“We cannot write our own story, He is the Author. He is the Beginning, the Middle, and the End.” “He has a story He is going to tell in our lives. He has a story of redemption.” These are quotes from the first lecture of the Falling in Love Again with Your Husband study (Laurie Aker, 2017). I could not write fast enough that night. I was sitting in the lecture about to cry because the Lord knew what I needed to hear. He knows and sees me right where I am in my life, when I am in the midst of pain and when I fall short of reminding myself where my help comes from.
That night I was struggling and thinking “Lord, I can’t even picture my marriage changing, he can’t see where I need to be loved greater and I can’t see how to move beyond this.” Laurie went on to speak of fear. I would not consider myself a fearful person so I really didn’t think this would apply to me. I thought she was going to speak on something I could relate to a little more, but she went on to say, “Will you say ‘Yes!’ to the Lord and ‘No’ to fear so you can have victory in Christ Jesus?” I knew deep down I genuinely wanted change in my marriage. Over the next few days I would come to learn what kept me from completely saying “Yes!” to the Lord. This secret hope hidden in the chamber of my heart. The secret hope of wanting these changes in my marriage for me, to benefit me, to reach a place in my marriage that I was happy with, and wanting to change my husband so that I could be a better wife. It did not end there. This pride of secret hope that I was holding on to did not like the idea of failing and I realized that the Lord was going to make me work, and work hard in this marriage and God wasn’t seeing my spouse as part of the problem. I was also overwhelmed with how much time it might take for change to happen. I was blown away by all the feelings I was holding on to. IT WAS FEAR.
I did not realize that the hopes and expectations that I carried into my relationship with Christ were having an effect on my relationship with Him. When all my secret hopes weren’t coming to fruition I had become doubtful in God’s goodness towards me and I was angry. I was trying to figure out how my expectations were going to be met. I had not fully surrendered my secret hopes and fears, consequently everything was seeing the effects of this, especially my marriage. When we weren’t on track to meet my expectations or my ideal husband ratings, I was livid and annoyed all the time.
That night, in the lecture I needed to hear what Laurie said, “Even if the mountains fall into the sea, His banner over me is still love.” Because despite my circumstance, despite myself, my failure, my unfaithfulness, THAT BANNER OVER ME NEVER CHANGES. I want to share with you, His love for you NEVER CHANGES. The battle may be raging on the inside; I need not fear because Christ’s love cast it out. You need not fear. His love casts out ALL FEAR. He was waiting for me to cast my cares, my secret hopes upon Him because I can’t carry them anymore. Since last week the Lord keeps turning me back to these three things:
1) He is Author of my life story: Redemption
2) He loves me with a deep, intentional, unconditional love
3) I have nothing to fear because He is my Father, He has made a way, and sin cannot overcome me
I am telling you friends, these topics have come up over and over again. They aren’t subtle by any means. Since last week every sermon, lecture, and reading assignment I have set in and completed have been all structured around these three things. I can’t tell you how many times my mouth has turned into a grin because my Helper is moving around me and I can feel it, I know it. I have never been surer of anything, and I want to share with you just how He is showing me this. It is as though He’s letting me know “I am going to make this so clear to you that there is no doubt in your mind that I am speaking to you.”
I just finished watching a video of a woman from my local community speaking so powerfully about her love for Christ. This video was created in 2014, and why it randomly came across my desk now, only the Lord knows. But what made this video stand out from the rest? This sweet woman had only four to five days to live when she filmed it—WOW. In no way could I relate to being near death, but I immediately had to start typing because I have to share with you what she said. This precious believer was sharing her heart. She was not holding on to this world, she was holding on strong to the love of Christ and His promise to her.
In the video she walked viewers through getting diagnosed, fearing the situation, and giving it all over to the Lord. She said the Lord woke her and revealed to her in her own words, “You are not going to be battling cancer, you will be battling fear…You are afraid of all the wrong things.” She went on to say how she praised God through the fearful situation, even when she was very angry with God. She pointed out that “He took my anger and it was His love that won me. The Lord wanted me to seek Him with everything I had.” She began to cry as she said these words, “He said if you will seek Me I will let you will find Me, if you will seek Me with all your heart. No plan b, no bridges, you know all eggs in one basket basically, will you trust Me? And I chose to trust Him, I chose to seek Him. And I have to tell you, I found Him and there is nothing else my heart wants because He is all that He claims to be. He is all that He says He is. And that doesn’t change because I have a cancer diagnosis…He is my rock…The anchor holds, when your worst nightmare comes true. The anchor holds. And we stand on Him, we are not shaken, we are not moved. Though the mountains crumble into the sea, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are…but because of my faith in Jesus Christ I have been redeemed…”
Can you just see how alive and active the Lord is? These three lessons the Lord is teaching me have not gone unnoticed, I am rejoicing. The Lord and I have entered into a relationship for the first time in my life. He is loving me, speaking with me, keeping me and it has nothing to do with my deeds or merit but everything to do with the fact that He has been waiting for me for over 2,000 years.
I can’t believe how self-centered my flesh is. But despite my faults, I believe that He is preparing a way in my heart for me to love my husband with the love that He shows me. I want to encourage you because things don’t go as planned in life. Expectations and hopes aren’t met. But the hopes and dreams we place major stake in, don’t ever hold a light to His plan for you and me. This means, even when battles are raging, you feel broken, you aren’t sure how you got knocked forty steps back in life—He is there, He is present, He is your stronghold. He is calling you to a deep relationship that no man, woman, or child can ever satisfy. I have tried to look in those places, and my hope doesn’t belong there and neither does yours. It belongs in the one who has waited patiently for you to return, for me to return. He is waiting for you to return to your first love. There is no need to fear, place all your hope in Him and not the false hope you have created.
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
All for His Glory