“I think you need to take a walk. Leave your phone and go talk to Jesus!”
I didn’t say it nicely. It wasn’t a suggestion. Standing in the middle of our living room, I faced my husband sitting on the couch. I fumed. I could feel my hands start to shake as I panicked.
There was no ‘yes’ in his body posture or eyes. Just sheer…I don’t know…who knows what he is thinking?!
I balled my fists. Desperately needing to see that my husband had absorbed the sermon we had both just heard. I needed to see him choose health and wholeness. I looked in his angry eyes and saw my life pool out before me with no changes, no hope. The pool suddenly felt like an ocean and I could only see the wind and waves (Matt 14:31).
“I am not going to just go put the groceries away and pretend I am fine. I am going for a walk if you won’t. I need Jesus to help me survive this.” I am sure I shouted it all, but I don’t remember. I was drowning in sorrow and fear (Phil 4:6). I had stepped out in hope. Where was my help (Ps 18:30)?
On the blacktop, in my church clothes, I vented to God.
“How God? How can I have hope?
What am I supposed to do?
How can I raise kids if he does not change?
How can I be anything You’ve called me to be, when I don’t have support?
Why God? Why do I have to fight so hard?
Why is it so hard for him to admit what he is thinking? Or see that he directly affects us with his attitudes and reactions?
God, I don’t know. I can’t do it. I feel so…alone. Help me.” (John 16:7,13).
I stomped down two streets speaking aloud like a crazy person. I was too angry to care if anyone heard and too stubborn to turn back. As I word vomited my struggle, I started to register a loud barking in my future path. As I walked closer the angrier the bark sounded.
I walked forward wanting so badly to prove my dominance. He wasn’t a threat to me. I get to choose where I walk! But deep down, I felt, fear. I stopped and looked at the dog. He was just protecting his property. I shrugged and turned back, finding another route.
My desire to go that way was not worth riling up this dog.
The new street brought new thoughts. I started thinking of my sister who is battling to protect her son from the consequences and choices of others. I prayed for her. I hadn’t responded to a text earlier in the day, so I did. I turned worship music and prayed for others who I knew were fighting for healing, truth, and hope in their own lives.
Turning back toward the house I looked up and saw hope in the sky.
Directly above me the sky was dark blue but in the future distance, it was a lighter shade.
Isn’t that the way it goes, huh? Taking a photo I send it to those whom I’d just been praying. Reminding them, and myself, that though it may look dark now, there is hope for a brighter future (Ps 84:11-12).
“Ohhhhh!” I stopped suddenly. “Oh. Okay. This is the answer.”
I cannot change my husband. I cannot force him to surrender to God. I cannot control his walk with God. And while the Holy Spirt dwells in me, I am NOT the Holy Spirit. For anyone in my home to change, including myself, it will be because of the Father’s forgiveness and grace through Jesus’ sacrifice and the power of the Holy Spirit. Not me (Gal 2:20).
In the eyes of that defensive dog, I was a trespasser. I might have thought I had claim to the road but who gave me that authority? I do not own the road. I am a trespasser everywhere I go that I have not first surrendered to the power of the Holy Spirit.
But I am also not rendered ineffective by the choices of my spouse. The people God has placed around me are not by accident. They are my ministry. Uplifting and encouraging others by extending grace, hope, and truth through scripture is available for me to share no matter the what is happening.
“Forgive me God. I lost track. You are right. Love people like You loved me…Like You love me.”
While I wait for growth in another, I can choose to grow myself (Ps 143:8). While I wait for surrender of another, I can surrender myself. My ability, given by God, to be valuable in His kingdom is not disabled by who is around me but by my own lack of humility (1 Peter 5:6).
Surrendering the path we are on, even if we think we are strong enough, smart enough, or right enough may be what is exactly needed for the Spirit to move. How can the Holy Spirit be heard if I am yelling?
Changing course because of a territorial dog, defensive husband, or stubborn child takes recognition of Authority. Choosing this humility is choosing to be like Jesus. Choosing to make way for the Holy Spirit is choosing to be like Jesus. Choosing to be like Jesus is choosing to trust God is Who He says He is (Num 23:19).
I opened the front door and saw my husband, guitar in hand, in the same place I left him. I leaned over the back of the couch, kissed him on the cheek, then walked to put away the groceries. No words, He was busy working stuff out with Jesus, the way that works for him.
For more teaching from The Fight for The Family Click Here.