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June 18, 2008

The Valley of Decision...

Crossinthewoods Greetings, Dear Friends!



And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Drop me a note and post your thoughts. At the end of this month, one of you will win a $10.00 gift card to Caribou.

And now on to my topic...

The other day I was talking to my oldest son about marriage. He and I love to dialogue about all sorts of things. This particular time we were talking about the tough seasons in marriage. I said to him, "Jake, there comes a valley season in every marriage where the husband and wife don't 'feel' the love anymore; in fact they don't even like each other all that much. It's in that place where big decisions are made. In this place, the quesion becomes, 'Will I die to my flesh (my rights, my expectations, my demands) or will I set my jaw, clench my fists, demand my way, and let my marriage die instead?' Many marriages die in this valley. But those who, for the sake of their commitment before God and man, die to their flesh, will find on the other side of that valley season, life and marriage abundantly."

Now I don't want to get into a debate about circumstances that surround divorce. I know that some are abused and victims of great injustices within marriage. I'm referring to the majority of marriages that die simply because life within marriage stopped being fun or interesting or fulfilling.

What I've noticed about myself and the countless of other people I've spoken to on this topic, is that those who persevere through the valley, find on the other side, a promised land.

This got me thinking...I believe the same applies to other areas of life. God puts dreams in our hearts and writes a destiny over our lives. And if we trust Him enough to take Him at His word, we will find ourselves on a journey toward the fulfillment of that dream.

Unfortunately, the path that takes us to the promise is always wrought with thickets and thorns. Nothing worth having ever comes easy or without opposition. Storms will come, lions will roar, and our fears will be confronted. God allows the path to be difficult because He intends on refining us and preparing us for our place of promise. He is intent on extracting from us, that which our enemy would love to leverage against us.

God loves us too much to promote us before we are ready.

And so, as we follow His lead, we will at different times, find ourselves in a valley - a valley of decision. Marriages aren't the only thing that die there. Dreams die there too. The flesh dies hard and unfortunately for many, they've opted to let their dream die before they'd ever allow their flesh to be confronted.

We all have weak spots and areas of inconsistency in our character. Until we see Jesus face to face, we will need His guidance and correction. He wants to take us from strength to strength; from glory to glory.

Ephesians 3:20 tells us that He wants to do abundantly above and beyond ALL that we could ever ask or think, but there's a clincher in this verse...it's according to His work within us. To the extent that He's allowed to work in us, will be the extent that He does great things through us.

After my conversation with Jake, I pondered this idea a little more. I envisioned a valley of dry bones. Bones from marriages, relationships, and dreams abandoned because many people refused to die to themselves, to humble themselves, and to let God have His way in their lives.

Don't let your dream die in the valley!

If you're in a season of refining, lean in. Trust the loving hand of your precious Savior and know that He will lead you to the other side. Refuse a sense of entitlement and don't demand to be understood.

Instead, humble yourself and seek to understand what the Lord is doing around you.

He will faithfully lead you and you will be strengthened as you go. 

On the other side of this refining time is a fresh perspective and new mercies.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God; in due time you will be lifted up and honored before a watching world.

Have a blessed week.


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Comments

Wow,
Powerful testimony, Carolyn.
What a mighty God we serve! He means what He says and He's serious about defending those who humbly come to Him for protection.
I love that.

Awhile back I mentioned that God was allowing me to struggle in something that I thought was a slam dunk. He brought me opposition in a human form, which prevented me from running away from it. He taught me that he is my defender and as long as my heart is right, he will stand up for me (as opposed to me standing up for me). Not only did he do that but this person went from being my worst enemy to my greatest ally. What a cool story of redemption for me. I love how God does that.

This is so great, Rebecca.

I love what you said about approaching God, always expecting to hear something from Him, and the days when you hear nothing, you rest in the TRUTH of what He's already said.
Amen and amen.

The very first week of my fast (May 28th) the Holy Spirit spoke to me, Romans 8:1-3
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.
I have struggeled for a long time holding on to past sins/regrets. This was very freeing for me!

The other thing He has been teaching me is how much He loves me, and how important it is that I remember that. I can be strong and courageous in Christ Jesus! I have strength when I tune out and reject those insecure thouhgts that creep in my mind.

My time with Him is sweeter than honey. I wait expecting to hear from Him. Somedays are quiet, those are the day's I rest in knowing His truth. And most of the time I worship Him through songs of praise.

Like I said I could go on and on about how faithful and loving Christ Jesus is, but those are a veiw nuggets for you:) Peace!

Dear Karissa,

Thanks SO much for sharing your testimony regarding the Alone book. I'm so thankful it's ministering to you. Please feel free to email me if you have any thoughts or questions.
Remember to take time for you; to plant flowers along the way; and to spend plenty of time with God.
Bless you, sister.

Carolyn,

Thanks for stopping by! How's it going so far?

I'm continually intrigued when the things I think should be easy, turn out to be a steep climb; and the things I think impossible miraculously come to pass. What a faith journey we are on, no?

Dear Rebecca,

Please do share with us what you're learning from your time of fasting! I'm amazed at some of the things God shows me during such times. I'd love to hear what God is showing you. We all would!

Susie,

First, I want to thank you for writing the book "Alone in Marriage" - I have only read the first 2 chapters and I have already been blessed. Your words in the book and in this message have given me hope...hope for the reconciliation of a marriage that was doomed before it even began. We have been married a little over a year and it has been the longest and most trying year of my life. I know that God can do amazing things if I just ask Him and have faith. You have given me the courage to keep fighting and to keep praying for God to work in our marriage and my husband's heart. I don't want it to end up in that valley of dry bones. Now I must pray that my husband will feel the same way. Thanks again for your encouraging words; they have been a true blessing in my life.

Wow, this really ministered to me. The Lord is allowing me to struggle in something that I thought would be a slam dunk. What I really wanted to do was throw my hands up and say, "Forget it!" But I think he wants me to "humble myself and seek to understand what he is doing around me..." It's not easy but I am pretty sure that it will be totally worth it. Thanks, Susie.

Wow, Carrie,
That's excellent! What a wonderful momma you are!
If we could all live by the call to "honor one another above yourselves" we would thrive in relationships instead of die in them.
May God bless you richly~

Hi susie!
I tell my dating age daughters to not live out of their feelings or emotions. It will kill and destroy all kinds of relatioinships, dreams and your relationship with the Lord.
Do you know what I find amazing? If they purpose to respect, adore, and admire others, if they help others succeed and get ahead in life, and if they make others more important than themselves life is so much more peacful and exciting. God honors and lifts us out of the valley when we go out of our way to be humble, respectful, kind and forgiving. What a deserving and thoughtful meassage!

Hi Susie:) I pray you are well.
When I was reading what you had to say I kept thinking about,

1 Corinthians 9:26,27 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Thank you for posting on this. It's exactly what I have been working on, with my flesh.

I'm over half way through my fast. I love it!! I could go on and on about it. Thank you for your obedience.
I'm still praying for you sister:)

Blessings~Rebecca


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