Aside

A friend and I have committed to praying for a different couple for a solid week. Each weekend we text each other and decide who we will pray for that week and during the week we have reminders on our phones or in our bibles that remind us to commit a few moments talking to God for that specific couple. Whenever they come to mind, we pray for them, whenever we sit down for our prayer time, we pray for them. We make that couple a priority in our time with God.

It’s funny, even though I’ve been through all of this amazing stuff in my life in the last year, even though I’ve heard God and seen him work so clearly, even though I know that my repentance and passion towards Christ again is because of prayer, I still had a surfacey view of our prayer time for these couples. It was nice, a neat thing that we could give them, but I didn’t really consider that it would have a big impact. That sounds ridiculous when I look at what prayer has done in my life! It sounds pitiful actually.

So when my friend called the first week and said “You’ll never guess what just happened…” and told me about the couple that we were praying for and an event that had happened in their lives during the first couple days of us praying, I was blown away. And when it happened a second time while we were praying for another couple, I was amazed. And when it happened again for another couple…wow! And when another friend told me about someone else I was praying for and the way God is working in their life…God you are HUGE!

Before you pray, do you remind yourself that God is listening? Do you remind yourself that God is actually waiting for you to talk to him and when you do, he leans down, hears the very sound of your voice, and pays attention to your words?

The eyes of the Lord are to the righteous and his ears are open to their cry.

Psalm 34:15

I have seen the power of prayer, the power of my God, in the last year like I have never, ever, seen it before. In an unexpected instant, I was grabbed by God, convicted of my lifestyle and decisions, and my heart was suddenly passionate for Christ. It was a crazy moment, it was powerful, and it can’t be explained with recognizing the grace and mercy and power of our God. I know what prayer can do! I have had so many prayers since that day answered right before my eyes. Prayers I didn’t think were possible to answer, that I doubted that God would listen to. But there they are, answered! And still, even though I have seen God work, when I say a prayer I have to remind myself that God is actually listening and he will actually answer my prayers if and when he sees fit.

When you pray, remind yourself that you aren’t just saying words into the air. That you aren’t just talking to God in order to comfort yourself. You are praying to him because he created every little thing in your life. You are praying to him because he controls everything. You are praying to him because nothing happens without his consent. And you are praying to him because he can’t wait to speak to his child and hear his child’s voice. You are praying to him because he listens and he will answer your prayers!

I have been asking God for a sign that he is hearing my prayers for my husband. I haven’t seen a sign yet that shows me that he is working in my hubby’s life, but I have seen several signs that he is answering other prayers. I know that God is telling me through these other signs that he is listening, that his timing is perfect and that is he working even when I can’t see it.

My encouragement for you is to allow God space to work. Realize that your prayers are powerful, so much more powerful than anything you could do yourself.

Before you spend time praying next time, take a few minutes to picture the powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing God you are in front of. Remind yourself that you aren’t just speaking words into the air, but that God, the Creator or the heavens and the earth and every single thing in them, is listening to your requests. And remind yourself that he is listening.

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Satan was once an angel. A servant of God. But when he decided to pursue his own interests, he fell from his place in heaven and became an enemy of God. He, not so suddenly, I’m sure, realized that he didn’t have to focus on the Creator but that he could create his own life and make his own decisions and follow his own rules.

Satan is a liar(John 8:44), he is uncaring, crass, rude, selfish, unsatisfied, a wanderer, a tempter…obviously there are more characteristics to satan, but these are a few. Weirdly they are actually words that could be used to describe me while I was running away from my own purpose in Christ. Connection? You betcha.

He who is not with me is against me…

Matthew 12:30

I made the intentional decision to take my life into my own hands, to walk away from God’s purpose for my life; to walk away from his instructions, laws and direction for every Christian. I felt at the time that my plan was better than his. His plan didn’t make sense to me, so I went with what did – walking away from my marriage into the life that I “knew” would make me satisfied and happy. My focus became myself. My happiness. My fulfillment. My enjoyment. My fun.

If you are not for God, you are against him.

If you are not living for God…you are living for….?

The longer I lived in my selfish life, the more frustrated I got. The more crass I became. The more tempted I was to try new forms of entertainment. The easier it was to think of being with other men. The more unsatisfied I was with my living conditions. The more argumentative I was. The more selfish I was. Satans characteristics were slowly becoming mine. And I was completely oblivious to it. Just like the frog that slowly, unknowing, boils to death, I was slowly being tricked into this deadly lifestyle.

Satan fell from heaven when he pursued his own interests.

When you pursue your own interests, you will fall from your own heaven. Not the Heaven that God resides in, your place in God’s kingdom is not something you will lose your place in although you will be accountable for every action you take. But you will fall from your rightful place in life. Happiness will elude you and satisfaction will always be an unattainable goal. Following your own path and interests, your own plan, will never lead to that feeling of wholeness and happiness like satan would like you to think.

You might be convinced that there is no way that being obedient to God could lead to your happiness. You might be like I was, in a place of darkness, frustration beyond what you thought was possible. You might be feeling trapped, lost, depressed…You might have a plan for a way out, a plan you “know” will lead to your happiness and peace…finally! Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve pursued my own life. I’ve left my husband. I’ve drank like a fish. I’ve slept around. I’ve flirted around. I’ve cursed and told beyond disgusting jokes. I “knew” for a fact that being these things was being who I was really supposed to be. But in the end, after I chased after these things and fell from my own heaven…I realized that all these things were a lie. My wholeness wasn’t found in anything but God’s plan. And when I looked back at the destruction in my wake, I realized that I was only just becoming more and more like God’s enemy. I wasn’t whole, I was troubled. I wasn’t satisfied, I was lost.

And satan thinks he’s won this battle. He looks at poor little Katie and laughs when he sees that she has nothing to her name and her husband isn’t with her. But what he refuses to acknowledge is that God turns curses into blessings, what satan has used against me, God is turning to use for me, and satan will be crushed under my God’s feet (Romans 16:20)! My situation will be turned around to give glory to God and bring so many people to God’s kingdom. Satan will see how miniscule he is compared to the power my God has. He is a created being and the God of God’s, satans Creator, will show him who’s boss and will destroy him.

We might be fooled by satan for a while. We might deny that it is his presence in our lives and his voice in our head. But God will grab us back and show us that his glory reigns. He is who the only presence that will fill us so full it can’t even be described. Satan’s characteristics are nothing compared to God’s.

Our interests will only lead us down the wrong path, they’ll only lead to more questioning, more restlessness. Even when it doesn’t make sense, pursue God and his plan for your life. When you start to wonder what this might be, read his word and do what it says. Don’t follow your ‘idea’ of what you think God might want in your life. Follow the written word. Simplify. Press forward. PUSH into God with all your might, even when everything in you is telling you to run.

When our hearts are in this vulnerable state we can’t always trust what they are telling us, this is why we need to rely on what God’s word is saying in this stage in our lives.

Even when it doesn’t make sense, remind yourself constantly that God’s will for your life will bring you satisfaction. And just keep doing what his word tells you to do.

There is an end to these feelings. Satan has an appointment for failure.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!

Luke 1:45

 

Being a Christian means that we are followers of Christ. Which means that he is leading us. When you look back on your Christian life, would you say you have allowed God to lead you?

I know that I haven’t. I accepted Jesus into my life when I was five. I’ve been raised in a Christian home with parents who read the bible to us daily and brought us to church weekly. I’ve attended Christian high schools and a Christian university. I married a Christian man and even when I was running away from my marriage, I called myself a Christian. But I have never once allowed God to lead my life. I’m not even sure I knew how to do this before, and I’m definitely not a pro at it now.

How do we allow God to lead us? First, we need to know who it is that we are following. We need to study his character, study his text book, and really dedicate ourselves to his teachings like any other student. We need to realize that we are just that, students of God. We don’t have to pay anything for this training, it’s all right at our fingertips and even better than that…it’s what we were created to strive after! It is more fulfilling than any post secondary education…by a long shot!

I know that changing my view of my relationship with God to one of a student has made all the difference. I need to study him. And when I do, my heart feels full. It takes dedication and application. It takes time daily and discussion with other ‘students’. It takes communication with the Teacher.

We also need to realize that by following God, we will be different. There’s a piece of us that will fight this. A piece that reminds us that we won’t fit in, that it’s “un-cool” and that piece, the piece that satan loves to whisper in, will also tells us that we don’t have time.

We will be different and that is totally ok. When we keep our eyes focused on our God, the God that will judge us in the end, the God that has given everything for us to be his children, other opinions don’t matter. They’re just a tiny blip on the radar. God, however, feeds our soul and makes us feel complete. His opinion matters and our heart can feel it. Our heart aches for his voice, his presence and his teaching. His voice is the only one we should be listening to.

Being different isn’t a bad thing. It’s our boring society that has told us that it’s bad. For some reason society has told us that we need to be like all the others, we need to fit in, we can’t draw too much attention. But being a child of God will make us noticed. Even when we don’t say anything at all, pursuing our relationship with God will light a fire inside of us that others notice.

Once when I worked as a grocery teller, a girl came through my till. I knew the instant I saw her that she was a Christian and this was before she had even said anything to me. Later that week I attended a College and Career event from a church I was starting to attend and she was there. People can sense God in you without you saying anything at all. Why? Because their spirit is craving what you have. They know deep down that what you have with God is what they want. They know that what you have with God will make them feel like they’re finally home.

If your relationship with God isn’t making a change in you, if it isn’t making you different than your secular friends, there is something wrong.

We are meant to be like Jesus. Jesus wasn’t liked, he was threatened, he was challenged, he was despised. Even some of his followers denied knowing him and outright betrayed him. There will be and should be some of this in your life. We shouldn’t be creating drama in our lives, but we should be aware that if it happens, even if our hearts are in the right place and we are treating those around us with love (as per the definition in 1 Corinthians 13) there will be people that don’t like us just because of the faith we are living in.

If we are living as Jesus lived and we are allowing God to lead us in everything, we should be seeing drastic changes in ourselves and our lives. This isn’t going to please people around us and it will cause discussion…if not betrayal. Some friends might walk away from you, some might talk behind your back, some might respect you more and some might lean into God more because of the change they see in you.

What would you rather: A mediocre life without bumps, always wondering what the point of it is and wondering if there is something more? Or a life with some bumps, knowing that the creator of the universe has it all in his hands and knowing you’ve never felt more alive?

All you have to do is surrender to him, allow him to lead, and remind yourself often that he sees the entire picture of your life and knows exactly what he is doing.

 

 

 

 

I never knew before what it meant to surrender my life to God. How do you do that? It sounds so spiritual to say in a prayer “Yes, Jesus, yes, I surrender to you”. But how does a person even apply that? I would pray that prayer every now and then, mostly because I heard other super-Christians praying it, but then I would go about my day as though nothing had changed.

To surrender is to give up expectation. To know that when plans change, when circumstances become something you didn’t imagine, that God is in control and however the story pans out, it is in God’s view. God knows the entire story before it even starts to unfold. Even though our freedom of choice creates a story-line for our lives that wouldn’t have been God’s ideal plan for us, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t in his plan.

Everything is in God’s plan because everything is in his sight. God is never surprised when certain things happen.

Surrendering your life to God is realizing, even, or especially, in the confusing and difficult periods, that God has it. It might be out of your control but it is never out of his control. Surrendering means taking a deep breath and praying “God, this doesn’t make sense, but even though it doesn’t make sense, I give you my life, my marriage, my husband, my body, my mind…take me and mold me into the woman you want me to be. Please help me realize through the trials that you are with me and that I can get through anything when I lean on you. Give me the sight to see your hand in everything.”

And when the next hard moment comes, you pray this prayer again.

Surrendering is reminding yourself when you are crying that God is holding you.

Surrendering is telling yourself to trust even when you don’t think you have the strength.

Surrendering is allowing God to take control.

Surrendering is sometimes defined in our culture as being irresponsible.

It’s not about rushing forward, jumping into something and doing what your human eyes see as best. It’s about taking your time, allowing God to lead, and knowing that it may mean sacrifice. It involves taking a deep breath. It means listening for his voice.

Surrendering means that no matter what is happening around you, even when it doesn’t make any sense, prayer is more powerful than action.

Right, Katie?

Right.

You need to surrender Katie.

Yes I know.

Stop worrying, my sweet girl.

But it’s hard.

I know, but I love you and I will always love you and I will lead you. Just take my hand.

 

Aside

My whole life I’ve felt like I am chasing after an elusive goal. I’ve felt like there is something out there, some invisible finish line, that will make me feel whole…like I’m there.

I’ve chased after this…thing…in all sorts of ways. First it was through jobs. I’m 29 now and I’ve had around 25 different jobs in my young life. Sometimes it was two or three jobs at a time, but still, that’s a lot of places to work in a short time. Then I got married and chased after this feeling of success through my marriage. I was married 5.5 years and my husband was pretty close to perfect. We had a great marriage for the most part, communicated well, respected each other, had a ton of fun, laughed a lot, accomplished goals…but still this wasn’t it. Within my marriage I tried running my own crafting business, nope, that didn’t get me there either. Then it was network marketing. Nope, not it. When these things didn’t work and I fell into emotional turmoil bordering, if not fully in, depression, I assumed it was my marriage that was wrong. I left my marriage and chased after this need for success in whatever other area I could. Men, sex, drinking, travel…but that place I was trying to reach was always just a little bit ahead of me.

Is it just me, or is this something that every one is running after?

I think we all have this drive, this feeling deep down, that we have a place to get to…a destination that will make us feel whole and complete. It’s like when we’re thirsty, it’s that feeling that until we get a big, cold, glass of water we won’t be satisfied. It’s almost a physical feeling in our heart. An ache. A need for more.

I know that I have been searching for the cure for this ache my whole life. My mom used to tell me that I was chasing after God and I thought she was ridiculous. Turns out the old saying is true. Your mother is always right (don’t hug me and cry when you read this ok Mom?). But it is true!

The ache in your heart for something more is a hole that God created. He made us with an urge to know him more. And us humans search for the cure in everything that we can see, touch and taste. We search for the cure for this unquenchable hunger in everything but the invisible.

The hole that God created can only be filled with him. He created us to have relationship with him and this doesn’t mean that we fulfill something inside him, because God is perfect and doesn’t need us in any way. But he created us to desire him and when we pursue that relationship we are the ones that are whole. God wants us to want him.

The fun thing is, it’s so simple. It’s so simple that it’s confusing. It’s not a job that we have to go through an interview process for. Or a business that needs to be developed from the ground up. It’s not a relationship that we need to search high and low for. It’s talking to God and reading his word. That is all. Everything else falls into place from there. Once we start talking to God, he starts talking to us. Once we start reading his word, we start living his word.

It’s confusing because for some reason us human’s cannot comprehend how this relationship will make us complete. It has to be more than that! There has to be something bigger! It can’t be God, it has to be a job that completes us…because once we get to a certain level in the company and earn that dollar mark…that’s when we will be happy…right? Because that’s when I’ll be able to buy that boat or travel to that place…right? It has to be the marriage that will satisfy me…because then he will make me laugh and he will hold me when I’m sad…right? And then I will feel like I’ve reached my place in life…right?

Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.

Matthew 22:37 MSG

Once we love God and run after him, everything else will fall into place.

I know, I have tried just about every other avenue. In everything else, I felt alone, incomplete and unsatisfied. Satan loves to lie to us. He loves to tell us that what we are really searching for are physical things. He loves to tell us that happiness can’t possibly be something as simple as prayer and reading and listening. But it is!

There’s a hole in our hearts that is an urge to know God more. Nothing else that we try to fill that hole with will fit. It’s shaped like our Father and everything else will just fall short of the mark.

If this feeling of satisfaction is so simple, what’s the arm in trying it? If it’s only prayer and reading and listening to God…isn’t it worth a shot?

Dare to feel like you’ve gotten there

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

I was listening to a Francis Chan video, one of his teachings for his book Multiply, and one thing he said really hit me. So often, in our Christian walk, we wait for ‘feeling’ to come before the action. We wait to feel ‘led’ before we are obedient. Francis challenged us to be obedient and allow the feelings to come when and if they do.

It’s so true! There is something huge I have been considering doing in the past while, since God rescued me from the path I was on, and I’ve been praying and waiting for a sign to take this step. I realize now, that it has been my fear that has been holding me back, not God. When I look at the step that has been on my heart to take, I realize that there is no way that God would tell me not to do this. It’s hard. It’s huge. But I need to take a deep breath and step out with courage and faith.

The bible tells us to be obedient, to sacrifice ourselves, and that this is true worship for our God. I need to sacrifice my pride, my image and even my emotions in order to be obedient to him. And by doing this I am worshiping the savior that sacrificed it all for me.

It is because of God’s plan and his plan alone that I have reached this point in my life. The point where I know that, regardless of how the world views my life or defines ‘success’, I know that I am where I am meant to be. My heart is full, overflowing with excitement when I look at what I am involved in on a daily basis. God is constantly bringing me to ways to give him glory and I feel complete when I pursue those tasks. I have bad days, days where I look at my circumstances instead of at God and I get bogged down and overwhelmed. But when I focus on God and pray that he gives me strength and courage and peace, he does. And when I pray that he puts tasks in front of me that with bring him glory, he does. And when I pray. And when I keep centered on him. And when I realize that nothing else matters but him. Life calms and my heart is full.

Emotions are elusive. They are unreliable. And satan can use our surroundings to alter our emotions in a heart-beat. So we can’t trust in our emotions to be obedient to God! We can only back our actions up with scripture and pray that God will lead us where he wants us to go. And when we take emotions out of the picture and trust that our savior is in control. When we take steps, regardless of our feelings, and are obedient, then we will see God work. Not only will we see God work, but we will know that headed towards our purpose in life.

So how can we apply this in our daily lives? Well, you know that family you wanted to bring dinner to? Just do it. Don’t think about if they’ll appreciate it or if you’ll feel weird about arriving on their doorstep. Just do it. You know that person at work you hesitated in complimenting the other day? Just do it. Don’t worry about their reaction or your insecurity if someone else hears you. You know how you were planning on volunteering at that soup kitchen? Just do it. God will help you ease into conversation with the people there.

Make a list of all the things that have been rolling around in your mind. Things you’ve wondered if you should do or say. Write a list and accomplish one of those things every day. If they’re bigger accomplishments, make a goal to cross them off the list once a week.

Have you considered that it may be the Holy Spirit that is prompting you to do these things? Maybe those ideas are actually God whispering in your ear. Why don’t you just do them? Don’t wait for the right emotions to propel you into action. As long as these actions are biblically sound, do them!

Yes, there may be times where you need to take two steps backwards. You may realize that you rushed forward to quickly and it wasn’t the right timing. That’s ok! Life is a constant state of learning. Learn from your mistakes.

You can’t ever mess something up more than God’s ability to fix it. Trust me, I know.

When you sacrifice your emotions, your sleep, your free time, your energy and body…when you give up something to glorify God…that is worship! It’s when we worship our Creator that we feel whole and complete. And if we make an effort to do this daily, imagine how full our lives will feel!

Aside

Before you read this entry I want you to focus for a moment. Think about the relationship you are in. If you aren’t currently with anyone, think about the last few people you have dated or slept with. Think about the feelings you had or have for the other person. If you are in a relationship outside your first marriage, think about how those feelings compare to your marriage. Think about the depth of connection you have for the other person. Think about sex with that person and how it compares to sex with your spouse. Think about your level of commitment to your partner.

Be honest.

Take a moment and think about these things.

And then read on.

The person you are with may be exactly the type of person you have been praying would come into your life. They’re the physical description of your perfect mate, they treat you well, they’re loyal, fun, caring, generous, beautiful…they are everything you were waiting for and hoping would come your way. Maybe you’ve been waiting a long while for this type of person to be in your life. You probably know that you deserve someone like this, you deserve to be treated this well, spoiled, cared for, appreciated. But I’m wondering if this seems good enough to you, even if outward appearances are perfect.

Stop for a second. Breathe. Think about it.

Is sex the same as with your spouse? I’m not talking about performance, endurance, positions etc. I’m talking about afterwards. After the act of being together, do you feel more connected? Do you feel like you’re closer to that person? Do you feel as though you’re at peace with that person?

Take a slow moment to think about it. Get deep. Assess what your heart tells you.

I’m not trying to convince you to feel one way or another, I only want you to really scrub out these feelings. To really think about what is happening.

Before I left my husband he asked me a question. I’m not sure why he asked me this or how it came about, but he asked me if I would start dating right away when I moved out. I remember my reply as if it was yesterday “I don’t know, but if I’m single for the next two years just to enjoy life, I’m completely ok with that”. I don’t know why that thought was in my head, I have no idea why ‘two years’ was a good timeline for me, but either way, that was my answer.

I ended up dating a few guys here and there during the next year and a bit, but there was a specific type of man I was looking for and praying for. I wanted a tall man, tattoos, tough guy, hard worker. I wanted someone who would treat me gently but wasn’t afraid to stand up to me. I wanted a man with a strong personality. I wanted a man who was a bad-boy but treated me like his princess. Ideally, he would have a motorbike and a nice, big truck. You might laugh, and I know those are things that won’t make a difference in a relationship, but they were on my “Perfect Man” list. I prayed for this man to come into my life. I begged God for him, I really did.

Early last December this exact man came into my life. Right down to the motorbike and truck. He was literally everything I had prayed for and we were adorable together. He would have done anything for me, and I melted at the sight of him. When he would drive half an hour in the middle of a snow storm to pick me up from work and drive me home, the sight of him at my door gave me butterflies. I knew, and thanked God, that he was the answer to my prayers. And, strangely enough, it was almost exactly two years since I had left my husband when this man arrived.

My new boyfriend was a gentleman. There was no pressure to become physically involved until I was ready, he was patient and waited until it felt right for me. Which wasn’t long. The act of sex was good, it was nice to be with a man in that way, a man that wanted and respected me, a man that appreciated me. But when sex was done, sex was done. That was it. It was purely physical and it actually confused me. Where was that feeling of intimacy? That feeling that yes, we are together and I am part of this man…? I cared for him, I loved being with him, couldn’t wait to see him and spend every moment with him. All the emotions seemed to be there. Everything ‘right’ was aligned. So why didn’t our sex connect us and draw us closer?

This man was everything, right down the smallest detail, that I had prayed for. He was my ideal man.

Did it not feel right because sex is meant to be between a husband and a wife? I know people who believe that. I believe that. But let’s go one step further. Sex is meant to be between the husband and the wife. It’s not because you’re not married to that person that you don’t feel that connection. It’s because that person, if this relationship is outside of your marriage, is not the husband or the wife you committed to in front of God.

You have become one with your spouse by committing to vows with them and God is holding you to it. When you are one with one person, you can’t be one with another person. That connection with anyone else won’t exist no matter what you try. No matter what the government says about your marital status or how perfect that person is, if they are not your spouse, you will not feel that connection with them. Period.

I know people are going to scoff at this. They’re going to think that I’m out to lunch. That I’ve gone a bit too far with my situation and that I’m bordering on, if not fully, fanatical for believing this. But I believe with all of my heart, the people coming to these conclusions about me are a) still with their spouse and have not tried to live a life outside of that marriage or b) not wanting to admit that they have been questioning these things too because that would mean admitting to something that is bizarre and scary and widely unaccepted.

We want to be happy, why wouldn’t we want to be happy and move on and be satisfied in another more fulfilling relationship? We deserve to be happy, we are entitled to be happy! I honestly think that media has skewed our way of thinking in this area. We see people on dating shows that have moved on from their marriage and seemingly happy, we see mixed families that are great together, movies show divorced people finally finding the love of their life…I’m not jaded or bitter or resentful of people finding happiness in relationships, I just know what I didn’t feel when I tried to move on. I know what is deeper than what the media is showing us.

Anyone who looked at my boyfriend and I saw happiness. They saw a couple that adored each other, that was in love, that couldn’t get enough of each other. They saw a handsome man looking after his girl and they saw a girl going the extra mile for her man. But what was really going on inside that girl was a lack of connection, questioning, the struggle to be happy but to also admit what she wanted so badly didn’t exist even with, what she thought was, the man of her dreams.

The media doesn’t show you this. Songs don’t have lyrics like this. Movies don’t have plots like this. Books don’t have storylines like this. Because this would be admitting that life isn’t about our satisfaction or happiness. It would basically be admitting that there is something bigger than us connecting us in ways that aren’t always the ideal in our human eyes.

I have no authority or right to tell you how to deal with your relationship outside of your marriage. I have no letters behind my name and no schooling to back me up. I am a simple Christian girl that God suddenly God a hold of and changed drastically. But I do have a few words to challenge you with.

If you are in a relationship outside of your marriage:

1) Separate yourself from that person for a short amount of time, at least, and spend that time asking God for clarity. Ask God to show you his will and to change your heart if he feels it needs to be changed. Read the bible constantly. Pray constantly. Surround yourself with Christian people.

2) Assess your heart. Journaling helped me a lot with this and using a friend as a soundboard. They don’t need to say anything, but voicing your thoughts really helps clarify them. There are times where I didn’t even know I was feeling a certain way until I said it out loud. Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and thinking about. Write it down, talk it out, and pray that God speaks to you.

3) Stop being busy. I filled my life with busyness in order to subconsciously ignore what I was feeling. Give yourself down-time in order to rest your mind and truly feel what you are going through. I worked two jobs for the majority of a year, so I know that this can sometimes be hard to do. But if you need to take time off from one job or hobbies or commitments, it is SO worth it. You owe it to yourself. Trust me in this. God tells us to “be still” for a reason (Psalm 46:10). He leads us beside quiet waters for a reason (Psalm 23:2).

If you are in a first marriage:

1) I would urge you to consider how you are surrounding yourself with the world’s view on marriage. Movies, music, books…It might sound dramatic, I know. But these things are in our lives daily and constantly. They affect our opinions and our decisions and our views. So why wouldn’t they affect our marriages? I used to love the movie The Notebook. I would have watched that movie over and over again. But I know that I just can’t watch that type of thing now. I know that that type of movie makes me think it’s ok to dream about someone other than my husband. It makes it seem like there may be someone out there that will satisfy me more than my spouse.

I love upbeat music, I’m a runner and it’s pretty much a necessity for me. But I know now that I can’t listen to most upbeat secular music because, honestly, it makes me want to go to the bar and dance all slutty and find satisfaction for the night…which is what my mind sometimes tells me that I need.

Without wanting to sound super spiritual I’m going to say that satan loves to use the media to skew our views on marriage and sex and commitment. Pray that God helps you change areas in your life that he feels needs to be changed. Pray that he convicts you where you need to be convicted.

2) Be honest with yourself on how you view divorce. Are you ok with the thought of divorce? How do you view sex outside of your marriage? Do you think it would be satisfying, fun, hot? Do you think it’s possible to find happiness in a relationship outside of your marriage? Whatever your answers are, pray for protection for your mind and heart. Pray that God is present in your marriage and that he shows you where and how you need to change.

3) Pray for your spouse and your marriage daily. Set specific time aside to pray for these things each day. This is SO important!

If you are in a marriage that is not your first marriage and you are feeling the things I have described, I believe that God is the only one that can lead you in what to do. I don’t feel adequate to suggest anything other than daily, concentrated prayer and time with God.

I have found a website that has really challenged what I believe and how I am living my life that you may find helpful. Rejoice Marriage Ministries is an incredible resource that I would suggest you look over.

Also, The Scruggs have an amazing testimony that is worth listening to and their book “I Do Again” is a must read, for any marital situation.