Is There Anything You Can’t Do?

I used to lead Women’s Ministry and I have three children and then one day I was playing guitar on a worship team at church. One gal came up to me afterwards and said “Is there anything you can’t do?” I laughed and said, “I’m not the best housekeeper!”

I think back to that and I’m in a different home that is easier to keep clean (kids are older too so that helps) and yet I realized to my sorrow that there is one thing I cannot do.

I cannot be the wife God intended me to be by design.

Oh, I am married on paper with vows taken before God, and have been for 22 years. But emotionally I’ve been distanced from my husband for eight years since his abuse has escalated and behaviors have prevented and hindered intimacy of any kind. I stopped wearing my wedding ring years ago because emotionally I had disengaged from the marriage. At that time my husband was not even sleeping in our bed. It seemed a farce to wear a diamond when I felt like trash. (I do wear A ring on my finger to signal I am unavailable)

I’m faithful. I keep house and buy groceries (when he stoops low enough to honor me with the resources to do so). I prepare food for him to eat and wash his clothes. I take care of the children and I try to stay as far out of his way whenever and wherever possible and limit my communication to him to only what is most essential in managing our various calendars and the needs of the children.

That’s not a relationship. It isn’t. It’s more like a business transaction but with someone you don’t trust and don’t like.

It’s not  a marriage.

The hardest part is feeling like I am unworthy of being loved (after all that’s what he tells me). After listening to some single people talking about match.com I thought about how I cannot even look for love.

God has not seen fit to rescue me from my despair in spite of my prayers for rescue or release.

So I wait. I pray. I cry. I journal. I write and try to do trust God in His perfect timing for the end of this pain.

How about you? Is there anything you can’t do?

Lilly Grace

Dream Bigger

I often ask God for things that I want or think I need. New house, new husband (hahaha!), healed son, health, financial security. The list could go on. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly stressed my prayers simply become requests for help or rescue.

But for twenty years rescue hasn’t come.

What if my dreams and prayers are too small? Maybe a house, which could burn down, would not ultimately satisfy me. Or if my husband were Brad Pitt or better yet Gilles Marini! Still, he may not satisfy (looks ain’t everything, gals!).

What if my kids were perfect angels, obeying everything, picked up after themselves and helped around the house? Okay, wait. I cannot find anything wrong with that!

I struggle with this verse in Scripture:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mat 21:22 ESV)

Whatever? Really? But when? So I can ask for riches – and for my debts to be cleared away. Anything goes right? Does that mean that I can sin with abandon and ask God to clean up after me so I don’t have to face the consequences? See what I mean? It seems like there might be a limit to “whatever” even though even in the Greek it seems to mean exactly what it says. Oh, how easy to believe a false prosperity gospel based on that one verse!

Maybe the clincher is “if you have faith.” Maybe part of me doubts God’s willingness to rescue me in my difficult circumstances. That would be a sin of unbelief. Maybe my faith is misplaced in asking for things that are not in line with what God desires for me? That is probably the key. Faith means believing in what we don’t see. That God has some greater purpose and plan beyond my ability to know or understand. Even Abraham did not see the Promised Land and his descendants as innumerable as the sands on the shore or the stars in the sky. God promised and did it – but Abraham never saw it while he walked on this earth.

So maybe I simply don’t dream big enough. A house will burn or decay. My health doesn’t matter once I’m dead (and we all achieve that end at some point). Consider the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 which ends thus:

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. “ (Heb 11:39-40 ESV)

So we get whatever we ask – when we ask in faith – but even those who did, didn’t see the fulfillment of what God had promised. They got something better!

Maybe I need to pray bigger prayers. Maybe prayers that my children will overcome the generations of sin and spiritual bondage that have held our families back from impacting the world for the glory of God. Prayers that the work I do today, even in writing a blog, or a book, will in the long run, impact women, save marriages and strengthen the church in ways I might never see or fully understand. Maybe even one life will come to know Jesus in a real, powerful, life changing way and embrace Him as not only their Savior, but Lord, and in bending their knee and wholeheartedly following Him, they will have a great impact on people I will never meet this side of heaven.

Maybe instead of temporal things I need to dream of a bigger legacy of a way that God, right now, today, would reach down and through this blog and other words I might speak, or hugs I might give, extend His message of grace to a hurting world.

My circumstances might stink. Sometimes I truly do want to quit the fight. But then I think of things like this and feel emboldened to stretch a little further. To take just one more step today in faith, knowing that in heaven, I will see the fruit of my labor and rejoice because I will have received the commendation of God. That joy will far outweigh my sorrows here. Some days I need to be reminded of that, don’t you?

As I typed this, Chris Rice’s song “Deep Enough to Dream” kept going through my head. Maybe it will inspire you to dream bigger as well. Blessings,

LGB