I have dear friends who are in the midst of separating, I listened to Chad and Lisa give testimony of God’s great work of restoration in their marriage yesterday and was burdened for my friend Shannon to not leave her husband. I pray any inside or outside our church body thinking they are “done” will reconsider and invite God’s work into their lives.
“Dear Shannon, I’ve prayed so much for you over the past months. My heart aches for your pain and what you appear to be going through. I’m sure I don’t understand all that you are feeling and I certainly don’t have all the answers to what feels all mixed up to you, but I simply offer my love, friendship, and the grace of God that changes people’s lives. I listened to a young woman in our church yesterday morning give testimony of God’s radical work in her life and thought of you. She started by saying – “I was done … I was ready to call it quits, I’d had enough.” And with tears in her eyes she spoke of how God began to show her the sin in her own heart. She was able to talk about how she stopped basing her behavior or choices on what her husband did or didn’t do and began to see her own soul. She read from Proverbs about how “the wise woman builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (Proverbs 14:1) She said, “I was that fool, I was tearing down my own house by holding offenses against my husband.” You could hear her honesty, her humility, and her pain … and then you could hear the unmistakable work of the Spirit that brought her joy she could never have imagined could be there. She looked at her husband with delight, with sincerity, and with hope for the future. He confessed his sin, his harsh speech, his unrealistic expectations of her, his failure to lead his home. She embraced his failure and accepted his realistic pursuit of God and her. It wasn’t manufactured or forced, it was REAL. As real as the Red Sea parting or 5 loaves and 2 fish feeding thousands. This Gospel stuff is no fairy-tale, its the real-deal, real-er than any hope of enjoyment you think the world is holding out for you. There is a path of pain and repentance that leads to joy and honest hope that is far harder and less worn than the ever popular path of pleasure and “I deserve to be happy” that only leads to more pain and no hope of rest. My sister, there is no joy to be found there! You are not alone, not the first or the last woman who thinks she’s put in her time and deserves something more, but this isn’t the path of finding it. Please see the big picture of your choices, the big picture of God’s glory, of His Gospel, of your family, your deceived heart … and listen to those who speak grace and truth to you. It’s not too late to turn from your sin. Everything won’t change overnight or in a few months, but I promise the joy of obedience is far greater than the fakey-joy you’re looking for outside of Jesus. Don’t be the fool of Proverbs, don’t tear down your house – choose to be the wise woman who builds her house even when the work is hard. I wish you could have heard my friend Lisa share yesterday, but I think this I what she would say to you, and she would say – It’s worth it, and she would offer you the hope of grace that changes lives. I beg you – Repent, love jesus, engage in the grace of God who heals broken people. I love you and will not stop praying for you and that family that I love so much!”
Thanks Lisa and Chad, may your example minister to many who need what you’ve experienced. And may you never stop growing in grace for your family and your Church family to see! Love you both too!