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

Because He remembers you…

Sylvan Sunset

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in
steadfast love.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:8; 10-14

So great is His steadfast love towards us. His love amazing and extravagant.

And we try to understand it yet sometimes have trouble receiving.

And His mercy trumps justice every time.

In the depths of our depravity He does not give us what we may deserve in return for our sins.

So great is His love!

He takes away our sins and wipes our slates clean so He can start writing a brand new story.

Because He remembers.

He remembers bending low to the earth and scooping up a handful of clay and breathing His spirit into that first man, and then picking a bone from his side to form woman.

He remembers we are dust and we so often get dusty and in the dust His finger writes clean because His blood has washed away our dirt. And when we get dirty again, only our dusty feet will need washing.

Grace restoring and renewing us.

Grace refreshing us as it removes all that binds us and holds us back and holds us down.

His wish is that we soar with Him on the wings of the wind like eagles strong.

And He is strong and true and His love makes us our truest self.

Father tenderly compassionate towards children unruly who one day learn that living by the rules is not restrictive but life giving.

So He laid it down.

Steadfast love bleeding all the way out, that we might live.

But are you? Living, that is? Real living. In Christ.

Or are you just going through the motions. Following your own way.

Maybe today is the day to set your intentions on serving the Most High like never before.

Obeying Him with the faith of a child. Unwavering.

And obedience bringing blessing and honor and life…

~sheila

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How words wicked wash away the bridges in your marriage…And 5 tips for repairing the breach

RAIN TABLE

RAIN DECK

Sometimes the rain comes down. Cold and hard. Pelting.

Flooding roadways. Washing out bridges that connect people from one locale to another area.

Stranded.

And sometimes words come down like heavy rain in a marriage.

Husbands and wives cold and hard sting the heart of spouses who may not have seen the storm brewing.

Dam has burst.

And in moments of torrent fierce the bridges of connection in a marriage get washed away leaving spouses on opposite sides.

Separate.

And while words good and bad are so often associated with wives, husbands can dump a downpour, too.

From the head of the marriage pours toxic injury often emanating from an injured male heart washing away the tender tendrils that bound her heart to his.

Pushing her away. Making her wonder if the rock that she thought her marriage was built on was really built on the Rock.

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Only God knows the secret workings of a man or woman’s heart.

And when the words pour down and wash away the connection between a husband and wife they wonder what to do.

>1. Seek God.

In my trouble I cried to the Lord,
And He answered me.
Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips,
From a deceitful tongue.
Psalm 120:1-2

God knows the end from the beginning. And He knows where you and your spouse started. How your relationship set sail and from where you came. Perhaps your beginning wasn’t good and those early wounds not yet offered for healing come out unexpected and ugly.

But it hurts as it disconnects two who have vowed to always be one.

So pour out your aching heart to the One who truly loves you forever. Trust that His heart loves you no matter what and His love is not fickle and prone to unsettling emotions that can bring out the worst in a spouse.

And God will never leave you.

Never abandon you. Never stop loving you. He will never even threaten those things. For God, unlike a man or woman, is not a liar.

He is First Love. He is Forever Love.

So keep your own tongue from evil and your own lips from speaking deceit. Two wounded wrongs will never make a righteous right. Depart from evil and do good the best you can.

>2. Seek peace with your spouse.

Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34: 11-14

Having prayed mightily for the Spirit to guard your heart and tongue, ask your mate what is truly behind their deluge of hurtful, hateful words. Hearts that are at peace with God, fully resting in God’s love, can speak about issues without their own wounds and shortcomings muddying the waters.

Maybe your spouse is not at a point of true reconnection and reconciliation. Perhaps they choose to play the blame game and twist things so that their words are your fault.

But they aren’t.

And someday we each will stand before a Holy God and we will only speak for ourselves. Truth be told we are all broken and messed up in one way or another, some much more than others. But God’s grace and love and blood covers us and cleanses us and gives us the ability to meet halfway on that broken bridge of our marriage and start repairing the damage.

RAIN BRIDGE

>3. Forgive your spouse because God tells you to.

…bearing with one another, and forgiving each other,
whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the
Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Colossians 3:13

And forgiveness can be hard when the other person does not appear repentant.  But maybe they are trying. And forgiving is not forgetting. Not yet at least. Not until the issues that caused the dam to burst are fully disclosed, discussed and then sent away by the power of two hearts truly beating as one and of a Risen Lord who walked on the waters and calmed the raging storm.

You have sought God, sought peace and chosen to forgive your husband or wife and yet your heart is not at rest because beneath the apparent calm, behind the mask carefully worn, is a churning vortex that will suck you in time and time again until all is revealed.

And repented of.

And both husbands and wives are guilty of offense and of taking offense yet God tells us that love is not touchy nor does it keep a record of wrongs.

>4. Stalemate.

You have gone through the motions with your spouse but things are crusty like day old bread and the bridge is not yet rebuilt.

The foundation is weak. Wounded.

And that thing that your mate did a week ago, the one that he or she said they were wrong for and asked forgiveness? That can’t keep coming up because all those hooks in your heart will only cause the marriage to go under.

If you say you have forgiven your spouse, then forget about it and move on.

And when a man or woman sins against God and their spouse and then simply says I apologize for my rude behavior that may not be enough. Do we tell God I apologize, Dad, for having sinned?

Or do we humbly approach Him with a contrite heart lacking all haughtiness and tell Him from our hearts broken with the weight of our own sin — not our spouse’s — that we are sorry.

We are wrong.

And then ask Him to forgive us.

And asking is so much more humbling than telling, isn’t it?

Asking for forgiveness instead of merely telling your spouse you apologize is an exercise in going lower.

It is the kind of humility that brings healing to the most wounded marriages. But it takes a big man or a big woman to take off the mask and admit they are a mess.

The swirling that caused the flood that washed away the bridge from a husband’s heart to his wife’s must be repaired.

Even if it means staying up all night to talk it through. With tears. With residual anger — and anger stems from hurt, fear, frustration and disrespect.

Because when a man, who is the head of the family and the one who leads his wife in righteousness, is not rightly related to her after a disagreement his prayers will be hampered.

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives
in an understanding way, as with someone weaker,
since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow
heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:7

Daddy loves His girls.

And His boys.

And Daddy hates it when they squabble and then in pride refuse to kiss and make up.

>5. Trust.

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
Isaiah 58:12

Sometimes a spouse is not ready or is not willing to truly go beyond the surface in the moment to the deep place where the hurts are so big and so bad that they just cannot face them.

And that is when you let go. And let God.

Trusting that God will make all things right if we surrender to His will.

So that we can be reasonably happy in this life. And in our marriage.

And supremely happy with Him forever in the next…

~sheila

We are all in this together. And God is our good Daddy who wants our hearts healed so we can love freely.

What do you and your spouse do when words hurl hurtful? Do you fly away in avoidance, running from the pain? Freeze up and do nothing, pretending it will go away if you ignore it? Or do you fight mean and even more hurtful?

Maybe it’s time we all just stop and surrender and let God heal us…

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If this post resonates at all with you, please let me use my past to assist you in growing into the beautiful woman God has created you to be. I want to give you my free eBook, Wounded Wife which is yours when you drop me an email at sheila at longings end dot com. And if you are ready to go deeper sign up for C2 for Woman Only which is a confidential form of conversational help. Click here for more details on C2.

 

 

 

When your marriage really hurts …

216 VIEW

Only His love will help two very imperfect, very broken, very overstressed individuals find the will to obey enough to choose to love regardless of feelings that fluctuate constantly.

For the truth remains that you made a vow to stand by each other for better and for worse. {But I am not talking about wives taking their husband’s abuse and believing God wants them to stay when it is unsafe for them or their children!}

And God puts people through fire to burn off the dross that is buried deep and can go for days simmering on the back burner.  God wants these toxins to come to the surface and bubble over so His Grace can wipe up the mess, ultimately making spouses stronger, more resilient, less touchy.

Love never fails is not just words. And God’s desire is that marriage reveals the mystery and intimacy of Christ and His true believers.

But sometimes love hurts and the hurts often manifest in marriage.

And you will always have a choice to act in the right, God honoring way regardless of how you feel.

That’s why it’s vital to bring your feelings under God’s control because feelings can lead to making wrong choices and acting in wrong ways.

And your mind finds it easy to listen to the lies.

Lies from long ago and lies from yesterday. Loveless lies someone else told you and lies you tell yourself. Sometimes over and over.

Stuck.

And sometimes is just seems so very messed up that partners feel they want to jump ship and dive into the swirling cesspool of statistics where one in two marriages fail.

How that makes satan happy.

I am sure Father shakes His head and it breaks His heart yet in His patient, unending, all-knowing love He understands that love is strengthened in fire.

For fire burns flesh.

And that really hurts when you are head over heels in love with yourself.

But God!

Our glorious good God, good King, good Daddy. Not like your daddy from when you were little, though.

Abba gives the freedom to be perfectly imperfect and preposterously awful sometimes yet He never stops loving you. He will never give up on you — or me –no matter how much one messes his or her diaper. He longs for us to become like Jesus.

Grace.

STAGE COACH PASS

And always morning light and new mercies tender that will reveal that nothing is unto death…except death and that is really the beginning of the best.

Whatever you are going through right now in your marriage remember…this too shall pass.

And marriage is never perfect and spouses the world over since time began can get so tired of so very much. And they just want to get away from each other and maybe even forget about each other.

And they may scream hateful words in the heat of moments evil. Sometimes they scream it and then demand apologies from others for perhaps saying similar things, yet never say they are sorry or wrong.

Hurling insults and calling names that bruise tender hearts and stick in the memory and pretty soon if someone tells you over and over that you are this or you are that, well you start believing that lie.

But you are not! You are a sinner saved. And Christ loves you even if you spouse checks out — figuratively or literally.

You will remain standing! You will not fall down when they leave for you stand with the One who holds you forever.

Never letting you go. Remembering you are just dust.

And the names He calls you are Beloved and Precious and Child.

SUNFLOWERS

It is not in the NOT fighting that a marriage is made strong.

A marriage grows deeper roots with every conflict FACED and RESOLVED. 

For marriage is not about perfection or about running away from problems. It is about meeting them in the strength and power of God no matter how poorly one’s efforts in that area.

Marriage is not about isolation but about oneness even when you do not like your spouse. {Cool off periods are needed however} but God’s admonition is not to go to bed angry. A powerful command that forces a man and a women to bend their will to HIS.

Marriage is about admitting one’s frailties and saying I’m sorry and sometimes saying I’m sorry more than once for the same issue. And you are not a failure even if you make the same mistake more than once. Not if you keep getting up and trying again. Growing stronger each time.

One day at a time.

And marriage is about knowing that a vow is a vow for a reason.

Marriage can be hard and it takes commitment and work to make it work year in and year out, day after dreary, discouraging day sometimes.

For in the working together for the common good of serving the Lord in your marriage two broken people become whole.

And holy.

With every choice to love a momentarily unlovable spouse — fully anticipating that same love in return when it is your turn to play the jerk. Not riding a high pony, waving a big stick and shouting in your spouse’s face.

Marriage is about humbly saying I was wrong.

I am sorry.

Would you please forgive me?

And asking forgiveness is different than merely apologizing.

Asking forgiveness is about humbling one’s heart…

~sheila

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Visit our Facebook Longings End page today read the HAPPY MARRIAGE MONDAY scripture verses and leave a comment about how you and your husband use scripture in your marriage.

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If this post resonates at all with you, please let me use my past to assist you in growing into the beautiful woman God has created you to be. I want to give you my free eBook, Wounded Wife which is yours when you drop me an email at sheila at longings end dot com. And if you are ready to go deeper sign up for C2 for Woman Only which is a confidential form of conversational help. Click here for more details on C2.

View from Longings End…Ocean of grace

OCEAN 5

OCEAN 2

Ocean of grace.

Water of life.

And the Spirit’s siren call beckons souls to come, walking on the water. Unafraid. Trusting.

I’ve only just dipped my big toe.

Because trusting can be scary. Even trusting God. Even though He’s always been good, always works everything out.

He keeps calling us to come further out. With Him into the deep.

Yet we are little Much-Afraids, aren’t we?

OCEAN 3

Broken like shell fragments lining the shore.

Fragile.

For that’s what happens when we get hurt or used. Disappointed and abandoned.

And we’ve been waiting all our lives for someone to say I really love you. No matter what.

And He has because He does. And He’s not going anywhere.

But life happens and the sun it slips away and darkness falls all around us. And the awful swirls like a raging storm on every side. Terrifying.

We don’t want to lose sight of the shore, get in over our heads, need to be rescued by the Only One who can save us. We would rather pretend we have it all under control.  So we keep on kicking. We are strong swimmers who can take care of ourselves.

Seeking survival instead of our Savior.

And we might last but we won’t be living.

OCEAN 1

Because those wild winds keep blowing and our fingers slowly slip one by one as we try to stay tethered to the dock.

Those wood pilings gone in a gale.

We need to hang our hope on the One who hung on that wooden cross up there at that place of grace where evil got shut down.

And He rose up.

He is our life preserver and He sets us free when we surrender.

And let grace swallow us.

Becoming vulnerable yet no longer a victim.

And falling in love and true intimacy with Him who can keep us from falling.

OCEAN 4

Wave upon wave washing over us.

Grace glistening.

Grace cleansing.

Life dripping real…

~sheila

We slipped away one glorious late summer day earlier this month. Tasting the salty air. Savoring the wind at our backs.

And  I’ve been asking myself how much of my heart does He really hold? How much do I still hold back? And why? And it is in Him that all these answers lie.

So we press onward until His grace swallows us completely, in over our heads yet breathing deeply.

Come along, won’t you?

Blessings on your weekend, my friends.

 

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