Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Candid Story That Will Give You Hope

May 2006 (Photo by Joan Hodges)
As you read today's blog, I hope it will offer you genuine hope for your marriage. Last time, I re-posted one of my favorite posts in honor of Bert and my eighth wedding anniversary. This week, I am posting my "other favorite" post.

Here is part of our story:
______

“Lord, I’m messing up badly. I’ve treated Bert so ugly for such a long time. I’ve tried to change – I
really want to change – but I seem to constantly give into yelling and complaining about everything."

For years, I prayed, believed, and dreamed of being a better wife; but I never thought God would be able to do all He has done in me – and in my marriage!

This is one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to begin writing about our last verse as we learn to apply and meditate on Ephesians 3:16-20, one verse at a time:

Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified)
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]

Here’s a little of my story:

For a while, I had been noticing how critical and angry I had been acting, especially when I felt rejected by Bert. And of course, the more angry I became, the more Bert rejected me. My bad behavior and attitudes were so constant that it felt as if they were being permanently added to my character DNA.

Was I able to change? God, please change me!

One morning, after I had my devotions, I opened Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s book, Love & Respect, and read several testimonies from ladies who described their disrespectful behavior towards their husbands. I felt shame as I saw myself in many of their stories.

I realized I wasn’t totally responsible for the demise of my marriage, but I couldn’t deny my contributions. The more I read the book, the more I could see how my constant criticism (including the tone of my voice and rolling my eyes) undermined my husband.

During this time, I also read R. T. Kendall’s words in his book, Total Forgiveness, regarding the rewards for totally forgiving those who hurt us. Thankfully, he went on to remind me that I, too, am in need of mercy and forgiveness. I cried into my hands as I repented again for my angry, spiteful and self-righteous heart. Before the day ended, I made Scripture Memory Cards (SMCs) with verses on forgiveness.

As I began to practice the principles presented in Dr. Eggerichs’ and Mr. Kendall’s books, I started to behave and think differently. Instead of nagging Bert to eat healthy, I bought food I knew he liked. Instead of lecturing him about going to church or having a quiet time, I remained quiet and prayed for him. The house, which was always impossible for me to keep up before, now stayed neat and tidy. And when he came home, I made sure I was pretty.  Most importantly, with God’s help, I chose to forgive Bert for his failures, and continued to take responsibility for mine.

I didn’t do any of these things perfectly, but my repentance was real. As I prayed constantly and meditated on God’s Word every day, I could sense God’s presence penetrating my innermost being.

God continued to give me grace to behave like the wife Bert thought he married.

Then one incredible evening, I saw tears in Bert’s eyes. “Sheryl, I never had anyone love me like you do. I never had someone who was willing to stay with me, in spite of my selfish, self-centered behavior.” He reached for my hand and pulled me closer to him. “Will you forgive me?”

Thus, a new, sweeter—more loving and respectful—marriage began.

Now every day, while cleaning the kitchen, making sales calls from my home office, preparing supper, and while lying in bed at the end of the day, I continuously thank God for doing superabundantly more than I ever imagined possible in me, in Bert – in us.

What is your deepest desire?
It may be a desire you’ve never told anyone, maybe never even dared to whisper to yourself because it seemed too impossible or too great.

This week, would you consider doing these things?

  • For five minutes every day, meditate on and/or memorize Ephesians 3:20
  • Throughout each day, ask God to help you know that He loves and cares about you
  • Purpose in your heart (with God’s help) to grow in your faith to believe that He is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above your expectations


Feel free to share your comments.

Note: Memorizing Scripture Blog (for anyone) and the Coffee with Sheryl blog (for ladies) both have the Current Goals tab located under the blogs' headers. "Current Goals" offers several practical links including topics such as: being a better spouse or parent, choosing better eating and exercising habits, overcoming addictions, dealing with depression, etc. The Immediate Goals link (for setting task-related goals) is only available at the Coffee with Sheryl Blog

You may use pseudonyms (fake names).

6 comments:

  1. Barbara T. HudsonMay 8, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    What a great picture. May God continue to bless you. Happy anniversary. Were not sure there would be a 7th and now there is an 8th. God is so Good!!! Barbara T. Hudson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Barbara. (I have two Barbara's commenting on my blog! I'll be sure to keep the two of you straight. ;) )

      God is very good, indeed. You were with me (and stood with me!) when I was going through this painful time. I will never forget your friendship.

      Blessings to you and Gary.

      Delete
  2. Your Husband, BertMay 8, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    After bouncing up from our lowest emotional bottom, we have been soring higher and higher in our love and respect for each other. What a ride!!! Lots of love, Bert

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been a quite a ride, Hon! A very bumpy and painful one at times. I'm so glad we made it through those times.

      I am in awe in how much you have allowed God to work in your heart. You are a wonderful husband, Bert.
      I also thank Him for changing me in so many ways. We serve a very faithful God!

      I love you, too.

      Delete
  3. I hope all is well with you two!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Anonymous! And yes, praise God, we are doing well. Not perfect, of course; but very well.
    Thank you for stopping by! If you're interested, I am now posting articles on my current blog: www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Would love to see you there! (Be sure to note the ".net" for the website.)

    ReplyDelete

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