Heal your marriage from the effects of growing up with an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional mom or dad …

Maybe your marriage is miserable right now and you’re on a messy merry-go-round and you’re wondering if the brass ring even exists. You keep repeating the same words, actions or choices expecting different results that never come. And you wonder why you can’t change your life or marriage for the better.

I have been there.

Got the battle scars to prove it. And it is only as I became aware of — through repeated marital/relational loss — and then faced the devastating impact of my past on my present that I sought healing. Not blaming those that gave me life, but saying yes to God who set me on a path of progressive freedom, traveling from darkness and pain to light and love.

What about you?

If you are feeling hopeless as you read my words, keep reading. Open your heart, your mind and believe. There is a way out of your mess that while not quick or easy will prove absolutely well worth it. You are worth it. So is your marriage, your children and grands. Like anything else that you will ever attempt in life though, it begins with your choice. Surrendering your will. And if you will set your will in His and work hard at re-learning life and love God’s way you will alter your future and break free of the devastating cycle of destruction that currently plagues you.

Perhaps like me your early years involved lots of chaos and drama. For a long time I underestimated the impact that having had a dad that drank was exerting on my adult life. Maybe it was wishful thinking or denial but I thought I had survived and gotten by okay. I was smart, earned a degree in journalism with honors, married my high school sweetheart, landed a job I loved. For all outward intents and purposes my life, marriage, future, looked bright.

But inside in the secret place where shadows of long ago lingered and often raged, nothing was good. There was much fear and pent up, repressed anger that came out in screaming bursts. Such shame. And the feeling that something was terribly wrong with me and that in having grown up in an alcoholic home I was all alone in all the world.

And you? Are you coming to realize that your parent’s alcoholism — or abuse, anger, addiction, control, mental illness — has far reaching tentacles that are choking your life in this present moment? For no matter how much we pretend, wearing a mask and stuffing the truth, our past catches up with us. We are only as sick as our secrets.

God wants you to come to Him and be healed, set free of all your hidden or not so hidden struggles, sins. And for your marriage, as full of chaos as your unpredictable childhood, to be made good, strong, right. And those coping mechanisms — the ones we used as kids to survive the trauma when all we wanted was parental consistency, security and love — are what we mistakenly think help us today. We are adult children, fearful and controlling, perfectionistic, over or under-achieving, or drowning in our own addictions as we try to numb our pain, reduce our stress, quiet high-level anxiety or overwhelming depression. We struggle and act out in many ways — sexually, financially, relationally — and our lives result in rubble.

No matter how you or I got broken the result is the same. Our adult lives and marriages are tormented and by extrapolation the lives of our children and their children become fractured, rife with a howling ache that demands attention one way or another. Generational cycles perpetuating.

But God.

He came that you and me, our spouses, babies and grand babies may have life. And have it abundantly. But first you are invited to commit your life to Jesus Christ who shed His life blood that you might be free, go in peace, sin no more. Forgetting what lies behind because He has glorious plans to make everything and everyone new.

I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

That verse if for you. And me.

All of us who would hold His hand and bravely face the future, coming to Him on bended knee and seeking help. Believing that He is the God who saves us and makes us whole. A wholeness that comes through increasing holiness, us becoming like God in our thoughts, words, and actions. And choosing to let go the memories we cling to as if our identity depends upon them, those very same horror stories that wake us in the wee hours, the tales that over time still produce tears.

Yet obedience over time brings blessings.

And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says, At the acceptable time I listened to youAnd on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” … in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses … in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God… 2 Corinthians 6: 1-8

The Son longs to make you free so you will be free indeed.

And now is a good time for a new start…

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

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

So you don’t miss out on other valuable heart-healing and marriage-mending tips, subscribe now by clicking on the box.

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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.

So you don’t miss out on other valuable heart-healing and marriage-mending tips, subscribe now by clicking on the box.

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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.

So you don’t miss out on other valuable heart-healing marriage tips, subscribe now by clicking on the box.

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Post updated from the archives.

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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Exquisite ache…reflecting with gratitude, anticipating with joy

RT Trees

With Thanksgiving past and my heart flooded with gratitude for all our sweet and special blessings, as Christmas draws closer day by day, an expectant hopefulness rises within me bringing a desire to reflect deeper still.

On life, love and all things God.

And with the season of darkness and bitter cold descended at least in New York, I feel the urgent pull to be warmed by His embrace. Aligning my heart in sync with the heavenly heartbeat.

Breathing. Waiting. Opening.

RT Stairs

For there are certain somethings that touch me with the deepest ache.

Sunset. A full moon. Late afternoon sun sliding into a room like golden honey. Twinkly lights flashing like pinpoint stars. Melodies calling to the soul from somewhere long ago and faraway. And always, always the wanting for more time to spend with those I most love.

Brian Crain’s Summer in Italy transports me in this way and I invite you to listen.

Yet the ache is not sad, bittersweet perhaps, more a yearning so exquisite that I can barely breathe. 

A divine heart-call in whispers often unheard. And in the longing for what seems just beyond my grasp, behind the veil, comes again the realization that all my longings end in His heart of Love. 

For is there not unique and redeeming beauty in our ache when it urges us closer to God?

Drawing us with an intimate promise of all that was ever meant to be. And after years of wandering and wondering, attempting to assuage the ache to belong, to know and be known, to love and be loved as never before, comes the discovery both ancient and newly-born.

There.

Is.

Only.

One.

Him who obliterates darkness, fills the void, expands the heart, pours the grace. Holiness healing the deepest hurts and worst habits. And on those silent nights as we look up, when divinely-implanted loneliness is most acutely felt, our hearts will crescendo in hallelujahs for darkness brightens with the Morning Star.

RT Light

During the next few weeks as life speeds up, crowding out quiet contentment, make room at the inn of your heart to welcome Him simply. No frills or fuss, no pretense or striving. Come as you are and just be with Him in all the fullness of each present moment. Then linger with longing and fill even more.

Him the gift to us and us through Him becoming the gift He intends.

May Christmas come softly this year, helping us hear as He beckons us to rise from the ash heap of mortal existence to kiss His face, pursuing Him with passion the way He pursues us.

Our ache leading us home at Christmas. And then we will know. For certain sure.

We are His. We belong. We are loved. And the tattered remnants of our orphan hearts will tear away like discarded gift wrap as we emerge more fully grown.

At once and still becoming, a true-er daughter or son of the best dad ever…

Sheila Signature Reduced