11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
In the blog post Crying Out, Seeking God we discussed that sometimes the very first step on a road to healing is simply to cry out to God for help. While you may not see an instant, dramatic change in your situation, you will often look back and see that time of crying out as the moment God put you on the path to His solution.
I came across a blog entry by Dr. Linda Karges-Bone. It is a broader discussion of her take on the “contentious woman”, but includes her testimony of asking God for help, which began a road of healing. The entire blog entry is worth reading, but here is a key excerpt:
Now for the second round of reactions. It is quite possible that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I doubt it. Here’s why. I have done what researchers call a “double blind” test. I have tried it both ways. I lived the first decade of my marriage as a contentious woman. I pouted. I nagged. I saw myself as the unappreciated, overburdened, wife of a grumpy, difficult, selfish beast of a man. I have, at one point, been on the brink of losing my marriage. But two things saved me: God’s mercy and grace and my own decision to look for the good in my marriage instead of the bad.
I asked God to save my marriage. I asked Him for protection for my home. I literally, one dark, cold night…..went from room to room and anointed the doorways with olive oil and asked the Lord God to protect my home and to change my heart. And, praise HIS HOLY NAME, HE did. He did this because He loves me with a jealous, protective, fatherly love. And He honored my request. Ephesians 6:11 tells us: “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
It is Satan’s desire to destroy homes, especially Christian homes. In that way, believers stumble into sin……audultery, intimate relationships outside of marriage, violence, anger, and abuse. Children are displaced and not brought up according to scripture. They too fall into sin. Research tells us that over 80% of decisions for Christ are made before the age of 14 years. Think about it, if you are tied up in a divorce, dating, remarriage, custody and support battles…..is it likely that either parent is concerned with a child’s salvation? Probably not. For years, we just struggle to survive. In much the same way, when you are struggling against your husband…living as a contentious woman, you are so busy nursing your wounds, planning your revenge, evening the score…..you are not focusing on your children nor on your own relationship with God.
In the second decade of my marriage, and I’m nearing the twenty year mark now…….things are different. I see my husband in a totally different light. Yes, he has changed but it wasn’t my doing. He responded to a gradual, God-granted shift in my behavior.