9/11/18 | Leaving and Cleaving

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Genesis 2:24 NLT

Disclaimer: I know this won’t resonate with all my readers, but I hope it might be an encouragement for those of you who are engaged, married, or hope to be someday. I also realize that not all couples are equally yoked, meaning that you may be a Christian but your spouse is not. Some of you have Christian parents and some of you don’t. I pray that you’ll seek God in your marriage and that He’ll provide in all the ways you need. This is by no means all the information out there on this topic, but I hope it can point you in the right direction.

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume you didn’t marry your spouse based on physical attraction alone, but also based on what they bring to the table. You enjoy their humor and the way they talk. You have a lot in common and get along great. But you also found their morals, opinions, thought processes, life experience, way of doing things, and reasons for doing things appealing as well. You enjoyed how they differed from you and how that made you a stronger person.

But for whatever reason, once you actually married that person, all of a sudden their strengths and the things you loved most about them when you were dating became direct opposition to your own way of doing things. Meaning, they come into conflict with the way you were raised and with the way your parents did things. All of a sudden the very things that so attracted you to them become points of disconnect between you and can even cause arguments.

Instead of leaving the family we grew up in and forming a brand new family with our spouse, we run into trouble when we begin treating marriage like an extended sleepover. We like that person, it’s fun to be around them, but when push comes to shove it’s going to be our way (or rather our parents way) or the highway.

We need to see marriage as what it’s supposed to be: the joining of two into one. Men were not meant to do life alone, so God created women to come alongside them. And the two became one, both lending their strengths to the marriage. In a very real sense, your husband or your wife is your other half. God created man and woman so that they would leave their parents home and create a brand new one.

My husband doesn’t think the way my dad does. I don’t do things the way Luke’s mom does. And that’s to be celebrated. My husband is at his best when he has my trust and support. I’m at my best when I have his.

You weren’t meant to remain in your parent’s family, just as they weren’t meant to keep you in theirs. This means that your parents no longer have the final say over what decisions you make for your family – it’s up to you two to make the call and then live with those decisions. This means that the two of you decide which house you’re going to buy. The two of you decide when you’re ready to have kids of your own – no one can make that call but you. And so on and so on – down to things like buying a lawn mower or changing your diet.

Your relationship with your parents changes dramatically when you marry. This can be a very painful and confusing time for all parties involved. But your goal is this: to put your spouse first and foremost, and then to honor your parents in the process. One of the ways we honor our parents is by continuing to hold them in high esteem, respecting them, and understanding that they have a lot of life wisdom to offer. What a blessing we have in our parents, especially if they’ve been a Godly example for us!

These are difficult waters to navigate. I am only beginning to understand what it looks like to have an adult relationship with my parents and my in-laws. I would strongly urge you to seek out biblical counseling to help walk you through it so that you honor the Lord, your spouse, and your parents and in-laws – this has been one of the best things  my husband and I have done together. No matter if you’ve been married 1 year or 60 (we’ve been married for 9 years), you both need to learn to walk through these waters as a team, and seek God for the answers. Begin praying with your spouse and ask the Lord to show you how to build and establish this new normal. He’ll help you.

9/4/18 | Commit Everything to the Lord

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalm 37:5 NLT

One of the things that is so wonderful about this verse is what it says about God’s character. It says to commit everything you do to the Lord. This doesn’t just mean the biggest stress currently going on in your life. It means everything. It means conflicts at work or in your marriage, conversations you know are coming, and people in general. It means putting things like buying a house or walking through a crisis into his hands. It also means placing daily needs into his hands as well. Everything means everything. If we commit (pledge, give, dedicate) these things to the Lord, he will help us.

What does that tell you about God?

This verse shows us proof that God is personal and desires a one-on-one relationship with us. Stop on that a second and think about what that means. God wants to be down deep with us in the nitty-gritty of everyday life. He wants us to commit every single thing that we do to him so that he can help us through it.

Sin came into the world in Genesis when Adam and Eve put someone else’s word above God’s. Ever since that day, things have been much more confusing than they used to be. It’s no longer easy for us to tell what’s good and what’s bad, what’s helpful and what’s destructive, what God’s will is versus what Satan’s will is. Without seeking out the Lord, how can we know what things will keep us in step with God versus what things are playing right into the enemy’s hands? This is why it’s so good for us to commit everything we do to the Lord and to trust that he will help us.

Satan is a real enemy who wants us to believe that we either don’t need God, or that God can’t help us. And he’s clever. He’ll do whatever it takes to make us like himself – rebellious towards God and headed for death. However, if we trust the Lord, he will help us. Isn’t that a beautiful promise? The Bible is an entire narrative that shows us how God comes to the aid of the people who love and trust him.

Think about all of this as you go through your week. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Recommended reading for this week:

  • Psalm 37
  • Matthew 6:8
  • Matthew 6:19-34