Loving Deeply: Healing an Unhealable Marriage

By Guest Blogger Teresa Tarrant

Editor’s Note: Please welcome one of my precious role models, Teresa Tarrant, to “Pure Inspiration” as an encore Guest Blogger.  She is an inspiration to me and infinite others. May her story, their story, touch your heart as it did mine.

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“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” –1 Peter 1:22 NIV

Forty-four years. I have been married to the same man for 44 years. Amazing. For one thing, old people have been married 44 years…we are NOT old. For another thing, it has been a roller coaster ride, requiring both seat belt and shoulder harness!

Fortunately it has been one that GOD has patiently, lovingly and firmly kept on track. There were times I was sure we had derailed, but lo and behold, GOD’s hand guided us back to each other and to HIM.

For our 30th anniversary I decided to present my husband Guy with a video of our life together. I ruined years of carefully organized photo albums pulling visual memories of our dating, wedding (awww, such babies), first home (I still love that little house). Children (two amazing sons), pets (one dog chewed up the sprinkler system two weeks after installing….), travels, family gatherings. We cried watching it, overcome with the blessings and love…the bad times forgotten.

Just a few years earlier we were at a real crossroads in our marriage. Our older son had graduated from college and younger son was going off to college. Our glue was gone. We discussed separation. He was going to move out. My emotions vacillated between marriage and separation.

One day I woke up and found I could not stand another indecisive moment. I dropped to my knees by our bed and totally surrendered my will to God. I cried out to Him to help me know what to do. I told Him I could not live with my husband like this, and I could not imagine myself without him. I prayed for guidance and told Him I would not do one more thing unless I felt He was guiding me.

I lay on the floor weeping for quite some time until I felt a total peace come over me. It was strange. It was as if a weight had been lifted and I was not going to have to carry it any more.

Later that day I had to go to Wal-mart for cleaning supplies or something—I don’t even remember. What I do remember is how God talked to me. Yes, He very distinctly led me to the book section and showed me two books that changed my life—The Power of a Praying Wife  and Traits of a Lasting Marriage.  When I opened up this first book, the prayer I read was:

 “Lord, I lay all my expectation at your cross. I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You. Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him. I realize that in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could. I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be. Only you, Lord, are perfect, and I look to You to perfect us.”

The prayer followed with several Bible verses, Biblically-sound doctrine for restoring me, restoring my marriage. I felt my eyes well up with tears. Could God really be telling me I needed to change and be the person my husband needs? I always thought I was…that he just wasn’t the husband I needed.

Do you know that God can turn a heart from stone back to love in a matter of minutes? He can and He did. I left Wal-mart with a smile on my face and copies of the two books. When I got home I asked my husband if he would consider reading the book with me and trying to let God lead us back together. He agreed—another one of God’s miracles.  I am blessed to have a husband who has always been willing to take every effort to make our marriage work.  I knew we were going to finally have the marriage God intended for us—one of love, commitment, laughter, friendship, joy.

We still have our differences but they are handled with a very different approach. I first go to God and ask for His guidance in solving a problem; then I approach Guy. My “old” self rears its prideful head occasionally…ok, often. I recognize that God led us back into this marriage, and He will guide us through any rough patches.

We still cry when we watch that anniversary video from 14 years ago. I thank GOD and praise HIM for HIS unending patience, grace and love. HE was present in every single event, good and bad, in our lives…Growing us to be the people HE intended. I know HE was shaking HIS sweet head most of the time at our stubbornness but HIS mercies never fail.

We now have two beautiful grandchildren…hmmm, looks like it’s time for another video!

So, if you feel your marriage is off track, turn to GOD for guidance. Focus on the good times, positive memories and blessings Trust HIM. HE will not let you derail. GOD is faithful.

Reflect:

–How are you fighting for your marriage?  Please comment.

–What wisdom can you glean from Teresa and Guy’s testimony?  Please comment.

Renew:

–“Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” –Ephesians 4:2 NIV

 –“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”           –Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Recharge:

–What three things do you admit need changing in yourself to strengthen your marriage and/or other relationships?  Please let your spouse know today. Comment here.

Resource:

Conway, Jim and Sally. 1991. Traits of a Lasting Marriage: What Strong Marriages Have in Common. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Omartian, Stormie. 1997, 2014. Power of a Praying Wife. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing.

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Single Girl Valentine’s Week Confession

Happy Valentine’s Week. Some of you may have read this vulnerable blog post from last Valentine’s Day. Please enjoy this encore presentation:

It’s tough being single on Valentine’s Day. As soon as Christmas is over, the stores are full of red hearts, love balloons, and Valentine’s Day merchandise. Hallmark Channel even plays non-stop Love movies! Yes, I sometimes get sucked into watching each one. Yes, I am a hopeful romantic.

Last Valentine’s Day was different. It was a cold night. I built a cozy fire. I was excited. I was ready. Sitting by the warm fire, it was time to write my Love Letter.  Opening my journal, the following is the Love Letter penned on those pages:

Dearest Lover of My Soul,

Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for being my First Love, today and always.

Thank you, Lord,  for pointing out and healing the sin of idolatry I suffered for my future husband for years without even realizing it. I had elevated the idea of a future husband much higher than I had elevated You as my Lord and Savior. My heart is changed. Please forgive me. 

Holy Spirit, I want to be content in my singleness. Help me.  I am Yours. You are mine.  I am at peace.

My Rock and My Redeemer, Gentle Healer, it is an honor to convey a portion of my immense love for You. No journal, no library can record all my love, dear Jesus.  Thank you for loving me. Every breath is for You, precious Lord.

How may I serve You more? On this Valentine’s Day, I recommit my life to You. It is You and You alone who I need. (Not the only man I want and desire, I admit).  Right now, make me more of a vessel for You and Your Gospel. I want to be your humble ambassador, Your spokesman who only utters worthy, not worthless words. (Jeremiah 15:19). May it be so. 

 “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”  (1 Samuel 3:10)

I Love You With My Whole Heart,                                                                                                                                                              Danya, Your Daughter of  the King

Friend, I learned that God is the only one to fill our “soul holes.” 

Since the Bible is God’s Love Letter to me, I had finally written my Love Letter to Jesus. That night transformed Valentine’s Day for me. Contentment came.

I’m looking so forward to Valentine’s Day in a few short days. Bring it.

PS. Stay tuned next week for an encouraging message from Guest Blogger Teresa Tarrant on how to heal a broken marriage.

Reflect:

–Are you content in your circumstances? Please comment.

–How can you express your love for God more?

Renew:

“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” –Psalm 63: 3-4 NIV

“‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.'” –John 15:12-13 NIV

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. ” –Philippians 4:12 NIV

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12 NIV.

Recharge:

–Write your Love Letter to Jesus today.

–The Bible is God’s Love Letter to us. Please read it daily.

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Shepherding: Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

As we put away our Christmas decorations and haul our brittle and dry Fraser fir trees out to the landfill for recycling, Christmas reflections still linger. Linger like the few sweet-smelling leftover Fraser fir needles in my living room corner and in my vacuum. My mind and heart linger, still thinking about sweet baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds.

The shepherds…Before now I haven’t thought too much about shepherds. Other than I know the Lord is my Shepherd, as it says in Psalm 23. Why are shepherds on my heart?

The word “shepherd” is used more and more as a descriptive verb for guiding and motivating, leading a family or group of people. My heart’s desire is to be a good shepherd of people.

In Biblical times, shepherds were outcasts, really low in terms of social status. Imagine having to take care of smelly, stubborn sheep 24 hours a day, seven days a week, away from people. Supposedly, even in a court of law, shepherds’ testimony wasn’t even regarded. Shepherds were voiceless in society. But not to God.

God chose shepherds to be the first to see baby Jesus and tell the world about Him.  The Lord gave a respected voice to the voiceless. May it be so of each of us.

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” –Luke 2:16-20 NIV

“All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Beautiful. Just like God to give voice to the voiceless.

In this shiny new 2015, who are you shepherding?   Who is shepherding you? To whom will you tell the Good News?

Reflect:

–When have you felt voiceless? Please comment.

–When have you felt like a shepherd?

Renew:

–“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” –Psalm 23:1-3 NIV.

–“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. ” –Ezekiel 34:11-12 NIV.

–“I am the good Shepherd; I know my sheep and My sheep know Me. Just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.” –John 10:14-15 NIV.

Recharge:

–Who will you pray to shepherd this year? God as the Great Shepherd will guide you.

PS. Today, January 6th, at 10am, please join me to watch Lysa TerKeurst, my dynamic Proverbs 31 Ministries President and friend, on The Today Show. She will be interviewed about her New York Times Bestselling Book The Best Yes.  www.lysaterkeurst.com or www.proverbs31.org.

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