Are You Struggling?


My personal interpretation of Psalm 6:

God, please don’t be angry with me because I’m weak right now. I’m struggling to trust you and not be afraid when my situation looks bleak and frightening. I need your healing.

I know your love never fails so I ask you to save me. I know you love me. Please deliver me.

If I die, how can I praise you? And I feel like I will die because my enemies are out to do me harm. Their actions leave me weeping and groaning on my bed.

But God hears me and will deal with my enemies. He will be merciful to me even as I struggle through this.

David, who wrote this Psalm, had real time enemies.

His father-in-law, King Saul, had betrayed him. He asked David to sing to him and then threw his spear at David to kill him. On Saul’s “bad” days, he was chasing David down with an army. On his good days, Saul told David he loved him and was sorry. And that’s only part of the story! (see 1 Samuel in the Bible)

Some of us have been in relationships like that, haven’t we?

Our enemies may be people in our life, destructive or negative thoughts or actual circumstances. No matter what the physical reality is, the spiritual reality is that our enemy is Satan and his demonic forces.  Real events affect us in real ways, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Satan uses those events to destroy us and whispers lies to enforce the negative impact.

God embraces us in those events to bring comfort, healing and a deeper knowledge of his love and power.

God understands our struggles. He doesn’t condemn us for them. And when we call out to him for help, he will show us love and mercy, and He will save us.

What is your struggle today?

Relationships


I confess that writing a blog while writing a book on the same topic is a little tricky especially when they aren’t exactly coinciding. My blog is ahead of my book, but I realize I’ve left parts out…crucial parts, and I tend to feel tempted to go back and fill in the blanks. For those of you following our online dating story, that may thrill you, and yet as in any good book or movie I don’t want to give away the ending.

Okay, so for those of you who know us, you know the ending already. Many of you were there at our wedding. So it’s a little like telling a story backwards. And as I’ve said, that’s a bit tricky.

In spite of the temptations and expectations, what I feel led to write today, while it may not seem pertinent to the ongoing story, is the bottom line of pertinence.

Relationships.

Relationships no matter with whom, are complicated and difficult. And amazingly wonderful. And we won’t grow without them.

Last night after hearing a bit of our story, a young woman posed a question to my husband and I that went something like “So do you still feel like you’re in the honeymoon stage? Is the romance still there?”

Very good questions. With multiple levels of answers. Which is why I think I feel drawn to the issue of relationship today.

The easy answer is yes and no. Our honeymoon introduced the “end” of the honeymoon “phase” (our first real fight), and yet we often gaze at each other with eyes and hearts of honeymooners. We feel the romance of our love, devotion and miracle story frequently and deeply, but we also sometimes look at each other and wonder (like all couples) “what the heck is going on, how did we get here and how do we do this?”

My husband and I just started reading Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s a book about marriage being a picture of God’s love story with us. Before we finished the introduction, I was crying and my husband was tearing up. It’s that powerful, honest, encouraging and hopeful. I’m so grateful that someone has the guts to talk about the struggles in their marriage, not with the shame and embarrassment that we all feel, but with the transparent truth that shouts out “the emperor has no clothes!” Aren’t we all sighing with relief when someone finally states  the obvious that no one else will dare utter? Marriage is hard, and we don’t get it. I’m crazy in love with this person that bewilders me and makes me want to punch them at times. By the way, is that okay? Are we doomed then to be a statistic or is there hope for us?

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that the fairy tale isn’t working out as we imagined it would, but what I’m learning is that the fairy tale is true and happily-ever-after IS possible, it just takes a little more hard work and perseverance  than movies ever have time for. It’s okay to struggle and to let people know we need help. It’s not only okay, it’s normal, typical and to be expected. The problem is that we just don’t expect it, and then panic when difficulty comes and we aren’t sure how to handle it.

One of the best (and most frequent) encouragements we have received from other further-along-in-marriage couples is the concept of being on the same team. We love each other; that’s a given. So instead of fighting each other and each other’s baggage, we want to learn to fight together on behalf of each other. How can I help my husband become all God intends for him to be? How does he do the same for me? We can apply this to relationships with siblings, friends and parents as well, not only spouses.

Next week maybe I’ll fill in some of the blanks of our story, though not so much as to keep you from wanting to read the book, but for now let’s just say that marriage is a fantasy, a reality, a dream worth pursuing and fighting for. And, we win in the end. Isn’t that what romance is all about?