With so many marriages crumbing around me, it’s makes me wonder if it takes the destruction of a marriage for God to be able to show a couple how fully they need to lean on him for everything. Does every marriage need to go in this direction in order for this to be engrained in the couple? Do we need to fully abandon God in order to see just how much we depend on him?

I look at the bible, the disciples that followed Jesus without question, dropping their lives and livelihood to follow a stranger, and it looks to me that they just did what he asked. He said “Follow me” and they followed. He commanded, they acted. Not like we do now; now we question. We think that if we don’t quite follow his commands, we don’t quite listen to his laws, our lives will still be alright. And then, when our lives get bad enough, when we’ve tested the hot water and have seen that he actually knew what he was talking about, we turn back to him and plead for forgiveness and start to correct our ways.

But is this really how the disciples followed Jesus? Were their lives going smoothly when Jesus came along and they dropped everything, having a gut feeling that he was the Lord? Or, like every other human in history, were they at the end of their ropes, questioning everything, feeling empty, lives going down the tubes, when Jesus came along? That scenario makes more sense to me.

These were real men, not angelic creatures. They were going through real life trials and hardships. And like every other man that is a creation of God, God pieced their story so that when Jesus stepped into their lives, they were at the perfect point to accept him.

There is a point to every hardship we go through. Yes, there are consequences to our actions, but I don’t believe that God is a God that wants you to suffer. He doesn’t want you to struggle, but he does know, because he is sovereign and omniscient, that all of your suffering, when you realize that he will bring you through anything and everything, will also bring you closer to him. So he allows our lives to be rocky, to have ups and downs, because he wants us to grasp that the reason for our existence is to have a relationship with him. He isn’t satisfied with a few minutes of our time every now and then. A morning worship on Sunday or a quick prayer as our car breaks down. He wants our full attention. He wants us to acknowledge that he is in control of everything and to realize that he loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Why can’t we realize this without going through some fire? I wish this were possible. I wish that someone could just tell us the fireplace was hot and we didn’t have to burn ourselves before we realized they were right. But chances are, we’ve all touched something hot after we were told it would burn us. Only to realize that yes, it will scar us. Only to have those thoughts of wishing we had listened. But if it were that easy, the depth of our dependency on God wouldn’t be there. We would all know with our heads but we wouldn’t know it with our hearts.

It really hurts to see people struggling in their marriages. It breaks my heart. I wish there was something I could say that would shake them awake! But there aren’t the right words, just prayers. Whenever I see a couple struggling, the first thoughts that cross my mind are “I wonder what God is trying to do”. There’s a point, there’s a reason. And just like God showed me when I came back to him, it might not make sense right now, but one day, one day they will look back and see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to make a beautiful story.

Just keep focused on him. Pray against that hardened heart and dedicate time each day to spend with God and he will lead you through the tunnel and into the light at the other side.

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A friend bought me the book 66 Love Letters for my birthday. It’s an amazing book with letters from God about each book of the bible. If you have a chance to even just read the prologue of this book, it’s worth it. So powerful.

The first Love Letter in the book is about Genesis and I thought it would be interesting to read through it before I moved on in the book. I don’t think that I’ve ever read through Genesis from beginning to end. As I was reading yesterday I came to the end of Chapter 4 where it lists Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel…all these guys and how many years they had lived. At the end of each descriptive paragraph of these men it says “Altogether, ___ lived ___ years, and then he died”. There’s eight men that it says this exact same thing with. “Altogether, Seth lived for 912 years, and then he died”.

Each paragraph is the exact same information, the mans name, how many years he lived before he had a certain son, how many years he lived after he had that son, the amount of years he lived all together and then that he died.

Until it gets to Enoch.

Enoch lived 65 years before he had his son Methuselah (Gen. 4:21). And after he had Methuselah, Enoch walked with God for 300 years. Enoch walked with God and then he was no more, because God took him away (Gen. 4:24).

All these other men had lives and wives and children and lived for hundreds of years and then they died. But Enoch had a life and wife and children and he walked with God for hundreds of years, and then he was quietly taken up to heaven.

As I read this I thought “That’s who I want to be”. I want to be the person that when people look at me, they know that I am set apart from the world around me. That I am walking with God. I want to be that name on the list of my heritage that when people look at it, they know I was different, that I walked with God and then after I had walked my life with God, I went to be with God.

And then I thought “Well how do you do that?” Walking with God, just like walking in general, is an intentional habit and effort. It’s putting one foot in front of the other, it’s making the effort to get out of the door, it’s getting up early and getting the dogs leash and putting on a winter coat to walk outside whether you feel like it or not. It’s knowing that the walk with make you feel good, that when you come back, you’ll be refreshed and you’ll be so glad you did it. Walking is making a decision to be healthy. To enjoy God’s creation. To get fresh air. And all of this applies to walking in our Christian faith too.

We can’t just read this verse and think “Yeah, I want to be like that, God make me like that, make me like Enoch” and expect to sit back and it will just happen. We need to read it and know that Enoch made intentional steps each day to walk with God and when he made those steps he was actually walking with God! God met Enoch and walked beside him for 365 years.

Enoch was just a regular man in a list of other regular men. He had the same human issues as all of us do. He had hard days, fights with his spouse, children to raise, money to earn…but he walked with God and God walked with him. The fact that there were men listed before and after him and it doesn’t say these men walked with God shows that Enoch made an extra effort, it was choice he made to walk with God, it wasn’t something that just happened. Every other man lived their lives and did what every other man did, had children, lived a lot of years and died, but Enoch chose and made the effort to walk with God his entire life.

Every single day, are you choosing to walk with God?

Are you making that effort to take one step after the other each day?

What are you doing to set yourself apart from the lists of people around you and walk with God?

Take it one step further: What is in your life that is taking away from your time with God and what are you going to do about it?

If you want to walk with God, it’s going to take some effort. You might have to change your schedule, you might have to wake up earlier, you might have to start listening to different music, you might have to start hanging out with different friends…but if you want to walk with God and be known in your family history as someone who walked with him, making these changes will be rewarding. Drawing closer to him will make you feel more whole and you will feel more alive than ever. Not only that, but as you draw closer to God and make an effort to walk with him, he will draw close to you and walk beside you.

God’s still writing a book. Genesis might have been the beginning of the Bible and Revelation the end of it, but there’s still a book in God’s hands that he is writing in. And when you’re able to read your history in that book, will you be happy with the story that is laid out, or will you cringe at the legacy you left behind?

Staying In Love. It’s the title of a book I just noticed on a website and it got my wheels turning. I’m sure this is a great book, this isn’t about the book, it’s about where the title made my thoughts go.

Because of my situation, I grates on me when people make comments like “well, sometimes the love just goes away”, or “sometimes a couple just falls out of love” or even “some people are just not meant to be together”. From personal experience I can tell you that “falling out of love” isn’t something that just happens in a marriage. It’s a slow, intentional process where satan lies to the individual continually and they begin to accept the lies. It’s a falling IN love. In love with themselves. Their pleasure, their happiness, their comfort. It’s a loss of sight on God and his plan and instructions and obedience to him. It’s selfish ambition. No one ever really falls out of love with their spouse, they hit a period where the lies overtake the promises and commands of God and the only way they see fit to deal with it is to leave the relationship.

God is love. He is the true definition of love and his character is exactly that, perfect love. God is patient, God is kind, God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud, God is not rude, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

So if God is love, then when we fall out of love we are falling out of God. When love fades, we’ve allowed God to fade. When love goes away, we’ve allowed ourselves to go away from God.

God needs to be the center, the complete focus, of our marriage. Every step needs to be with the intention to worship and glorify God. When we have a decision to make, we need to turn to God for answers and direction. When we do something for our spouse, we need to realize that we are doing it for God as well. When we choose NOT to do something for our spouse, we need to realize that we are choosing NOT to do something for God.

What if we replaced the word “Love” with “God” whenever we thought about our spouse? I wonder if that would change our view a bit.

“I’m in God with my husband.” Ok so it’s not perfect English, but you know what I’m getting at. Are you in God, in the bible, in worship to our God, with your husband?

“I love my husband” equals “God loves my husband”.

How would our view change if we automatically thought of the word “Love” being another word for “God”?

In order for love not to fade in our marriage, we can’t allow our relationship with God to fade. In order to not fall out of love with our spouse, we can’t allow ourselves to fall out of love with God. God is the be-all-end-all. If he is not the focus and point of your marriage, it will not flourish. If God is not the center of your life, it will be directionless.

If your marriage is strained, if your husband is distant, if your attention is wandering, adjust your focus to God. Look to him for everything; strength, love, fulfillment, attention. When you do this, I guarantee your marriage will start to look different. When you change your focus in life from being “What can I get out of life” to “What can I do for God with my life”, your purpose will start to be accomplished and you will go about everything differently. God will start to work in your life and you will start to feel more at peace with yourself.

God is love. Staying in love isn’t about staying in love, it’s about staying in God. Trust me, if your married life is suffering, it’s because your relationship with God is suffering.

After about eight months of me living my own life and moving to a new city, my husband and I started ‘dating’ again. There was a “God Moment” while I drove away from my hometown after a visit and after a phone call to my hubby, a long relieving talk, tears and the comfort of hearing each others voices, we decided to get to know each other again in a dating-like process.

During this unfortunately short lived period, my hubby and I chatted about how we had dated other people. It was weird, we thought, how we seemed to unknowingly be attracted to people who reminded us in looks and character to each other. We guessed that we had developed a “type” after being married for almost six years. I was now attracted to fit, humorous, bearded men (funny, but strangely true) and he was attracted to strong, outgoing and brunette women. I have even seen pictures of women he has dated and it’s strange the similarities there are between them and me.

I think that it goes deeper than developing a “type” once you’re married.

In their book, Real Marriage, Mark and Grace Driscol say that when you are married, your standard for beauty needs to be your spouse. But I really think that this isn’t capturing the depth of this standard. It’s not that it needs to be your spouse, when you try to run away from your marriage, you realize that your standard IS your spouse. I believe that once you have committed to a covenant marriage in front of God, you have also committed to a lifetime of automatically being drawn to either your spouse, or, if you’re running from your marriage, people that have your spouse’s traits. Which ultimately means that you are craving your spouse but not acknowledging that fact.

Isn’t it amazing, bewildering really, that when you look around at re-married couples, how many of them are with spouses that remind you of their previous spouse? Whenever someone leaves a marriage, you always hear them say this line “I’ll never marry a person who…” and they describe something about their spouse. But when they commit to another relationship, nine times out of ten, that new person is extremely similar to their spouse. It happens all the time! Why is it that we don’t question this? Why haven’t we tried to go deeper when we see this happen? We just assume that the re-married or re-committed person is happy and that they just are *shrug* attracted to people like their spouse. And we move on.

But let’s stop and think.

The majority, if not all, re-married people have remarried someone extremely similar to their spouse.

Almost 70% of second marriages fail and the number just rises after that.

Why?

Because it’s easier to get a divorce after the first one? I’m thinking it’s deeper than that.

Because you’re less connected to the second spouse than you were the first?

Because you are really searching for your spouse, your initial second half?

Keep questioning it, keep asking God for answers. Don’t just allow society to carry you with the flow and tell you what to think or numb that gut feeling gnawing at you. Keep searching.

I went to the bar one night when I was living my rebellious life and there was a guy there that was trying to get me to go home with him. I was dating someone at the time and very invested in that relationship and I rejected this guy and told him about my boyfriend several times. For some reason he thought it was a good tactic to ask me one question about the guy I was dating and to try to describe him from that one answer. It turned out that this random guy at the bar was right on the money about the guy I was dating, but what he didn’t realize was that he was actually describing my husband too and making me realize how many similarities there were between my husband and the guy I was dating.

I don’t have any bible verses to back this theory up, but I do have personal experience. I am a very strong and slightly (ha) stubborn person. I wouldn’t try to feel this way on purpose. With all of my heart I was trying to move on from my husband and trying to be free of my past. But even in that strength and stubbornness, even in all the ‘happy’ times and even with all the guys I tried dating, I have realized that there is more than just a “type” that you develop after you’re married. It’s ingrained in you, whether you like it or not. Once the vows for your initial marriage are said, once that covenant is committed to, you have a standard of attraction that is your spouse and that standard can only be imitated and never duplicated. You will never be satisfied with anyone else until you are with your spouse, realizing that you were searching for them all along.

As I was writing the last entry, the one about prayer and realizing its power, as I was reading through my words…the bank called. It’s the second time they’ve called and honestly, I was avoiding returning the call as they had asked. The cell phone company called a couple days ago too.

“Ms. Smith, you owe ___ when will you be making this payment?”

Well, that amount is the total of my paycheque, so that’ll be in the bank on Monday.

“Monday? Great, we’ll take the payment out on Monday.”

When you pray, remind yourself that you aren’t just saying words into the air.

And the phone company? Well, who knows where that payment is coming from. And groceries? Thank God my mom dropped some off the other day and a friend was praying for someone to bless financially and she gave me some money.

I am doing what I can to pay my bills. I am now working two jobs and I am praying. Praying my guts out that God will provide as his word says he will. Talk about walking the talk.

One thing I had been praying for was a puppy. For people who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I love dogs. I’ve always wanted to breed dogs and they have always been a part of my life. Before I moved back to my hometown, I had put a down-payment on a puppy in order to raise him while I lived at my parents farm. The rest of the funds didn’t come through, for multiple reasons, and I decided that instead of putting the payment for the puppy onto the rest of my debt, I would give it up. It was hard, so hard to do, but I knew the timing wasn’t meant to be. It felt pressured and rushed. This is how I do things, I’m realizing; I rush forward and then realize I needed to think about things more and I end up having to back out, realizing I’ve learned a lesson and usually paid a cost.

So prayers for finances.

Prayers for a puppy.

Prayers for restored marriage.

Prayers for friends marriages.

Prayers prayers prayers.

The night the phone company called, the night that I was re-reading my post about how powerful prayer is, I received an email. “Katie, I would like to give you a puppy”. Tears. Prayers of thanks. Knowing I can’t afford to take the puppy is a nil point. This clearly was God, showing me that regardless of my doubts, my prayers are being heard. And not just the prayers for my needs, but my hearts desires. God was showing me that he wants to give me my wants. The things that not only pay the bills and are a necessity, but the things that make my happy.

Earlier, the phone company had informed me I had $76 owing on my phone, and I made exactly that in tips that day…which hasn’t happened in months.

God knows how to answer your prayers. He knows exactly what you want and what you need. You are his child, a being that he has created and knows intimately and loves beyond human comprehension. He wants to spoil you!

Your prayers are being heard and if God is providing your wants, how much more is he working to provide your needs?

We just need to trust that God is working even when we can’t see him. We all have mountains in our lives, issues that stand in the way of us being where we should be. And if we pray that those mountains will be leveled, it will happen! Maybe not the way we expect, but they will be removed in God’s perfect way. We need to trust that even though we can’t see the destruction of those mountains right away, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t chipping away at them!

Regardless of what our eyes tell us, God is working, our prayers are being answered, and we need to ignore what we ‘see’ and trust in God’s promises and his word.