Friend, I’m going to share a few things in a straight up way. I don’t believe in all that beating around the bush and sugar coating silliness. I prefer bluntly painting a reality based picture. Bear with me in this one as it may stir up some things within your heart, mind, and soul. If it does, I pray that you will consider this an area to focus your heart and prayer on.
Before we go any further I want to be clear that I am not a counselor or professional by any stretch of the imagination. I write this blog from 20+ years of marital experience, my personal faith journey, and a nudge from the Lord. I pray that this inspires, encourages, uplifts, and brings you closer to Him. I also pray that you will seek out a pastor, counselor, or professional if needed for support and guidance.
Here we go…
This is for any woman (note: it may be helpful for guys too) regardless of your relationship status. The woman who is single, in a relationship, married, divorced, lost, overwhelmed, exhausted, emotionally tapped out, ______ insert a “label” here, friend this is written for you. I do write from a marriage based place, however almost any relationship (family, friend, dating, etc can replace where I share about marriage and spouse.
#1 What does is your faith journey look like? Yep, I went there.
This is something only you can answer. Is God your true anchor, rock, and firm foundation? If yes, that is awesome! If your answer is mostly, partially, or occasionally, then my friend this is your starting point. I highly recommend joining a bible study, going to church, and spending daily time in His word (the Bible) to kick start your faith journey. This one act will bring your most important relationship back into balance. This one action is life changing! It also disables the devil. Those attacks from him on you and your life will diminish when you seek out a strong relationship with your Heavenly Father!
Relationship transformations happen through a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father. Trust me, I know this all too well. To be blunt, my faith life was an epic disaster, and I was the only one who could do anything about it. I professed my belief when it was all looking good… you know praising God for my blessings when big stuff happened and I rode in the boat that occasionally followed the light. Mostly when it was convenient and fit into my plans. However, I was the one rowing and steering that boat. I planned, prepared, and made sure the life preservers were all on board, but often forgot to grab ahold of my Savior, the one true life preserver.
It all came to a screeching halt a few years ago. Our marriage was in a season. It was uncharted waters and we’d never experienced anything quite like it. I’ll be honest. I was so furious, frustrated, defeated, emotionally drained, and totally lost. At one point, I acted like a toddler carrying on in a huge tantrum. I yelled, begged, cried, and pleaded with God to give me what I wanted, and to do it right now. Haha the joke was on me, we all know that’s not how it works!
I sought out help from a professional who was certain that things would work out as God intended. This person helped me to realize that I needed to make some changes. I had to work on my relationship with God before He could work in our marriage. Facing the music was tough! I realized I had to take the first step, reaffirm my commitment to my faith, and stick to it every day. All of my relationships (friends, family, & marriage) began to change for the better when I got this one piece back in balance. When I put God back where He belongs. In the #1 spot! This took me some time to figure out because I struggled with putting my family, husband, and friends first. I learned that when God is seated in the #1 position, and we give Him all control; that is when He works miracles. Our marriage is living proof!
#2 Are you focused on everyone else and doing for them all day long?
As a caregiver for a family member with special needs, I am extremely aware of what this looks like. I live it every day. One of the biggest battles I’ve faced due to the medical needs of our special needs child is loosing myself. I did not realize it in the moment. I was so consumed with the doctors visits, medical needs, educational delays, specialists, what the future may be like, and the “lack of progress”.
It was an easy place for the devil to penetrate my relationship with God and in my marriage as well. He had a foothold and put so many negative thoughts in my mind. As a result, my “blindness” to what was going on around me caused me to ignore my own needs, not see my husbands needs, I pushed him away, pushed family and friends away, got quiet and distant from everyone, and I isolated myself from so much including my Lord and Savior… it is a terrible place to be.
The good news is that He is waiting for us to take one tiny step towards Him. Even if we think we can, dear friend we cannot hide from Him! “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 23:24 NIV
At one point I stopped spending time with family and friends for fear that others would not care for our child in the way he needed. When a friend would invite me out for a girls night, I’d find an excuse or let the person know I would look for a sitter and get back to them, but I never got back to them. I conveniently forgot. OR I would rush through a grocery store trip in fear I wouldn’t be there to care for our child if he needed me. When my husband was doing an amazing job of caring for our child.
Oh how I lost myself! My faith in God was at an all time low. I was down right miserable. Once I realized that my God relationship was flawed; the path became straight again. It took a lot of work, I still struggle occasionally, but He showed me the way. He held my hand and walked with me. Sometimes He carries me! I know He does the same for you!
Perhaps this is not at all similar to your story, but maybe you need to refocus yourself on God, grow that relationship stronger, and start putting others and yourself second after God. This is so important. Putting Him above ourselves, and above everything else sets everything back into balance.
I must warn you that this is not a one day, few days, or even a few weeks and then you go back to the same old routine. No, this is a life long commitment; a covenant with Him. Put Him back where He belongs and watch your relationships and your life thrive!
#3 Do you have regular pity parties, gripe sessions, negative thoughts, or spew negative words occasionally?
Friend if you are fighting, griping, whining, dictating, pushing, and/or not loving on your mate like he deserves; something is out of balance! You must put an end to the cycle and refocus. The ball is in your court! God is waiting for you…All of you. He wants to have that relationship that you deserve.
One of the best and yet quite difficult things I have done along my personal faith journey is to pray and ask Him to “search me and show me where I am wrong”. Praying Psalm 139 has been a HUGE journey, sometimes battle, and mostly a wake up call! I encourage you to give it a chance in your life! Take a week and pray it over your life daily, I dare you!
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
#4 UNMET expectations…
Your spouse is not a mind reader. This one deserves to be re-stated, mostly for me because I tend to forget that HE’S NOT A MIND READER! Let’s face the music ladies; we are women and we do change our minds on occasion. Cut the man some slack. Give him a break. Take and make time for him. Make him important (after God) and show your love for him! Drop those darned expectations of what he should do for you at the door of your marriage! Do the things for him that you’d like him to do for you. Plan the date, take the time, set the mood, and take that step to talk with him about what you need, like, and desire, and be sure to ask him about the things that are important to him. Find out what he needs from you to have a strong relationship. Put your unmet expectations away. Better yet, give them to God and let Him have it all. Then as you pray, be ready. He will cause a change to happen… but remember it will take place in His time, in His way, and for His purpose!
#5 Give up the control rut.
You know that thing where you’re doing it all, making it all happen, planning, running yourself ragged, and fighting with Him (God) for your slice of the pie. Friend, I am gonna let you in on a little not so secret tidbit of information; you…are…not…in…control. Even when you think you are, the fact is that you are not! So give it up, drop that stress, drop to your knees, fold your hands, and give it all to Him… the one who reigns above all. He is in control. ALWAYS. So stop trying to be the big woman on campus. Pray and trust Him with everything!
Did you notice how all of this points back to #1? God is, has always been, and always will be #1. We are human. He knows our faults, He knows we will make mistakes, yet He loves us unconditionally! We must place Him back in that position. When we do this in all areas of our life without hesitation or reservation, everything will be in balance again. He is our Heavenly Father, and He is a father who loves His children unconditionally. He will forgive you. He is waiting to welcome you with arms wide open!
I’ll leave you with this last piece of advice and encouragement from a dear friend and mentor who is dancing in heaven with Jesus. Sister Janet said, “When you’re down and out, feeling like you can’t take anymore, struggling with any issue in this life; you only need to do this simple thing. Stop trying to do it alone! You must get to your quiet place, quiet your mind, picture Him standing in front of you with His hands stretched out towards you……..
Then, take a deep breath, and JUMP into His hands! He will take it all, He will help you navigate through the circumstances, He will make things right, and He will carry you. You only need to trust Him and JUMP!”
My friend… trust Him and take a leap of faith! I pray you will put Him back in the #1 spot where He belongs and you see how He is working in your life!
© Sarah Jenson and In the Thick of Life, Blog, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Jenson and In the Thick of Life, Blog, 2017 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content including a link to the original content.