My Story

This is my husband, James. We got married at the ages of 19 and 20 one year after I graduated high school. We had known each other a little under three years. We had a beautiful wedding in Austin, Texas, and a fun adventure honeymoon in Costa Rica.

James grew up in a Christian household, and I grew up in a Catholic one. James' parents were hippies; my father spent 23 years in the Army National Guard and my mother worked in Post Office management for over 20 years. I have 2 younger siblings; James has one sister who was born when he was 13. James attended public schools here in Texas; I attended private school in Maryland until we moved to Texas. I am a Yankee with my extended family in Pennsylvania and NY/NJ; James is a 5th-generation Texan with family in Louisiana, Florida and Texas. (I had never eaten grits until AF basic training in San Antonio, TX, and then I put honey and raisens on top. "What weird Cream-of-Wheat" I thought.) Do you see any differences?

However, the Lord knew what he was doing(!) when he brought us together. James says it best when he explains it this way: "You met Christ through me and then took off, learning and applying what you found. I knew the basics and you hold me to the ground so I don't drift too far away."

 Read Isaiah 54:4-7; 10 with me:

" 'Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame, Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of you widowhood. For your Maker is your husband-- the Lord Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit-- a wife who married young, only to be rejected,' says your God. 'For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you."

This scripture seems, like so many, to be written just for me. Praise God for the continuing truth of his word!

Last summer I was sitting on the deck watching my husband struggle with the lawnmower. After all kinds of obstacles had been overcome with great difficulty, and assorted yard and mechanical drama, he began to mow... and it ran out of gas. I was rehashing struggles and meditating on things I should have just discarded (mentally). I pretty much said to myself, 'He's hopeless. Look at him!' From nowhere, like a sonic boom, and not set to a tune, came the phrase "there is hope for any man." I say, 'not set to a tune' because that is the line from a song on Casting Crown's The Altar and the Door CD. But instead of it being like the line just wafted through my head, it was like God spoke the line to me. (it didn't sound like James Earl Jones, either) So here is a list of the scriptures which I turn to when I think its just hopeless to wait for my husband to change.

You know what, let me rephrase that. It may actually BE hopeless to wait for anyone to change. What we need to cling to is this: we pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the person we love, and the Holy Spirit stimulates change. WE can't make anyone change. No one else can have lasting change on their own when how we are called to live is so radically different from how the world tells us to live. so. Here are the scriptures. But, I have to admit that because I forget that it's the job of the Holy Spirit to make change, I really struggle with the stronghold of unbelief here. Especially here where it is so clearly out of my hands.

"I trust in you, O Lord, I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hand." Psalm 31:14-15

"He who began a good work in ___ will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phillipians 1:6

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away- behold the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for ___; your love, O Lord, endures forever, do not abandon the works of you hands!" Psalm 138:8

"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the rock eternal!" Isaiah 26:3-4

Remember: "Waiting is an active trust in God to provide fulfillment in *His*perfect*timing* according to His ultimate purpose of glorifying his Son." CJ Mahaney

This is what the LORD says— he who created you, he who formed you: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isaiah 43:1-7

I used to be terribly fearful. Then, some of the things that I was afraid of came to pass in my life. I left my husband and everyone found out about the state of our marriage. Our house foreclosed. My husband was on a downward spiral. My kids were stressed. But we made it through. I became closer to the Lord than ever. I lived on $100 a week. None of the things that had kept me up nights ever ended my life like I thought it would. None of the terrible things endangered my or my children’s lives. I became much more broken-hearted to the pain in the world through that time. I saw how sin and selfishness breaks up families and breaks God’s heart. What house is worth more than knowing God more intimately or trusting him more securely? We need to stop stressing that the water may rise or the flames may come. In this broken, sinful world, these things will happen, and we need to pray that God will remind of us his presence during those times. We are told he is with us, but in our fear and unbelief we need to ask him to give us extra reassurance that he is by our side.

“Fear not! for I am with you; do not be dismayed! for I am the Lord, your God. I will strengthen you- yes! I will help you- I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:10 & 13

God is our helper and our comforter. He longs for us to turn to him for assistance instead of trying to rework the budget again. He knows our every need- and not just our need for food and shelter. He knows and built into us a need for love, comforting, and security. Do you think a loving God would build such needs into us with no reason? He wants us to have these needs met through him. He is a God of relationships, and he wants you to know him as well as he knows you. Many times he fills our needs through other people. It is important to have friends and family supporting you now. However, there is no love as great as the unconditional love from your Abba Father God.

You the Lord, are my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? You, the Lord, are the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Really, who can harm you when you know the real truth of your worth? If you are clinging to God’s truth each day, nothing can tear you from His side… maybe they can distract you for a moment, but when you get back into the word, the lies will be identified for what they are. When we get right down to it, there isn’t so much to fear when God is on our side. The things we worry about- money, the house, our health, our marriage - these things are all temporary things. We must focus our limited energy on the things that last, like salvation and becoming like Christ.

I sought the Lord and he heard me! He delivered me from all my fears! 
Psalm 34:4

What do you call it? Worried, anxious, afraid, fearful, 'just' realistic… these words reflect that we don’t hear God’s encouragement to trust him and to not live in fear of a temporary situation. Even if you lived alone and in poverty for the rest of your life-- what is it? Fifty years? This life is just the PREFACE to eternity!