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…

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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.

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



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

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


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.


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.


>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…


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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7 tips for restoring your marriage after an emotional affair…Part 2 Affairs of the Heart series

Guard your heart. Scrupulously.

The best way to heal and restore a marriage after an affair is to never get to the place where it needs to be restored and healed because of an affair.

So consistently nurture your marriage. And choose to fall in love with your husband a thousand times during the course of your lifetime shared.

Staying the straight and narrow course comes from a heart that loves God more than it loves itself — because it understands how deeply it is loved.

This is always better than back pedaling.

But if you succumbed to temptation like Eve, falling for satan’s line and reeled into his web of deceit, there is hopeSo don’t give up.

However, once the affair has ended and you are truly sorry for your sin you may experience a boatload of despair.

For when it is over and you come back to the Light seeing clearly how far off course you had wandered, you may feel a depth of depression that you have never known before. Joy and peace that comes from a long, steady walk hand-in-hand with God will be absent for a season.

However, that’s not the end of your story for this is His story and always a love story.

Like any good dad, God will take you in His arms as you cry in repentance and hold you close. His discipline is always in love and tenderly merciful.

And if you are willing to submit to some hard lessons you will go forward wiser, more loving and closer to God than before. Somewhere down the road God may even allow you to share your story with another woman that has fallen or as a warning that might prevent her sinning.

Pain can be turned into powerful healing when you surrender to the One who loves you best of all.

Here are seven tips to steer you in the right direction as you start out on your healing path.

1.God above all…
Whenever we sin we hurt God. So He is the first One you must seek and humbly ask His forgiveness. Read Psalm 51. If your heart is truly contrite, you are immediately forgiven. There is no condemnation from God. Pray and spend more time listening to your Father for He knows best. Ask God to show you what is lacking in your own heart that lead you to make the choice to betray your husband. Our sinful choices sometimes stem from unfinished business from the past and unhealed wounds from earlier times.

2.Your husband next…
Humbly approach your spouse after much prayer for grace and tell him that you have done a great wrong to him and your marriage. Let him know you are very sorry for disrespecting him the way you have. Ask him to forgive you for breaking your marriage vow of forsaking all others.

Then give him some time.

Pray for your man. Without ceasing. He may not be ready or able to forgive you at this moment, especially if this is the first time he is hearing about the affair. Let him know you repent for loving him so poorly and that by the grace of God you want to become the wife God desires you to be, the kind of helpmate your husband needs. Then make good on your commitment to God, your husband and your marriage by becoming the wife God wants you to be.

3.Forget about the other man…
Maybe that means quitting your job. Or leaving a church ministry if that is where you met. Get rid of any gifts, cards or emails this other man may have given you. If you have photos of him on your computer, delete them so you won’t be tempted to gaze at him. When you find yourself missing him and thinking about him tell God you are sorry and take captive those thoughts. Then pray for your husband. After God, keep your heart and thoughts devoted to your husband.

4.Fall in love all over again…
First with God. When you love God more than yourself you more readily resist the opportunity to sin. So turn to the Gospel of John and read it everyday for a month. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God and His love to you in a new way, a deeper, more profound way.

Next fall in love with your husband. This may require counseling, preferably for both of you individually and then as a couple. But sometimes husbands don’t like to go for counseling. So be it. You go. And keep going.

Sometimes it helps to talk woman-to-woman with someone who has survived several chapters of her own sin. A Titus 2 mentor can help you choose to love your husband with 1 Corinthians 13 love. For love is always a choice and marriage is a commitment and sometimes when the going gets really tough it is choice and commitment that carries the day. But be assured that God is not a miser when it comes to restoring joy. Follow Him, be obedient and in God’s time the joy will return and you will be flooded with wonderful feelings for the husband again. Or maybe for the first time.

5.Show, don’t tell…
Begin to prove your love to your husband by the kind and gentle things you do for him. Maybe it’s buying him a half gallon of his favorite ice cream — and not nagging him about his cholesterol levels, or taking a walk in the evening together, or helping him with a chore that he dislikes. Share your time with him giving him the best you have to offer not your leftovers after the kids or work. Gently touch his face, look into his eyes. Thank him for all his does for you and your family. Minister to him sexually. Plan a special date night. Maybe a weekend away. And finally, do tell him that you love him. More than once.

6.Make a list…
Of all the things that you love about your husband. All the things you are grateful for. And over time, with God’s leading, your list will grow long even if you cannot think of much at present. Be willing to have the mind and heart of Christ and to see your mate through His eyes. Your husband is fearfully and wonderfully made and in marriage he is your perfect partner. You spouse is the one soul on the planet who can best help you become most like God. Marriage is a crucible in which the dross of both can melt away.

7.Feast on Bread…
Let the bread of life feed your hungry heart tasty morsels that help you love, honor and cherish your husband better. Honoring God with time in His word yields the timeless treasure of a heart resting secure in relationship-altering truth. And when a formerly faithless wife disciplines her heart to live out Bible truths each day, real, lasting changes result. See this post for eight scriptures that can help you.

With God’s help wounded marriages can be restored. Don’t get impatient and don’t give up. You promised your life to your husband and God will give you all the grace needed to become his perfect helpmate.

Restoration takes time.

So trust and obey…

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It’s Friday and Holy Week has been hard leaving holes in our hearts as we participate in His suffering…

Western Wall (2) - Copy

Sometimes we just don’t see it coming, that thing that slams us into a wall.

And evil stirs dark as Palm Sunday dawns and a torrent of words mean cut deep and we bleed.

Tears like rivers flow over banks and we are drowning as we swim against the tide of taunts that tries to pull us under. Sleep disturbed and weeping remains for nights. Betrayed by one of our own.


Loveless lashing out from a precious heart sorely broken sinful — one of many through the years with cheeks turning but now a threat of physical harm demanding stronger boundaries until something changes.

Wailing, we increase our prayers for one dearly loved. Always loved. With nothing that will ever stop our love.

If you are reproached for being Christ’s followers, that is a great privilege, for you can be sure that God’s Spirit of glory is resting upon you. But take care that none of your number suffers as a murderer, or a thief, a rogue or a spy! If he suffers as a Christian he has nothing to be ashamed of and may glorify God in Christ’s name.
1 Peter 4:15-16

Ache in our heart is too great to bear until we remember the passion of Christ and Him being betrayed by one of His inner circle after breaking the bread and giving thanks.

And us called to give thanks in all things and wondering how in the midst of all this pain.


Then a second blow unexpected on Holy Thursday. Full price offer withdrawn at the point of contract on our house too long for sale. And there will be financial ramifications. And we are not sure what to do.


I beg you not to be unduly alarmed at the fiery ordeals which come to test your faith, as though this were some abnormal experience. You should be glad, because it means that you are called to share Christ’s sufferings. One day, when he shows himself in full splendor to men, you will be filled with the most tremendous joy.
1 Peter 4:12-14

We begin to feel those lashes on His back as we participate small in Christ’s suffering big. Weight of the cross we carry is a twig compared to the Man of Sorrows holding a world of sin on His shoulders sinless as he journeyed the cobbled way in chains.

Blood leaking.

We are not called to sacrifice to the point of death yet we must offer the sacrifice of praise through the slaying.


Step by step we walk out the pain while praying and praising and the sun shines warm though the air is chill, and we think of Him walking bruised from Gethsemane along the Via Doloroso with one thing on His mind.


You and me and all of us. Beloved objects of His great love.

Sunlight slipping we open a bottle of red and break the bread reading holy words.

And while they were still eating Jesus took a loaf, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them with the words, “Take this, it is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after thanking God, he gave it to them, and they drank from it, and he said to them “This is my blood which is shed for many in the new agreement. I tell you truly I will drink no more wine until the day comes when I drink it fresh in the kingdom of God!”
Mark 14:22-25

Dip and eat — baring our souls full of holes — in remembrance of Him.

Father forgive us — and the one who has hurt us — for we are all part of them that Christ cried out to the Father for at Calvary.


Humbled as we hush for we are the worst of sinners.

Desperate moment by moment for our Savior who keeps saving, and crying out for those who do not know. Yet.

Then they arrived at a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to the disciples, “Sit down here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be horror-stricken and desperately depressed. “My heart is nearly breaking,” he told them. “Stay here and keep watch for me.” Then he walked forward a little way and flung himself on the ground, praying that, if it were possible, he might not have to face the ordeal. “Dear Father,” he said, “all things are possible to you. Please—let me not have to drink this cup! Yet it is not what I want but what you want.”
Mark 14:32-36

All is bleak on Friday. Hearts still staggering we only see the cross.

They hit him on the head with a stick and spat at him, and then bowed low before him on bended knee. And when they had finished their fun with him, they took off the purple cloak and dressed him again in his own clothes. Then they led him outside to crucify him.
Mark 15:19-20

Love hung on a rugged tree, dark clouds covering and everything quaking.

At midday darkness spread over the whole countryside and lasted until three o’clock in the afternoon, and at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? — My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Mark 15:33-35

Letting out a great cry He died so that we might live.

Embracing this Life we see with spirit eyes not fleshly that the fight is against unseen forces hateful, holding others captive, sent to destroy us. Powers of darkness celebrating then and now.

But Love always winning and the stone will roll away.

Hallelujah. Easter!

So we hold each other tight and He holds us tighter.

Christ in us the hope of glory.

Holding on till Sunday comes…


Holy Land photos compliments of Kimball Family International

Treasures of darkness…when depression swallows you silent and what 21days in a dungeon taught me


So I am sitting here in the dark and the cold.

Our home is still and he’s asleep but I am wrapped in a black woolen shawl pulled round my shoulders with a cup of steaming tea between my palms.

Staring weary at a screen flashing 3:17 AM.

So I read words written by a woman who cannot see.

And it’s the very last line of her post that opens my eyes and makes me catch my breath.

May He give you the treasures of darkness…Isaiah 45:3

Because just last week I posted this and those same words hit a deep chord and now I am asking Him what it all means. And so much of His teaching to me comes through this blog as feelings process and words flow and stories evolve and both you and me helped.


Yesterday evening I met a friend for tea and we were talking about how winter, even in spring, has refused to give up the ghost and the deluge of drab and dreary days has left us all needing significant sunshine and warm breezes and flowers bursting color.

I tell her that the last few weeks had been difficult for me battling SAD and black lace with wee hours wakeful bringing negative thoughts and worries of this world weighing heavy on my shoulders aching.

No amount of 85% dark chocolate was making things better.

And the Word which is the Light seemed dim, too, and laughter which always rolls easily from my lips jammed up. And I started shutting down with my world all sombre and scary and the serpent hissing lies.

Hard to write and harder to feel and my fingers refusing to fly over the keys because words were stalled in the shadows, locked away in depression’s dungeon. And my one flesh dearest felt the freeze. And all I wanted to do was nap in a dark room, shades drawn, so I did.

And the lie that lingered lazy, with anger closer than my next heartbeat, kept repeating: I just don’t care.

Now my brain recognized and remembered that seasonal affective disorder troubles me slightly each year, usually in the last couple of weeks in February, but never lasting longer than 10 days. I reminded myself the negativity and sense of hopelessness would pass but when it lasted twice as long I was about ready to pluck my eyelashes out.

It was a very long winter.

And looking to the hills for help all I saw was dirty, ugly snow and I wondered if my Help was hearing my cries both inside and out. Typically my passions bubble over with cares deep about life and Love and my beloved loved ones, but this season of SAD was so full of nothing — virtually no feelings, nearly no delight, and almost no hope — that I thought morning might never come.

Faith floundering weak and friends praying strong kept me putting one foot in front of the other, pushing through the fog and sometimes falling down grumpy. Poor husband! Thank you for grace.

But help finally did come in the mourning and He, our Lord and Savior, makes me dance. Cranking up the Latin tunes I salsa round the family room, kicking serotonin into gear and working up a sweat.


And the next day I am traveling out of town, back to where I began with my son who lost his birth certificate. As we climb steep stairs to City Hall a strong, chill wind whips my hair in front of my eyes, sending shivers across my skin, yet in the twinkling of an eye scales of sadness slip away right there with help coming on that hill overlooking the fourth largest city in New York.

Holy Spirit rush fills me, every cell tingling alive and in the bright my heart is sunny, too. Smiling. I thank the Son for holding me through a long, tedious season of dark.

And the treasure take-away from this experience is priceless.

Here’s what’s worth remembering: {And if you are struggling with depression that absolutely will not quit, or having seriously dark thoughts, please contact your health care provider immediately.}

>>God showed me that I must be ever diligent to choose my thoughts wisely being positive even when I feel negative.

>>Mild, seasonal depression must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit

>>Darkness is a gift that makes us cry out for more of our Father

>>In the darkness He can shine His light on things in our souls that He wants to remedy

>>Scripture is solid gold truth and we need to focus our hearts on truth regardless of what emotions scream

>>Receiving the treasure of darkness yields a chest full of wisdom jewels

>>The sun will shine again because the Son is always loving us no matter what our critical inner voice says

>>Eat, sleep, pray for talking with Him, exercise, solid sleep, and a diet high in omega threes helps

>>Tickle your funny bone by distracting yourself for awile with movies that make you laugh like For Richer For Poorer and My Big Fat Greek Wedding

All our longings end in love

City Hall image credit