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.

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

The one thing that can turn your negative thoughts to good…Plus 8 tips for cultivating a positive frame of mind

FIELD

COURSE

So my Michael and I are walking down a country lane, determined to boost our endorphins by getting some exercise in the bright sunshine.

“We’re also making Vitamin D,” he says with a grin.

“I’m not so sure,” I say, noting that nearly every square inch of me is bundled against the chill. {O Summer, wherefore art thou?}

BUNDLED

I have slept VERY little in the last two nights and I am sluggish in body and soul. With every step my thoughts spin further down, all negative and fearful.

“I’ve been worrying too much lately,” I confess.

“Yes you have,” he says.

Then I give voice to my negative thoughts in an effort to diminish their grip on me, and in hearing myself speak them out loud I recognize them for what they are.

Fear-fueled lies.

“What would you say to a woman you were mentoring if she said what you just said?” he wisely asks me. He often poses this question which makes me dig a little deeper and think harder, helping me sort things through and find my way out of the dark place.

“I would tell her that she can change her negative thinking. Right now. Right in the midst of the downward spiral,” I say, “by making a choice to change and think more positively on other, better things.”

Choosing this repeatedly until it becomes your new groove, even though it can seem impossible to begin, helps banish negative thinking for good.

Regardless of how you or I may feel we still have the power to choose what we think. And since we readily believe what our brains tell us, choosing carefully is not only prudent, but obedient.

Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8 J. B. Phillips

CHIMNEY

Simply put, the one thing you can do to get rid of your negative thoughts for good is to begin by making a choice.

I don’t know about you, but my struggle with negative thinking intensifies in the winter.

Too much dark, and I’m not talking chocolate. And too much cold. It throws my circadian rhythms off and disturbs my sleep. And that sets me up to more easily entertain the wild beasts that come running at me from the cages in my mind as soon as my eyes open, or maybe have been dancing along my neural pathways through the wee hours of wakefulness. 

{And of course, if your negative thoughts are significantly more than mild SAD-induced variety, please seek out a mental health professional today. This can help!}

In addition to choosing to think more positively, here are action steps that help me ascend from the pit. They can get you to the brighter side, too.

  1. Keep your brain and heart flooded with God’s truth each day. Even if you only have five minutes to spare in the morning, make reading the Bible a ritual. A great site when you’re on the go is BibleGateway.
  2. Take a news fast. While I’m not advocating that you completely ignore world events, you don’t need to gorge your mind all the time with graphic images. Set some limits for yourself.
  3. Conduct a self-inventory. Ask the Holy Spirit, who is your best counselor, to show you the areas of unrest in your soul. Dig a little deeper to discover the roots of your unrest that contribute to your negative thinking. Perhaps you bear a grudge against your husband, mother or former friend? Confess to God what is revealed as sinful and then choose to fill your heart and mind with truth that will keep you free.
  4. Remember! Humans are by nature forgetful. You make a decision to turn yourself around but your hurts, habits and hang-ups are so deeply ingrained that you can’t seem to stay out of your rut for more than short periods of time. When you fall back into negative patterns you berate yourself, lose hope that change is possible, and perpetuate the cycle that gets you nowhere. One thing that helps me remember is neon bright Post-its. I make tiny cue cards for myself and post them where I can’t ignore them like the edge of my computer screen or my bathroom cabinet. Plus, all those jots of color makes me happy, too.
  5. Hear your thoughts. When you find your thinking going in the wrong direction tell yourself to STOP! Say it out loud. Speak out your silly thoughts either to yourself or someone else, like I did on my walk with Michael. Hearing what you are thinking helps you realize the negative thoughts are not rational.
  6. Feed your brain. Eating healthy improves overall health and that includes your gray matter. Brains benefit from a diet rich in omega 3s, Vitamin D and B vitamins. Foods like salmon, walnuts, avocados, blueberries, green tea and yes, dark chocolate (85% organic and fair traded) are all great choices. Reducing Candida in your digestive system can also improve your mood and thinking. There’s a reason your gut is referred to as your “second brain.”
  7. Hug and hug some more. Hugging a loved one not only strengthens your immune system, but boosts oxytocin and serotonin levels, making you feel less lonely and angry and increasing your happiness quotient. If no one is around hug the family pet or give yourself a hug! Close your eyes, use your God-given imagination and feel His arms encircling you. Hugs, like laughter, help you let go, relax and feel more upbeat. Virginia Satir, the late family therapist and author, said: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
  8. Sleep. This can be tricky, especially for women, especially during the months of increased darkness. But quality sleep is vital to good health, both physical and mental, because body and mind restoration and detoxification happens during deep sleep. Some ways to achieve this include: setting a positive intention that sleep will come, staying calm and relaxed especially later in the day, getting off the computer at least two hours before bed, being consistent with a bedtime routine that relaxes you, keeping your bedroom calm, clutter free and cool; not eating heavily before bedtime, exercising earlier in the day, getting enough light by braving the outdoors or using this type of lamp.

If you need help transforming your mind from negative to positive, click on my picture below for further information.

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