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February | 2014 | Resurrected Marriage
Monthly Archives: February 2014

How can I forgive THAT?!

You will get through this Max Lucado How can I forgive THAT?!After my husband abandoned me for another woman, I experienced a number of symptoms linked to my pain.  Immediately I was introduced to insomnia, this wound me up because I wanted to sleep, I needed to sleep, but just couldn’t.

Making the most of these extra hours in my day, long chunks of time were spent in God’s word.  Early in our separation, one Saturday evening (or rather Sunday morning at ridiculous o’clock) God spoke to me massively about forgiveness.  It was as though I was reading with new eyes.

I was having a tough time with this ‘f’ word:

He wasn’t sorry!

He was still having an affair!

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matt 6:14-15

The strangest thing happened as I read these verses; hope started pumping through my veins as a bunch of light bulbs went off in my brain:

  • Jesus doesn’t command the impossible – I CAN forgive
  • Jesus doesn’t say anything about the sin needing to stop first
  • Jesus doesn’t say anything about the offender being sorry first
  • Forgiveness or unforgiveness – it’s a choice
  • If I choose to forgive – God will forgive me
  • If I choose not to forgive – God won’t forgive me
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time.
1 Peter 3:18

One question kept going around my head:

  • Is what Jesus did enough?

Excitement started bubbling up inside, I knew the forgiveness I’d received from God, so I knew I could forgive Ian.   I used my last £10 to catch a taxi to the house I used to share with Ian, bursting to tell him that I’d forgiven him.  I left a post-it note on my parents TV telling them not to worry, and to pick me up for Church.  (For info – I don’t recommend doing it like this!)

Ian wasn’t as excited to see me; I was greeted with a stern “what’re you doing here?”  Not deterred, I sat down to gush about the massive revelation I’d received.  I was distracted for a moment as I saw that his wedding ring wasn’t on his finger.

I proceeded to show him all the stuff God had been illuminating to me about forgiveness, and explained to him that I was choosing to forgive him, but not to get confused – I wasn’t condoning what he was doing, no that made me sick.

It didn’t exactly go to plan; Ian did not want my forgiveness.  Quite the opposite, he wanted me to hate him.  Still bubbling, I chose to forgive.  At just the right time my Dad arrived to pick me up for Church – it was Easter Sunday.

The excitement didn’t last.  At times I was fighting with myself.  I’d decided to forgive, but my feelings hadn’t caught up.  Oh and then things got worse when he moved in with the other woman.  Is what Jesus did enough?

It wasn’t easy.  It was a case of giving a clean slate whenever a negative thought popped into my head, whenever a mind movie decided to start, whenever I wanted to speak badly about my husband or the other woman, anything.  Choosing to forgive day by day, and at the start even hour by hour.  I was asking God a lot for grace, grace to forgive, grace to be the wife He designed me to be, and so he drenched me in His grace to do what I could not do on my own.

I was given plenty of opportunities to practice my forgiveness, it became habit, and a habit I’m eternally grateful for.  I have no doubt that this habit established in our separation set us up for success in our reconciliation, and for the beautiful resurrected marriage God promised us!

God is immense!

Megan How can I forgive THAT?!

Something’s burning!

Somethings burning Somethings burning!

Image minus text – http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregoryjordan/

Whoomph!  Flames engulfed the paper my childhood best friend and I wanted to make look old.  We’d already attempted rubbing wet teabags on the paper, but this had a less than desirable effect.  Eight year olds not fazed by this, we put it under the grill.

My friend’s brother tackled the flames by chucking it in sink water, the floating pieces of burnt paper – not quite the aged effect we were hoping for!

Fire burns stuff, we’re taught it from an early age.  In my post – they didn’t even smell of smoke, I talked about how God had caused us to come out of our fire (of betrayal and abandonment) not even smelling of what we’ve walked through.

However, there was some burning that happened in that fire, I wasn’t aware at the time, but it definitely happened!

Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual.
Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.  So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments.  And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in.  So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!
Daniel 3:19:25 NLT

There’s multiple crazy good things in this short passage:

  • The flames were so hot, they killed the soldiers who were pushing the 3 men in.   The 3 men pushed in lived, unharmed.
  • 3 men were pushed in, but 4 were seen in the flames, ‘the fourth looks like a god!’

Nebuchadnezzar ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  These weren’t weaklings who bound up the 3 men, they were his strongest army men, they knew what they were doing.

Nebuchadnezzar got the shock of his life by what he saw next, there should have been 3 bound men ’ “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”’

Yep I was thrown into the fire, and I definitely was bound, the biggest ones:

Pride – we were so in love and so confident our marriage wasn’t at risk, we did our way of marriage over God’s way.  Once we started our reconciliation I had more issues, thinking I was better than my husband because I hadn’t done what he’d done.
Unforgiveness – I thought I’d got forgiveness sorted in my early 20s after dealing with some rubbish that had happened in the past, but when everything went wrong in my marriage, it was obvious it wasn’t sorted at all.
Poor reactions – not to everyone, just the people I loved (I know, I know – it’s backwards!!)

However these very things were burning off me in my fire.  The fire served a purpose to unbound me, set me free – not quite what the enemy had in mind!

I wouldn’t wish what we went through on anyone, and have no desire to go through it again, but I’m overflowing with gratitude for the good that’s grown from it.

God didn’t put me in the fire, but He made it work for my good!  Whatever fire (situation, struggle) you may find yourself in, put your trust in God:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

Romans 8:28 NIV

God is immense!

They didn’t even smell of smoke!

They didnt even smell of smoke650 They didnt even smell of smoke!

Image (minus text): http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregoryjordan/

We were confident that we were safe; we were so in love, we went to Church, we were cute together.  That would never happen to us, but then it did.  My husband abandoned me for another woman.  Our marriage was dead, a complete shock to everyone, including me.

Scared and craving normality, a gift was delivered to me in the shape of an old friend from school.  This amazing woman, who was walking through her own fire, reached out to me in mine, and told me to read the start of Isaiah 43:

Isaiah 43 white paper650 They didnt even smell of smoke!

These verses really illuminated off the page to my hurting heart.  Extraordinary promises from God, but I couldn’t fathom how I was going to trudge through what was ahead of me, the fire of betrayal and abandonment, and not even be burned.  I was already experiencing physical symptoms from the pain.

I didn’t need to know how, I just had to cling on to God, cling to His promises and trust Him to do what He says.  It wasn’t easy, but easy wasn’t promised.

After we reconciled, we started working our way through another difficult season, three months in we started going to what is now our Church – !Audacious Church.  We arrived with the stench of our fire clinging to us, if you got close enough to us, you’d know we had issues.  Getting rooted in our Church changed the course we were on, it changed everything!

God was ridiculously good to us; He revealed to each of us what we needed to do.  Some steps prolonged by one or both of us, often unnecessarily, but God was patient and drenched us with His peace and grace.

At some point we came out of the fire!  I say ‘some point’ because neither of us can pin-point the day it happened.  It was a process but we knew we were out, our hearts healed, both of us transformed, our marriage resurrected into something that others and we were recognizing as beautiful.

God has been speaking to me about that time through His word.   In Daniel 3 it records how three men were thrown into a fire for not worshipping an image of the king:

Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
Daniel 3:26-27 NLT

We came out of our fire not carrying the hurt around with us; we didn’t even smell of the smoke of that fire!  If we didn’t tell you, you’d never have guessed our marriage was dead in 2011 (even if you set up secret cameras in our home!).

How would people have been able to smell the smoke on us now anyway?  I believe any lingering unforgiveness, our attitudes to each other, the way we spoke to and about each other would have caused a bit of a stench!

One thing I know, whatever you’re walking through, however bad it looks, however you got there – whether you put yourself there, or you got delivered there by someone else, there is One who will choose to be in that fire with you, and is able to lead you out to a place where you don’t even smell of smoke!  He is the Lord God Almighty!

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
Daniel 3:28 NLT

We’re eternally thankful.

God is immense!
Megan They didnt even smell of smoke!

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