Though life provides many bumps and challenges and most often within relationships---do the next right thing. What does that look like? Where is God calling YOU?
Marriages crumble every day, Children abandoned, love forgotten...
Take a look back in life----
Do you find yourself utterly in love with your spouse longing to be close to them every minute of the day? Feeling you can't get enough of them? Yearning for their arrival home after work? Loving the excitement it brings to the home while you chase them around vacuuming up wet grass they brought in from watering the lawn on your newly mopped floor? Or daily cleaning up their dirty dishes from their lunchbox and oh the butterflies this brings to your soul. How about participating in half watched movies while you get the kids to sleep and make lunch for the following day? Finally you get a moment to sit on the couch and oversee him massage his feet for ten minutes not even realizing it-- and then he scoots in to snuggle so close and romantically. Do not all of these mannerisms create a deep love that you simply cannot get enough of? Almost as if it's a new-found relationship and you get that tingly feeling from head to toe being in their presence while butterflies swarm throughout your tummy.
Most of you probably laugh at my ridiculousness wondering why I would say such a thing. You probably are saying to yourself "these things drive me crazy!" Let me ask you-- didn't we used to be that way? Didn't we love our dating relationship and ignore all the odd things about them? We simply yearned to be in their presence no matter what we were doing with them, we wanted to be near them. We loved their quirks; they made us laugh. We never picked up on the feet fetish they had. The Xbox played all the time. Or the lack of cleaning up after themselves. These things were pushed to the wayside but now, now that you're married, boy does this take on a whole new meaning.
Being married brings on a world of uncertainty. Sometimes we feel we've hit a brick wall and become stagnant in our marriage. Sometimes we take steps back and allow every little thing to destroy our marriage. And sometimes, we choose to fight the battle and fall in love with our spouse over and over again.
So how do we put up with the annoyances? The reality is we longed for this previously and need to get back to embracing our spouse for who they are and what we hold together in our families. I've learned to laugh at these ideas that swarm throughout my head. I find that if I focus on the nuisance of constantly cleaning up his dishes from lunch the previous day, I will go batty. But when I focus on the reality that my husband is home after work spending time with the family, providing for the family, playing with the children and lastly, making God a priority-- then I step back and realize-- I have a lot to be thankful for.
Don't lose hope, we all go through terrible times in life asking God why we were dealt these particular cards. I'm not stating that life is easy, but when you have a solid foundation with Christ and your husband pursues the same; God will bless that. I am speaking from experience but I am no expert. As many of you know, my husband and I have had three years of never-ending trials. We felt as if we were in the furnace being scorched from every angle; every hair on our head completely singed but somehow we were still alive. We've been there, and still are not out of the furnace completely. But, God has brought us further away from the fire, feeling the heat but not being completely doused in the flames. We are on a path of healing and redemption.
When you are faced with the fire the little annoyances in marriage or family become extremely piddly as your skin is enveloped in the flames. Your focus begins to change; you will either allow your heart to soften and soak in the opportunity to learn, OR you will become bitter and angry focusing on the what-ifs rather than the what-now. Often our shattered dreams bring about a deep yearning for God's perfect dreams for our lives. Taking the focus off ourselves and allowing him to ignite a fire that goes beyond what we could have imagined. Shattered dreams bring change in our souls; let the change be glorifying to God and not push you away.
My challenge to you is what my challenge to myself the past three years has been. It sounds simple and almost unhelpful, but the reality is when you are in the fire, you need something small to grasp onto. You do not need a 5-step program to get you where you want to be futuristically. You need help to get you one step closer from dying in the fire. Sometimes we do not realize the intensity of the fire our friends and family face. We are not expected to understand, but need to come along with compassion, prayer and support.
Each fire has different degrees. Some fires, the furnace is full-blown fired up and scorching anything within miles away, destroying homes, friendships, families, relationships, finances, health etc. you name it. But even in the midst of all that, my challenge for all of you is to "Do the next right thing."
Doing the next right thing becomes doable. It takes your mind off figuring it all out. In all reality we know we can't figure anything out yet we still try. What we need is God, and time on our side to fulfill His desires not ours. God already has it planned out the way it's supposed to be, not the way we think it should go. If we keep our focus on how we want our trials to look, we will only stay that much longer in the fire, rather than submitting to Christ's will for our lives.
Moment Of Truth: The the path may be bumpy. The fence may be walked. But the truth still remains: we can always choose to do the next right thing. Whether you messed up big time or not, Christ calls us to move ahead, choosing to walk the long and narrow path; the path that leads to Life. Keep your eyes on things ahead and not on things behind.
There is grace for all.
Take the challenge-- Do The Next Right Thing!
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