During the retreat I really felt God was speaking to my heart about the authority of Christ. Specifically the lack of His authority in one particular area: Marriage. Dr. Gainey showed this image on the PPT. It’s an oldie but a goodie from the 4 spiritual laws.
But as usual- my flesh nature always likes to kick Jesus off the chair or throne and put myself up there.
It began with my words. My decisions on when to fight and when to hold back. (Of course I’d feel fabulous when I would hold back–pffff) But He began to show me how I kick Him off the chair and the “me-centered” reasons,
“Jesus, You don’t understand…I gotta have my say this time.”
“Jesus, You take too long..I”ll tell him what’s up.”
“Jesus, Why me? I’m so tired of this.”
Sounds horrible ..but that’s me. By the end of the Retreat I was resolved in my heart to make a strong effort to pray about my marriage. Not like “Oh Jesus, change this situation. Change my husband etc etc.” But simply confessing my wrongs and asking Him to change me first.
Monday night rolled around and I waited for JP to go to bed so I could have the living room to myself. I finally got to sit alone in the living room. My time of prayer was therapeutic and healing for my heart as I began to confess and repent of my bitterness and resentment, God slowly purged out more ugliness in my heart. Tears rolled down and I didn’t even feel sad but they kept coming. Every non-Christlike thing I had mumbled under my breath as if I was saying it to JP, was confessed as sin, dropped like a hot potato with pleads to please change my heart and take this away from me. I never realized how broken and bitter I was until I willingly wanted to “release” them to God. Why did I hold onto them for so long?
When God speaks…its undeniable..
This is why God makes a difference in marriages.
He reveals His heart to us.
Tuesday I came home and I began to review our Life Journal readings. Jesus was asked how many folks will be saved? He responded (paraphrased a lot) “Work hard to go through the narrow gate. I’ll be honest, a lot of folks will try to enter but they won’t be able to.” Strive was the keyword that struck a chord in my heart. Here I was refusing to let go of my bitterness. My stubborn ways of avoiding reconciliation or avoiding peace shouted out, “You’re not striving…you’re not fighting FOR this marriage. You’re giving up and into your own ways.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NASB
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
I wasn’t boxing…I was shadowboxing. Taking the easy route and not fighting for this marriage. It was a prompting that came to my heart immediately after reading this passage. It felt like a no brainer. That’s how easily and quickly the heart changed. All my resisting reasons vanished and I just knew I had to go talk to him about it.
Long story short, what meant to be a short reconciliation ended up being a wonderful conversation that lasted for 4 hours!! Its a miracle I tell you. A miracle that only God could do in my heart. A miracle that only God could provide in our marriage.
Even though it’s been 48 hours since this miracle happened, Im still amazed by it. Still praising God for it. Still thankful for the work that was done. It’s helped us strive to love one another like Christ.