June is the month of weddings. My Facebook feed is filled with beautiful pictures of love. Couples getting married and couples celebrating their years of wedded bliss. I read beautiful sentiments of love and adoration from wives and husbands. I see pictures of young love with their whole lives stretching before them and you can see the fairy tale dreaming in their eyes.
Yesterday was my turn. My turn to celebrate 18 years of being married to the guy who loves me best. As we shared publicly our love and commitment to each other and received warm “happy anniversary’s” from loved ones, I could not help but think about the countless people who hurt over broken marriages, unrealized dreams and pain of the past. Many of my friends are battling major hurts in their own marriages. So if I could sit with you this morning and share with you from my heart, this is what I’d say.
You are loved with an everlasting love
“…I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love;
with unfailing love I have drawn myself to you” ~Jeremiah 31:3
In a time when love withers and fades, it’s hard to remember this truth. We love so imperfectly, but our Creator is the lover of our souls. His character is unchanging and it is impossible for Him to stop loving His creation. He chooses to love us. We cannot earn that love nor do we deserve His love. The very essence of His character is love. If you are feeling unloved today, you need to rest in the truth that regardless of any circumstance or situation, your heavenly Father adores you. He delights in you. He rejoices over you with singing. He is your fairy tale and your happily ever after.
Only Jesus can heal your broken heart
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages up their wounds” ~Psalm 147:3
We often look everywhere but the cross for healing. Your spouse will not make you whole. Your children, money, success, food, sex, alcohol, and friends…will not and can not make you whole. We can not fix ourselves. While counseling is good…counseling in and of itself can not restore what is lost. There is no striving to be done, no work to do.
Healing is a choice to rest in the finished work of the cross. That’s where it starts. Your husband will never be able to “complete you.” You are only complete through the blood of Jesus. When you surrender your agenda, relationships, plans and future to the Lord, He responds with his redemptive work. He alone can change the heart of man, and He can be trusted with your pain. He can turn your mourning into dancing.
Do not walk alone
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed” ~Ecclesiastes 4:9
We were created for community. You do not have to struggle on your own. Reach out. Find a Christian counselor, involve your pastor and get in a small group. Share your story, even when it’s not pretty. Ask to be prayed over. Find a church of grace givers and let them speak truth to you. Fight the urge to isolate and believe the lie that no one will understand or that only condemnation will follow if you share your pain and your sin. God uses his people to point the way to healing and victory in Him. Lean into Jesus and take the risk of trusting His people. We are better together.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying” ~Romans 12:12
Even in the middle of dark days, you can choose joy. On days when you don’t know where you will find the strength to face your spouse or when you don’t have it in you to fight for your marriage, remember this truth; the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy is found in Jesus, not our circumstances. It is possible to have victory over our emotions and to choose gratitude and joy, even in suffering. It’s a game changer, I promise.
Sweet friend who is hurting, whose marriage is on the brink of divorce, you need to know that God is for you. He is for your marriage and He will fight for you. He is merciful and even when our earthly love fails, His never does.