Endurance, Faith, Faithfulness, God's Power, Healing and Reconciliation, Holidays, Marriage

New Year, New Resolve

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Every new year brings with it a sense of fresh starts, renewed commitments and strengthened resolve. Depending on who you are listening to, the target of these resolutions may tend to focus on the external. Whether it’s shedding a few pounds, reading more, learning a new skill, or simply stepping out of our comfort zones and trying something new, the arrival of January 1st marks the point when many will begin their new journey. Unfortunately, this is also a time when many marriages hanging on by a thread get pushed to their limits and one or both parties decide it’s time to call it quits.

Making it through the holidays is challenging enough on its own. Normal holiday stressors, along with knowing what your spouse may be planning for the new year and doing everything within your power to prevent it from coming to pass, puts us in situations that are extremely challenging and difficult. Reflecting back, I remember the first Christmas apart from my wife saw me spend considerable time praying God would do a work in her heart and that the new year would bring healing and reconciliation. Surprisingly, there were more than a couple moments during the holiday season I actually sensed this may have been coming to pass. But unfortunately, those moments were short lived. Despite seeing what appeared to be real signs of promise in both word and deed, my prodigal eventually returned to the flesh and continued to willingly travel the road that led to destruction. Cleary, God had more work to do.

For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

Matthew 7:12 ESV

Now more than ever, the question we need to ask ourselves is if we are truly committed to standing for our marriage despite what we may see or know is coming over the horizon. An ungodly worldview void of biblical and eternal perspectives will tell you happiness and fulfillment is within your reach if you just let go of the past and move forward. We are told some marriages just don’t work out, and it’s better to leave an unhappy marriage, than to stay in a relationship where your emotional needs aren’t being met. Of course, this type of advice sounds great to the person who is hurting and has perhaps endured years of mistreatment and neglect. After all, don’t we all deserve to be happy and to not have to live in an environment where we find ourselves anxious, on edge, and unfulfilled? Biblically speaking, the answer is, no. In truth, what each of us deserves is an eternity in hell. Fortunately for us, because of the Father’s mercy and grace, we are promised an eternity with Him in glory, if we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let this truth sink in and penetrate your soul the next time your heart turns and begins to long for what friends, family and those without a godly perspective say you deserve.

If you are in this stand for the long haul, let this new year mark the starting point for a renewed and strengthened resolve that will reject worldly counsel, and instead cling to the cross of Christ and his promise of hope and fulfillment. Your prodigal needs you now more than ever. It could very well be that God has the enemy on the ropes. Do you have the endurance required to finish the fight and end the battle? Are you going to give up on your spouse, your children and perhaps future generations because you are tired and weary? Purpose now to stand strong and believe in your heart that God is not done with you or your marriage. 2020 could very well be the year God has ordained for restoration to occur!

In Christ,

Tommy Larson

Christian Walk, Divorce, Healing and Reconciliation, Marriage

God’s Ways are Higher

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During our pause, when Tommy was actively pursuing restoration, one thing he often reminded me was our marriage would never be the same. What he meant was our marriage could be so much more than I ever imagined. It would never go back to being the loveless marriage that lacked passion as it did in previous years. If we reconciled, we wouldn’t be two strangers merely coexisting in a shared space. Tommy assured me His heart had been transformed and he longed for the same oneness I desired. He spoke about loving me and serving as the dedicated leader, protector and provider our family needed.

It took a while before I listened, and even longer to trust him and recognize the sincerity of his claims. I knew he meant what he said because it wasn’t a rehearsed speech, rather, it was detailed and heartfelt. I could hear the emotions in the tone of his voice as he talked about our future together. When he addressed the subject of reconciliation, it was never discussed with selfish motives or intent. It was always approached from a perspective that sought to love and serve me. Tommy believed we could have the beautiful, loving relationship God intended, and the more passionate he was, the more I started believing in his vision.

Admittedly, I did not welcome his ideas at first. But, God used Tommy’s foresight and persistence to chip away my hardened heart and I began envisioning a second chance for our marriage. He prayed fervently for me, constantly seeking to stay attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit and would only talk about our future together when he felt prompted. He asked God to soften my heart and looked for opportunities to share especially when he knew I had an openness and willingness to listen.

I needed to hear Tommy wanted to start afresh, with no desire to return to the marriage in the state we left it. At the time, I did not think it was possible to rekindle our relationship because it was seemingly dead. But, Praise the Lord, God’s thoughts are not my thoughts nor are His ways my ways.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Our gracious Heavenly Father exceeded every expectation I had for my marriage. When God restored our relationship, He gave Tommy and I a double portion of love for one another and ignited a passion in us that I didn’t know could exist. Every trait I desired in a husband was fulfilled in Tommy because his attributes were lining up with those of Christ.

When I was fully immersed in my sin, I looked at Tommy with contempt and ambivalence. Thankfully, Tommy had an army of warriors praying for me and my attempts to ignore the Holy Spirit were weakened due to their prayers on my behalf. I was convicted and soon the strongholds in my life were no longer holding me captive. The veil was lifted from my eyes and I saw Tommy as the changed man he had become, as well as the soulmate I had always desired.

Dear friends, I cannot express the importance of praying for your partner and building a network of prayer warriors to intercede on their behalf. You may find yourself in the same situation we were in years ago when all hope seemed lost in reviving our relationship. I want to encourage you to pray for your loved one and stay attuned the the Holy Spirit’s prompting. When you feel led, share a few details of how God has changed your heart–talk about what life could be like in the future. Of course, you don’t want to overwhelm your loved one, but little reminders of a bright, new future may inspire your partner to start envisioning life with you instead of without you. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Even when things look hopeless, the good news is, our ways are not God’s ways. His ways are higher so let’s leave the big tasks in the hands of our mighty Father.

In Christ,
Amy Larson