Trusting God when People Hurt you

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 45-46

"So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt." Genesis 45:4-8 ESV

I have a quick question for y’all – Have you ever been sold into slavery by your brothers? No? Me neither.

Have you ever been hurt by anyone in your life? Yes? Me, too.

When someone hurts you, it can be hard to forgive them. Sometimes it feels like you can’t “let them off” by forgiving them. You can take on the roll of punisher – wanting them to pay for what they’ve done to you.

But let’s think about Joseph’s words here — what if we saw God’s hand at work even in our pain? How would that change your desire to punish someone who hurt you? Wouldn’t that make true forgiveness a whole lot easier?

The truth is that God is always at work, accomplishing the best ends through the best means for the most people. Sometimes people get hurt during that … And sometimes those people are YOU …

Will you pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

I trust You. I trust Your heart. I trust Your mercy and kindness and grace and power. You have proven Yourself to be good and faithful – in Your Word and in my life. But, Father, sometimes things look really bad to me. In fact, sometimes those things really are bad. It’s wrong to sell your brother into slavery. That is wrong. Yet, Lord, you worked through that unthinkable tragedy to bring great good for a great number of people with fruit still being born even today.

I pray that I would trust You with all my heart, soul, and mind. Help me to remember Your steadfast faithfulness to Joseph and me now and forever.

In the name of Jesus I pray, amen

Loving People When They Hurt You: Thoughts from the Life of Judah and his Dad

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 42-44

Genesis 42 kicks off with the famine having spread to the land of Canaan, thereby forcing Jacob to send his sons to Egypt to buy grain. Jacob sends ten of his remaining sons, but refuses to send Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, the only other son of Rachel, “for he feared that harm might happen to him.” (Genesis 42:4) Jacob is still playing favorites, like I wrote about here.

As though that’s not bad enough, even after Simeon (Jacob’s second son from his unloved wife, Leah) is left behind in Egypt, Jacob continues to insist that Benjamin cannot go to Egypt, saying, “My son shall not go down with you [Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn son], for his brother [Joseph] is dead, and he is the only one left.” (Genesis 42:38) In fact, Jacob still has eight other sons in addition to Reuben left at home, namely Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, and Zebulun.

How would you feel if you heard your father say such a thing about one of your brothers?

Wouldn’t you want to scream and cry and stomp your feet, “Hey, Dad, what about me? Don’t you love me? Aren’t I your son? What about me and my children? What if we starve here from this famine?”

When the famine becomes even more severe and all the Egyptian grain has been consumed, Jacob is finally willing to send his sons again to Egypt to buy food. (Keep in mind, Simeon had been left in Egypt as a captive all this time.)

Judah, Jacob’s fourth son who was also born to Leah, solemnly pledges to his father, “From my hand you shall require him [Benjamin]. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.” (Genesis 43:9 ESV)

To which Jacob finally relents, “May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. As for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:14)

Now, put yourself in the shoes of Judah, or one of Leah’s other sons or worse yet one of the sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah or Leah’s servant Zilpah. Imagine hearing your father refer to Simeon, your big brother as “your other brother” while Rachel’s son is referred to by name. Benjamin, Jacob’s last son. Benjamin, the only remaining son of Rachel, Jacob’s dearly loved wife who died during his birth. Benjamin, the “son of my right hand.”

Whether spoken intentionally or not, Jacob’s words communicated to his children that Benjamin is more valuable than they are. Read Judah’s own words to Joseph about his dad at the end of Genesis 44.

“As soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die
Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me?
I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”

Genesis 44:31a, 33-34 ESV

In spite of the pain that his father has caused him, Judah still loves his dad. He may not be expecting a prodigal son’s welcome home — no father running to him with arms open wide. Rather, he is expecting to arrive home to a father who is looking behind him to see if his baby brother is there. And yet … Judah is still worried about the deep pain that his brother’s loss will cause his father.

Are you having a hard time loving someone who has hurt you again and again? Are you struggling to forgive someone who repeatedly has broken your heart?

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

How I long to see you face to face, to sit at your feet and have every tear wiped away from my eyes. How I ache for the pain and sin and sorrow of this world to be over.

But, Father, in the meantime, help me to love as Your Son loved. Remind me how much You have forgiven me. Show me my sin.

Help me to forgive even those who forget me and reject me and spit in my face. I want to forgive others as You have forgiven me.

Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I need Your strength. Help me to see the log in my own eye, to accept responsibility for where my own sin has contributed to the pain that I find myself in.

I want to overcome evil with good for You are good and I am Yours.

In the Good and Gracious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Hymn of Heaven by Phil Wickham

The Unloved Wife

Read through the Bible in 2 Years: Genesis 29-30

"When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 

And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing." 

- Genesis 29:31-35

So often as women we feel like we control our own wombs. I remember a time of great marital struggles and infertility for my husband and I. Reading this story about Leah is such an encouragement to me. God has purpose both in our fertility and in our barrenness. May we bring him glory in both.

Yet when God gives Leah sons, she views them as tools to try to get her husband to love her.

Son #1: Now my husband will love me.

Son #2: The Lord has heard that I am hated.

Son #3: Now my husband will be attached to me.


Yet, it’s this fourth son, Judah, whom God chose to father the line of the Messiah, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, God’s only Begotten Son. And it’s Leah, the unloved wife, whom God chose to bear Judah.

Are you feeling unloved today? I’ve been there. But so has Jesus. He knows how it feels to be rejected by those who were supposed to love Him. And He loves you. And He is worth more than a perfect husband or a thousand imperfect sons.

Let me pray over you.

Heavenly Father,

You are close to the broken-hearted. You are the God who remains faithful when man is faithless. You love the unloveable, the poor, the lonely, the rejected.

You are the good shepherd who pursues that lost sheep.

I pray that we would praise You when life is good and we would praise You when life is hard. No matter what, You are worthy of our praise.

We offer our hearts, minds, wombs, and lives to You. Father, fill them as You will in Your perfect timing and for Your purposes. Help us to trust You with our hearts and our hurts.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Sorrow turned to Joy

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 16

"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." - John 16:20-22 ESV

When I look at this picture, which was taken just moments after my youngest son was born, so many memories of that day flood back into my mind. After laboring into the wee hours of the night, I’d gotten my first epidural out of a crazy need for some rest, only to find myself overwhelmed by a intense feeling of panic when I couldn’t take a deep breath or feel my legs.

Yet, when that baby boy was delivered, all 8 pounds 15 ounces of him, I was even more overwhelmed by a feeling of ecstasy and joy, unexplainable to anyone who has never delivered a baby.

All the pain and exhaustion was worth it, the very instant that little boy drew his first breath and let out his first cry.

Just as friends try to prepare a new mom for the pain of labor and delivery, Jesus was trying to prepare His disciples for the great sorrow they would experience at His upcoming death and departure. An important part of that preparation that many experienced moms forget to share, is the immense JOY that you will experience after the pain is over.

Friends, listen to me, someday it will be worth it! Soon and very soon we are going to see the king! And there will be no more crying there. In this world we will indeed have tribulation, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

We don’t need to try to take shortcuts to avoid the pain, hiding our lights under bushels so no one can see them, drowning our sorrows in Facebook and food. Instead, we can rejoice today because we know with certainty that these labor pains are only temporary and that they will all be worth it when we see our Savior face to face.

Will you please join me in prayer?

Heavenly Father,

You are our hope in life and death. Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Help us to fix our minds on things that are above. Help us to number our hours and days, knowing that these times are in fact short and these trials are indeed light, in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that is to come.

We pray for those who are in the depths of sorrow today, who are at the peak of the incredible pain of labor, who can’t seem to make out that light at the end of this valley of despair. Father, please, be their comfort and help them to see Your everlasting arms carrying them and Your loving hand guiding them through this dark valley. Use us to encourage them. Help us to grieve with those who grieve just as deeply as we rejoice with those who rejoice.

We pray for those who are without hope today because they are without Christ. We pray that You will open their eyes and soften their hearts to the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ who bore their punishment by His death on the cross. May today be their day of salvation, that many will rejoice with the angels over one lost sinner who repents!

In the holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen


My heart goes out to everyone in my town of Collierville, Tennessee, following the tragic shooting that took place yesterday in our local grocery store.

I wish I could more, but I can pray and I can share the gospel. I want to do what God has equipped me to do.

Please pray for the friends and families of those who were shot as well as the shooter.

Please pray for the first responders and law enforcement officers working on the case.

Please pray for the Christians and churches in our area to be a beacon of light and hope in the darkness.

Please pray for revival all across our country and our world.

Come quickly, Lord, and in the meantime strengthen us to be about our Father’s business of sharing the good news of the gospel and making disciples.

Where is your Focus?

On the Problem or the Purpose?

On the Father or the Failure?

On the Trials or the Triumph?

On the Savior or the Storm?

Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world. Why are we surprised? But Jesus also said TAKE HEART, I have OVERCOME the World!

Daily we have to actively choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the JOY that was COMING endured the cross.

We, too, can endure and overcome with hope and peace … because of our FAITH in our Risen Savior who conquered death. We, too, know that JOY is coming. These trials are light and momentary when compared to the eternal WEIGHT of GLORY!

I’m looking forward to ETERNITY with Jesus. Who wants to join me there?

The road is indeed narrow, but Jesus made a way! Jesus made a way where there seemed to be no way. Jesus made a way to reconcile sinful man with Holy God – by His death on the cross, paying for my sins.

Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him, but WOW what GOOD NEWS that there is a way at all for a sinful woman like me to spend eternity with a good and holy God!!!

Who needs to hear this good news today? If God’s given you this hope, go share it with someone who needs it!



This morning I picked these pretty yellow flowers and put them in this little vase. Within a few hours, they had drank up every drop of the water and wilted. I refilled the vase and within an hour they had perked right back up again.

It got me to thinking about how quickly I can feel wilted … and how I easily I can be refreshed when I take the time to go to the fountain of living water.

In John 4, we read the story of a Samaritan woman meeting Jesus at a well. Jesus invites her to drink of the living water that He can give her, promising that she will never be thirsty again. Does this mean that the woman will never need to drink water again? No, I’m quite sure that’s not the case.

But, does Jesus mean that this woman will never need to pray or read the scriptures or fellowship with other believers again, if she drinks of the spring of living water that He is offering to her? No, it doesn’t mean that either. This spring of living water is the spring of eternal life, but she would still need, the daily living water that is offered to us through communion with God.

Let me share with you SEVEN ways I’ve found to refresh my soul when I am feeling wilted

  1. Read the Bible – I know, I know … Duh … But, seriously, friends, get out your Bible and read it. Take five minutes or ten or sixty. Read a Psalm. Read John. Read 1 Timothy or 1 Peter or 1 Thessalonians. Read it.
  2. Write out a verse – Pick a verse that you just read, or a verse you saw on your coffee mug this morning, or a verse that God stuck in your head out of nowhere, or a verse that you saw on Facebook, and write it down. Write it with a dry erase marker on your window or patio door or mirror. Write it in fancy script on a note card and mail it to someone. Write it down on the back of an envelope. Write it.
  3. Sing a worship song – I have an ongoing playlist on my YouTube channel called “Worship Songs” where I add worship songs that I love. (I’ve got over 150 there at the moment.) I can just click “shuffle” and I’m drawn into the throne room of God. Or I pop open “Pandora” to the Shane & Shane Hymns channel. Or I just start singing whatever song is in my head that moment. Sing it.
  4. Pray from the heart – God is always ready to hear us, whether we’re praying aloud or silently in the secret place of our hearts. You can pour out whatever is going on. Praise Him for who He is in the midst of a trial; Thank Him for His blessings past, present and future; Confess to Him all those ways you mess up, no matter how big or small; Ask Him for whatever you need. Pray it.
  5. Get outside – As Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” There’s something incredible about getting outside – even if it’s cold, even if it’s hot, even if it’s snowy or rainy or sunny. Grab a chair outside on your deck or balcony or porch or whatever you’ve got right now. Or take a walk if the street’s empty. Outside it.
  6. Connect with someone else – I like being alone, but there’s something really special about letting someone else in when I’m down. Call or text your husband or a sister in Christ. Let someone else know you’re struggling and ask them to pray for you. Don’t let this time of “social distancing” keep you from your family in Christ. Connect it.
  7. Journal – I don’t do this as often as I wish, but sometimes writing down how I’m feeling, or even voice-texting a note, really helps give me a new perspective. Sometimes I can hear God’s still, small voice in my heart as I put my thoughts down, plus it’s such a blessing to look back on things I’ve written down months or years ago and see how God has been working. Journal it.

Just one final thought, sometimes we get so used to feeling thirsty and run-down, that we don’t even notice anymore. We’re wilted and we don’t even know it. If it’s been more than 24 hours since you prayed or read the Bible, trust me here, you need a drink. He’s ready right now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you reconnect with God when you’re feeling wilted?

“Fighting Words” | Ellie Holcomb

“I will fight the lies with the truth. Keep my eyes fixed on You. I will sing the truth into the dark. I will use my fighting words.” -Ellie Holcomb, “Fighting Words”

Right now when everything around us is focused on the hopelessness of life, I pray that we would fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. When fear threatens to overcome you, fight back with the TRUTH. Remind yourself of what you know.

God is still on His throne.

He is good. Always.

He is worthy to be trusted.

He is for us.

He has demonstrated His great love for us in sending His Son to die the death that we deserved, and He has triumphed over death, raising from the dead and ascending into heaven.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13 ESV

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬20 ESV

Continue reading ““Fighting Words” | Ellie Holcomb”

Of seeing, knowing and trusting in Deuteronomy

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 29:2‭-‬6 ESV

The Israelites had seen with their own eyes all that the Lord had done in Egypt, the trials and the signs and the wonders. They’d seen the ten plagues that God had sent on Egypt and they’d seen God open the Red Sea for them to escape.

Their eyes had seen it, but the Lord had not given them a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

So, God led them through the wilderness, providing for them for 40 years, giving them food and water and preserving their clothing, so that they would know that He alone is the true Lord, their God.

God wants us to know Him. God wants us to know that He is the Lord and sometimes that means He has to lead us through the wilderness.

God wants us to see Him in the trials and in the wonders.

Do you know that He is the Lord? Do you trust Him today? If you don’t, will you start seeking Him today? He wants you to know Him.

For more on this, read Deuteronomy 3:21-22; Deuteronony 4:3,9; Deuteronomy 8

25 tips for staying married for 25 years … and looking forward to another 25

This has been quite a year for me. My oldest son got married January 6th and my oldest daughter got engaged November 8th. My in-laws celebrated their 50th anniversary this summer and my husband and I celebrated our 25th this Christmas.

This summer, my dad spent two weeks in the hospital during which we feared he would never recover and this fall my faithful prayer partner’s young adult son passed away unexpectedly. My children’s last surviving great grandparent passed away in his twilight years this spring, while their youth pastor began the hard journey of life on his own, after losing his bride of almost 30 years in a fire last Christmas.

It has certainly been a year full of intermingled joy and pain.

Earlier this week when my husband and I were out celebrating our twenty-fifth with a delicious fondue dinner, our young, blond, single waitress asked us the secret to staying married for 25 years.

My husband shared with her the advice that his recently-departed grandfather had shared at his last anniversary celebration, when he and Bill’s grandma had been married for 70 years. Are you ready for his sage advice?

“Don’t get divorced.”

Yep. That’s it. That’s the secret to a long marriage.

“Don’t get divorced.”

It reminds me of a song from my favorite movie of all time, The Fiddler on the Roof. The main character, Tevye, a dairy farmer, “Do you Love Me?”

Golde has a hard time answering, replying in song, “For twenty-five years, I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow. After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?”

Thinking through it more, and with some added prodding from her needy husband, Golde concludes that she does, in fact, love him, singing,

“For twenty-five years, I’ve lived with him, fought with him, starved with him.

For twenty-five years, my bed is his. If that’s not love, what is?”

In our 21st century, me-first, emotion-driven, wealthy American culture, we are losing the basic understanding that staying married is largely about staying committed to the covenant we made before God to remain together through sickness and health, riches and poverty, good times and bad, to love, honor and protect until death parts us.

So, I agree with my husband and his grandpa, that the secret to staying married is, “Don’t get divorced.”

But let’s look deeper into the scriptures, to glean more wisdom from its pages, and consider 25 tips for staying married for 25 years …

  1. Choose your spouse wisely and refuse to be unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:14) The best marriages are formed from the union of two people who are both committed to loving the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the most important foundation that can be laid for a successful marriage that can go the distance. If you’re not married yet, recognize that the choice of who to marry is truly the most important decision of your life. Count the costs and choose wisely.
  2. Heed the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Don’t put your trust in your own wisdom, or articles you read on the internet. Put your trust in God.
  3. Pray together with your spouse. Pray for each other. Pray for yourselves. Pray for others. But, pray together. I noticed a big difference in our marriage when we began praying together after being married for almost ten years.
  4. Keep the marriage bed holy. (Hebrews 13:4) The greatest marriage struggles we’ve had have come from issues in this area. Wait until marriage to become intimate. Recognize that God intends for sexual relationships to be enjoyed exclusively in the context of a covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. (1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Ephesians 5:1-6, Matthew 5:27-30)
  5. Recognize that as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are equally important, but have unique roles, so are a husband and wife equally valuable, but have unique roles. As Jesus submits to His Father, and the church submits to Christ, so a wife is to submit to her husband. As Christ loved His bride the church, even unto death, so husbands are to sacrificially love, lead, and serve their wives. This mystery is indeed profound, but marriage displays the glory of God and the gospel in a visible way to a watching world. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
  6. Keep your heart humble, striving to remove the log from your own eye. (Matthew 7:5) See yourself, rather than your spouse, as the foremost of sinners. (1 Timothy 1:5) Remind yourself of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, not as a way of seeing how badly your spouse is failing, but as a way of seeing your own need for a Savior. Put your own name into these verses and see how you’re doing. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
  7. Confess your sins to each other. (James 5:16) Be transparent and honest with one another. Be quick to apologize and reconcile. As soon as you recognize that you have hurt your spouse, go to them immediately and seek their forgiveness. (Matthew 5:23-24)
  8. Forgive each other. Don’t let bitterness take root in your heart. (Hebrews 12:14-15, Matthew 18:21-35, Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13) I have often struggled here. I have to remind myself daily of how much God has forgiven me and how important it is for me to forgive likewise.
  9. Maintain a “gentle and quiet Spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:4) Peter wrote this particularly for women, and particularly for women whose husbands are not following God, but it applies to men as well. In a marriage, we should both commit our lives to the Lord, to trust Him fully, so we can be free to have a meek spirit before Him and each other.
  10. Commandment #10: Do not covet your neighbor’s spouse. (Exodus 20:17) No spouse is perfect. They all have flaws. And so do you! Remember that the glimpses you get of other married couples on social media or at church on Sunday mornings are not full and accurate pictures of their married lives. All good marriages take work. (Ephesians 5:1-6, Colossians 3:5, James 4:2)
  11. In everything give thanks and give thanks in every thing. Trust that God is always, always at work, even in the very hardest of circumstances. Let the sacrifice of praise be ever found on your lips. (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20, Hebrews 13:15)>
  12. Do not give up meeting with other believers. No marriage can thrive without fellowship with other believers. We need our spouse, but we also need others. Get involved and stay involved with a local body of believers. (Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42)
  13. Find a mentor and be a mentor. Young women need an older woman to train them to love their husband and children (Titus 2:3-5) and young men need an older man to teach them. And this isn’t only for the first 5 years of marriage. Even after 25 years, I still need older women to pull me back from the ledge sometimes. And I have grown so much in my own marriage and faith as I’ve mentored other women in theirs.
  14. Daily remind yourself of Romans 8:28, that God is working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. In the here and how, we only see the backside of the cross-stitched work of art full of tangled, knotted threads, while God is creating a masterpiece of interwoven colors. Trust that God is the only God Almighty, a good Father who always keeps His promises. When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart. Choose to believe in the dark what you believed in the light.
  15. Keep a careful watch over your mouth. (Psalm 141:3) “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29) Recognize the importance of bridling your tongue and what terrible fires it can set ablaze.(James 1:26, James 3:2-10) Use your words to speak the truth in love rather than disdain, to build up rather than tear down. (Ephesians 4:15)
  16. Keep an even more careful watch over your heart, for out of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45) “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2) “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)
  17. Recognize the spiritual battle that you are in. Have you been born again into the family of God and filled with His Holy Spirit? If not, you’re fighting a battle you can’t win. But, if so, remember that you are not battling against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil, so make sure you have on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20) There are going to be times when your spouse hurts your feelings. He will be insensitive. He will forget to call. He will leave the toilet seat up. She will burn the dinner and forget to wash the laundry. Pray and stay alert to the enemy’s schemes and don’t jump into a fight that you’re not supposed to fight.
  18. Sometimes the enemy will win for the moment, but remember that Christ is the final victor. Satan may win a battle, but Jesus will win the war. Satan may be the prince of the world, but God is the Almighty King of Glory. Sometimes your spouse will sin against you. When that happens overcome evil with good rather than repaying evil for evil (Romans 12:21, 17). Take up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.
  19. Remind yourself that the anger of man will never produce the righteousness of God. (See James 1:19-20 and Matthew 5:22) You cannot nag or argue or guilt your spouse into changing. You are responsible for your actions and your words, not theirs. Entrust your spouse into God’s righteous, Almighty hands.
  20. Recognize from the start that life will be hard and marriage will be hard. There’s never been a perfect marriage because there’s never been a perfect man, except Jesus (and He never married and if He had, His wife wouldn’t have been perfect either). Unmet expectations are joy stealers. Beware of having unrealistic expectations of your spouse. If you want something from your spouse, kindly appeal to them for it, but trust God for the results.
  21. Make God’s Word a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalm 119:105) Hide it in your heart like precious treasure. (Psalm 119:11) Let the scriptures transform you, trusting that all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness that you may be complete, equipped for every good work. (Romans 12:2, 2 Timothy 3:16-17) Here are a few good places to start: Psalm 119, 1 Peter 3, Colossians 3, Romans 12, Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13. Read and study and memorize. Have daily drinks, weekly dates and annual days with God, the fountain of living water, the only one able to quench your thirst.
  22. Serve Christ individually and together. Whether at home, at church, or in your community, see yourself as a blood-bought servant of Christ. Serving alongside each other and serving together develops a common purpose and goal in life that helps you stand firm in the storms. As Paul encouraged those who were earthly bondservants, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
  23. Practice the golden rule with your spouse. “As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31) Oftentimes it is easier to be kind to your neighbors and friends and even strangers than it is to be kind to your spouse. Intentionally seek opportunities to serve your spouse. Make him a cup of coffee. Rub his back. Send him a quick text expressing your love. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)
  24. Tell your own soul that love is an action, a decision, a choice, not just a feeling. We can put on love. We can choose to love. The more you choose to love, the more you will feel loving. Like Tevye’s wife, Golde, you can wash the clothes, cook the meals, clean the house, bear the children, and maybe even milk the cow, and end up loving your spouse in the process of serving him. (Proverbs 10:12, 1 Peter 4:8)
  25. Finally, remind yourself of the truth of the gospel, that we are all broken people living in a broken world in desperate need of a Savior, and that Jesus, God’s only Son, the God-man made a way to reconcile us back to a Holy God, by giving His own blood to pay the price for your sins. Trust in Jesus today. Repent of your sins and turn to Him and receive His forgiveness. He died for you that you can live for Him, both now and eternally.

Romans 5:1-8, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Ephesians 2:1-10 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

1 John 4:9-11 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

If the Almighty, Perfect, Sovereign, Creator-God of the universe, can take on flesh, coming to earth as a humble baby and die a criminal’s death on a cross in my place to save me from my sins, then by the power of His Holy Spirit at work in my heart, I can say no to sin and yes to Jesus, forgiving and loving my spouse, like God in Christ forgives and loves me. Apart from His saving grace and power, I can do nothing good. And apart from His saving grace and power, neither can my husband. We are both nothing more than two forgiven children walking hand-in-hand down this narrow road that leads to eternal life. That’s the true secret to a joy-filled marriage.

Want to join us?