God is Near to the Wounded

For many people, the holidays are full of wonderful traditions and precious memories together with family and friends. For others, it’s a time of deep pain and loneliness as they are reminded of strained or non-existent relationships or the loss of loved ones and their absence from the holiday gatherings. 

For many years, the latter was my experience, especially when I became a believer in my early 20s. I lost my dad around Thanksgiving when I was 22, and a few years later, my mom and stepdad went through a very painful divorce, which strained my relationship with my mother based on her life choices shortly following the separation from my stepdad. In the early years of my own marriage, there was so much tension and passive aggressive exchanges during the holidays as it was expected that I must make it top priority to spend time with my side of the family instead of my now husband’s family. 

When I had my first child, I wanted to create our own family traditions and try to include my own family as much as I could, but there was still so much tension regarding my strained family relationships. I found myself trying to be a peace maker, but it was never enough. I was crushed under the weight of trying to please everyone all while trying not to create a wedge in my marriage as well. To be quite honest, I was crushed and wounded regarding my relationships with my family in general because of my strong convictions as a believer in Christ in the midst of an unbelieving (and often hostile) family. The holidays seemed to just intensify those wounds when I would be left extremely disappointed and discouraged.

When we need God’s peace and comfort, we can always run to the Word. Scripture often brings clarity and perspective when our emotions are overwhelming. The psalmist reveals a beautiful truth about God’s love and care for the broken and wounded:

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, ESV).

Instead of allowing our pain and emotions to toss us to and fro, we can find our security and assurance in who God is and how much He loves by finding our foundation in His Word. The wounds of distant, strained, or lost relationships can often run deep, but there is healing found in Christ, who never leaves us nor forsake us. When we are crushed under the weight of our circumstances, we can trust that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8), and His ever-present help will come to our aid to walk us through the pain. You may have been disappointed, grieving, and hurt yet again this holiday season, but don’t find your home in the pain and discouragement. Let us run into His safety and find great comfort in Him!

Heavenly Father,

You know my heart and see my pain before I ever speak a word, but You long for me to make my requests known to You by being honest and intentional in seeking You first no matter what. Help me to remember that You are near to the brokenhearted and that I can run into your safety when I feel crushed by my circumstances and difficult relationships. I know You alone can satisfy my soul more than any other relationship in life. Thank You for setting the lonely in families and for calling me Your child. Surround me with Your grace and help me see Your loving hand working in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Submission Isn’t a 4-Letter Word

My husband Paul and I have been married for almost thirteen years; From day one, we have viewed our roles in the home as 51/49, meaning we realize that God created men to lead the family, so he has an extra measure of responsibility to protect, provide, and guide the family. And hear me clearly, we are equal in value as people, but never equal in role. The husband being the head of the home doesn’t mean the wife doesn’t get a say in what happens in the family or the wife is disconnected from family matters, it means at the end of the day, the husband is held responsible for the decisions made. It is God’s order for the family.  Chaos is inevitable if you step out of the bounds of God’s ordained order. You can experience God’s peace by walking out the role He has ordered for you specifically and uniquely, dear sister.

One way a wife can help “lighten the load” for her husband is to fulfill her role in the home with joy and excellence, as well as pray for and encourage her husband in his God-ordained role (despite his short-comings and flaws).

I have several friends who have a husband who is not the spiritual leader of their home, and it makes submission extremely difficult for them when they feel their husband is not “carrying his weight” in this area of the family. God is very much aware of this dynamic, which is most likely why He inspired Peter to pen these encouraging words for wives:

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and [a]respectful behavior”

(1 Peter 3:1-2, NASB).

Regardless if the husband is a believer or not, men have a weightier responsibility that women were not designed to carry- a burden of accountability before the Lord as the leader of the home and family. As wives, we must view this design as the gift it truly is to your womanhood. God simply did not create men and women “equal” in this way. Our roles are different, so it is wise to try not to strap on an unnecessary burden. Eventually, it will harm you, your marriage, and your family. We cannot walk in submission and service in our home without the help of the Holy Spirit, so it is important for us to remember to ask God for His grace, especially when our husbands may not be as involved in our home and children’s lives as we would like. The Lord has given you your husband and your marriage covenant is important to God. He wants to work and change you and your husband’s hearts to reflect His ways as He cultivates the fruit of the Spirit in your lives. Even though nagging may seem like the easy thing to do when we are annoyed or frustrated, let us gain wisdom from the scriptures and win our husbands over with our respect and love, asking the Lord to humble us daily and give us a heart to serve our husbands and our family.

Father God, 

Thank You for the gift of marriage. It is not always easy,but please help me see it as the gift it truly is. Help me to remember to hold my tongue when I am frustrated at my husband and learn to walk in respectful manner towards him. I ask that You would bless my husband as he seeks to support and provide for our family. Move in his heart to hunger after Your Word so that He looks to You most of all as he learns how to lead our family. If he does not know You or love You like I know You and love You, I ask that You would convict his heart to see his great need of the Savior and draw him to the cross. Thank You for my husband and thank You for the order You have placed in the family. I pray Your peace would be our foundation. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Putting Away Anger

My husband and I will be married twelve years next month, and although we would never admit to “having it all together,” one thing that we have always fought to hold onto is our pursuit to work through our disagreements, however heated they may become, and never go to sleep angry with one another. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we try our best to be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. 

But since we are still on this side of eternity, we are continually being sanctified every day, and sometimes our flesh and pride gets in the way of that pursuit for peace and that was the case in a recent argument that he and I experienced. The two of us became so angry with one another that we continued to go in circles and rehash the argument. I found myself not thinking clearly and saying things that were hurtful towards my husband, things that I did not believe to be true. I would constantly interrupt my husband with what I wanted to say and never let him voice his concerns. In my frustration, I became so exhausted and confused that I didn’t have any energy to continue the conversation. Thankfully, before we drifted off to sleep, we both took some time to calm down and began to apologize for our anger and hurtful words. Knowing anger that is not restrained can often lead to sin, and in this case it did, we both repented to the Lord and to each other. We can find much instruction and wisdom in the Bible regarding the sin of unrestrained anger. James 1 has some beautiful instruction for us that is a wonderful reminder for our hearts, especially in marriage relationship:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20, ESV).

Do you notice how our conversations with each other can be tied to the misuse of anger? This is especially true if we are not considering others before ourselves when we want to voice our opinion or concerns. The misuse of anger is called unrighteous anger because it is selfish and prideful in nature. Those who do not think of others when speaking are walking in pride, which can often lead to anger if met with resistance and tension. When anger is unrestrained and rooted in pride, we are not walking righteously before God. We are to be quick to listen before speaking and patient when engaging in a tense discussion. What wise advice for married couples! Anger is sure to occur when two people disagree, but we do not have to give into the temptation to allow that anger to fuel hurtful or hate-filled words towards the other person, sinning against them and more importantly, sinning against God who calls us to walk in righteousness. We need to prefer others above ourselves in our conversations with one another. May the Lord help us and sanctify us in our marriages and relationships with others.

Father, Your Word has so much to say on the sin of anger, yet we give into this temptation all the time when we are challenged in our selfishness. I repent for sinning against those who have been made in Your image when I did not prefer them above myself and allowed my words to cause pain. This is especially true in my marriage. I have allowed my pride to lead me into unrestrained anger by lashing out and interrupting in my disagreements. Help me to follow Your wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to listen so that anger does not cause me to walk in unrighteous behavior towards my husband and brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your grace to empower me to walk more Christ-like. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Re-adjusting Our Focus

I saw a sign the other day that said: “I saw it. I liked it. I bought it. Now hide it!”

You know, it is often a joke among women that we hide our Amazon Prime packages or shopping bags from our husbands like it is a secret behavior that all women do that is normal. But sister, this is so wrong. And quite frankly, it is a sin. How can we be in unity with our spouse if we are literally hiding something from them? Why do we make jokes about that? We need to call this what it is, and admit we have a problem. This behavior is materialistic and can often be rooted in covetousness, and it is not a joking matter to God. This saying above isn’t cute and should reveal to us the matter of our heart. It seems where our eyes wander, our heart follows and can become fixated upon whatever has our gaze. We need to readjust our focus and if we are not able to overcome the temptation, we need the Lord’s help, especially if we are continually tempted by material possessions and give into hiding our addiction to “more stuff.” 


Do you wrestle with impulsively buying things you don’t need? I do, big time.


But I have been convicted of this sin and do not want to grieve God nor my husband with this widely accepted behavior in our society. There is a verse in Psalms that is a cry to the Lord for helping turn our focus from temporal things that don’t matter:

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways”

(Psalm 119:37, ESV).

We find life in God’s ways, not in the world’s ways of accumulation of more material possessions. Our possessions should be a blessing to us and others and not turn into idolatry, leading our hearts away from God and the things of God. Although we live here on earth, as believers, we are citizens of heaven, and we should lift our gaze to heavenly things more than earthly things. In a culture that jokes about shopaholics hiding their problem of impulsive buying, let us be different by pointing others to Christ and His ways where true abundant life is found.

Let’s hold each other accountable, friends. The temptation is strong, but God can help us overcome. He always provides a way out. Let us ask the Lord to help us keep our eyes on Him and that escape and ask the Him for strength when temptation comes. May we also ask Him to turn our eyes to what is eternal and more precious than worthless material possessions where moth and rust eat at them. 

Father, my eyes have wandered onto obsessing over material possessions. When I scroll social media, I feel the pressure to own what others own that they are often trying to market to me. I ask for Your help to guard my heart from materialism and covetousness. I also repent for perhaps giving into the temptation of hiding this struggle that seemingly feels too difficult to overcome. I know that You always provide a way of escaping every temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to act upon that temptation. I long to walk in Your ways because I want to obey You, and I know Your ways provide life abundantly. Thank You for Your grace and mercy that is new every morning that gives me a new focus upon You and Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Waiting for the One with the One

In December 2019, my husband and I celebrated ten years of marriage. We spent a few nights in New York City for our special 10 year wedding anniversary trip. Since we have two young children, it was the first time we had been away alone in three and a half years. It was much needed to be sure! Our time together brought back so many memories of when we first met, and I loved every minute of it.

As I reflected on the last ten years with the man God gave me, I enjoyed reminiscing of the special time in my life when I found “the One”…

…Or really when “the One” found me, since it all occurred around the same time frame.

With a theater degree in my back pocket, and the blueprint of my move to LA before my eyes, I most definitely wasn’t looking for my husband back then or even cared if he ever found me.

Because bitter disappointments were around every corner, I tried to drown out any desire of marriage with as many distractions as possible: parties, one-night stands, over-involvement in extracurricular activities and clubs, and the most of important of them all, my career plans as an actress in Los Angeles.

That all came to a screeching halt when I came face to face with my true destiny—the realization that I was a daughter of the King of Kings and He was not going to allow this prodigal to run away from Him any longer.

Broken, full of pride, and desperately lonely, He found me in my mess.

I left all of the distractions behind and began to surrender my entire life to the Lord, seeking His face and eager to truly know Him in a deeper way than I ever had before. The longer I spent time with God in times of prayer, worship, reading His Word, and fellowshipping with other believers at church, I began to fully understand the depths of God’s great love for me and that satisfied my soul more than . 

I think so many have been hurt and disappointed in relationships and the cares of life like I was. It wasn’t until I began to wholeheartedly focus on my relationship with Christ that I began to see that His view for marriage was much greater than just two people coming together and pledging their love for one another. Marriage points us to Christ and His love for us.

If we don’t have a clear understanding of who Jesus is to us and how He gave His life up for us, our perception of our future mate and marriage is going to be extremely out of focus.

The apostle Paul explains to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 exactly how marriage reflects Christ’s sacrificial love for us.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

NKJV

This passage of scripture paints a beautiful picture of who God believes we should wait for when it comes to entering a lasting marriage relationship. Marriage here on earth is God’s way of showing us how much Jesus loves His Church and how much The Father loves the world. The love shown between a husband and wife is a direct reflection of God’s love for them.

Are you truly accepting that love? Is it penetrating the very depths of our soul or is it just head knowledge?

Are you embracing God’s limitless, unconditional love or are you chasing after all other pleasures and empty relationships wondering if you are going to find love and happiness?

If you are running after all of the cares of this world, then I urge you to stop. Stop, and wait. Not alone, but with “the One.” Seeking after truly knowing “the One.” The One who created marriage and the One who says that you are treasured and loved in His eyes above all. He knows what He’s doing.

Because “the One” created you and your “one.”

So enjoy the wait with Him.

Looking back on ten wonderfully beautiful years of marriage, I’m so glad that I did.

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