One day several years ago, I was feeling despair over my marriage. How was I going to fix the issues we were suddenly facing? My heart and mind were overwhelmed with a storm that had unexpectedly raged into my life.
On a Sunday afternoon, I was feeling especially sad and worried about this overwhelming problem, and I wandered quietly into the solace of my bedroom. It was a rainy day and my bedroom was dim, so I clicked on the lamp beside my bed. As the warm glow of light bathed the room, my eyes fell upon the little glass box a friend had given me just a few weeks earlier.
This beautiful engraved box, wrapped in a soft, yellow chiffon bow, was filled with little slips of carefully folded papers, and on each slip of paper was an encouraging Bible verse. This would have been a wonderful gift in itself, but to make it even more special, my friend had inserted my name into each of the verses. When I read them, I felt as if God was speaking directly to me, as if He was gently calling out to Tracie, whispering my name with each holy promise.
As I sat quietly alone in my bedroom, I began to unfold a few of the verses; praying and asking God to hear my prayers, comfort me, take away my hurt, fix our marriage and show me the way.
After a few minutes of intense prayer, I became aware of God’s presence in the room, as if He were sitting right on my bed with me. Then suddenly, an idea popped into my mind. Instead of putting the little bible verses back into the glass box, I felt a nudging to spread them out all around me. I pondered how silly it sounded, a crazy idea I thought, so I knew it must have come from God. I hesitantly placed most of the small paper verses on my bedspread in front of me so I could read and focus on them, and then placed five or six to my right, and some on my left, and even put a few behind me on my pillow.
As I sat on my bed, fully surrounded on every side by holy words, God whispered to my spirit, “Tracie, now you are nestled into My lap; the lap of Your heavenly Father. I am here.” It was a thought that only He could have inspired, and it was so loud in my heart that it nearly took my breath away. I was stunned, and as tears streamed down my face, a feeling of peace washed over my spirit.
What an awesome privilege to be positioned right smack in the middle of God’s Word. To be sitting in the lap of the One who created me. To be entirely physically surrounded by His truths. To see and feel His written promises speaking specifically to me. To feel His comfort permeate my heart. To hear His voice as His Word came to life.
You see, I had been pursuing Him, and I found Him, right in my bedroom. I suddenly realized I wasn’t merely surrounded by cluttered slips of paper. I was surrounded by countless reassurances that He had heard my prayers for my marriage. He cared. He wanted my husband and I to be happy and to treasure the covenant we had made to each other and to Him. It would take some work, but He was with us.
What a gentle reminder that I needed to put my trust in Him, that He was aware of my situation, and that He would bring me peace to get through it.
I thanked God then, and every day since, for reminding me that when I seek Him with my whole heart, and pursue His comfort and Presence, I will find Him.Knowing that God sees and cares about our relationships with our husbands is the most priceless feeling in the world.
Our willingness to desperately pursue God and His intervention in our problems, whether it be a marriage problem or not, prepares our hearts to depend on God, trust Him, and give Him the credit for anything that happens.
The pursuit of Christ is what gives us the strength to keep striving for something that seems impossible to reach from a human mind perspective.
The pursuit of Christ is what gives us peace in our hearts, when there seems to be no peace in our home.
The pursuit of Christ is what helps us to keep believing that God can work miracles in us, our husbands, and our marriages even when it seems like the problems are too big, the hurts are too deep, and the challenges are too great.
As I was searching Gods Word about this topic of pursuit, I landed on 1 Peter 3:11 which says “He (she) must turn from evil and do good; he (she) must seek peace and pursue it.”. I found it especially applicable for today’s topic of pursuit, because it comes on the skirt tails of the passages about how wives and husbands are called to treat each other (1 Peter 3:1-7).
In 1 Peter 3:8-10, Peter encourages us to live in harmony, be sympathetic, love genuinely, hold our tongues, and be compassionate and humble – all of the things that we have been talking about over the past week that are so important in our marital relationships.
Peter expresses the absolute necessity for us to practice those Godly traits in our marriages, but then he points out that the only way to achieve the ability to practice Godly traits, is through the pursuit of righteousness. The pursuit of Christ.
We could wake up every single morning and commit to having a better attitude towards our husbands, treating them differently, and working towards improving our relationships – but if we are not pursuing a strong and grounded relationship with Christ, and building the presence of faith and unshakable joy in our hearts, then all of our efforts may go in vain.
It is God’s strength within us that allows us to pursue a better marriage, not our own willpower or motivation.
For the past week, we have focused on many things we could do to potentially soften our husbands hearts and improve our relationship with them, and these things are crucial.
But today, let’s shift our focus to our relationship with Christ, and how through Him, we can have the power within us to do all those important things.
As we pursue Christ, He will make His presence known in our lives. We will feel Him dwelling within us. We will see Him doing miracles, and He will show up wherever we invite Him.
He wants us all to sit in His lap, and to feel His comforting arms wrapped around us, because everyone needs a holy hug every now and then.
DAY 7 CHALLENGE: PURSUE Christ with your whole heart
Your challenge for today, is simply to ask God to give you an unquenchable thirst for a relationship with Him, an insatiable hunger for His Word and the spiritual clarity to know when He enters the rooms of your heart. Spend some time on your knees with Him, pursuing Him, and seeking guidance and blessing on your marriage, and every area of your life.
1 Peter 3:12a “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers…”