The Scapegoat’s “Whatever” Prayer

I had the honor and privilege of sitting down and talking with Crawford Loritts a week ago at a conference. I shared with him about my book and my struggle to stay married.

There were many things he shared with me but the one I want to pass on to you is this.

Your husband’s issue, is not really with you. It’s with God.

How often do I forget this when the enemy attacks? Whether it is an attack from an acquaintance or family member, or yes, even my spouse.

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Image courtesy of nuchylee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

His issue isn’t really with me. He’s angry with God and I’m the convenient scapegoat for his anger.

Jesus was the scapegoat too.  In Hebrew theology, the scapegoat was heaped up with the sins of the people – and driven away from the camp. The goat never did anything to deserve the sins heaped up on it. The poor animal was a vehicle to absolve the people of their transgressions before God. Jesus was the same way. HE took on the sins of us all. Sins he never committed and was driven to death. (what do you think happened to that goat, all alone in the wilderness? Um, yeah, it was killed.)

Only the wild animals that killed Jesus, were us. You and me. We laid our sin on his shoulders and he willingly took it.

Now I’m not saying that my role in my marriage is to be the scapegoat for my husbands sins. What sins? Sins of failure to live up to what God calls him to do. Sins of unbelief in the God he may verbally profess to follow.

I may have a lot in common with a goat though. Let’s be honest here. They are mischievous little animals that will eat almost anything. They butt heads. Yeah. I’ve been there done that with my spouse. And they are cute. Can I claim that without being vain? I can get into trouble on my own and have been known to play pranks. My kids know me as being pretty goofy.  Part of this is just our human nature. I’m reminding myself (and you) that none of us are without sin.

But God does not say anywhere in the Old or New Testament that I am to be the scapegoat for my husband’s failures. Nope. Nada.

So this is what Crawford Loritts, wise man that he is, reminded me of.  Sometimes we need to get out of the way and let God deal with our spouse. We have to pray that dangerous “whatever” prayer. Do you know that one? It’s the one where we lay our husband before the holy, just, loving and faithful God of the universe and ask our Lord to do whatever it takes to bring our husband to Him.

That’s hard prayer to pray because as women we do have a sense of self-preservation. God’s dealing with our husband could jeopardize what tiny bit of security we may have in our marriage. Yeah, it’s false anyway, isn’t it? Our true security is only found in Christ.

The “whatever” prayer is a prayer of deep dependence and faith on God and no one else. Not even ourselves. But it removes us from the position of scapegoat which isn’t a fun spot to be in anyway. God doesn’t leave use to the dangers of the wild. He comes along side us in our trials and pain and is faithful and true. Even when we can’t see how He could possibly meet our needs, he does.

Have you prayed the “whatever” prayer and stepped out of God’s way? It can be a daily thing, but oh, so necessary.

Blessings,

Lilly Grace

Broken Promises

We get married and promise to love and honor and cherish. A man promises to provide and take care of his wife. To love her as Christ loves the church.

For many of us, that is not our reality.

Now to be sure, we fail as well as wives. We have our sinful tendencies and it is hard to humble oneself to apologize to a spouse who may use that against you in the future. At least that’s the way it is for me. But I apologize anyway.

Some have said I have a reason to divorce because of the broken marriage covenant. My spouse has abandoned the marriage bed (years ago) and treats me with derision and contempt and is financially and emotionally abusive (after 21 years of marriage he knows exactly where to strike).

And just when I think I’m doing well, satan will use my spouse to try to derail me from the ministry that God has called me to in the midst of my difficult circumstances.

See, my husband has broken the marriage covenant but that doesn’t necessitate divorce. I joked with one dear friend of mine that I was sold a false bill of goods on my wedding day and why isn’t there a lemon law for husbands? He led me to believe he would love, provide and care for me. But he has refused to do so.

Broken promises often negate a contract. But marriage is a covenant. And God shows in His word that many times when He has covenanted with his people – they have broken their end of the agreement. God has stayed faithful. Sometimes there have been consequences – but He has never abandoned the people He has called to Himself.

By extraction, as His child, He will never abandon me. That’s one of His promises. He will provide for me. And He has. He will be good even when I cannot see it or I feel pain. He never promises wealth or a life free of suffering. He promises to be with us always.

My spouse may not keep his promises but I am, with Christ’s help, trying to keep mine. I will treat him respect even when he as failed to earn that. He is an image bearer of God and for that alone He deserves to be treated with respect. And I want to model that for my kids. “Love your enemies” is hard when that “enemy” lives in your home.

I do all of this to honor Christ and HE has sustained me! He has provided. He has been faithful to His promises to me. He loves and cherishes me in ways my husband is unable or unwilling to do. I can entrust Him with the future of my marriage. He has blessed me with church leadership and dear safe friends to encourage me on the path as well. I often need Jesus with skin on – and just at that moment He has been there providing that.

Can you trust God to keep His promises to you? Will your life give testimony to that as you lean on Him in your struggles? I hope so!

Blessings,

LGB

Money, Money, Money

About two years ago or so, I visited a local non-profit agency in my town that helps people who are abused or disadvantaged. I presented my marriage situation to the young lady who simply said: “There’s nothing we can do to help you with financial abuse unless you divorce.”

Ouch.

Nothing to be done. Unless I divorce.

She explained that then they can garnish wages and he owes me money for suspending my career to raise our three children. I divorce and he has to support me via court order and my life will be better.

How many more lies do I need to hear?

My husband is self-employed. He can hide money in trusts. He can bankrupt himself. They could never garnish his wages. He’s wily and controlling. We didn’t own a home and had no assets or savings.

There will never be a “happily ever after” as long as he is in the picture (barring a miracle from God) – and divorce does not remove him from my life or that of my children.

And he is still their father. For better or for worse.

Most of the attention regarding abuse is on the physical. I have people tell me that verbal abuse is even worse. You heal from bruises but words stick deep inside your heart and continue to do damage. I’m not denying the truth of any of that. Emotional abuse is twisted and can make you feel unwanted and crazy (yeah, like none of the rest does?). In the end it’s all emotional abuse and control. But financial or economic abuse is a very twisted animal in its own right and not many talk about that.

So often people will say, “just leave.”  As if that’s the easiest thing in the world.

I want to honor God. I want to honor my vows even if my spouse is unworthy of that kind of commitment.  Is that a bad thing?

No. It’s not.

Is it an easy thing?

No. It’s not.

But let me tell you what I have learned even through the ups and downs of our financial picture and my husband’s  irresponsible financial choices – which of course he blames me for (since I insist on having gas for the car and food and clothing for the kids).

God has been faithful. HE is my provider. I’ll be honest. I get panic attacks when I look at my bank balance. I am afraid whenever I have to ask for money from my spouse because it is never given to me cheerfully or in love – but always with blame and accusation.

I don’t know what your situation is.

Just know – you are not alone and God sees it all. There have been days I called a trusted friend and said “Remind me again that God is faithful.” And she does that because I need to hear it and be reminded once again that the God of the Bible is THE one in whom I can place my trust. HE is my hope and my salvation and He will sustain and lead me in the path I should take.

Once I emailed someone in pain and asked for the reminder of God’s faithfulness and was told I lacked faith. I have faith but sometimes I doubt. It is human to do so. We don’t need to beat ourselves up when we need the assurance of the truth of Scripture.

Someday I may have to force a separation, but I want to do that from a position of strength, not weakness. God has yet to open the door for that financial independence from my husband. But I’m more at peace now in the waiting. More hopeful and trusting in HIM, because of what I have had to endure that has forced me to lean on him and not my spouse.

So let me remind you. God is faithful. He sees your pain and struggle. You can trust in Him.

Blessings,

LGB

My Deepest Need

We have an enemy and too often I forget that he coils like a snake, poised to strike when I least expect it.

And then the bite comes.

Always to my most vulnerable areas.

I need affirmation.  The attack will come on my worth and my abilities to do what God has called me to do.

I need love.  The attacks come in that being withheld and and venemous words are spewed forth that mean anything but love – only disrespect and disdain instead.

I need security. The attacks come in threats against my ability to stay in a house I love, or buy food we need, or take care of medical expenses that come up.

Why does this hurt so much? Because in my humanness I want these things from a man. I want these things from a husband. I want to know I’m loved and cherished and that somehow I will be provided for and that the things I do matter.  Even when I sometimes fail or have a bad day.

This is not my reality.

Sometimes I look for this elsewhere.  Friends?  But they all have their own needs too. And their responsibility is not as great as that of a person who has made promises before God and others.
How about those I minister with? Again, sometimes the strikes come from there as well. Friendly fire which sometimes comes as an arrow aimed to hurt but masked in pious language.

Chocolate? Oh, wait. That doesn’t quite work either.

So what’s a girl to do?

Cry.

Pray.

Seek to reorient myself to the One who made me, died for my sins and is ultimately responsible for my every breath. Ultimately I need to depend on Him. Why is this so hard?

David lamented as he hid in caves hunted by King Saul, separated from his wife and home and responsible for the care, safety and feeding of the men who were with him.

Similar to me shepherding my children while under attack.

But David, even though he was in sorrow and grief and wondering was able to comfort himself with the truth that God stored all his prayers in a bottle.  Every tear we cry is precious to our Heavenly Father. And then, in Psalm 56:9b he says: “This I know: God is for me.”

For me.  God is FOR me. Not against me like human sometimes are. He is FOR you too.

Love, security and affirmation. The holy, almighty, sovereign, eternal God of the universe – is FOR me.  He treasures my tears, how much more my life and basic needs?

Life is not going to get easier.  But if I can rest in the truth that a good and great God is FOR me, maybe I can make it through the day clinging to Him and not lamenting how those needs are not met elsewhere.  And trust Him for my next breath as well as where I will live and how I will feed my children in the months to come.

He has always been faithful. Always. I have no need to doubt that now.

So I will cry.

I will pray.

I will cling to Him.

How about you? What are your deepest needs?  Can you find your fulfillment of them in Jesus? If not, what’s keeping you from that? 

Out of Control

I want some control in my life. The feeling that maybe, somehow, I have choices and can make a difference in the outcome of whatever circumstances I find myself in.

But so often the control I have is superficial. I can choose what outfit to wear and even what I’m going to eat and whether or not I will “cheat” on my diet. (I don’t).

I cannot chose how another person will respond to me. I cannot force someone to call me.  I cannot make anyone care about my struggles. What value would that have anyway?

I am doing a diet where weight-loss is all but guaranteed. I’ve done it before and know that the weight will stay off. I consider it kind of like permanent liposuction, without the surgery. However, for some reason, my body does not let go of its fat easily. I follow the protocol to the letter and have days where the scale doesn’t move. I know I am losing inches. Things are happening that I cannot see. However much I try to control my diet, my body has its own methods that go totally beyond my ability to control.

I cannot stop breathing. I am unable to NOT think of something. Try it. Do not think of ice cream.  Hmm, bet an image just popped into your head!

In reality, not much in this world is in my control. On a slick road, I can drive carefully and still might end up in an accident or in the ditch due to no fault of my own. Every breath I take is determined by God—not me. Even whether I am able to really sleep tonight, is beyond my ultimate control.  I’ve even been awake with meds designed to aid sleep!

I hate the feeling of helplessness that comes with not having control. That is, until I relax and realize that another more positive word for that is surrender, or dependence. That would be scary if I didn’t know WHO I was surrendered to or dependant upon. I put my faith in Jesus Christ. He put the stars in the sky. He calms the oceans. He knows how many fat cells are dying day by day in my body. He gives me my next breath, and my ability to think, communicate, and blog!

So maybe not always being in control is an okay thing, when I relax into the arms of the One who has my sometimes seemingly out-of-control life, in His perfectly capable and wise hands.

How about you? Can you relax with the areas you cannot control and trust Jesus to be with you there?

Blessings,
LGB