Broken Promises

I saw an article the other day about the characteristics that make a man a man instead of a boy. The quote that struck me most was this

A man has integrity. He means what he says, and says what he means. He has follow through and actions his promises. And if he can’t he has the guts to tell you why. A boy makes promises but doesn’t follow through.”

(You can see the entire article here: http://fitlife.tv/the-11-differences-between-dating-a-boy-vs-a-man/

Someone had commented “I wish I had been given this information when I was younger.”

Um, yeah. Me too.

The problem was, my husband didn’t always break promises. Not as much as he does now. It’s hard when dating because everyone is on their best behavior. Over time though, we slide and allow things to slip and I wish I had been raised with enough respect for myself to see it earlier. Like before I said “I do.”

Because failure to hold to promises also goes to vows.

And that whole love and cherishing business.

Marriage is a contract between you and another person and God. But if that person can’t honor God and you by keeping those promises, then covenant has been broken.

When a man won’t repent, or even admit he’s at fault it goes beyond a broken promise. It destroys any hope of relationship.

In my home I can’t even remind my husband of things he’s promised to do. Forget the fact that he can’t remember them sometimes, he calls it nagging. So I have to simmer and suffer and reconcile myself to the fact that his words are worthless when they are spoken to me. Maybe he holds to his word with others? I’m not sure. But for me and my children we are more often disappointed to the degree that we don’t expect much anymore.

He wants to do things together as a family and wonders why I’m not enthusiastic about his attempts. Well, because he’s broken too many promises. He has grand dreams and schemes and blames everyone else for his failures to bring his promises to fruition. My children are learning first hand to keep their expectations of their father low. Even today as I type this, it is noon and he has not yet gone to work.

He can’t work for someone else because he can’t keep promises to a boss either: to be on time, to do what’s assigned, etc.

He lives in a world unto himself. Some would say he’s narcissistic and the more I read about that the more I believe it to be true. He just doesn’t care that he has disappointed his family. Alienated and wounded his wife.

How do I live in that reality?

I have to stand on the fact that God loves me and He is faithful to keep His promises to me even if my husband doesn’t. God doesn’t make promises He is unable to keep. He just doesn’t always tell me the timing of his provision and deliverance.

So then it’s up to me to bet he faithful one. The one whose words are trustworthy. So my kids will know the difference and not accept their father’s behavior as the norm.

I want them to respect their father, but when he is disrespectful it’s hard. He is a human and for that he needs respect. He is in a role that deserves respect. Behavior can be confronted but sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it because there’s never any admission of wrong or acceptance the he is flawed and could quite possibly have erred. How do you save someone from sins they deny committing? As someone once said “It must be hard to be god.” It’s hard to live with him too.

The Lord God in heaven will have to deal with him and I need to leave that in His capable hands. God’s word says He vindicates his saints. As long as I walk with Him I can trust that in time my faithfulness will be vindicated. My integrity will stand. And maybe, if it is  God’s plan, my husband can learn to keep a promise.

In the meantime I’ll cling to the One who cannot lie and who will never break a promise to me: Jesus Christ.

How about you? Is this anything you struggle with in your marriage?

Lilly Grace

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A Faithful God

While I know that Thanksgiving is a great time to meditate on all God has done that we should be grateful for, I am seeking to find daily more and more ways to recognize and live in the light of His faithfulness to me.

There are a multitude of attributes that we can seek to praise and worship God for. One of the ones that seems core for me and foundational in my relationship with Him, is His faithfulness. It’s funny to me with years of singing, that when my son was born, the only song that I could remember in the middle of the night was “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Maybe it’s important to me because others around me have not been faithful to meet my emotional or even my physical needs. Yet God has repeatedly, through the years of my walking with Him, provided in amazing ways.

I am not always fond of His timing, like when it comes to checks arriving (or not) in the mail. It is humbling to admit that sometimes my emotions fluctuate with my bank balance. However, God doesn’t want my security to be in finances. As He continually leads and affirms my step into the world of writing, I am blown away by the words of affirmation He brings to me out of the blue. It is humbling to admit how easily discouraged I can be and how quickly the enemy can try to convince me that I have nothing worthwhile to bring to you, the reader. It’s only words and not very good ones at that, he will tell me.  Then someone will post a comment on a blog or my fan page or in an email that tells me that what I am doing IS making a difference – to them.  Or when loneliness overwhelms, and a friend calls or I get one of those priceless letters in the mail filled with affirmation. Or someone gives me a hug at church or thanks me for ministering to them when I didn’t even realize I had been doing.

This week something happened that surprised me. This fall I got a free tickets to three different events/conferences and somehow the money appeared for me to go.  My wi/fi on my laptop was repaired I won a contest through facebook that blew me away with the extravagance of God – toward me. Totally unnecessary – but the very fact that it was so out of the ordinary, reminded me again of God’s faithfulness.

I remember years ago studying the book of Ephesians at church. I have written in my Bible, at the beginning of that book that the word charis means “extravagant grace love.” It appears repeatedly throughout this book of the Bible.  Okay, Lilly, but I thought we were talking about faithfulness here? Stick with me.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you , remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (Eph 1:15-19)

The word “grace” doesn’t appear in these verses – but can you hear it?  What can be more faithful than a God would give us knowledge of Himself?  To be honest, this verse is truncated. There is more before and after and I would encourage you to read the entire chapter and ask yourself – how does this tell me God loves me and is faithful to me?

Faithfulness is an expression of God’s extravagant grace love.  I am not always faithful. I can be self absorbed, angry, and at times doubt that God can and will come through for me.  Then I consider how God has saved me from my sin and how Christ has walked with me through so much throughout the years, and continues to do so even now.  When I see that God has sustained me and even been able to use me to serve Himself and minister to others, I’m blown away by His faithfulness to one such as I.  Extravagant grace love is shown with every unexpected gift, every word of affirmation, every day I find that I am alive and able to get up and care for my family.

I want to offer you today a taste of God’s faithfulness. If you go back and read that verse, imagine me praying this over you (because I have done so!). Where the “you” is bolded, insert your name.   I may not know your name – but God does. It’s a part of His faithfulness that He can transcend the computer technology and take this prayer from His word, and my heart – and birth extravagant grace love in your life.

Great is Your faithfulness, Oh God my Father!

There is no shadow of turning with You,

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,

Great is Your faithfulness, Lord unto me.

 

Blessings,

LGB