you ever desired to hurt them as they had hurt you or at the very least yell rude comments right back if they spew out rude or negative comments to you?
THIS IS A CHALLENGE... as our first reaction to being hurt is often to want to retaliate!
I sadly will admit, that I have struggled with this way more often than I care to recount. Our common response to a painful or hurtful situation is the fight or flight response. I have been so angry and hurt before that I just needed to get away, but I have also done the opposite which is fighting back and retaliating. During those horrible episodes, I said and did things that I regret to this day and know were not God's will nor glorifying to Him.
Yes, I am human, we all are, and emotions can sometimes take over and take on a life of their own! I try to focus on one of my favorite sayings from Lisa TerKeurst.. "feelings are indicators, not dictators." Just because we feel a certain way, does not mean we have to act on our feelings. This can be extremely difficult, however, so much damage can be done when our goal is to make ourselves right rather than make peace.
The ONLY way I have found to stop the actions of retaliation is to STOP!! Yes... STOP! Put tape over your mouth if you have to, walk away, go to a private spot and get on your knees and ask God to guard your heart and mouth! I have failed to do this numerous times and I pray that I continue to seek God's strength to achieve this goal!
Paul then goes on to state that we are to strive to always do what is good to one another, even when we have been hurt or offended. There are going to be MANY times throughout your marriage that your spouse is going to do something that makes it extremely difficult to want to do good for them, in fact, if you may be feeling as though, if it wasn't illegal... they may no longer exist!! LOL
BUT.... this is an exact parallel of Christ;s love for us. While we were still sinners, while groups of evil people stood around him, mocking him, spitting on him, calling him names, He willingly gave his life for those very people.
The only way this is possible for myself.... is through the strength of Christ. Hands down. My natural tendency is to want to hurt those that hurt me or at the very least not do good to them. But Paul is telling us to always seek to do good.... no matter what.
There were so many instances during the last few years that Garrick and I were both very guilty of NOT doing good to one another. If either of us had really and truly been following this command there is a very good chance we would never have gotten to the place we were.
Paul moves on to tell us that we need to focus on rejoicing always! Always means... in times of pain and adversity!
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??? I will be the first to tell you it is VERY hard and takes an extremely strong relationship with the Lord to be able to do. When your joy if found in God first, above all else, you will still be able to find joy even in the midst of extreme pain, knowing and trusting His will
Now, just to be clear... joy does not necessarily mean you are jumping around happy as a cracker jack, it simply means, that you are at a place of peace and trust and you are able to lean on the promises of God, knowing He wants what is best for you and has purpose for whatever battle you are fighting!
Paul also tells us to pray without ceasing!! Without ceasing... means continually. Continually really? You are probably asking how in the world do we pray continually?
Well... we felt the main goal here was to be in constant communion with God. Meaning... the moment you feel irritated with your spouse over something... you immediately bring that need to God and lay it at his feet. Trust Him to give you guidance. And doing this instantly will stop you from making terrible decisions or choosing negative actions.
I was discussing with Garrick, if we were given a glimpse of all of the difficulties and hardships we could have avoided by seeking God and praying. we would probably be overwhelmed with anger at ourselves for neglecting such a pivotal piece of our relationship with God. I discussed on an earlier blog post how a husband and wife united in prayer have great power!!!
Finally, Paul tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances!! YES.... ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!!!
This is where we hone in on thankfulness!!! Finding something to be thankful for in the middle of adversity can be extremely healing! Giving thanks to God during a painful or tragic situation places your trust back in His hands, knowing, He works all things for good. It begins to restore our heart.
Garrick shared that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for, understanding that even through negative circumstances God will continue to show Himself in many miraculous ways.
I cannot tell you... how very thankful I was for all of the friends and family that were there for me during these last couple of years. God showed His love through so many people. In the midst of some of the deepest pain I have ever known, I was able to find thankfulness in a God that never left me nor forsook me. He used individuals in my life to radiate His love and care for me. My gratitude toward these individuals is overwhelming.
At the same time I had never felt so unloved by my spouse, I have never felt so loved by friends and family. I never went a day without feeling love because God IS love!
Even when I was so hurt by Garrick that I could often not see past the pain, I was able to have moments where my heart would rest in the man I knew God made him and all of the reasons I married him and was thankful for him prior to our season of trauma. I hung onto that.... sometimes FORCING myself to trust God cold and would restore him, my job was to keep praying and pressing on!
Thankfulness... is a choice... and very often... requires much training and discipline. For most of us... or default reaction in times of trouble is to worry, fear, be angry, bitter and lose hope.
Digging deep inside the pain and pulling out even the smallest seed of thankfulness.... can begin to blossom a renewed heart and soul.
We hope you have decided to join us in creating a Thanksgiving week tradition for your marriage to express your thankfulness for your spouse! We have chosen to do little things each day this week to show one another our thankfulness! A few days ago when I was at Dollar General with Eden I feel in love with this soft, cozy blanket! I wanted it! I didn't buy it! I told Garrick it was on my Christmas list.
Last night I came into my bedroom and found that blanket folded on our bed with a sweet note! He had even thrown it in the dryer so it smelled good and was warm!!
It is not necessarily the action... it is the heart behind it! A heart that is truly thankful for their spouse.... will be able to find ways to show thankfulness that speak to them!
Have fun with it!! And please share! Don't forget to join the drawing for the yummy candle by commenting or liking this post! I will draw the winner tomorrow!!
Peace and Blessings
Missy and Garrick