Longing for Loneliness

longing for loneliness

Longing for Loneliness 

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace. Boy, this devotional hit me hard. Ann is a remarried widow and military wife and mom of five with just an amazing story. Her heart inspires me. Look out for more devotionals from her because she’s got a lot more to her story, and a lot more to say. This devotional in particular is about “longing for loneliness.”]

I thought I knew what loneliness was, and I avoided it at all costs. Before my husband
died, there were many times I felt lonely and ran from it. I filled my schedule with errands, my days with household chores, and it seemed to help.

Life of this wife and mother of five was endless hours of cleaning and chauffeuring children to and from their schools. Don’t even get me started with helping with homework while holding a newborn and trying to cook a healthy dinner to be warm when my husband came home from work. Life was busy. It was chaotic. There was always something needing to be done. The laundry seemed like it had a vendetta against me, and orphaned socks were constantly screaming at me to find their pair!

I grew used to filling my lonely heart with the busyness of this life. I read my daily 5 minute devotionals, said my prayers before meals and went to countless Bible studies. My husband loved the Lord as much as I did, and we did our weekly ritual of attending church. We both strived to live for Christ as best as we knew how.

For years, the presence of my husband and kids seemed to be all I needed in life. Or at least that’s what I thought should be enough. I never admitted feeling lonely to anyone, myself included, unless I was ready to be judged. And I wasn’t ready. Where I grew up, being lonely was almost shameful, like you were ungrateful for your life, family, etc… It was kind of like there was something wrong with the person, you know?

The night my husband died, I asked him if he was in any pain, and he whispered ever so softly that he wasn’t. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. That would be the last time I spoke with him as he had a heart attack in his sleep. I remember thinking as I was by his side in all this, “Lord, how am I going to face being alone? Why won’t you heal him?”

I desperately feared being alone.

And in that moment of heartbreak and disbelief, loneliness once again showed up to greet me. Within minutes of his passing, friends and family arrived to comfort me. But no one knew just what to say or could understand how lonely I was feeling. And honestly, all I wanted was to be left alone.

Then the Lord allowed me into a season of loneliness.

He allowed a season of loneliness in my life to create a deeper longing for Him. Husband or no husband, my heart was crying out all these years to go deeper with my Savior. To be alone with Him. To hear His voice. I needed now more than ever to know who I was in Christ.

What was my calling? To be a wife? Mother? Widow?

My life was now being redefined in the midst of this loneliness.

My identity was so wrapped up in preventing a void of loneliness that I forgot to know my King. I let the fear of loneliness drive my life into a pit of even more loneliness. In the end, the Lord allowed heartbreak to reveal a need for Him alone. He saved me. He called me deeper. He called me to love harder. He called me to a season of widowhood so that He could save me from the pit of loneliness I’d crawled into.

In the years following his passing, the Lord has shown me many things, but maybe none more profound than the gift of loneliness. And you know what was most comforting, knowing that Jesus needed to be alone too. If Jesus needed to be alone many times in order to spend quality time with God, then why would I think a busy life, husband or quick devotion would be enough?

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV

Dear Lord, help our lonely hearts long for a deeper need of You. Comfort us in our times of pain and heartache. Let us bask in our season of loneliness knowing You are with us. Take our broken hearts and fill them once more with your unconditional love. Amen. 

ann grace

Ann Grace married her first husband, a Marine and Firefighter in 2002 and they were blessed with five beautiful children. She was widowed in 2015 and re-married in 2017. She had a stillbirth in 2017 and now seeks to share her passion of how Christ rescued her with other grieving women and children.

 

 

 

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Trusting God: How I Met and Married the Love of My Life in Two Months (and what happened after)

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tara Canady. I saw so much of myself in this devotional — It is amazing, thank you Tara for sharing your story. So, I just want to say, Divas, trust in God, believe in love, believe in yourself, believe in the beauty of your dreams, believe in your marriage and don’t ever give up on the things God won’t let you give up wanting. Amen.]

Trusting God: How I Met and Married the Love of My Life in Two Months (and what happened after)

My name is Tara and I’ve been saved for twenty-four years. I just got married to my best friend last year, May 2016. I grew up in Charleston, SC but am now residing in Johnson City, TN. I have two cats, a love for books, and a passion for following Jesus and writing.

The past year and a half have been some of the most challenging times of my life. It began with a whirlwind romance to my now-husband, Justin. We met online at Christian Mingle. We texted for about a week and then decided to meet in person. We dated for a month and a half. During this time, I prayed ceaselessly about him.

I had never dated anyone before Justin. I’d gone out with a handful of men, but they never went past the first date. Justin was different. He was the first man I’d ever felt completely comfortable around – as though I could just be my weird, quirky self without having to put on a mask. And every time I asked God if Justin was “the one,” He always responded, “Yes.” In two months we were engaged and married. We went to the courthouse downtown Charleston on a Wednesday. Justin’s boss wouldn’t give him the day or week off work, so we had to rush through it during his lunch break. The only family present were my parents, whom I lived with at the time.

After the wedding, I moved into his condo. We stayed there for one month and then bills became too much for us. I didn’t work and he worked solely on commission. I cried a lot that month because I wasn’t used to stressful situations. My parents had always provided everything for me and I never really had to work at anything. Even the few years I trained in ballroom dancing, and the few months as an instructor, weren’t much of a struggle. Dancing had come easily. Being married didn’t.

As an only child, I grew up self-centered. I had been saved at age five and I did truly try to follow the Lord my whole life. I never rebelled against my parents, stayed out of trouble for the most part, and did what I was told. After I got married, I had to start thinking about someone besides myself. Although Justin and I are very much alike, truly two halves of one whole, we still think differently, as all men and women do. He wasn’t sure what to do about my mood swings (made worse because I had to go on birth control), or my anxiety and panic attacks I’d dealt with my entire life. He was more laid-back, trusting God with our problems instead of worrying about them like I did.

Because we were financially unstable, we decided to move in with my parents when they offered that as a solution. But that brought a whole new set of stresses because my parents barely knew Justin and weren’t sure what to make of him. We lived with them for a little over a year and by summer of this year (2017) it was time to move.

After months of fruitless search, Justin could finally quit the job he had when we got married and thought he’d found a new job. Within two weeks the women there forced him to quit. I’m not sure if they did it because he was a man in a female-driven environment, just didn’t like him, or God simply didn’t want him there. Whatever the reason, he couldn’t find a job after that.

We had a good amount of savings and Justin focused on starting an e-commerce business. But after reading Joyce Meyer’s book, Get Your Hopes Up! I knew we needed to make a leap of faith. So, we rented a home in Johnson City, Tennessee – a place neither of us had been before.

Now we are in the process of trusting God every single day to supply our needs, especially financially. I’m writing my own blog, a young adult fantasy novel, and working as a freelance writer. Every day we choose to trust God, and I’m excited to see where this adventure leads.

I am a blogger and a wife, married for less than two years. I was saved at five, homeschooled, and brought up following Jesus. My goal is to be a godly wife and mother, a successful blogger, and a published author. I want to travel the world, follow the Lord, and have a lot of cats (and a few kids too).

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God Cares For Me In Every Season

agnes-amos-god-cares-every-season

[Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Agnes Amos’ latest book, God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage, and Divorce.  (I did receive a copy of this book so that I could pick out the excerpt!) Agnes contributes regularly to Devotional Diva and has become a good friend of mine, so I wrote this endorsement that appears in the book; I wanted to include it here, too:

Each of us goes through at least one of the seasons discussed in this book – singleness may be our total path, or perhaps we go through all three seasons into divorce. In today’s modern world, these seasons are indeed normal and like Agnes discusses, trials of faith. I receive emails from women all around the world in the same positions and I know these chapters of encouragement are much-needed. Singleness and divorce especially are not discussed enough in the church, which is why I think this book is so unique. The situations are not unique, but the conversation is. There has been so much shame and guilt around both singleness and divorce, but Agnes reminds us in this book that God never leaves us – not then, not ever. Singleness is not a curse. Marriage may not be perfect (I know mine is not! Marriage is work!) and divorce may be inevitable. But you are always loved, Child of God.]

God Cares for Me in Every Season

I am an avid walker—this is a hobby I inherited from my earthly father, Papa Amos.

Walking is a time when I seek God’s face for my life and for others, and it is during these times that the Holy Spirit gets my attention. So that I don’t forget what He says, I often record it on my cell phone.

For those of you who are wondering, “Does God speak to humans like us?” The answer is Yes, He does in many natural ways. Here are the most common: Impulse, Ideas, Inspirations. The Bible is filled with many examples of how God speaks to His children.

Personally, I am learning to listen when God speaks, and my life continues to be transformed by this experience.

It was during one of these experiences that the Lord laid on my heart to write this book to encourage global Christians (and non-Christians) on His never wavering care during every season of their lives, especially the seasons of singleness, marriage, and divorce. I have to admit that when the idea came, I was reluctant to respond, and asked the Lord, “Why me?” The reason for this question is because the season of marriage is one where I have failed woefully in the past.

I do not consider myself to be an expert in these three seasons—at least that is what I thought. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of a truism I have heard in church many times: “A faith that is not tested cannot be trusted,”

My friends, I have been tested, and have failed and been redeemed in each of the three seasons I share in this book—single, married, and divorced. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I am here to share with you the truth that the Lord is in every one of these seasons. I want you to know beyond a doubt that He is indeed interested in and present with you in every season of your life.

For many years, I found myself struggling in each of these seasons. I was walking through each season with one leg in the world and one leg in Christ. After years of failing to succeed in any season, I finally discovered that living God’s way in every season of life is the best decision I could ever make. I have now begun a journey into a new and fulfilling lifestyle in marriage by focusing on Christ rather than my marital situation. I praise God for the truth of His Word in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that says:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

My prayer for you as you read this book is that you will be encouraged as you discover that our God is the God of the impossible. Nothing that happens in your life is impossible for Him to handle (Luke 1: 37). He will do the impossible for you in each of these seasons. He is the God that can convert your pain to gain and cause all things to work together for your good (Romans 8: 28). I had to learn that lesson, and you may need to learn it too. Perhaps, you will discover—like I did—the God who waits to help you in your seasons of singleness, marriage, or divorce.

Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP).She is the author of God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and DivorceThe Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

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My Modesty Story

modesty story

 

modesty story

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Hannah Anderson. Today Hannah is sharing her personal modesty story — and I commend her for that. Everyone has different modesty standards today; let’s face it, there’s no cut and dry rules. Hannah felt led to share and I love the lesson in her story! Thank you Hannah for being brave!]

A twenty-something Christian woman who always always held herself up to Christian standards of purity and modesty (sort of, more on that later) and wore her father’s purity ring he gave her a decade prior with pride. This woman always liked to talk about how above the world and the pleasures of the flesh she was and how sorry she was for other women who destroyed their lives by going outside God’s boundaries.

However, this woman was self-conscious. She thought herself to be homely and overweight. She noticed that no guys ever paid attention to her except to be her friend and she pretended this didn’t bother he because that is not what a Christian woman should care about. She also noticed that homely girls could get attention from guys by dressing immodestly, but she deigned not to go down that road because of her faith.

This woman met a man at work she really liked. He was an independent contractor working there temporarily. They talked all of the time on lunch break but he never pressed it further. He was about to leave and the woman was tired of being just a friend so she did something. She bought some new clothes that were still very modest but could be quickly made immodest. The lady would be dressed just as demurely and modestly as ever except when talking to the man on lunchbreak when she made sure he saw more than he could handle.

The woman rationalized this behavior by telling herself she was still “dressing modestly.”

The man saw what she was showing and lusted after her. After a week he asked the woman out. The woman was happier than ever but she felt very guilty about using immodesty so he would lust.

Well, you can probably guess the woman is me and the man is now my husband. We have talked about this and while he did lust after me that was not the reason he asked me out. He said he always liked me but was too shy to ask me out and wanted to wait until he would never have to see me again in case I said no. He said he felt just as guilty about lusting after me as I did about being immodest. I, of course apologized to him just like I did to God so many times.

We should never break God’s commandments no matter what advantages we might procure, for he is the one who knows what is best, and sometimes, God in his graciousness gives us what we want despite messing up. Finally, we need to obey the spirit of the law and not just the ‘rules’ that we can keep while violating the principles behind them.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

hannah andersonI grew up South of Atlanta and got a degree in philosophy from Emory University where I learned to think deep thoughts while accruing even bigger debts. I now live North of Atlanta with my husband and son.

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No Fairy Tale Marriages

no fairy tale marriages

princess and the frog

[This is a guest post by Melody Quinn. As a fellow Disney lover, I’m completely on the same page as Melody. Honestly though, even if I didn’t love Disney, I think I’d agree with this marriage advice! Thanks again, Melody, Bravo!]

No Fairy Tale Marriages

My childhood was filled with Disney movies and fairy tales. I read and re-read books full of original and modern fairy tales. I re-watched every Disney movie a hundred times, and still watch them to the annoyance of my husband. I used to attend dances and banquets with my imaginary prince. My childhood room was plastered with Disney posters. My own choice, my mother likes to remind me. I was hooked on tales of princesses and princes at a young age.

People used to tell me that I needed to be careful. If I kept filling my head full of fairy tales, I would be seriously disappointed with real life relationships. There are no Prince Charmings in real life. I must have heard that phrase over and over. I know that. In fact, that was part of my wedding vows: Honey, you’re no Prince Charming, but that’s alright, because I’m no princess.

I don’t regret that my head has been filled with fairy tales. I would change nothing about that. My love of fairy tales didn’t damage my view on my very human, very un-and-the-prince-and-princess-lived-happily-ever-after marriage. Even I was a little surprised that I had no expectations about having a fairy tale marriage. I was slightly disappointed in the dating process. I wasn’t expecting to be swept off my feet, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a connection-at-first-sight moment. I had to struggle to get to known my future husband, but it was, and still is, worth every minute of that struggle.

No, my views on marriage weren’t damaged. If anything, I think that the fairy tale relationships that I read about and watched in the movie theater actually made my view on real life relationships stronger.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that the happily ever after that I dreamt about is not possible here on this earth. It will only come to pass when the Lord takes me to be with him. The relationship that I’ve built with my husband isn’t based on a happily ever after view of life, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the stuff of fairy tales.

Here are a few things that I learned about marriage from the Disney fairy tales that filled my youth.

  1. Create a new life together. I’m putting this one first because it’s actually a very important concept. Fairy Tale/ Disney women are usually depicted as cleaving to their men. Some people don’t like to image a woman giving up her old life for her love. I’m actually fine with that, because I was able to fill in the blanks. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 NIV).  I left my old life behind; my husband did the same. Together we’ve created a new home. That’s how it’s really supposed to be, isn’t it?
  2. Together forever. Something else that I learned from Disney movies that I think is falling by the wayside in today’s society – the idea that marriage is forever. I don’t mean the happily ever after that’s tagged on the end of every Disney movie. I mean the idea that marriage is sacred. Married couples are going to have differences and fight. The point of marriage is to stand together and confront that together.
  3. Overlook the outside. My favorite fairy tale of all time – original, Disney, and every adaption in between – is Beauty and the Beast. And what is the whole point behind the tale? Not everyone is as they seem on the outside. This has a double meaning. As a married couple, my husband and I have gotten to know each other in ways that other people haven’t. We would never have gotten to this point if we weren’t willing to overlook the flaws that rested on the outside of who we are and dug deeper to find out who we really are. On a daily basis, we are called to turn a blind eye to the little imperfections that we’ve discovered and choose love and understanding instead. We should strive to see each other as the Lord sees us: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV.)
  4. Work and serve together. When a married couple stands together, they stand as equals. Even when it seems like you’re a princess looking at a frog. As a unique individual, they have different strengths and weaknesses. They both won’t have the same calling, but that shouldn’t stop them from working side by side. Embrace your differences, but keep looking for ways that they compliment your spouse’s. By working together to obtain a common goal, they’re relationship is strengthened.
  5. Sing every day. I would love to dance around and sing to Disney songs with my husband every night, but that just doesn’t happen. What I’ve gathered from watching fairy tale couples sing with each other is that couples don’t only need to work together. They need to play together as well. My husband and I both enjoy reading, playing board games, and swing dancing. We take every opportunity that we can to have fun together. After all, the couple that plays together stays together.
  6. Don’t end the story in a fight. In other words, don’t go to bed or leave for a trip with unresolved anger and hurt hanging over your head. I know from firsthand experience that this can be a hard lesson for newlyweds to learn. However, dealing with fights upfront will make you stronger. Fights with your spouse can push you further apart or pull you together. Be careful with your words. You can’t take them back, and you can never be guaranteed a chance to apologize another day.
  7. Not everything is about you. I love fairy tales that really show a dynamic between two characters. Without each other, they can’t make it  through the day. Focusing on yourself can ruin everything. You need to learn to put someone else first. I feel that it’s almost important to mention that not everything is about your relationship. Just like a good story has to involve different aspects of a character’s life, not just their relationship, you need to have a life outside of your spouse. If you are able to stand strong on your own, then you will be able to stand stronger together.
  8. It’s not all sunshine and daises. There is always that one moment in a Disney movie when everything seems like it’s loss. Regrettably, that feeling occurs often in life. That doesn’t mean that you should throw in the towel or go on by yourself. The only thing that is going to make your married life stronger than your life before you got married is that you are no longer alone. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV).

So fairy tales and happily ever afters doesn’t exist in the real world. That doesn’t meant that you should discount fairy tale relationships entirely. My head may be full of Disney songs, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy here with my dear hubbie. And that goes double for you!

Melody Quinn is an associate editor for TouchPoint Press. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin in 2014 with a BA in English and Technical Writing. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading YA and fantasy books, writing stories, cooking and baking for her husband, and playing with her guinea pig. She currently attends North Fort Worth Baptist Church.

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Lovers Loving Others

Lovers Loving Others

Lovers Loving Others

Dustin and Jennifer – Lovers Loving Others

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog AND video blog by Jennifer Lee (the video is also by her new fiance, Dustin). Jennifer contacted me to show me her proposal video and it was so cute, I did die a little. Dustin did a really great job! Jennifer is sharing their beautiful courtship story below!]

 

 
Dustin and I went on our first date on September 24th, 2014. We had met in the mission field several months prior and we decided to take a step forward to get to know each other. He took me to a secluded beach in Malibu where we shared about our life dreams and experiences. Shortly afterwards, Dustin and I ate dinner at Duke’s, a nearby seafood restaurant. I was amazed at how easily our conversations flowed, how much Christ was in the center of our conversations, and how gentlemanlike Dustin was (he paid for all the food, listened attentively, and kept God in the center of our talks). I briefly mentioned to him how much I loved handwritten notes and before long, he came back with a gift – a handwritten note in a bottle – that he told me not to open until January 1st of 2015.

When January 1st came around, Dustin picked me up and we returned to the same beach location in Malibu. Dustin told me to open the note and he read from it. He shared about his desire to enter into a courtship, meaning that we would seek after the blessing of our community over our relationship. We decided to go into an extended time of prayer before I gave him my final decision.

On February 11th, 2015, I met with Dustin and told him that I was ready to commit to a relationship with him. Shortly after, we received the blessings of my parents, his parents, and our mentors. Throughout our relationship, we would return to the same spot on that Malibu beach where we would talk, worship, read the Bible, and throw prayer rocks into the ocean. When February 11th, 2017 came around, Dustin brought me to the same exact location on Malibu beach. There, he had set up a beautiful canopy. He read a note of 730 things he loved about me (one for each day we were in a relationship). After finishing this note, he then asked me to become his wife! This video captures the entire day of the proposal, including a scavenger hunt that we went on before we arrived to the beach. I am so grateful to God for bringing us together and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him!

 

Jennifer Lee is a senior at Pepperdine University. She is studying interpersonal communication and nonprofit management. She is passionate about God, people, and relationships. She is currently working at two nonprofits – Relationship IQ and Revival LA. She also has her own YouTube channel called Lovers Loving Others. On it, she and her fiance Dustin use their relationship to love individuals all over Los Angeles. 

 

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Marriage Honesty

Marriage Honesty

[Editor’s Note: I had the awesome opportunity to do a Q&A with Molly Reed of the husband/wife music duo Grayson|Reed. They are honest in their songs and have a strong marriage message that I love. Here is some backstory on Grayson|Reed before we dive into the interview…cover-artwork-gr

Mike and Molly met their first week of college as entering freshman at Nashville’s Belmont University. Over the next 10 years, the aspiring artists floated in and out of one another’s social circles, gradually building a unique friendship that eventually became a strong relational foundation when they started dating in 2012. The following year, they said “I do,” and two years later, they welcomed their daughter, Grailey. 

Whether writing about the Christian journey, marriage or redemption, Grayson|Reed simply desires to craft music from an intensely honest place—even if their vulnerability shines a light on the messy parts of life.]

MW: Do you feel like you have a mission with your songwriting?

MR: Absolutely! I believe that The Lord gave me such a special gift and has called me to use it. I’m so thankful for songwriting. Music is the universal language and to be able to communicate to people through song is so cool. I love the idea of being able to encourage people and share Jesus through music.

MW: Could you tell us about your Christian walk?

MR: My personal journey with Jesus really became real during my senior year of high school. I was on a mission trip and just got to see the world in a whole new way. It really opened my eyes and Jesus showed up in a way I hadn’t seen Him do before. It’s a daily choice to put Him first. What’s been super fun lately is praying with my daughter and teaching her about Jesus. I love seeing Him through her eyes.

MW: How important was it for you to be able to eventually work together?

MR: It was always a dream for my husband Mike and I to be able to do music together, and the fact that we are living that dream is amazing. Once we had our daughter Grailey, we knew we didn’t want to be touring apart and always leaving each other. We would rather be playing in front of 10 people together then 1,000 apart.

MW: What is your songwriting process like?

MR: It’s the same yet different for each song. I usually start with some kind of melody or groove and feel out the music, from there the idea or title is born. BUT, some days I come with a concept or title and write the music around it. Songwriting is much like playing a sport, it’s almost like a muscle that you have to use regularly to get better and better. It’s important for me to hone my craft as often as I can, so I try to write around 3-4 days a week when we are not on the road.

MW: What do you feel are the biggest reasons people give up on their marriages?

MR: Lack of communication or as we call it “writing stories.” From day one, Mike and I made a promise to try and NOT write stories or fill in the blanks with what the other was saying. So often, people live out and believe what they “think” someone meant by what they said rather than asking for clarification. I will say “Mike I’m writing a story that when you said XYZ you meant “this,” is that true?” It gives the other person a chance to speak to the lies we created in our head and call out the heart and truth.

MW: How has your faith grown during your marriage?

MR: Much like becoming a parent, I have had to learn how to surrender and trust in a whole new way. It’s easy for me to want to try to control the other person, or to live in fear of something tragic happening. But I’m choosing to give it all to God and TRUST Him with my family.

MW: What do you think is next for Grayson|Reed?

MR: Honestly, I love cooking and baking so one day I hope to be able to write a cookbook! Maybe I’ll call it “What’s Molly Making?” haha!  

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Thankful for My Husband

thankful-for-my-husband

[Editor’s Note: Today I am welcoming back veteran Diva Sarah Coleman to congratulate her on the release of her new book, Together: A Journey Of Godly Marriage. Glad to have you back with this timely Thanksgiving piece, Sarah!]

It is the time of year when we are thankful. Thankful for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our lives. Yet sometimes there are blessings right under our noses that escape notice. Blessings we take for granted. People in our lives we forget to thank.

“Oh, they know how much I love and appreciate them.”

Do they?

I met my husband when I was thirty-one. After ten years of my adult life as a single person I determined I would never take my husband for granted. I am thankful for the miracle Father did in bringing us together. I am thankful we are such a formidable team.

But I’m not sure I’ve told him lately. So this is a letter to the love of my life, father of my children and hero of my love story.

I’m thankful for you, Baby.

Thankful we do life together

I watch many couples do life in close proximity, but not together. I am thankful we were on the same page when we met, and continue to be on the same page. I am thankful for our synergy and the powerful force we create.

Thankful for your love

When we met your love for me was fierce. I am thankful it has never waned, but grown into a burning, inextinguishable flame. I love your unconditional love, patience and gentleness toward me. And I love you, Ben, with everything I am.

Thankful for our children

I am thankful God blessed us with two incredible boys. I thank God for the godly example you give them of how to treat a woman. They honour you and you are their hero. Thank you for making time for them, telling them how proud you are. And telling them every day that you love them.

Thankful for the way you treat me

Every woman wants to be treated like a princess. More than opening the car door, you open doors for me though your encouragement and belief in my ability. You have never belittled me but you have lifted me higher and allowed my talents to flourish.

Thankful you provide for our family

You have never shied away from your responsibilities as head of our home and provider for our family. You are a great provider. You work hard and stick it out through the rigmarole. I am proud of your accomplishments. Thank you for providing our family with the life we enjoy.

Thankful for your love for God

Most importantly, I am thankful I married a man who loves God. I am thankful you lead the way in our home when it comes to life in the spirit. I am thankful for the books you read and the podcasts you listen to. I am thankful for the conversations we share about what God is saying. I am thankful you seek God more than you seek me.

Thank you, my husband, for being a man of God and the man who chose to spend the rest of his life with me.

 

Sarah colemanSarah Coleman, together with her husband, is the Senior Pastor of Generation Church in Australia. She is a passionate advocate for strong, Christian marriage and today is the release of her new book, Together: A Journey Of Godly Marriage. To learn more visit sarahcoleman.com.au.

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Why I Surrendered My Marriage to God

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Why I Surrendered My Marriage to God

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Angela Tyler. I’m so happy Angela reached out to me to share to her story on Devotional Diva! Marriage isn’t always perfect, but God always is. Thank you for sharing with us, Angela!]

Like many other girls growing up, I often imagined what my life would be like as an adult. I pictured myself married with two children, football practices and family game night. Things were planned out, and I knew exactly the kind of husband I wanted. I was a go getter with a can do attitude about my future. I had the right stuff to make sure everything worked out accordingly. Oh, how naïve I was.

Things aren’t always going to go as you planned.

My husband and I started as very good friends when we first moved in together. We never fought and we had a lot of fun. I would often hear compliments from friends and family that he was such a nice guy, and we were great together. And I couldn’t have agreed more – I adored my husband, and I knew he adored me.

The birth of our daughter was a time of delight. Her arrival was the spark for my salvation and at that point I began to see my life in an entirely new way. We were elated as we took her home and talked about how our lives were going to be different. Respectable. Happy.

A hard lesson.

Our daughter was our salvation, and our sudden awakening that real life had begun. We were responsible for another sweet, tiny human being. And the heaviness of that awareness began to make both of us begin to self-doubt our worthiness of such a task.

We felt that she deserved the very best, and the pressure of proving that was overwhelming. Things got harder quickly as we aimed to give her a better life. The stress of that began to chip away at us, and at times we ended up bitter with each other simply because we were stressed.

I think back now, to the time when I had it all figured out as a teenager. My preconceived notions of what life should be like in the future had set me up for defeat. I wasn’t exactly where I had planned to be, I wasn’t the type of mother I thought I’d be and I definitely was not the type of wife my husband deserved.

I was trying to control every aspect of my life exactly the way I wanted it to go. I wanted my kids to behave so I wouldn’t be a yelling mom. I wanted my husband to be act a certain way so that I could act in a gracious and loving way. I wanted other things to change so I wouldn’t have to.

The moment everything changed.

The day it happened was a few months ago at church. My husband and I had just come through a pretty rotten week. Some hard things were going on and we weren’t getting along at all. I was in a pretty dark place and feeling incredibly unsatisfied with my life. Pastor offered an altar call for the surrender of a burden in your life. My heart was pulled from my seat and I walked down to the altar. I asked God to fix everything. Just take away the hurting and bitterness because I loved my husband and didn’t want our marriage to turn into something undesirable. A warm hand was laid on my shoulder and in an answer to my prayer, said these words softly in my ear: “your husband is not your enemy.”

That was the day I surrendered my marriage to God. I was not in control, he was. The relief in that moment was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My problems were not solved that day – God didn’t take away any of my husband’s “faults”, he didn’t make my kids perfect angels, and he didn’t suddenly make us debt free. He released my soul from the burden of carrying it all.

When I relinquished the responsibility of taking that responsibility all by myself I was free to place my priorities elsewhere. I became a better mother, I became more motivated to please my husband, and I began to really live my life.

Still, there are moments of discouragement. A person of faith is never exempt from suffering. But the wonderful truth is that our God is bigger than our problems. We have problems that we try to fix on our own but we don’t have the ability to do that without the help of God. He works things out for our good in his own time. And in my experience, the result is a hundred times better than I could have imagined.

 

angela-tylerHi! My name is Angela Tyler. I’m a wife and mother of two beautiful kids. Reading scripture and other literature has been a core part of understanding the profound love of our Father, and helped me to live a happier life. My heart’s desire is to contribute to some of the amazing literature available to wives and mothers everywhere.

Angela is offering free printable prayer cards just for Devotional Diva readers (link here!)

 

 

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God Is Still In The Marriage Business

god-marriage-business

God Is Still In The Marriage Business

 

[editor’s note: This post was originally published on Feb 09, 2016. Due to a recent glitch, I’m just republishing it!]

My husband and I decided to get married because we wanted our lives to line up within God’s order
. It was not because of love, convenience, or social pressures. We made up in our minds that we will be examples to our families of what God can do when you put Him first.

I wanted to share this for two reasons. First, we don’t hear enough. I even have people today that frown up at me when I say it. Secondly, I want to assure you it is possible for God to guide those who want Him to speak to them about their relationships. In return, you have to be willing to open your heart to what He is going to direct you to do.

It was very difficult for me to submit to what God was instructing me to do. It was not that I didn’t love my partner or didn’t want to marry him one day. I wanted to do it on my own time. I realized that at that point there had begun a process of exposure.

Sometimes there are places where, if we admitted it, we don’t want the truth of God’s Word to rule in our lives. My relationship was one of those areas. It was more comfortable to live the way I wanted and not how God required.

I would have continued to live in sin waiting on a grand proposal. I had my heart set on receiving a huge diamond ring. My partner would have recited a long speech about how much he loved me, and there was nothing else he would rather do than to make me the center of his life. Everyone would be totally supportive. Of course, things panned out a bit differently.

We fought constantly about where our relationship would go after I revealed what God said to do. To top it off, people who were very close to us were not on board with it either. Yet, God still impressed on my heart that we were doing the right thing. He wanted better for us than the life we had chosen. The things I was waiting on could never compete with the love God wanted to pour into my life in this season.

The love I have for my husband now is more genuine than ever before.

1 John 4: 7 says “let us love one another, for love is from God”

I can honestly say my love for God and His Word strengthened my love for my husband and myself. I now walk in freedom being confident in the fact that I am even more closer to God without that disobedience in between us. I can witness to people without any fear or internal conflict. God has even begin speaking to me more about things He wants me to do.

Ultimately, God wants us free. Bondage of any kind keeps us from what He wants us to experience. Choose God’s Word over your own advice every time. Here is the place where true love begins to flow out of us and into the world.

 

ozellaI’m Ozella Jones, a 26 year old Certified Medical Assistant from Birmingham, Alabama. I’ve been encouraged by other women in Christ to be all that God has predestined me to be. With Christ in my life, I can laugh, love, and enjoy my portion, knowing that things are provided for those who trust in Him! Be blessed and be a blessing to others!

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