Showing posts with label adultery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adultery. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why are God's People Afraid to be Real?

In the past I thought being a good Christian meant wearing a mask. Projecting an image of happiness and wholeness to all those around me. I thought the mask would help others to see Jesus through me. It would keep my brokenness from becoming a distraction to others. I would wear this mask that I created and when the mask would slip, I would become overcome with guilt for failing as a Christian.

Through the last several years, I have found that sometimes people can see God most shining through the cracks of my brokenness. I was doing God no favors by being artificial. God wanted to use my brokenness. He wanted to heal my brokenness. He wanted to love me in my brokenness.

As a society we have things that are stigmatized. Things that go unspoken for fear of rejection and judgement. Sadly, this is not much more different in our Christian walk.There are some subjects that are uncomfortable and can make us feel vulnerable.

Top Three Things Christians Hide: (Some of these overlap)

1. Mental Illness- Depression, Anxiety, Postpartum, Bipolar, PTSD, Schizophrenia, ect.

As I struggle with depression I find times when I feel the need to fake a smile, even when I am feeling shattered. Sometimes it is to hide my struggle. Sometimes it is to not make someone else uncomfortable. Also, sometimes it is because it makes me feel like I can just make it through. I am one of those personalities where if I am on the verge of crying and a friend tries to comfort me through kind words or through even just a touch, I fall apart and have a hard time gaining composure again.

In our society, mental illnesses are seen as weakness. They are often misunderstood. As Christians we are one body. So why can't we be vulnerable with our brothers and sisters in Christ? How is our pride getting in the way of allowing us to seek support and prayer? Are our expectations of others and attitudes keeping others from reaching out to us?

2. Addictions- Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Pornography, ect.

As I struggle with overeating I feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. I will have a nagging thought that seems to get louder and louder as I entertain it. I seek it for comfort. It makes me feel better, but the feeling is so short lived and I end up feeling defeated and worse than before. It is an idol that I have given myself to and that I felt could take away the pain. Food is not the only addiction I have had in my life, but at this time it is the one that I struggle with day by day, hour by hour, sometimes moment by moment.

If so many with addictions find help with support groups, how many more Christians could if we could be open about our struggles? If we could listen, support, and pray for them? Unfortunately, judgmental attitudes get in the way of showing love to each other. Imagine a brother or sister in Christ came to you and said, "Please pray for me. I am addicted to pain pills." How easy would it be to judge that person? It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, when really we should be comparing ourselves to Jesus.

3. Sexual Immorality- Lust, Adultery, Pornography, ect.

A little over ten years ago, I had an emotional affair that turned into physical affair. It had started as a friendship. Someone who I felt understood me and who made me feel better about myself, when at the time I felt I was in a loveless marriage. I quickly became emotionally attached to the person. My heart would start racing when I saw their number on the caller id. I would find reasons to go and talk. After having a fight with my husband, I went to my friend for comfort. The emotional affair became physical and I had committed adultery. I was so attached to this person that I was willing to break apart my family. My life quickly fell apart. It was soon after that I allowed Jesus to be the Lord of my life.Thankfully, God has worked so many miracles in my life and has brought healing and restoration into my marriage.

In the church sex and sexual immorality is often a topic that is brushed aside. We feel uncomfortable talking about it and it has become faux pas. So many families are or have been impacted by sexual sins. It seems almost like we believe if we ignore it, it will go away. Sexual sins are embarrassing, but they wont just go away. Jesus was a great example with the Samaritan woman at the well. 


John 4:15-19 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
John 4:39-41 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.

Why should we get real?

*Not only are mental illnesses, addictions, and sexual immorality similar in the way they are stigmatized, they are all very isolating struggles. They lead to others withdrawing and trying to handle it on their own. If we as a body can start communicating about them, it will remove some of the power of them. We can then lift each other up and encourage each other. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


*We are a light, even in our brokenness. The world is filled with fallen broken people. If we can be real with others, they can see that God loves us in our brokenness. We are unable to do good on our own, but God still uses us to bring Him glory. How cool to have a God that can use the very things that we struggle with, to help others. 

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, 
If you are struggling and you feel all alone, you are not! It may feel like the world is caving in on you and like you are just trying to survive. Even then, God is still there. He loves you so much and you are precious to Him. Please reach out to a friend, family member, a doctor, or a pastor. We are stronger with others at our side. Please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you! 
God Bless, 
Faith

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Make Your Marriage Work

Let me start by saying that this post is only for those who want or think that they might want it to work. If you have decided in your heart that you are done and that your marriage is not worth fighting for anymore than you will not find much support through what I write. I do not judge you because there were times that I had been there, but I do encourage you to leave just a little room for the possibility and to seek counseling. The fact is even if you do get a divorce you will continue to carry the baggage of a torn marriage around with you until you have resolved it and begun processing it. Again, if you choose to get a divorce I wish you all the best in your life but this post is not meant for you. 

When making a marriage work you can start by thinking of it as a war for your marriage instead of a fight. What do I mean about that? There are going to be battles, some that you win and some that you lose, but you can't just surrender at the the defeats. When you start a war you have to have a military plan.You need to know what you are fighting for, what damages you expect, and who your allies are. Allies would be pastors, counselors, and other spiritual leaders. You need soldiers to fight with you who understand your goal. They fight with you through all the battles and they give you emotional support when you feel like putting up the white flag. Real soldiers do not sabotage you. Like wars, patience is key. There is no way to know how long it will last. 

If you are at this point you may have been facing loneliness, abuse, addictions, infidelity, loss of identity, and hopelessness. All of these things deserve to be addressed. 

I wanted to start by discussing loneliness. One of the hardest things I faced was not being lonely in general but was being lonely in a marriage. It can make you feel like a caged bird, one that longs for freedom but is stuck all alone. I wanted to address loneliness first because of the risk of future harm to your marriage. When there is trouble in a marriage it is important to not confide in any males that you are not related to. Even with the best of intentions, a friendship can quickly escalate to an emotional attachment. When you feel lonely and unloved by your husband, it can be easy to allow yourself to listen to a male who is willing to listen to you and support you. Even if the emotional attachment never turns to more, any time you go to another male for that attachment and not your spouse it can cause a further drift in your marriage. This is why it is very important to learn the importance of some good female Christian  fellowship.

Three things that most people consider deal breakers are abuse, addiction, and infidelity. If you have had to face any of these issues, I am so sorry. These can tear down your confidence. They can make you lose trust in people. I believe that a couple can move past these hurts and still have a very healthy marriage but it takes a lot of work, love, and forgiveness. I truly believe in God's strength and power when He is put at the center of a marriage. While I believe in working through these issues, I also believe in healthy boundaries. You can love a person and still not allow their actions to affect you. It is important that if you are in danger, you need to separate yourself from the person. You can continue to love them by not enabling their behavior, by taking the time separated to connect with God, and by remaining in prayer for them. I think of this as loving from a distance. Boundaries is a great book that teaches about Godly boundaries. 

When struggling in a marriage you can face loss of identity. I remember this vividly. I feel like I went from Faith to just being Alvin's wife and Abbie's mom. I placed all of my confidence and identity in my spouse instead of in the Lord. When I began to see a change in my marriage is when I began to pray that I would find fulfillment in God and not in my spouse. I realized that if I could be fulfilled in God then any love my spouse gave me would just be overflow. The only person we can change is ourselves. 

There is no way for us to create hope... hope only comes from God and knowing His promises. We have to know that God would not lead us astray. If you place God at the center of you life and your marriage, He will give you the wisdom and strength you need to make it through. 

When speaking to others about the struggles in marriage, one common theme I hear is, "Why should I fight (change... go to counseling) if they aren't willing to fight (change... go to counseling) for me?" This can be a tough question to answer. How often did God fight for me, when I was not willing to fight for Him? How often did He love and forgive me when I was angry and sinful towards Him? I am just so thankful to God that through out the many struggles in my marriage we never both gave up fighting at the same time.... there was always one of us fighting. I know that it was God who carried us through those times. I am amazed to see the couple God is changing us into. 

God can heal your marriage, but you have to be willing to let Him. Seek godly wisdom and counsel. Set up godly boundaries for yourself and your spouse. Lose yourself in God because that is where you will find fulfillment. Pray for your spouse. Hope comes from God alone. 

Romans 5:10 "For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

Warren Barfield- Love is Not a Fight


Love is not a place

To come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in
Then commit to never leave

So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they're falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

Love will come to save us
If we'll only call
He will ask nothing from us
But demand we give our all

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It's worth fighting for

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Labels

So often we label ourselves as certain things and with certain thing. These labels can be good and they can be bad, it all depends what we do with the label once we stamp ourselves with it. 

Flash back to eight years ago:
"I have Bipolar." The words stung. I had been fearing saying the words out loud with the fear that once I put them out into the air they would become real. Once they I said it I felt the immediate need to try and grab them and pull them back. Take back what was beginning to unravel me. I felt my confidence in my identity begin to be stripped away. I was exposed and no longer was able to hide behind the my walls of humor, false happiness, and confidence. I had been hearing my doctors and my parents saying it for days but I hadn't been able to mutter the very same words. They seemed to be an object that I could not understand or grasp, a hologram in my midst. I would now have to go through the process of finding out what it truly meant to me, to society, and to those around me. The label had been set, and it was a dark label of violence, of chaos, of defeat. The label "bipolar" was looked at as someone who gives in to impulsivity. It was seen as someone who hurts themselves and those around them. It was one with no room for hope. It was one that could not be removed. 

Flash back to seven years ago: 
"I am an adulterer." There was not scarlet letter upon my chest, but I could feel it written all over me. It seemed like the whole world could see it. I feared that my husband would never be able to see anything in me other than it. The label came with chains of shame, disgrace, and self hate. The label seemed larger than me and was pulling me in and swallowing me up. This too comes with defeat... once a cheater always a cheater, right? 

Labels like these can pull us into a place of defeat. I often takes over our entire identity and we lose part of who we are. They distract others and ourselves from seeing the truth. They not only put us in a box but they put God in a box. 

Flash back to seven years ago... a little after the affair:
"I am Forgiven." I am able to let the blood of Christ poor over and cover all of my labels. I am not bound by any chains, but have the power to break free and to follow God. This label my friends, brings hope. It brings grace, mercy, love, power, and it gives us our TRUE identity. We are transformed into new creations. 


Instead of labels being what defines me... they are hurdles that I can conquer and overcome with God. I can take all of the negative condensation and rise above it. Are there still struggles? Sure there are, but the struggles are not as big as my God is. Now labels just give me a new challenge to face. A new way to see God working. 

Flash back to this year... 
"I am dyslexic." I have known since I was a junior, but I allowed to let the label have power over me. I have been able to learn techniques to help me and to be successful, but the negative view of it still wouldn't allow me to say the words. I feared how badly it might hurt. Surprisingly, I found great relief in saying the words. It was something that God is already helping me adjust to. It is something that my God is bigger. It doesn't mean that I am stupid or lazy. It just means that God created me a little differently. God is true, fair, and loving. He is not surprised about this fact. Instead of overpowering me, the label empowers me to push myself to new levels. To seek God more. To learn about how God created me and what a great gift he has blessed me with. It is a blessing not a curse. One that my daughter might share with me. God has shown me that with Him, nothing can hold me down. 

Labels can be bad, but with the label of being a Christ one those same labels can be amazing. God can use them to further His kingdom and to show His power. 

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!"

Ephesians 4:20-24 "That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Safe Guarding the Heart

I notice the fog creeping up on the front window. I continued to replay the argument in my mind. At the first sound of my ring tone I jumped. Would he really have the balls to call me  right  instead of just stepping out the door? At the second ring I decided to look at the phone. It was him. He was one of my best friends. As I spoke on the phone he reassured me. He told me everything I wanted to hear but none of what I needed to hear. He told me that I deserved better. He told me that I am smart and beautiful. He told me that he could understand me and felt closer to me than anyone ever before and I felt the same about him. Those were all words that I had longed to hear for so long. What first was only the best intentions soon turned into something dangerous. Things at home went from bad to worse. I was extremely lonely.  My marriage was explosive. 


A huge fight left us in shambles. I told my husband that I wanted out. I went to find comfort in my friend. When I was with him I no longer felt alone. Through the months of talking I had fallen in love. Not into a godly love but into a love built on desperation and neediness. He kissed me and I found no strength to fight it. That night my affair went from an emotional one to a physical one. I had an affair. I committed adultery. Those are some words I never thought I would never post on the Internet. There are so many names some may call me, but none that I hadn't called myself. The guilt haunted me. 


That was in 2005. That was seven years ago and God is still using it to teach me and to reach out to others. How much my life has changed since then. I am very blessed. God has shown me so much grace. God used the situation to pull me close to Him. My husband has forgiven me. 


I was listening to a great song that really summed up where I am at. 


Steven Curtis Chapman, "Remember Your Chains"


There's no one more thankful to sit at the table
Than the one who best remembers hunger's pain
And no heart loves greater than the one that is able
To recall the time when all it knew was the shame
The wings of forgiveness can take us to heights never seen
But the wisest ones, they will never lose sight of where they were set free
Love set them free

So remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone




I find that when I remember the chains that held me in bondage, I am able to see other with more grace and love. 

My friend and I were discussing the importance of protecting your heart. We are supposed to keep our hearts guarded from things that are ungodly. We are to be alert because the "devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)" When the devil finds a weakness he will pounce on it. 

Ways to guard your heart:
1. Keep in close communion to God. This can be achieved through prayer, His word, praise, and fellowship with fellow Christians. 

2. Have realistic expectations. Your spouse will never fulfill you. Your friends will never fulfill you. Books, sex, music, crafts, drugs, and other things will not fulfill you. God is the only one who can fill the void. Only God can bring true fulfillment. 

3. Keep an eye out for the enemy. A huge lie that many Christians get caught up in is forgetting or not believing that there is a very real spiritual war. If you do not have your armor on (Armor of God- Ephesians 6:10-18). 

4. Have a thankful heart. By keeping a thankful heart you can prevent yourself from the dangers of self pity. 

5. Be watchful of what you put into your head and your heart. By listening to ungodly music, watching ungodly movies, and reading ungodly books we open ourselves up to the lies of the devil. We desensitize ourselves from the things of the world. We are to be set apart. My friend just wrote a very honest and truthful blog about "50 Shades of Grey", a book that so many are speaking about. The book is basically soft core porn. http://littlebishopchronicles.blogspot.com/2012/06/50-shades-of-trash-for-adults-only.html

6. Call things as they are. By using God's terms it brings the truth to it. Instead of saying affair say committed adultery. Instead of saying a child disobeyed say they rebelled. We try to soften things up so that we don't offend people. We want to be politically correct, but we need to be God correct. John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

7. Seek out only godly counsel. We are to reach out to nonbelievers. We are to show them God's love and grace, but we are not to seek out their counsel. We all, pretty much, know our friends well enough to know how they handle situations. The friends of mine that will let me vent but then hold me accountable to what God wants of me, are the ones I go to with issues. The friends that are very worldly, I don't discuss personal things with. 

8. Write God's word on your heart. When the devil attacks, the best thing to combat his lies is God's word. 

9. Share God's grace with others. Show them the forgiveness and love that has been given to you. 

10. Don't give the devil any more ammunition. He already has enough ways to attack us. We are told to reject evil (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I have chosen to protect myself by not having any close male friends. Other than direct family members, I don't have any males on my Facebook. I don't talk to a male in a private conversation. If someone wants to contact me, they can reach me through my husband. I am not saying that all Christian women should cut off ties with male friends, but I know myself and I don't want to give the devil any room. I also want to honor my husband. By taking away his fear or giving him an opportunity to lose trust in our relationship is not worth it to me. You should stay away from whatever separates you from God.

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Colossians 3:9-10 "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it."


What is keeping you from God? How do you safe guard your heart?