It happens in all marriages...a disagreement starts, an argument ensues, emotions get thrown into the mix and then sometimes one, or the other, or both end up saying things they don't mean or things that they regret saying later.
My husband and I have been married for sixteen months now. Like any couple, we've had our disagreements and have worked through them. This is hard to share, but this week we got into a doozy of an argument. Emotions ramped up (especially on my part), and some hurtful things were said. Words, like toothpaste being squeezed out of the tube, you can't push them back in. They're out there.
I love my husband and I think he is the most wonderful man on earth, but he's human, and he said something that triggered some issues and feelings that I thought I had long since completely dealt with. But, obviously this nerve could still be triggered.
It became very clear to me that I still have some issues and fear (rational or irrational) about being abandoned. My ex-husband had left me and our children not once, but twice. The memories I have of the crushing feelings associated with betrayal, abandonment, worthlessness came flooding back like a raging storm. I was gripped with intense anxiety and fear. I knew I never wanted to go through that experience again or to have to feel those awful feelings another time in my life...
What I wanted right then and there was a written 100% guarantee that I would never be abandoned in my life again.
I wanted reassurance that I would never have to feel those terrible feelings again nor deal with the wounded spirit that came along with them.
One small problem...I wanted what I couldn't have. Knowing and loving my husband as I do, I could cast my vote with probability that that would never happen, but when the enemy jumps onboard and starts whispering lies in your ear and your OCD starts spinning it over and over again in your head, it can become tortuous. The truth of the matter is that there is no 100% guarantee of anything in life.
In times like these, I find that I need to scrap all the theological complexities and simply go back to basics.
Fortunately God drew me to a devotional that had been written that day by a very good writer friend of mine - Kelly Balarie - at www.purposefulfaith.com.
Her words spoke to my heart. One simple line that Kelly wrote jumped out at me:
"Jesus is sufficient for all our needs."
I then claimed it for myself praying it, "Jesus is sufficient for all my needs."
Even if, worst case scenario, my husband were ever to abandon me, Jesus is sufficient for all my needs. I thought back over my life and all the times that Jesus has seen me through things I thought I could never survive; I had a small wave of peace wash over me. If He was faithful and sufficient then...then He will be faithful and sufficient in my future - whatever it may hold.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The Holy Spirit pulled up this verse and brought it to mind. A few minutes later I read it in the devotional Kelly had written. I realized that the answer to all my worst case scenarios, to all of your worst case scenarios, is really very basic and simple...
Jesus and His grace is sufficient for me/you in all our needs. When we are weakest, He will be our strength.
If I am left alone holding the bag in life...His grace is sufficient. Simple. Basic.
In my distress another very basic principle in scripture came to mind:
God has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid, What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5)
How many times have I read the scripture "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."? Perhaps hundreds or more. But right now I was clinging to these eight words. Even if everyone in my life deserted me, God's promise still remained that He will never leave nor forsake me. I could take that guarantee to the bank. Combine this basic principle (I will not forsake you) with the first basic principle (My grace is sufficient for you) and a promise we can count on and live with is revealed. I was still very anxious but my footing was shifting from sinking sand to a rock that I could stand on.
We also have the power to tell the enemy - the purveyor of lies - to hit the road when he tries to undermine the truth.
The truth is that God, my husband, and I together are a strand of three cords that is not easily broken. How thankful I am to have God in the center of our marriage.
Then, God being God, raised up one of my favorite worship songs by Hillsong - "Christ is Enough". Part of the song goes something like this:
Through every trial
My soul will sing
No turning back
I've been set free.
Christ is enough for me
Christ is enough for me
Everything I need is in You
Everything I need.
The main line in the chorus is pretty straightforward...Christ is enough for me.
The truth came more sharply into focus. Not only is Christ enough for me in any situation, but everything I need (maybe not everything I want) is in Him.
If I have Christ in me, then I have everything I need to get through whatever life may bring...period.
This morning I read a devotion online that asked for prayer requests afterward. My heart ached as I read everything from people dealing with cancer, illness, death, job loss, infertility, prodigal children, aging and ailing parents, homelessness, failing marriages, divorce, abuse (verbal, emotional, and physical), depression, anxiety, special needs children, failed family dynamics, you name it, the list went on.
Life, in this world as we know it, holds no guarantees. In fact, just the opposite - the Bible tells us that in this world we will encounter trouble of every kind.
Christ is enough for me. His grace is sufficient for me. He will never leave nor forsake me.
I'm not going to tie this up with a pretty bow and say that all my fears were instantly relieved. I still wrestle with my issues and fears, but in my fear, I can cling to some very basic yet powerful promises. No matter what worst case scenarios come to pass in our lives we can know that:
Christ is enough and everything we need is in Him.
Lord, Thank you so much for your promises to me. Thank you that when life and its problems swirl around me I can see myself as cradled in your strong and loving arms. Thank you for your promise of sufficiency to me and for giving me a rock to stand on. May I begin to grasp how wide and long and high and deep your love is for me and in that I would be able to experience love and peace that surpasses knowledge. Enable me to claim the promise that no matter what, You are enough for me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Ps. Know if you are reading my blog...I am praying for you every morning and every evening.
Update on Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan: I discovered, during an Easter fundraiser that raised funds to pay for Bibles in Urdu (which the children are LOVING), that MANY people have secret stash jars in which they toss spare change. These jars have a way of accumulating many coins over time. When a relatively small group of people added up our "stash" jars, we came up with $300. to buy Bibles for 30 precious children.
Challenge: This Mother's Day weekend...would you consider going to a CoinStar or similar machine and have your "stash" converted to "cash". Be a mother to these orphans and help us to purchase tables and chairs for them. They currently sit on carpets for their schooling.
Send cash or check to: Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC 27513
***Please continue to pray for their safety!! Thank you...