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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heavenly Marriage: Part 3

We all know one.

"By the time many women are entering their fortieth year, they are teetering on the edge of mental instability. They have spent several years of their life irritated at their husbands, daily feeling hurt and responding with coldness and bitterness. Instead of practicing being thankful and merry, they are practicing bitterness...
"In the course of time, as her edginess and moodiness grow, she realized that she can no longer control her nervousness. One day her "nerves" snap and she loses control, screaming like a crazy woman and calling loved ones terrible names...
"The disturbed woman expects her family to appease her and is offended when they act like life is just fine. God is visiting her soul with a terrible rot called madness. First, she is only mad at her husband. Years pass and she is mad at the family. As time goes on, she is mad at the church. Then she is mad at the mailman and the waitress. Practicing, always practicing, perfecting her madness. Mad, all the time mad. Madness." (62-63).
Well. That is quite the sobering picture. I told you, this book draws a line in the sand. Either you love it or you hate it.

I am thankful that I am getting to read it as a young wife. This "madness" temptation is a constant source of struggle for me, and I doubt I am alone. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling hurt, ignored, disrespected, or discounted. Just because I feel that way does not mean it is true! Most times, it is not true at all. And the practicing of madness really does become insanity- living in a reality that is not there.

One thing I learned through trial, error, and imparted wisdom from women around me- marriage is work. I practice music. I practice language. I practice cooking and baking and mothering. I must also practice taking my sinful thoughts captive and replacing them with a treasured verse:

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" Phillipians 4:8
Out with the garbage- the thoughts like He didn't even notice...He purposely left those socks there again...I made a new recipe and he hated it...blah blah blah. In with the honorable and lovely thoughts- He didn't say anything because he was playing sweetly with the children...Just pick up the socks, woman, and be thankful you have a man that comes home to you each night...Just because he didn't tell me he loved the recipe doesn't mean he didn't eat every bite, lovingly talking with me about our day over a family dinner.

Or something like that. Now, for every mad and bitter older woman who professes Christ, there are two or three dear saints who have heavenly marriages because they know the secret. They love to love their husbands. And their husbands adore them for it.

So what do you think?


Brandy @ Afterthoughts said...

If I could point to the most important lesson this book taught me, I think this would be the one. The idea that we *practice* being who we will be seems so *obvious* and yet it really wasn't, not to me anyhow.

Enjoying this series, Jen!

Jennifer said...

Agreed! After being taught this, I think, "of course", but it hadn't been in the forefront of my mind until recently.

Kessie said...

Oh wow, I think that is totally right on. We have to practice, practice, practice being kind, patient, etc. etc. (all the fruits of the spirit). I never thought about the person who practices being mad until they are utterly mad. That is really frightening.

Meg said...

So true! There are a few women I know who seem to enjoy the practice of being mad. Only no one else enjoys it! I always tell myself that happy or loving (or whatever other practice) is a state of mind. No one will make you that but you!

Farm Girl said...

Well, thank you for the very nice, nice thought of thinking me like that. I do love being married and I do love my family and I do think it is such a gift. But oh Jennifer, I could have been that woman.

When I had my sixth baby, it was a C-section. My first. I was 38 until that moment in time I thought I knew it all.
My kids were infant, 2,4,6,11, 13
I was sick and I turned into this woman I never wanted to be. My husband was finding more excuses to stay at work, the house was out of control. I did what I never dreamed I would, I blamed everything and everyone except myself.
My husband was getting ready for work one morning and I could see I had drove him away and he didn't love me. I had become what I always dreaded a foolish woman who tore down her house with her own hands. (Proverbs 14:1)
He left for work, I got on my knees in the closest and prayed for God to change him. God told me something that changed my life.
God said, " Shut up! I was startled, I said, " What? He said, Shut up and listen to what is coming out of your mouth.So that day I did.
It was terrible and I knew I had to change my life, my prayer became Lord, change me. So I asked Him what could I do, He told me to get up at 4:00 A.M with him and cook breakfast I could go back to bed later. So I did. Then I found a babysitter and I had never left my babies when they were so little, but I did then, because my marriage was that important. We went out every Thursday night.
We had grown apart and I knew I loved him so much I would do what the Amplified Bible says about Wives loving their husbands in Ephesians and Titus and 1st Peter.
So that is in a nutshell my life.
Only Jesus could change me and Only He could restore the years the locust had eaten.
I think he has and we have so much fun today.
I just wanted you to know, being a wife has been my highest calling.
I am so glad God formed me just for him and I am his helpmeet.
Sorry this is so long. I just wanted you to know it didn't just happen and I cried buckets of tears, but God is faithful is all I can ever say. I am so thankful for that. I too am glad that I had Elisabeth Elliot when I was young because she helped me see what a Godly woman looked like. Blessings to you. When I see you I always wish I had been just like you as a wife and mother.

Jennifer said...

Wow- is all I can say. Thank you for pouring out your heart, dear Farm Girl. We are all the more blessed from what the Lord has taught you.

Farm Girl said...

You are so welcome. That book really gets my attention. :)Do you think though that she is a bit harsh? I was just wondering.

Jennifer said...

Farm Girl- I do think she a bit harsh, but I am kind of glad. There are many books on my shelf about wifehood and godly womanliness, but this is the one I come back to. I feel like she skillfully admonishes me out of my bad habits. It can be a difficult thing to swallow at times, but I read it when I feel like I need it. But I want to read the other books you and Kessie and Meg suggested, too.


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