Where ever you plan to head out to this weekend, I sure hope you find a newer pair of yoga pants! Go big and put some heels on too!
Enjoy the weekend!
Jesus wept. In that action alone, God gave us permission to grieve over what we love. This is an important step in your journey to healing. Tears are okay; its healthy to let it out rather than bottle everything up inside. Grieve over what was lost and stolen from your relationship. Grieve over the sacred being ripped out of your marriage. Use the emotions to positively propel you forward instead of what some so often do, and stay stuck in the muck. God does allow us to grieve but, He wants us to find JOY!
That first night after confession, I was told, “Grieve over the death of your marriage. Grieve over the loss of what was, what could have been and what may be. Your marriage will never look the same and for that you need to grieve for what you lost.” Don’t think for a minute that you don’t have permission or you’re on a timeline of grieving. It looks different for each person and is a vital step to healing and restoration.
What are the seven stages of grief?
1. shock & denial (lack of appetite, numbness, tears, no sleep)
2. pain & guilt (letter to Tim the day after, tears, journal)
4. bargaining (purging)
5. depression & sorrow (went on anti-depressants for 6 weeks, deep sadness)
6. testing & reconstruction (asked lots of questions, painted our bedroom, organized many things in the home including our social lives)
7. acceptance (forgiveness)
Did you find it hard to grieve with bitterness lurking around the corner or did God give you the grace to journey through this step with compassion?
How can we grieve for others without showing guilt for their sins?
What does the Bible say?
1 Peter 5:7
The moment you stop trying to fix things yourself and acknowledge your need for Him is the moment He shows up to give you strength.
Exhaustion can make us do very funny things or stupid things too! I once put a gallon of milk in the cereal cupboard and cereal in the fridge. I was deprived of sleep from spending nearly 4 weeks on the couch with two kids who emotionally I was pouring into so that the situation didn’t overwhelm them. I was slowly starting to eat and drink again and also attempted a light work schedule as well as spending many late nights in deep, lengthy conversations with My Love redeveloping us. Exhaustion overcame me and depression was lurking around the corner.
In our fast-paced life of jobs, family, relationships, and the household chore list, we find ourselves exhausted at the end of a day, yet alone adding on the emotion despair of a broken marriage. It is easy to say a quick prayer before falling asleep but, God wants more of us in those weak moments. God will give us the energy to push forward when we allow Him to fuel up our hearts and minds. Making it a habit to start the day and end the day with God is just as vital as water is to surviving. Even if you have no strength to get out of bed, find the words to utter a simple plea to the One who is ready to fill you with living sustaining words.
God's grace really is enough to carry you when you feel like you can't walk anymore.
Do you carve out time each day to spend with God?
Are you able to recognize your fatigue and humble enough to ask for help?
It is vital to know who you are in Christ as you offer yourself to your marriage. Husband and wife need to have individual relationships with their risen Savior and then together, share a Christ-like union in their vows. If not, you will find yourself lost, drained, and depleted of everything you are. Being able to stand strong in your presentation and depiction of God is an important aspect of the shared relationship. Your identity is NOT found in the sins of the past or web of consequences from the mistakes in your marriage. Your identity is found in the risen Savior!
How do you think people view you? If you had to write on a note card attributes about yourself, what would they be? Would they look different if you had your spouse write them or a close friend?
LET’S PRACTICE! On a 3 x 5 card, write down all the lies satan tells you and the things that negatively consume your thoughts. Then, step outside and burn every lie, the hurdles and hiccups that make you stumble and get in the way of seeing you the way God sees His daughter.
Where or what do you find your identity to be rooted in?
What evidence is there that Christ is working in your life?
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 Peter 2:9
2 Timothy 1:7
“God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another.”
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet
"Jesus, I pray over all the women with voids in their lives, sabotage in their minds and hurdles that never seem to go away. I pray that in the lies the devil speaks to us, we can crush them in Your Name. I pray that in Your Name all bondage we may be in, will be released. We rejoice in the promise of hope and healing and pray that in our journey to find more wholeness we see more of You. I pray that women will desire to seek You more in their daily lives and crave more intimate time in Your Word. Jesus we thank you for saving us from the pit and praise Your Name for loving us just as we are! Amen!"
(week one) Small group study notes
“A little lie is like a little pregnancy - it doesn’t take long before everyone knows.” C.S. Lewis
When you are at your weakest point, your only other option is to rely on God.
Jesus was betrayed. Those closest to Him were the ones that hurt Him the most. Sometimes physical pain is less painful than the words spoken against you. I would imagine that when the crow cried three times over, the betrayal Jesus experienced is much like the pain a wife experiences in the midst of betrayal within her vow. Jesus knows our pains. He became man so He could understand our hurts, our anxieties, and our deepest flesh wounds. There is nothing Jesus doesn’t understand and is waiting to be your Friend in the darkness.
Betrayal is ugly. You can’t ignore it or like a weed it will corrupt your foundation and cause bitterness to tear your life apart. God’s Word is truth and it will fertilize your soul and bring light to the darkness. Don’t allow the pain to determine your tomorrow.
Part of healing is being able to see past the betrayal and allow it to bond you closer to your spouse.
When you are faced with a trigger, how do you respond and communicate your worries with your spouse?
Betrayal and Bitterness can cause us to hear things differently as we mix the facts with the negative opinions of those facts.
“My husband loves another woman.” “I’m ugly and not worthy of his love.”
“I was deceived in my marriage.” “I will never be able to trust him again.”
“The betrayal hurts so deeply.” “I will never forgive or be healed.”
“This has never happened in my family before.” “Our reputation is destroyed.”
“Our marriage has failed.” “I’m a terrible wife and mother.”
Your entire thought process will become distorted and inaccurate when under stress turmoil. Make sure we separated the facts from fantasy.
“Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. You are going to live with those consequences anyway whether you like it or not, so the only choice you have is whether you will do so in the bondage or bitterness or in the freedom of forgiveness. It may seem unfair and you may wonder where the justice is in it, but justice is found at the cross, which makes forgiveness legally and morally right.
Jesus took the eternal consequences of sin upon Himself. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. (2 Corinthians 5:21) We, however, often suffer the temporary consequences of other people’s sins. That is simply a harsh reality of life all of us have to face.”
Neil T. Anderson
The Bondage Breaker
Christ left no room for bitterness when He died on the cross to save us from our sins. Big or small. It’s all the same to God, but as humans we give our sins a scale rating and make the smaller ones seem like a lesser evil compared to the ultimate betrayal of our marriage vows. Bitterness will seep into every area of your life if not forgiven. I have seen divorces of over 30 years still hold grudges against each other due to hearts not allowing forgiveness. Friendships ended because of bitter roots and marriages on edge of collapse because it’s just too hard to face the pain and trudge through the emotions. Sure it’s easy to say it but, to walk it is much harder. Bitterness is satan’s deceit that robs us of joy.
The other side to bitterness is that it allows those hurt to become historic tomorrow. By that I mean in the middle of an argument we yell out in frustration and hurt, “I feel this way because YOU did this to me. It’s your fault I’m having a bad day. I did this because you did it first to me!” Bitterness will show up if forgiveness is not spoken. It is that nasty weed that will keep coming back if not cut at the root and controlled by the Word of God.
We need to remember that we’re all capable of any sinful action and we all need grace given to us as well. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
What bitterness do you have in your life that needs to be brought to the foot of the cross?
What joy has satan robbed you of?
James 3:14-15 “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from Heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”
Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Shame (Satan’s Bondage)
We have to consciously make a decision to not let the shame creep over our wounds and make scars of regret. There’s no sign on our backs that states: My spouse betrayed our wedding vows. Yes, it may feel that way as shame is like an article of clothing that covers you with embarrassment, guilt, and seems to overwhelm your emotions. Shame is satan’s way of silencing you. There should be no shame in obeying and following Jesus.
God does not judge us for simply feeling. God walks by our sides as we work through the emotions of the pain caused against us. Don’t let satan take that obedience from you.
In what ways have you been able to bring your guilt for your shame to the cross? Being able to recognize cross roads and building Godly character out of it is a huge accomplishment!
Has shame changed your lifestyle and your perspective of yourself?
Isaiah 61:7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs."
Genesis 3:10 “He (Adam) answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
1 John 1:9
I'm forever grateful for the security we have knowing that our guilt and shame was nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified!!! God's love will NEVER run out on us, because He did what was set out before Him to do when Christ sacrificed His Son for us. What a glorious day we are about to celebrate as Jesus died and then rose again!!! As we meditate, ponder, and really digest the actual death of Jesus, let us not get caught up in the horrific pain, but rather focus on the gift through the nails, the cross, and the empty tomb. Life is not easy and comes with extreme suffering and loss BUT, Jesus is alive! Praise God for His love, His promise, and His never ending love He showers over us!!!
Well, we had our first meeting last night for R-613 Small Group and what a BLESSING that was for me to see the hearts of many women seek God in their piles of muck and choose JOY! In order for us to better understand each others emotional needs, I had each lady share briefly where they were currently and how they got to this point. This turned into a time of laughter, tears, sharing, and praying for each other. We didn't even touch the first week's notes! So next week we will start again and let God do His thing in our hearts as we seek His counsel.
I'm so grateful for the strength these women have, for the smiles they share, and the willingness to be open, honest, and share the rawness of their lives with strangers. We represent 5 different churches, range in age between our 20's-40's, and have been married from 5-20 years.
No story is alike. We are each unique and God is ready to do BIG things in the Green Room this spring!
Redeemed 613 starts it's first 6 week session tonight at North County Christ the King Church located in the Fairway Center in Lynden. You will find us in the Green Room located by LIttle Caesar's Pizza at 6:30pm. Please pray that God will move in our hearts to find more joy, more healing, and be able to de-bunk the lies satan has been telling us in our process of pain. I'm so excited to watch God do His thing!!!
If you would like to receive the notes from this evening, please contact me and I will email them to you directly and will later post them on the blog.
Five years ago today, my husband came home and confessed to 10 years of struggle and being caught in the web of sexual sin. God has continued to work in our lives weeding out the ugliness and replacing it with JOY! I can say with 100% honesty, that when I woke up today, I chose JOY not only for the purpose of restoration in our marriage but for the miracle in each of our lives. God is SOOOOOO good! It was extremely hard work, I still have my moments of sadness or pain, but the joy we share is more powerful then the pain of the past.
Praying today you too, can choose JOY and see God moments in the muck of your pain.
About the Author
Stephanie is a stay-at-home mommy to four little blessings. Married for 16 years, Tim and Stephanie find new ways to enjoy intimate time together while raising the young family.