Hope, Encouragement, Love, and Direction for Women and marriages wounded by sexual sin.

I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.~ Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pure Joy

I had the pleasure of listening to a friend speak this morning about the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. There were some very thought provoking moments for me as she spoke, one of which I felt that I had to share with you all.
I don't know if you are like me at all, but I have often found myself falling into the trap of believing that as a child of the King, he will protect me from suffering too badly. I know in my heart that this is not the truth, I mean look at my life! I was so angry at God when I first found out that Ray had cheated on me with a prostitute...multiple times. I remember one particular conversation with my savior that consisted of me yelling..."WHY!!!??? We stayed pure until marriage, I have done everything you asked of me!? Why wouldn't you protect me from this!!??"
"God will never give you more than you can handle, he says so in the bible!" This was my justification of my anger....
OH MY, how often do we as christians misquote that scripture...The text actually states this: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be TEMPTED beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also offer you a way out, so that you can endure it. (1st Corinthians 10:13)
So why do we take that verse and twist it to say that he will never give us any circumstance what-so-ever that is beyond what we feel capable of handling? Am I alone in this? Don't you hear this concept thrown around all the time in our culture??
So, for those of you who are maybe like I was, and feeling a little let down by the the reality that we face, a reality that includes suffering...any suffering, in any amount....lets look at the life of Mary for a second and find some hope there.
When Mary was approached by an angel who told that she would carry the Son of God, do you think that she maybe freaked out a little bit!? If I were MARY my thought process would be less "let that which you say be done unto me" and more 'Are you KIDDING ME!! I have followed the Lord so faithfully and my reward is to be pregnant outside of marriage, shunned, judged unfairly, mocked, and probably lose everything! No thanks!!"
When just a few months later, I had to travel 60 miles on foot or the back of a donkey, when I was literally on the verge of giving birth to this Christ child, I would feel a little bit of resentment..."God, where are you, I was willing to go through with this, and instead of being like every other women I know, resting and staying home at this stage of pregnancy, you are making me travel on the back of an animal for weeks!??"
And how about when there was NO WHERE to sleep, no where to have this baby...no place that was better than a barn in the mud and hay, with animals right next to me. I think I would be thinking "I must have missed something, how could God be in this? If this is his son, why wouldn't he give him a better place to be born? God where are you, why aren't you taking care of my most basic needs!!?"
Then a crazy king tries to have the baby killed, and we are forced to flee for our lives...."God? Do you see this? What are you doing up there!?"
Oh if I were Mary...This story would have been majorly screwed up....
Mary's journey included suffering, suffering that would cause any american to throw their hands in the air and proclaim their new found religion...atheism. We would feel completely abandoned and confused if we had to bear the conditions Mary did... all in the name of God.
Have you ever felt that way? Have the circumstances around you looked so bleak that you thought there was NO WAY that God was in this place?? Has your marriage ever looked that way?
Well, here is the Hope and Encouragement that I want us to all grasp together....
Mary Got to see things that no one else saw.... 
She saw an angel and got marching orders directly from his mouth....
She saw 3 kings come to bring gifts to her child...
She saw her little boy teach the religious leaders of his day....
She saw God protect them through giving dreams to her husband....
She got to hold and love the SON OF GOD.....
She had blessing after blessing....
What are the miracles that you get to see that no one else does?? Is it transformation for your family? Is it surrender of a man to the Lord? Is it the heart change in your own life? Is it steps that you don't see now, but God sees will point your children right to the Throne of God?
Mary didn't see the end result, but we all know that every step was God's plan.....Just like it is for you!
In that stable, Mary didn't understand that it was for a purpose that the king of kings would have such a humble beginning. But we know it now don't we??
Where you stand right now, you might not be able to see that there are purposes in the things that feel like suffering to you...but God sees, he knows, and he has great plans for it. So, when you feel like you can't bear the things that God is asking you to walk through...consider it PURE JOY...Because he is working out his perfect plans for your life, and when you look back years from now, you will see that it was full of one miracle after another.