You may not save your marriage, but Jesus can rescue your heart…

Sometimes marriages end. A very sad reality for adults as well as the children involved. There is terrible pain when a union dissolves, whether or not you initiated the divorce. Pain that lingers long after the judge signs the final documents.

Today it’s raining and the world is all weepy and I am thinking about your tears, how they readily fall because your heart is hurting badly. You are drenched in despair, trying to pick up the pieces of your broken marriage, life, heart. A long time ago I was where you are today. And I’ve learned the hard way that it is much better to commit to doing your marriage God’s way from the start instead of trying to fix it later, or needing to let go once it has ended.

But if your marriage has come apart at the seams and it seems the end is imminent — and you and I know that we cannot change our spouse’s mind or heart, only our own — may I gently suggest that God may be using this devastating event to get your attention. To call you to Him so that He might rescue your heart even though your marriage does not survive. Because sometimes, no matter how much we pray, go for counseling or work on changing ourselves, if our spouse is determined to end the marriage, it will end.

But God.

His love for you will never end, nor will He ever abandon you, even if your behaviors and choices helped precipitate your spouse filing for divorce. No matter where you are today, or what you’ve done, or what you have suffered in your adult life or childhood, God is closer than your next heartbeat. God will be with you through this ordeal, every step of the way.

But you will get to where He wants you to go that much more quickly by doing things God’s way, not your way. Because sometimes when we choose to do whatever we want, believing we know what’s best, swayed by our emotions, fears, anger and wanting to get back at our partner for hurting us, we dig a deeper hole causing ourselves more pain, loss and mess.

Take courage and have hope. There is a Jeremiah 29:11 future for you. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

However, read beyond the oft quoted verse 11. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Will you search with your whole heart for the God that loves you more than you realize? Or will you stay where you are in your pain and sadness — and I am not suggesting that a relationship with God precludes the grieving process. Processing your grief from a broken marriage is part of the healing process, but now you know that God is with you.

If you turn your heart, mind, life and will over to the care of God today, right now, then He will take all your broken pieces and over time reassemble them into a beautiful mosaic. A new and different life and future from what you earlier envisioned, but beautiful, meaningful and powerful nonetheless because it is now His to mold and guide as He knows best. And when there are children involved, your getting healthier and closer to God benefits them, and their healing and future.

One day Jesus asked a blind man, What do you want me to do for you? And the blind man said, Rabbi, I want to see. Mark 10:51

Do you want to see clearly how to live and love? Do you want to see your life become whole? Then look to the One who is Love. The One who is waiting for you with arms outstretched.

And take His hand…

Is your marriage falling apart? Has your marriage ended? Are you wracked with pain over your brokenness? A free mentoring session can help.

Sheila Kimball Mentoring encourages you to heal your heart and move forward from where you are today to a much better life based in an abiding relationship with God. CLICK my image now to get started on healing your heart and mending your marriage or life.

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When your heart is breaking and your marriage failing…God

Skies, like lives, split open. Rain comes down, waters rise up and torrents gush. Yet there is a steady hand, unseen, a shield against the battering. And you are held fast as surges threaten a sweep to sea even as your heart lurches and you’re not sure if you can hold on a minute longer. Splattered with dirt, cold and wet, your heart in a million broken pieces, you feel desolate and ashamed. Your soul in the brig behind pain’s iron bars. And teardrops gush like raindrops, flooding your soul. Safe harbor seems so far off …

At a college commencement a few years ago, hope filled for the future, one of the speakers said:

That which hurts us, instructs us.

And a long time ago, a wiser man inspired by the Wisest, wrote:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed…But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name…Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
1 Peter 4:12-19

Yet you were surprised when this gut wrenching event happened in your life, in your marriage.  You thought the journey would be smooth sailing; that this ship wreck would never come. But hard days are upon you. And I know a lot about hard days. With two divorces behind me, and multiple episodes of chaos and drama in my past life, I know how excruciating it is to desperately hurt.

But God.

And Him teaching you — like He’s taught me — all the life lessons that are only learned through terrible suffering. Suffering that helps us be more like Jesus who suffered greatly so that we might know forgiveness, healing and the abundant life, now and later.

So take heed as your heart goes through the paces of changing circumstances that have come upon you like the tide — or maybe a tidal wave — and you find yourself being piloted in a new direction. For when you open your heart to receive all there is to learn in your pain, lessons soak in and the seas seem less daunting, but only if you hold His hand tight.

There is safe harbor.

God guides you to shore.  And though a soaking, swirling rain storm on the open sea is frightening, rain also replenishes dry ground helping it become more fertile. Teardrops water seeds planted deep in the dark of a heart too often broken.  A heart that has made made its own share of mistakes and poor choices.

But now is the time for a season of new growth.

Pain of loss, betrayal, abandonment, or disappointment have littered the soil of your heart, making it difficult to sustain good crops, but God is sifting the stones, breaking up the sod, and your new life is sprouting. Roots of bitterness being pulled up one by one.

And even though it appears you have lost nearly everything you hold dear, you still have your heart to offer. Not the heart of the parent who hurt you or the spouse who betrayed and abandoned you. This journey is between you and God. So why not surrender? Right now. Press in and find God in the Gospels the way you never have before. Talk, and listen, to Him during prayer. Be willing to let Him take you through the storm to the other side where there is much good for you.

From my own experiences, I assure you that these moments of ripping pain are some of the times when you can feel His love most tender if you open to it. No matter what you are going through today, discover the sweet spot where He meets you and holds you close.

Don’t give up no matter how dark your life and marriage looks at the moment. God is for you. From the ashes of your heart bountiful blessings can emerge in the way the Lord shall choose.

Welcome the tiller’s Hand…

Is your marriage falling apart? Are you wracked with pain over your brokenness? A free mentoring session can help.

Sheila Kimball Mentoring encourages you to move forward from where you are today to a much better life and marriage based in an abiding relationship with God.
CLICK my image now to get started on healing your heart and mending your marriage.

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Post updated from the archives.

Are unresolved issues destroying your marriage?

In the beginning it’s white lace and promises and hopes for happily ever after. Wedding photos show the happy couple taking their vows, feeding each other cake, dancing the night away. But the honeymoon comes to a hard stop when unresolved issues unpack their bags, turning your fairytale romance into a marriage nightmare.

Words and gestures of love that came easily while dating are replaced with loveless accusations, screaming pride, and maybe even fits of rage. It’s been like this for a while and now you want to call it quits. And it’s not just a thousand little things that you hate, but it’s big things like adultery, lying, addictions, anger, pride, selfishness, and pain from the past. You don’t see anyway you can go on in your marriage.

{And there are valid reasons for divorce as I well know so my words are not in judgement or condemnation of anyone. And certainly if you are being abused in your marriage, please get out now before it’s too late.}

But as Michael and I look back over our past failures, we understand the utter devastation of divorce — emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. And when there are children, the shock waves reverberate for decades to come. So before you call the attorney, please take a moment to settle your soul and sometimes in a deeply troubled marriage a separation is necessary.

Though one spouse’s negative contribution to the marriage may be bigger, both husband and wife add their share to the mutual mess. Unfortunately, like attracts like on some level and hurt people hurt people. You may think, I’m okay, he or she’s not, but if you take a peek at the person in the mirror you may see your own flaws, too. We all are sinners.

And since neither you nor I can change another human being, the place to start is yourself.  For even if your marriage ends, without personal healing, change and growth, you may be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, continuing a downward dysfunctional trend.

Because when a couple marries four people show up at the altar. The lovely picture-perfect adults plus the unseen messy little boy and girl. These individuals — products of their families of origin yet never beyond breaking free of the past — bring to the marriage whatever was learned and lived during childhood in addition to their adult choices and experiences.

Maybe you had an alcoholic parent? Or maybe your parent struggled with mental illness? Perhaps both your folks drank? Were you abused in some way? Or maybe your mom and dad fought all the time until they finally got divorced? All these early traumas hurt tiny hearts that harden as a means of self-preservation, surviving the family of origin using coping mechanisms like perfectionism, control, anger, codependency. Later, using sex for love and attention, or repeating the mistakes of the previous generation and abusing or using in a vain attempt to make the pain go away.

And while these four are busy battling each other, the next generation of tiny hearts are getting hurt and learning love and life all wrong. And so it goes, generation after generation.

But God!

You’ve tried everything to eradicate your pain but despite the counseling or meds or running away, the screaming, cursing, crying tantrums remain. And in all this drama you keep running from God because maybe you don’t really believe or maybe you perceive God as a punisher. Maybe you fear working on yourself. But God is for you, your spouse, your marriage and family.

Trusting in God and purposing to live a Jesus lifestyle is the only way you can escape your pain. The ugliness won’t magically stop should you say I Do in future because you will still be there. But there’s hope! It will take time and surrendering pride, but if both you and your spouse are willing to work hard you can do it! IF you CHOOSE to CHANGE.

If you choose God.

And now I ask you what is it you really want? Do you want to end this marriage, hurt your children, keep doing life your way?

Or do you want to reach out and ask for help? Let go of the past and be free? Learn how to love and live like Jesus and reap the rewards and blessings?

It is your choice to keep or end your marriage; God will love you no matter what you decide, but please think of the potential ramifications down the road.

**Divorce hurts children making them more susceptible to future acting-out behaviors, drug abuse, promiscuity and problems in school.

**Wrecks bank accounts — attorneys fees can range in the tens of thousands.

**Forces single mothers to work long hours away from their kids just to put food on the table.

**Increases stress on multiple levels.

**Causes you to run from God in shame and guilt.

**Exposes you to sexually transmitted diseases.

**Yields abysmal loneliness.

**Renders emotional pain now and decades later when an innocent remark by an adult child makes you wonder, What if we had tried harder to heal our marriage?

Consider this true story… Years ago a thirty-something wife whose marriage was seriously bad from the start filed for divorce having grounds three times over. But the husband’s brother was a Christian who deeply believed God could change and renew their marriage. He flew in from out-of-state to share that God was the key to healing their hearts, freeing the husband of his addictions, the wife of her issues, and restoring their marriage. This brother even suffered a minor accident en route to the couple’s apartment. Undeterred he shared what God had done for him and his marriage. But neither husband nor wife would listen for they had allowed their hearts to give up and shut tight. They divorced. Their relational futures remained dismal through the ensuing years. Their little children who had witnessed awful things, grew up broken and as adults lived what they had learned from their parents — anger, fear, addictions and divorces. And I can’t help wondering what would have become of that family through the generations if that young husband and wife had decided to believe God, humble their hearts, and worked on building a new marriage and life together…

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For the husband and wife not wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day…

Sometimes it takes some time to fully grow into the gift of married love that is a gift from God.

And sometimes it takes time to completely be grateful for the one who completes you.

Because when the dark times come they cloud your heart, raining pain. But those grueling times are growing-up times and you’ll only feel like you’ll break.

You won’t!

If you choose God and hold on tight you’ll grow good and strong and right. But it’s up to you. 

Embers grow cold and all can seem dark and lost yet your hope is in God who is Love and strength to keep loving in the light of His love during the darkest night in the soul of your marriage. So push through as God brings you through the thorns that rip and tear.

But will only tear you apart if you let them!

For time after time Love never fails. Feelings of love fluctuate, but love real and true is a steady choice to act in loving, kind and gentle ways. Giving more than taking. You and your spouse putting each other before self.

And Love saves no matter how many times or how you have failed.

So hold on!

Seasons change. Days fade into night and a honeymoon rising. Hold your breath and wish upon a star and climb a stairway made of moonbeams, transporting each other out of this world on a journey of a thousand mysterious moments.

Two as one in the dance of marriage and love for a lifetime.

And one by one years pass. Babies grow up in the twinkling of an eye. Then grand babies. To a thousand generations. It’s vital you make the right choices now, today, for this present time will affect all the times yet to be.

But in God and with God someday you’ll look back and find yourself and your marriage in a good place. Side by side and smiling. Glad you never gave in or gave up, but instead looked up, and gave up your pride and sin, hurts and fears.

Then in the secret place of a heart carefully kept all through the years, you will know that all the time all you want is each other.

Partners for life. Friends and lovers. Parents and grandparents. Victorious by God’s grace.

Morning and night. Good times and bad. Day in and day out. Time after time.

For as long as you both shall live…

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God changes your marriage as He changes your heart…First Things First, Part 3

While it’s yet dark I throw back the covers, sit in silence for a few moments letting the new day sink in. Hush of pre-dawn hours and His ever-nearness enveloping me like a warm shawl on a cold morning. My mind stilled, my heart reaches heavenward. This time is just for me and Him.

And my Michael, he’s got his own personal meeting going on with the Lord.

Daily we choose to enter the secret place before entering our day and it sets the tone for the hours that follow, impacting decision-making, our willingness to obey, stress levels, and by extension, our marriage. So we guard our time with Him.

When you or I neglect our time with God we make it easier for the enemy to sneak past our boundaries, wrecking havoc and harm, crushing in ways small and big — sometimes severely damaging marriages, with families breaking and how the babies cry.

But we are smarter than that because we are Daddy’s devoted daughters and Father’s faithful sons, aren’t we?

We hear His voice — when we are listening. We learn from the Bible (especially the words and life and Christ) — when we read it. We grow closer to God through prayer — when we make the effort. Choices. And in these things, and as we practice other spiritual disciplines, we are victorious when the challenges of life and marriage overwhelm.

So how’s your love affair with God these days?

Do you know Him? Really? Or do you wear the mask and go through the motions? Something to seriously consider regardless of how life and marriage are currently faring.

And an absolute necessity if your marriage is a mess today — with gaping chasms of pain, fear, sin, hurt and loss from the uglies satan uses to destroy us — all the weaknesses we yield to, the wounds from childhood, the hardness of heart. Your union seems doomed and you’re thinking about throwing in the towel: I’m done, I’m calling a lawyer, or one of satan’s favorite lines: I’m not in love with him/her anymore.

You may think that packing your bags, divorcing your spouse, and moving on is all it will take to make your heart happy. Wrong! You will still be there. With all your own inner stuff that needs healing. Not to mention the terrible fall-out that follows divorce — emotional, physical and financial devastation. And your babies wailing even 20 years later.

For divorce doesn’t just split a couple apart it wrecks families, destroying the stability and security every child needs. Little boys and girls, and even bigger ones, want mommy and daddy together, loving each other for a lifetime. Role models for the next generation. Every successful marriage making society stronger. And if you’re thinking that a new marriage with someone else will magically be all better, please think again.

And don’t give up before turning to God who is the repairer of the breech, the salvation of our souls and the mender of marriages.

But it needs to begin with you, the plank in your eye. Focusing on your spouse’s faults is God’s business. Of course he or she needs to change too, but only God can do it. And I doubt He looks at our bad as much as we do. He sees us as He intends us to be. Made right as we become like His son.

The journey of discipleship begins with your choice — not just to believe in Jesus — but to be like Jesus. Moment by moment with every choice made in line with God’s will. And when both husband and wife commit to follow God like this, as true disciples, hearts and marriages change for the better.

Because God really loves you and me.

He thinks about us all. the. time. Knowing all the good and the bad and loving us still. And He always will. God’s no runner when things get down and dirty. He rolls up His sleeves, lifts us out of our slime, and kisses our sins away.

So what do you say we love Father back like never before?

Spending more real time with Him, not just showing up at small group. Knowing Him, not just knowing about Him. Believing Him like your life depends on it. Doing and saying what He does no matter how much your soul screams in opposition.

Discipleship, it’s not just getting saved, it’s coming and following each day, all the way.

And it’s hard when we first turn whole heartedly to God. Discipleship takes you to the edge of yourself and as you peer into your abyss beware the unpleasantness. Yet don’t hide from God or wallow in recrimination and guilt. If you are sorry, truly, then you are forgiven. And God is ready to move you forward. You don’t need to constantly replay mistakes. Choose not to think on them, just like God says He does. Forgetting.

Is right this minute the time to stop whatever your doing?

And open your heart. Bend your knee. Ask for help. Choose to cling. With baby steps preceding leaps of faith, you’ll learn Him and live Him and fall madly in love with Him.

Just like He desires.

A thousand times each day your choices transform your character. Over time right God-choices change your life and marriage, His promised abundance reaped in unimaginable ways.

And God never makes an empty promise…

Please come back for future posts in the First Things First series with practical helps for deepening discipleship and by extension improving your marriage. So you don’t miss out, subscribe now by clicking on the box.

First Things First series, Part 1

Part 2 — Annual Marriage Checkup

And for a free 20 minute mentoring session to kick start your new year, click on the image below.

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