Thursday, February 18, 2010


There's a Third Day song with the words of this blog entry's title, and I'm a true believer in the lyrics (I've typed out part of it below):

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on,
Have lost all of their faith in love
And they've done all they can to make it right again,
Still it's not enough.

There is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary
And love for the broken hearts
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to Jesus.

These words were for me in my marriage almost two years ago, and God restored us.

I felt convicted once again to do this post after Michael and I went to an AMAZING marriage conference over Valentine's weekend. It wasn't even live - it was a telecast - but the things this couple said were SO powerful and Spirit-filled. I can't say enough about them, and I encourage anyone to attend if they ever get the chance, whether your marriage is in trouble, or you're just committed to taking steps forward and growing together. (The organization is called Marriage Today, and the couple is Jim and Karen Evans).

While Michael and I were sitting there together, able to relate to just about everything the couple said in one way or another, I began to reflect on the last time we were at a marriage conference. It was also at our church and the speaker was the author of "The Five Love Languages." He proceeded to give advice and tools, etc. etc., many times referring to one of the books he'd written. I vividly remember scribbling away, taking notes, praying for a miracle - that this seminar would change our drowning marriage and change our lives. But that didn't happen. In fact, in the weeks following the seminar, things got worse.

Without going into too much detail here, I'll just say that things were beyond bad, in a way that is hard to describe or relate to unless you've been through it, and Michael and I were separated (which was necessary for any hope of restoration and healing) for seven months. Those were without a doubt, the most difficult months of my whole life. I experienced a full seven months of crying out to God, night after night, not knowing what my future held, not knowing what would happen to our family (Bennett was a baby at the time). I also felt the Lord's presence like I never have before. I told him that I wouldn't give up until He released me and gave me permission to throw in the towel, and he told me to keep praying. So I did. And toward the end of those seven months, when I was at the very end of my rope and felt like I had nothing left to give, the Lord answered our prayers. He used His Word, He used other people, He used our counselor (who was amazing), and He truly, miraculously healed our lives and our relationship.

Because of this, Bennett is growing up in a whole, healthy, godly family, and because of this, Jasper John exists. Because of this, Michael and I are able to help and encourage others, and because of this, GOD IS GLORIFIED.

During the conference this time, I simply sat there, praising God for His goodness, crying tears of joy for how far HE has brought me and my husband and our two beautiful boys, thanking Him for His will being done in our marriage. In the span of two years, Michael and I are different people, our family functions completely differently, and we have a testimony of miraculous healing to share with anyone who will listen, and anyone who needs help.

Please know that I am NOT saying our marriage is perfect - we have problems and issues and flaws just like everybody else. The difference is, we're friends, and we're batting on the same team, and we respect each other. We work on ourselves and our relationship together, for a united purpose: to bring glory to God and to help each other.

God is good, all the time, and this testimony needs to be told, for anyone having doubts or fears about their own marriage, or for anyone who knows someone else going through a really difficult, painful time.

Before closing out this post, I want to share a few quick points from the seminar that I loved being reminded of, and I wish EVERYONE could hear:

1. In an extensive poll of troubled marriages, where the couples believed divorce seemed imminent, when the poll came back around and visited these same couples five years later, 85% of the couples who'd stuck it out and stayed together said they were happy.

2. Words are NUCLEAR. This is so true. Our society and culture makes it seem like it's okay, and even funny, to be sarcastic and cutting and harsh, but it's not, especially not in our marriages. The Bible says that one day we'll be held accountable for every word. The tongue really is a two-edged sword, with the power to maim or destroy. When we're fighting or arguing or discussing in our relationships, this is so important to remember. Our words plant seeds and produce eternal fruit and have eternal consequences, and we reap what we sow. Satan wants us to believe our words are evaporative and unimportant. FALSE.

3. You're not in a good marriage unless your spouse says so.

4. Weak people follow their feelings. Strong people do the right thing, trusting the emotions will follow.

5. Your words have the ability to heal your spouse more than ANYthing else. Another lie from Satan: I'd say something nice, but it wouldn't make a difference. The truth is, the more you nurture with humility, kindness and encouragement, the more you get the response you want.

6. When you pray (including for your marriage, your spouse, your family), your words are not just going up in the air. They're building a monument before God. Prayers don't evaporate. They accumulate.

7. Great marriages and happy relationships have FUN! The more fun a couple has, the more healthy and fresh they are. Having fun opens up lines of communication.

8. Sarcasm and silence are both unhealthy in a marriage.

9. Men are as sensitive in their egos as women are physically.

10. A man will never be influenced when he feels disrespected, and a woman will never be influenced when she feels insecure.

(All taken from the notes I wrote down from the Marriage Today seminar)

I'll close in saying, if there is anyone reading this post who needs help or needs to be pointed in the right direction for getting help, don't hesitate to pull me aside, e-mail me, whatever. I don't have all the answers, I don't have a bunch of self-help wisdom to offer, but I do have the Lord, and I can absolutely understand.