Finding Hope for Your Marriage ~ and a Free Gift

My heart is heavy today for the many wives who feel stuck in a difficult marriage. For the last couple of months, the top google search word that led people to this site has been the word “unloved.” How unfortunate that during the month of February, when we highlight and celebrate love, so many of us feel it is lacking!

Maybe you, too, are searching for hope for your marriage?

As a wife myself, I spent many years fearing the reality of divorce. In fact, it’s only been the last few years that I’ve begun to find confidence in our marriage. So I feel qualified to tell you that you can still find hope for your marriage!

No marriage is too messy, no life too destroyed, for our Father God to work a transformation that leads to new life.

The real question is, how badly do you want it?

Are you willing to fight for hope?

Are you willing to cling to truth?

Are you willing to spend time praying for and loving someone who may not act loving toward you in return?

Perhaps even daring to hope sounds too painful to you at the moment – I’ve been there before, too, friend.

Are you searching for marriage encouragement? It's possible to find hope for your marriage, and we want to make that easier through this free ebook! The authors understand what a burden a troubled marriage relationship can be, but they also know the power of God's redeeming work.  Christian wife, hope for marriage, troubled marriage, difficult marriage, marriage problems, marriage encouragement, strong marriage, healthy marriage, god-centered marriage, godly wife, good wife

Yet our Father redeemed those broken places for me, and He desperately wants to do the same for you.

My friend Rebekah Hallberg and I have spent the last year writing about marriage and family life for each other’s blogs, attempting to share our stories that they might encourage women from all walks of life who really want to stay married but are weary of the struggle, women who have nearly lost hope.

We’ve been working for the last month or so to bring you a gift, a marriage resource that will hep you find renewed hope for your marriage. What we ended up with exceeded even our own expectations!

The best part is that for a short time, we are offering this gift to you at no cost – absolutely free! We firmly believe that God wants to use these words to encourage wives across the globe to persevere when it comes to having a marriage that lasts.

Our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife, is a 14-day devotional that will meet you right where you are at and gently lead you toward only hope that has the power to transform your marriage.

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • personal stories from women who understand the struggle
  • evidence that you are not alone
  • comfort and encouragement from God’s Word
  • practical steps to take
  • resources for further help
  • bonus content

Are you searching for marriage encouragement? It's possible to find hope for your marriage, and we want to make that easier through this free ebook! The authors understand what a burden a troubled marriage relationship can be, but they also know the power of God's redeeming work.  Christian wife, hope for marriage, troubled marriage, difficult marriage, marriage problems, marriage encouragement, strong marriage, healthy marriage, god-centered marriage, godly wife, good wife

Our hope is that God can use our painful pasts to bring new life to other married women.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Cor. 2:3-5

There is hope for your marriage if you are willing to seek it!

Jen :)

To claim your free copy of this encouraging marriage resource, sign up below!
Are you searching for marriage encouragement? It's possible to find hope for your marriage, and we want to make that easier through this free ebook! The authors understand what a burden a troubled marriage relationship can be, but they also know the power of God's redeeming work.  Christian wife, hope for marriage, troubled marriage, difficult marriage, marriage problems, marriage encouragement, strong marriage, healthy marriage, god-centered marriage, godly wife, good wife

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Sharing with: Grace and Truth

3 Fears to Overcome When You’re Feeling Stuck

Sometimes I avoid writing just like I avoid prayer and time with the Lord. I know why I do it. I avoid these things because I’m feeling ashamed or unworthy. I avoid because I’m afraid I might not like what the Lord has to say about my wishes or my needs or my complaints.

I avoid because it’s easier than trying to change.

Do you ever do it, friend? Do you ever run like Jonah in the opposite direction? Do you hide away from the Lord like Adam and Eve and hope He won’t notice your absence?

Honestly, the last thing I felt like doing was praying this morning because I knew I had some confessing to do. The second-to-last thing I felt like doing was writing to you all because I know I’ve messed up, blown it, wasted valuable time, and squandered opportunities.

It’s the worst feeling in the world – feeling stuck – wanting to change, yet feeling like you can’t.

Last year, I set some big goals for myself, but to be honest, I only did so half-heartedly, and I failed to fully reach a few of them. I’ve always been resistant to goal-setting, a sort of inner rebellion against holding myself accountable. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why.

Why am I, a planner by nature, so opposed to making plans for reaching specific goals?

Why do I avoid the very process that could help me when I’m feeling stuck?

As I was praying this morning, I realized there are several fears that are holding me back from my God-given success story (because He is in the business of changing lives, after all), and I wonder if they just might be holding you back, too, friend.

Fear. It keeps us feeling stuck, unable to move, to change, to succeed. Overcoming these 3 fears will help you move toward the goals you are desperate to reach!

These three fears will keep us feeling stuck if we let them!

1. Fear of failure

If I set real, specific goals, then I’m taking the chance that I might fail, and failure is a perfectionist’s worst nightmare. We literally dream about it sometimes. The easy and safe path is to avoid setting goals at all, or to set vague goals so that we can partially achieve. What it really comes down to is an all-or-nothing mindset that fails to recognize the imperfect progress that I write about so often here.

2. Fear of self

Listen, friends, I know my own heart. I know there is this part of me that wants to achieve success so that I will look good to others. I know there is a part of me that wants success for selfish, unspiritual reasons. How do I keep fleshly pride at bay?

What if I set real, specific goals and then realize they were really my plans and not the Lord’s? I’ll have wasted all of that time, and I’ll be out of God’s will. Now, some of you may be chuckling at me at this point, but this is and has been a real fear of mine from a young age! It’s part of a perfectionist’s nature to do anything to avoid being wrong, and that plays into my spiritual life and some of yours, as well, I’m sure.

3. Fear of the hard work

If I spend time asking the Lord what He wants from me this next year, He might ask me to do things that seem way too hard! What if He asks me to uproot my entire family, or uproot our ministry, or do something really hard for a food-addicted person like me – give up sugar?!!

The truth is you and I might fail.

We might get it wrong to begin with, or we might convince ourselves the work is too difficult and give up part way through. There is no guarantee of success, no promise of perfect achievement, at least not in this lifetime.

So why take the risk?

Because the alternative is remaining stuck.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of feeling stuck.

I’m fed up.

I’m ready for real and lasting change.

I’m determined not to let the enemy’s lies hold me down any longer because I fall short of perfection. For several years now, I’ve been writing about looking for progress, yet somewhere along the line, I fell for the lie that it’s all or nothing all over again.

And as sad as I am about that, it’s okay, it really is. It’s okay because…

Grace.

Grace is what allows us to grab on to the rescue rope. Grace reminds us that when we can’t pull ourselves up, He promises not to let go. Grace teaches us to let our Father do the heavy lifting so that our burden will be light!

Those fears we have when we’re feeling stuck? They’ll still be there.

They’ll sneak back up on us late at night when we lay down to sleep. They’ll plague us when we slip back into old habits. They’ll whisper, “You can’t do it.”

The enemy of our souls seeks to devour us, but we can be protected if we’ll just put on our spiritual armor and choose to do battle in faith.

You and I? We must choose to believe the promise of God’s Word that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. That we are more than conquerors in Christ. That even when we can’t, He can! And most importantly, that He loves us still.

He loves us still.

I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to setting goals, friend, but I know the One who does, and I trust that even if we set the wrong goals, even if we fail miserably, even if pride gets in the way, He will set us straight.

If we choose to walk hand-in-hand with Him, rather than running like Jonah or hiding like Adam and Eve, we can be confident in our direction.

Let’s get unstuck together.

Jen :)

P.S.  If you’re ready for change that really lasts, my friend Arabah Joy has created a workshop called Grace Goals for goal setting that is biblically based (affiliate).  It’s one of the things I appreciate about her most – her material is always doctrinally sound and rooted in scripture. The second-best thing I like about Arabah Joy is that she keeps her products affordable, too. ;)

If you’re tired of feeling stuck, the first step to getting unstuck is to make a real plan for change!

Are you frustrated and feeling stuck? Did you fail to meet last year's goals? Or perhaps you're not sure where to start in setting goals for next year?  Grace Goals is a biblical approach to goal setting that can take the fear right out of planning for success!

Here’s what the printable Grace Goals workbook will assist you with:

  • Identifying the key area God wants you to take possession of
  • Setting practical, godly goals to take your promised land
  • Developing a doable, personal plan for change
  • Learning why grace is the enablement you need
  • Recognizing and appropriating grace in your daily life

Let today be the day of your fresh start!

If this year wasn't quite what you planned, then you need a fresh start!  Learn how to set goals by using this biblical approach. Experience the transforming power of allowing God to lead your efforts!

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

When You Just Want to Be Left Alone

The truth is, I just wanted to be left alone. After all, we weren’t getting along, we were bickering about everything – or so it seemed, and the last thing I wanted was to have to spend time with him. I didn’t want his usual greeting of a hug and kiss. I just wanted him to go away.

As I watched him walk away, shoulders drooped due to my cold shoulder, I felt a twinge of guilt and remorse. Then I remembered the stress he’d caused me, the fear he’d brought into our home, and I pushed the guilt aside. This mess was his fault, and he needed to fix it.

It wasn't someone or something else separating my husband and me. It wasn't another man or woman, it wasn't job stress, or even distance. It was me...   The Time I Just Wanted to Be Left Alone

Sadly, this has happened too many times in my marriage.

I was the one doing the damage that is warned against in Mark 10:9 –

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.

It wasn’t someone or something else separating my husband and me. It wasn’t another man or woman, it wasn’t  job stress, a crazy boss, or even distance. It was me.

I was letting the enemy come between us through bitterness that I was letting take root in my heart.

One day, out of the blue, my husband texted me to ask if we could start praying together. I was confused because we do pray together.

He listed a few things that he wanted to begin praying about, together, intentionally.

I took my time answering because…I wanted to be left alone.

I wanted to just ignore his request and wallow in my own feelings.

But that’s the thing about a covenant relationship – God gently and lovingly reminded me of my part of the commitment while I sat there telling Him about how my husband broke his part of the commitment.

Despite all that happened, I firmly believe God called me to stay in my marriage, to see my husband get the necessary help he needs, to champion redemption inside these four walls.

And that’s why I had to check my attitude. I could not continue to let the enemy weasel his way into the marriage that I was fighting for. I couldn’t write about redemption and then stand in the way of it.

Despite my feelings, regardless of the fact that I really just wanted to be left alone, I picked up my phone and responded to my husband.

Yes, I will pray with you.
Yes, we’ll pray specifically for the things that you want to pray for.
And yes, we’ll move forward trusting God together.

In order for our marriage to grow together, and actually in order for any marriage to move forward, we have to set self aside. We have to be looking out for the best for our spouse and for our marriage.

I’m thankful for the Lord’s conviction in my life, to gently remind me that selfishness really isn’t going to get me anywhere. Even though I wanted to be left alone, even though I set up barriers to connecting with my husband, the Lord gently worked in our hearts to draw us back together.

Friends, if the Lord is working in your heart in this manner, trust me when I say that it’s better choosing His way. Set aside your feelings, even just for a moment, and let Him work in your heart.

 

Rebekah M. HallbergRebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

What If God Actually Answered My Prayers?

His words caught me totally by surprise. I looked up from what I was doing to be sure I’d heard him. My husband has never been very definitive about anything, especially pertaining to our marriage, so his matter-of-fact response caught me off guard.

My husband and I have had a rough few years. We’ve had legal, financial and marital issues, to name just a few. The trauma we’ve dealt with has been almost unbearable. My husband has had to deal with some very difficult issues, and while we’ve tried to navigate them together, ultimately they have been his demons to wrestle while I prayed.

I was frustrated at where we were in our relationship – seemingly stuck. The struggles that we faced took us on very different roads than I ever intended. Navigating them has not been easy for me.

I think I said something like, “I don’t like where we are. I want to feel like we’re moving forward. I want to feel unstuck.”

He answered that we won’t be in this position forever. I won’t always feel stuck. No, someday this will be behind us.

“You want to move forward? Then we start today. We start here. We may not know where we are going to end up, but we can start right here and move forward together.”

Friends, I have prayed for this moment. I have prayed for my husband to step into the position to want to lead our family, our marriage.

And there I stood, surprised, uncertain, not sure what to do.

What if…

What if God actually answered my prayers?

His words startled me. Could be be that God actually answered my prayer?

The world is so quick to speak their “truths” into our lives:

You’re not good enough.
Your prayer is too big to get answered.
Your relationship is too broken.
Your God isn’t big enough.

Even those 4 lies right there – they’re huge. We’ve all probably heard them (or a variety of them) at some point.

But what does God do?

God calls us out.

God calls us out – He makes us holy, set apart.

In Exodus 3:5, God called to Moses from the burning bush.

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

And in Joshua 5:15, the commander of the Lord’s army met Joshua near Jericho.

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

When God is ready to use us, when He answers our prayers and prepares us for what’s ahead, He will set us apart for His purpose.

We may not see a burning bush, and we may not talk with the commander of the Lord’s army, but that doesn’t diminish God’s work in our lives! God’s power to work is as strong whether we have a Damascus road experience, or whether we’re struck by the words of our husband.

God is not finished with my marriage. He still has a plan for us. He is answering my prayers for my marriage in ways I can’t even believe.

What are you praying for today? How can we be praying with you?

We will pray, but friends, I ask you to pray, believing.

 

Rebekah M. HallbergRebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

4 Ways to Overcome the Post-argument Hangover

If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced it – the all-day-long fight. You know, the one you just can’t seems to resolve, the one that leaves you nearly breathless and emotionally spent.

And even when you do manage to see each other’s point of view, even when you reconcile with I’m sorrys and Forgive mes, you’re left with all of these leftover ugly feelings inside. You’re still grieving the fact that you argued to begin with. You might even be nursing a few wounds even as you make up your mind to forgive.

Have you experienced this phenomenon, friends? The post-argument hangover can leave you feeling stuck, unable to move on if you let it. It keeps you mired right where the Enemy wants you.

What we need is a gameplan to help us overcome!

4 Ways to Overcome the Post-argument Hangover

1. Remember who you are in Christ.

Now that the fight has been resolved and you are right with one another and right with God, you’ll still have those leftover human emotions and hormones flooding your body. The Enemy is sure to sieze this opportunity to envelop you with debilitating guilt – the kind that leaves you feeling stuck and unable to move on.  The kind of guilt that calls you a bad wife. The kind of guilt that tells you your arguing is ruining your children. The kind of guilt that whispers you’ll never change. The guilt that leaves you feeling hopeless and helpless.

Arm yourself with truth from the Word and fight to claim your status as beloved daughter of the King, holy and blameless before God because of the blood of Jesus, a work-in-progress woman who isn’t finished yet.

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;  who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Rom. 8:33-35 (NASB)

It’s not the end of the story, friend. The Enemy has no right to accuse you any longer! Remembering your birthright gives you the weapon you need to defeat that post-argument hangover.

Click here to follow me over to my friend Rebekah Hallberg’s blog for the three remaining ways to overcome the post-argument hangover!

You argued with your husband...again... but then you reconciled. So why do you still feel defeated inside? Learn how to overcome the post-argument hangover emotions that keep you from experiencing victory. 4 Ways to Overcome the Post-argument Hangover

 

3 Ways to Prepare My Heart to Submit

If you’ve been in Christian circles long enough, you know there’s a word that is certain to stir up mixed feelings, wild emotions, opposing points of views, and general frustration. There are some who try to live by the intent of the word, and there are others who immediately put up a wall when you mention the word. I want to look at that word, but maybe from a different level. But give me a fair chance, please – don’t just close the post when you read the word, okay?

Submission.

Even though I know how divisive this word is, I want to share about it from my own perspective. You’re welcome to agree, disagree, comment with your feelings, but I’d like you to hear what I have to say.

I approach this word with a good deal of hesitation. If you were to look at my life, if you knew my full story, you would have every right to say, “Why do you even want to consider submitting to your husband?”

So here’s the honest truth: On any given day, I don’t want to consider submitting to my husband.

Given all that has happened in my life, I’d like to just continue going through our mess, simply trying to get to the other side. But God keeps placing this word – one that divides even within the church – onto my heart.

Perhaps you’ve seen a picture like this before:

How can a husband and wife draw closer to each other? Only by drawing closer to God!

The point of this image is that a husband and wife draw closer to one another as they draw closer to God.

What has happened in my marriage is that we’ve struggled with selfishness, with our own desires. This has done the exact opposite of drawing us closer to each other. It’s pulled us away from each other and away from God.

Over the past couple of years, as we’ve intentionally tried to get our relationship and marriage right with each other and the Lord, we’re starting to look a little more like this triangle.

My husband has worked hard to correct issues in his past and is working hard to be the leader in our home.

Which brings me back to needing to look at the word submission.

How do you submit to another person, particularly your husband, especially when things have gone badly?

Here’s what I’ve learned, very simply:

If I want to do what God’s calling me to do, I need to remember that the situations I find myself in are an opportunity to honor Him.

When my husband and I are having a discussion and God whispers, “You need to submit,” it’s often God’s gentle way of trying to draw my own heart closer to His (God’s) heart.

God is trying to get me in line, and at the same time, He’s working in my husband’s heart to continue to learn to lead our family.

I don’t view submission as my husband ruling over me, lording his power over our marriage. My husband doesn’t treat his role as the leader in that manner either.

Rather, we both view the concept of submission as getting our hearts in line with the Lord, and letting Him gently lead us and grow our relationship as He desires.

For me, the concept of submission – even when I really don’t want to – means that I’m choosing to honor God first and foremost, by following His instruction to follow my husband.

So how do I get my heart to want to submit, especially when my husband has not always been the best leader and has let me down in some pretty big ways?

"Submission" is a divisive word, yet something we're called to do. Here are 3 ways I prepare my heart to submit.

1. Get Alone With God.

I say “get alone” because time alone with God in this kind of situation almost always requires an intentional choice on my part. Often these opportunities to submit don’t come at the most convenient times. They often arise at chaotic times when I have a lot going on, so I need to intentionally choose to get alone with God.

These are times when I share my heart with the Lord. I tell Him my feelings, the situation from my perspective, and then I try to listen. The Lord loves to hear from us, but He loves when we listen as well.

Struggling? Make time to get alone with the Lord, talk to Him and listen to what He says.

2. Open God’s Word.

No, I’m not going to suggest you read the passages on wives submitting to their husbands. Not at all.

Instead, I’d rather encourage you to go to your favorite passages, your “go-to” verses for when you need reminders of God’s faithfulness. You see, God’s giving us another opportunity to trust Him, and if you’re at all like me, you need the reminder that He is faithful – no matter what – more than you need the reminder to submit to your husband.

Not sure where to start? Here are a couple of my favorites:
Jude 24,25, Psalm 91

3. Remember That No One Is Perfect.

Oh yes – this one. There are times when my husband will suggest something, or let me know what we’re going to do.

A recent example:
Our fridge started making some noise. He started at step one – identify the problem – and worked up to calling the company and scheduling a technician to come out to check the fridge. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way my husband plans, and I hesitate to go with his plans.

But – how am I going to see God’s faithfulness (step #2) if I keep getting in the way? If I’m going to ask God to remind me of His faithfulness, then I need to let God work, right? I need to get myself and my ideas, my preconceived notions of how things will go, out of the way.

How bad would it be if my husband was wrong about how he handled the situation? Am I willing to give up my own “need to be right” to let my husband lead?

He’s not perfect, he may in fact be wrong. But I’m not perfect either. In fact, I’m often wrong.

It’s important for me to keep in mind that while God is working in my heart, He’s also working in my husband’s heart. When I am wrong, my husband is so gracious and gentle, and I need to treat him with the same respect that he freely gives to me.

**********

I think we often get hung up on submission as us being less than, not as important as, our husband. Friends, nothing is farther from the truth. God hasn’t asked us to submit because our husbands are better than us, or more important than us.

I believe He asks us, as the brides, to submit to our husbands so that our heart can grow to learn to submit to Christ – the bridegroom of the church.

I would love to hear your thoughts and encouragement on this topic. Feel free to comment here at Jen’s blog, or hop over to my blog and leave your thoughts as well.

 

Rebekah M. Hallberg

Rebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

The Secret to Being a Warrior Wife

He shuffled into the living room, shoulders slumped, and with a great sigh lowered himself to the couch.  His clothes bore the marks of a man who worked hard for a living.

He could barely meet my gaze, as if he were somehow lacking or not enough.  I knew he needed my compassion and encouragement, but instead of sympathy, I felt only frustration.

After all, I thought, I’m working hard in this season, too. I’m weary, too. What do I have left to offer? It feels like too much, and I have nothing left to give.

Besides, he’s a grown man. I’m busy caring for children and our home all day long, on top of the demands of work and ministry roles that I am responsible for. If I can keep myself going, why can’t he keep himself going?

And just like that I missed the opportunity to be a warrior wife.

Have you ever been so caught up in the busyness and stress of life that you forget who you are or who you were created to be, friend?

Especially as a writer and pastor’s wife, I struggle with balancing my family and home life with the demands of ministry life. Without realizing it, I begin to neglect important relationships because I’m “just so busy.”

I become task-oriented rather than people-oriented, a slave to the to-do list rather than a Spirit-led woman.

And it’s downright frustrating how quickly and easily I slip into this mode of doing rather than being!

We get so caught up in busy schedules and who we think we are supposed to be that we forget our primary purpose. Don't make the mistake of leaving your husband without the helper he really needs. Being a warrior wife is not just a role... The Secret to being a Warrior Wife

At a recent women’s conference, I received a wake-up call from the Lord. One speaker in particular, Dana James, reminded us of who we are created to be as daughters of the one true King in relation to our husbands.

Dana shared with us that God designed us to be “helpers” from the very beginning.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” Gen. 2:18

Yes, I know we’ve all heard this verse before. Our job is to help, right? That’s our God-given “role,” right?

Wrong!

Dana drew our attention to the original language, which uses the Hebrew word ezer (pronounced ay-zer).  The word ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament, but the majority of those uses are in reference to God himself, His character.  In such cases, the word ezer is used in connection with words like shield, sword, deliverer, mighty, and hope.

 Thus, ezer refers to the warrior aspect of God’s character – the One who fights on our behalf, our Shield and Defender, our Rescue.

As I looked further into the meanings attached to this word and its definitions, I found connotations of assistance or aid, especially in times of suffering or distress.  It means relief given to someone in need, removing or reducing something that is painful, unpleasant, or even oppressive!

And this very same word ezer is used to describe a helper suitable for Adam.

Do you see what this means for us, my sisters in Christ?

When the Lord God chose to create woman, He instilled in her very character the properties of this ezer. He created us to be warrior women, warrior wives, who will bravely fight spiritual battles on behalf of our husbands, who will provide aid and relief to the men in our lives who are worn down and discouraged by the demands of this earthly life.

Here’s the rub: I think we all know this intuitively and most of us truly desire to live this out.

But sometimes it feels like a whole lot of work that we have no strength to do, doesn’t it?

So when I saw my hard-working husband down and out on a day when I was already in that weighed-down place myself, I chose to look the other way. I chose to put my needs first.

I left him without his ezer, his helper.

It was a selfish choice that I’m ashamed to say I make often when I’m already stressed.  And I wonder, why do I make this choice?  What is it that feels so hard about being a warrior wife? What secret am I missing?

Are you frustrated by failure you in your marriage? Do you wish your marriage was stronger? We're offering this free ebook, Hope for the Hurting Wife, for a limited time only! discouraged wife, want to be a good wife, feeling unloved, husband doesn't love me, troubled marriage, difficult marriage, marriage problems, confident in marriage

The secret to being a warrior wife lies in our perspective.

“It’s who we are, not a role we play!” ~ Dana James

When I see being a warrior wife as a job I need to do, it’s easy for me to let it slide on the days when I’m worn out or discouraged. It’s easy for me to call it “too hard.”  But when I see being a warrior wife as part of my very identity, as a reflection of God’s character that comes not from trying harder, but from yielding to the Spirit, then I’m left with no excuses.

It is who I am called to be in Christ, and it’s who you are called to be in Christ, too, friend. Don’t leave your husband without the helper he really needs.

You were created for this and in Christ, you are equipped for this.

Let’s be warrior wives who fight the right kind of battles, not against our husbands, but for them.

Let’s do battle on our knees and in our war rooms against the real enemy.

Let’s choose to aid rather than to ignore.

Be an ezer. Fight!

Jen :)

*Much of the content for this post came from Dana James’s talk “Being a Very Strong Helper” at Tranfsormed 2016 (Central Conference) and was used with permission from Dana herself.  If you’d like to connect more with Dana, she writes at The Prime Rib, a website for minister’s wives in Tennessee.

For a practical take on how to encourage a discouraged husband (and how NOT to), try this one from Club 31 Women.

Recommended resources for being a warrior wife:

       

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

3 Ways to Calm Your Emotions ~ Before They Ruin Your Marriage

Have you ever looked at your marriage and wondered what has happened? Have you been completely dissatisfied with the state of everything? Have you gone so far as to maybe even ponder divorce?

You’re not alone.

I know that as a culture, we tend to keep doing what we do, so long as it is beneficial to us in some way. But when we turn that corner where we feel it is no longer beneficial, we’re quick to throw it away – whether it’s an old book that our kids have outgrown, a faulty appliance, broken furniture, and even our marriage.

I wrote about the day I took my ring off, and I’ve been open with struggles in my own marriage. It’s hard to want to stay, to want to work things out, when the struggles seem too big.

Fear can play a major role in trying to work through our problems. We fear more pain, rejection, we even fear other people finding out about our troubles. Fear can truly mess us up in our day to day lives.

But there is something that can add fuel to fear’s fire and really make matters seem worse than they need to be.

Our emotions.

I’ve found that when my emotions run wild, the fear flares up. When the fear seems out of control, everything seems impossible. So to quiet the fear, I have to calm the emotions.

Here are 3 ways to calm your emotions.

I've found that when my emotions run wild, the fear flares up. When the fear seems out of control, everything seems impossible. So to quiet the fear, I have to calm the emotions. Here are 3 ways to calm your emotions.

1. REST

I’ve found that my emotions are the most difficult to control when I’m tired. No matter how hard I try to keep things in check, every little issue seems more magnified when I’m tired. I try to deny the tiredness and convince myself that the problem truly is just that big.

Lately I’ve gone back to intentionally lying down on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t always sleep, but I do intentionally give my body a bit of a break. Funny how we have to be so intentional about these things, isn’t it?

One time, early in my marriage, I was having trouble sleeping – or maybe adjusting to another body in the bed. My husband suggested sleeping with a Bible under my pillow, which I did. I was able to fall right to sleep and I slept very well. I’ve gone back to that practice from time to time, as the need presents itself. There’s something special about having God’s Word close to our minds while we sleep.

2. WORSHIP MUSIC

Ready for a bit of honesty here? This one is the hardest for me. Yup. This is where it becomes a battle of the will.

See, once I realize that my emotions are the problem, therefore, that I’m the problem (or at least a part of the problem), I don’t want to have to own up to it. I don’t want to be accountable for what I’ve contributed to the situation. I want to push the blame to anyone else.

It’s become a heart issue by this point – one that I don’t want to deal with.

I have to physically choose to turn on the music, put in the earbuds, and let God’s Word sink into my heart through worship songs.

I don’t have any particular favorites. It seems each time I listen, there are songs with lyrics geared specifically to what I need to hear. I love how God does that!

3. TIME WITH GOD

I often go to a favorite Scripture and just meditate on that. I read the verses around my favorites, to try to understand the context, to try to get a little more out of the passage. But I meditate on verses that have strengthened my heart previously, that have helped me find rest, that have provided the assurance that I need.

Just a few of my favorites:
Psalm 71:14, Jude 24-25, Revelation 12:11, Isaiah 61, Isaiah 43:1.

There are many others – I’d love to hear some of your favorite go-to verses for when you’re needing to refocus.

I have a few books that are easy-reading, that help me to rest and quiet my heart, but also remind me that my time right then is dedicated to focusing on God.

The first is called An Angel, A Miracle, or Simply God at Work? It’s the true stories of a missionary, shared in an easy-to-read manner. He shares the stories, shares God’s work through the stories, and leaves it up to you as to what you would call it – intervention from an angel? a true miracle? or simply God at work in our world today?

The next is called When Words Won’t Come and this one is rather new to me. I’m still reading through it, but I’ve been so blessed by it. The author provides a short Scripture and just a few, small thoughts to meditate on. This book has been a tremendous blessing on the days when I’ve faced difficulty or have struggled to keep going.

These 3 ways to calm your emotions are easy to do, but can provide so much heart-relief. There are plenty of other great ways to regain control of wild emotions – a walk, quiet time by a fire, a favorite hot drink on a cool evening, time talking with a friend.

I’ve found that once I quiet my emotions, then the fear settles and it’s easier to face the realities of the situation for what they are – not for the blown-out-of-proportion image that my emotions have made them to be.

I’d love to hear how you purposefully quiet your emotions to regain control of a seemingly out-of-control situation. I pray these 3 tips are a blessing to you!

Blessings!

-Rebekah
Rebekah M. Hallberg

Rebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

 

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

How to Overcome the “For Worse” of Your Marriage Vows

It’s funny how just a few small words can really change our perspective. No doubt when you took your wedding vows, you were so eager for the “for better” of marriage. Me, too! That’s not the only thing I vowed, though. That phrase had 3 more words at the end of it – ones that we often overlook. So what happens when you feel like you’re stuck in the “or for worse” phase of marriage?

When You're Stuck in the "...or for worse..." Phase of Your Marriage

Please note: I do know that there are times when it’s not safe to stay in your marriage.
This post is written from the perspective of being within a safe marriage.

If you are struggling and not in a safe situation, please do get help.

PRAY
Okay, this seems obvious, but let’s be realistic – so often, we forget about the most basic things when we’re stuck or trying to fix something.

What can you pray for? This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but here are a few suggestions:

Your husband – God knows the struggles he is facing, and He knows any areas that need work. Trust Him to work in your husband’s heart. (I can promise you with great certainty that the way God works will look completely different than the way you might have “fixed” the problem. TRUST GOD!)
Yourself - During this time, you’re going to need to pray for yourself, even if you don’t normally. You’re going to need God to work in and through you, to give you peace, rest and hope.
Your family - If there are children or extended family members involved in your life, pray for them. Ask God to provide for what they need as they go through this time.
Your situation - God knows the specifics of what is going on, of what brought you to this place. It’s so good to know that we can trust our future to God, no matter where we are, or where we hope to get!

God knows all the details of our lives – the good things and even the ugly parts – so I appreciate going to Him to pour out my heart.

God and I have had some intense heart-to-heart conversations as I’ve struggled through the “for worse” parts of my marriage vows.

TRUST
I don’t know your situation, but I do know my own. When everything came undone, there were a million and one opportunities for trusting God. I had to trust God for everything from basic necessities to keeping a roof over my head and keeping my family together.

The hard thing about trust is that, in our humanness, we desperately want the answer we want, at the time we want it. In other words, every night I went to bed without a resolution to the problem was an opportunity for fear…or faith.

It turns out that there truly is only room for one of those – fear or faith.

I cannot promise you that there’s hope for your marriage, but I can – and do – promise you that God will be faithful to meet your needs and to make your heart whole.

WORK
In my own life, when things began to go badly, I needed to get a job. I needed income. You may not be in that situation, but we all have work that we can be doing.

Ask God to make you a blessing. He may choose to do that within your home, or He may choose to do that in various ways with friends, neighbors, even strangers. If you ask God to give you a way to be a blessing to someone, He is going to do it. Personally, I like this because it gave me an opportunity to take my mind off my marriage and focus on a way to benefit someone else.

Work isn’t just a physical act, though. Work is a spiritual act. We’re in a battle, whether our marriage is in the “for better” or “for worse” category. The enemy doesn’t want us honoring God within our marriage, so he’s happy when we’re struggling. He’s thrilled when we’re ready to throw in the towel.

If you’re truly going to work to stick it out in your marriage, then you’re going to need to do some spiritual work. Each day you’ll need to prepare for battle – like you never have before. A wife has a quiet strength that the enemy knows he can’t discount. Sisters, if each of us committed to truly working through the “for worse” parts of our marriages, think of the progress we could make for the kingdom of Heaven!

* * * * *

Friends, I know that often it isn’t completely our fault that our marriage is struggling. Believe me, if you were to look at my situation, it would be very safe to say that everything that has gone wrong is completely my husband’s fault.

But, I don’t want my story to end there.

I have prayed for redemption within my marriage. I have prayed, trusted and worked, and God has answered by keeping us together and growing stronger in Him.

Working through all that I have, though, also showed me that God has a plan for my life – my own life, separate from my husband’s or my kids’ lives. No matter how things might have turned out, I knew that God had a plan for me.

As women I think we can easily get sidetracked by the many hats we wear. At the end of the day, God needed to remind me that I am His. No matter what hat I wear, I belong to Jesus. And I woke up today because He still has a plan for my life!

Whatever you’re facing, even if you’re stuck in the “or for worse” stage of marriage, remember that God has a plan for you. Pray, trust and seek Him for the work He would have you to do.

Rebekah M. Hallberg

Rebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

When You Don’t Want to Pray for Your Husband

Sometimes I don’t want to pray for my husband.

There, I said it. And saying it makes me feel all sorts of ugly inside, but it’s the truth.

When I’m angry with my husband, or when we’ve had a disagreement and the emotions that come along with that are still fresh in me, I have little desire to pray for him. In fact, even if I do pray, my prayers are likely to be punitive rather than uplifting.

Lord, smite this man’s heart and convict him of his sin!

Father, make him suffer for what he did to me!

I’m ashamed to even type these words out, much less admit that I’ve prayed them before. Have you been there, friend? Have you been so frustrated with your man that even praying seems beyond what you can handle?

So what should we do when we just don’t want to pray for our husbands?

We pray anyways.

Yes, I know that’s not the answer you or I want, but it’s the answer we need to hear.

Listen, when we sit down in prayer for our husbands, a funny thing happens – our hearts begin to change. In the midst of praying for the Lord to smother my husband with conviction, the Holy Spirit smothers me with conviction. He shows me all of the ways in which my sin is no different from my husband’s sin.

That self-righteous attitude isn’t so easy to uphold when we’re communing with the God of the Universe, is it?

Let's be honest - sometimes you just don't want to pray for your husband. Perhaps you feel hurt or angry. Perhaps you just feel apathetic. What should you do when the desire to pray just isn't there? When You Don't Want to Pray for Your Husband

Sometimes I’m tempted to hold back, even while praying, and hide away those sinful thoughts. But our Father sees and knows all. One of the best perks of praying is being able to unleash all of that pent up anger and frustration to the One who loves me anyways.

Like a frustrated, independent toddler who finally gives in to a parent’s offer of help, I find peace in the arms of the One who holds me when I’m hurting.

Praying opens doors I’ve slammed shut in my own heart and brings the necessary change to forgive.

In years past, I sometimes felt so overwhelmed by marital strife that I wasn’t even sure what to pray for. Even in times such as these, the best course of action is to pray anyways.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words…” Rom. 8:26 (NASB)

Praying for my husband even when I’m hurt or angry invites God to step into our marriage and smooth over the rough edges where we grate against each other. It invites Him to heal the wounds and bring redemption.

Praying for my husband doesn’t just change me, but it also changes my man.

After nearly seventeen years of marriage, I’m learning that a well-timed prayer does infinitely more good than any words I have to speak to my husband.

“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.”  Ps. 4:1 (NASB)

I can ask the Lord to soften my husband’s heart and help him see my point of view. I can ask the Lord to convict my husband of any sin, not out of malice, but out of a desire to see him walk uprightly.

When I obey the Lord and pray anyways, I’m never sorry that I quit fighting long enough to pray. But in those times when I disobey and cling to my right to fight instead, when I don’t pray because I don’t want to pray…. I’m always sorry later.

That’s why I recently decided to take the plunge and commit to Kaylene Yoder’s new course, Becoming a Better Wife. If you’d like to learn more about praying and fasting for your husband and your marriage, I highly recommend this course.

The material is both helpful and convicting, but what I like most about this product is that it comes from the heart of a wife who has been desperate for change.  She really gets it.

The course also offers printable material that you can keep handy for quick reference and encouragement – so many bonuses!

Do you need an action plan to help you pray for your marriage?  The Becoming a Better Wife course is designed by a wife who was desperate to see change in her own marriage.  She knew she couldn't continue the way things were, so she set out with a plan to pray and fast for her marriage. This course contains 7 sessions of study material, beautiful printables and active challenges! Join today using code JS10 for an extra 10% off!

I’m especially pleased to be able to offer my readers a ten percent discount on the already affordable price because I believe in the power of prayer to effect change. And I know from experience that having a specific action plan is so very helpful in sticking to that commitment to pray!

So, for those interested in the course, be sure to type in code JS10 to receive your discount!

Please let me know via e-mail or facebook if you take up the Better Wife challenge so that we can encourage one another along the way. :)

Let's be honest - sometimes you just don't want to pray for your husband. Perhaps you feel hurt or angry. Perhaps you just feel apathetic. What should you do when the desire to pray just isn't there? When You Need to Pray for Your Husband the Most

So the next time you don’t want to pray for your husband, just do it anyways.

Even in the midst of an argument, stop and ask for a time out. Praying is the best possible choice you can make in that moment!

And if your prayers start out a little angry and vengeful, trust the Lord to work the necessary change in your own heart first.

You won’t be sorry.

Jen :)

For more information on the Becoming a Better Wife course, click this link. (Disclosure: Jen is an affiliate for the Becoming a Better Wife course and as such will receive a percentage should you choose to purchase through this link.  Thank you for helping to support the ministry of Being Confident of This!)

For more marriage encouragement, check out my friend Jenn’s Encouragement for Imperfect Wives series!  It has some excellent content from many seasoned wives. :)

Sharing with:  Messy Marriage, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Grace and Truth