For those of you linking to my blog today from my Proverbs 31 Devotion, Trying To Be Strong, welcome! Here at my blog we have been tackling the tough subject of marriage over the past couple weeks and challenging ourselves to listen to God’s whispers about improving our marriages, one step at a time.
But just as I mentioned in the devotion, sometimes trying to be strong for others, and even for our husbands, can zap the energy from our bodies and the joy from our spirits. When we try to be strong in our own strength, or get pulled into believing that we can be ‘the rock’ for those we love, weakness in every form will eventually set in.
Over the past two weeks, I have focused on a lot of different suggestions, all sharing the same desired goal of improving and strengthening our marriages. For the sake of those who have been with me throughout the whole challenge, and for those who are visiting today for the first time, let’s do a quick little review of the challenges (you may view all prior challenges and posts by looking at all posts since March 8th):
– praying for our husbands- their hearts, decisions, work, choices, minds, and faith.
– promoting our husbands through words of encouragement
– changing our perspectives, and trying to see our husbands through Gods eyes
– providing for their emotional and physical and needs in unique ways that only a wife can do
– protecting their reputations and giving them honor
– “play” with our husbands, remembering to spend quality time with them
– pursuing a close relationship with Christ, which benefits our marriages
– pardoning the sins of our husbands; learning to truly forgive
– practicing positive habits every day
When I look at the list above in its entirety, all on one page and in one list, I must say it seems very overwhelming and exhausting! It almost seems impossible to think that we can really implement all these habits into our marriages, remember to do them daily and/or weekly, and stay motivated to keep trying even when the road seems hard, long, unchanging, and unrewarding.
Marriage can be the biggest blessing in our lives, bring the biggest heartache we have ever known, and be the greatest adventure we have ever been on, all at the same time. It is a breeding ground of emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other, but we can take heart in knowing that God knew marriage was not easy.
He knew we would need guidance and support, encouragement and strength. Even the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:28 that “…But those who marry will face many troubles in this life…” He even chose to make more than 500 Old and New Testament references to the words “marriage”, “married”, “husband”, and “wife” – because He cares about marriage.
Marriage was a challenge in biblical times, as it is today, because it is a union of two different, imperfect people coming together in a world that is full of sin and imperfection. It is the joining of two people who each have good and bad traits, habits, sins, and selfish desires, while trying to become one, coexist, stay in love, and deal with life.
If we only look at marriage by that description though, we will remain discouraged, instead of encouraged; frustrated, instead of hopeful; and disheartened, instead of joyful.
Marriage is one of the important parts of life where God knew we would need His strength, courage, ability to forgive, grace, mercy and hope, and one of the many reasons why He encourages us to persevere if we want to see our dreams come true, our faith come to life, and our marriages be a fulfilling blessing in our lives.
To persevere means to ‘persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; and to continue steadfastly’. Here are a couple verses that reiterate Gods take on perseverance:
Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Perseverance is not always fun, and being strong is not always easy, but in Christ we can reap the rewards of His love, protection, and blessing as a result. When we feel we can’t make it another day, we can rely on El to hold us up in His strength.
Only God knows the problems or blessings in each of our marriages, and only He knows the future of each relationship. But our role is to continue to trust Him in whatever we are facing, and to persevere through His strength and not our own in every adversity of life that we face.
DAY 10 CHALLENGE: PERSEVERE, and seek strength from God.
Today your challenge is to embrace the mindset of perseverance and look to God to be your Strong One, as I mentioned in today’s devotion. There is no doubt about it, marriage is hard, but without God’s strength, it is even harder.
Lord, so many women may be exhausted right now, and losing their desire to persevere. They have tried all of the marriage challenge tips over the past couple weeks, yet may not be seeing any real evidence of change taking place in their relationships with their husbands, or in their marriages overall. I come to you Jesus, lifting each heart up that needs a special dose of strength from You today. Hearts that are wondering if their efforts matter, and if they can really trust in You to do what seems beyond our reach. Convict hearts of husbands all over our country, and make them acutely aware, maybe for the first time, of how their wives need to know they care. That their needs matter too. Prick their spirits and give the men the strength they need to be the husbands You have called and prepared them to be. For women who are seeing positive results in their marriages, we praise You Lord, and ask for your continued intervention. Help us all be strong Lord – in marriage, but also in our everyday circumstances and hardships. You know where we are each feeling the weakest. We come to You, El, seeking Your strength to persevere, and trusting that with You, all things are possible. In Jesus name, Amen.
In today’s Proverbs 31 Devotion, I shared a time when journaling helped me hear from God. As promised, today I’m giving away a beautiful journal filled with inspirational bible verses and a pen set. One winner will be random selected from all entries, and I’ll personalize the journal with a note of encouragement to the winner. WINNER ANNOUNCED ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 27TH!
To enter to win, leave a comment sharing one area of life where you could really use an extra helping of holy strength and where you will begin more fully relying on God’s strength to persevere through that trial.
If you are receiving this post in email, please CLICK HERE to leave your comment and enter the giveaway.
The winner of last Thursday’s giveaway for a free copy of Suzie Eller’s new book, The Unburdened Heart, is Jen who posted on March 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm.
If you are Jen, please click here to contact me with your mailing address information. Please reference which book you won when responding.