Thursday, May 31

Something I’ve Been Avoiding

Welcome to the Proverbs 31 Devotion friends. I’m glad you’re here. The verses you’re looking for are below.

In today’s devotion, I asked, “Is there something you’ve been avoiding because you’re afraid?” And my answer is yes. I have a friend going through a divorce and it’s hard to know how to help – what to say – what not to say.

It’s just hard. So, I’ve been avoiding reaching out for fear of saying the wrong thing.

Until last week when a moving truck pulled up to the front of my friend’s house. Sometimes moving signifies something exciting and new. Sometimes it doesn’t.

This move signified an end. A few hours into the process of emptying her home, the movers carried out her wedding portrait, and called to her, “You want the photographs in the stairwell to go with us, or are you taking those separately in your vehicle?”

“I’ll be taking those separately,” she said the irony not escaping her. Separately. That was how she’d be living her life now. Separate from the neighborhood where her kids had grown up. Separate from her husband. Separate from the way she thought her life would be.

She took the wedding portrait from the mover as a feeling of confusion washed over her. She sat down on the front steps and called me. Through her tears she said, “I don’t know what to do with this portrait. What do you do with the things that have no place anymore? We built a life together and now there’s no more together. There isn’t a place for that in my mind. What am I going to do?”

As soon as I heard her shaky voice, I felt so awful for not calling.

And though I still didn’t know exactly what to say, I knew this was my time to say something – do something.

I knew better than throw out a quippy little bit of Christianese. I once had someone tell me as I stood over my dying sisters bedside, “You just have to let go and let God.” I knew they meant well.

But honestly it infuriated me.

No, I wouldn’t throw out something just to fill the uncomfortable silence. Trite sayings weren’t going to help my friend. Well meaning phrases weren’t going to crawl up in bed with her tonight and hold her broken heart threatening to beat out of her chest.

That would be like holding out scotch tape and suggesting it could fix a broken life.

I finally said to my friend, “I’m crying with you. I don’t have answers, but I do have prayers. And I’m going to write out conversations I have with God so you’ll know He’s not being silent right now. He sees you. He hears you. And through His truth He will comfort you.”

I pulled out my Bible and poured out the hurt and sadness. “God show me. Show me the right truths. Use my hand to write out some comfort from Your Word for my friend. She’s afraid and needs Your comfort more than ever.”

Me: Lord, I have to tell You it is a hard thing to watch my friend hurt so much. She begged You to help save her marriage and honestly we’re confused why it all still fell apart.

The Lord: Do the words of Job 17:11 express the way you are feeling? My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.

Me: Yes, Lord, and I’m confused. Lord don’t You see her tears? If seeing her sadness breaks my heart, I know it must break Your heart too. It is hard for me to understand why this all happened.

The Lord: Recall the beauty of trusting the only One who can see what is and what is to come. Remember my words in Nahum 1:7…The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.

Me: I do trust You Lord. But for everything to end like this is so hard. It just seems so pointless.

The Lord: Oh, nothing I allow is pointless. Nothing you go through is pointless. Even in the midst of hurt I will work good. I will work good for her now and I will work good for her in the future. I still have a grand plan and purpose for her. Proverbs 19:20-21…Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Me: I just need to know why she has to go through this.

The Lord: You don’t have to have answers Lysa. You just need to trust. Isaiah 55:8-9…For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Me: But what about the desires of her heart Lord?

The Lord: I am the only one who even knows the full scope of those desires Lysa. I will give her new desires and help her so those desires come to pass. Just encourage her to trust me and make wise choices. Psalm 37:3-4…Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

After I wrote all this out, I sent it to my friend. My letter didn’t fix her hurt or answer her questions. It didn’t give her a place to put those things that seemed to have no place right now. But it did get her to open up God’s word and start having conversations with Him for herself. And as she moves on, this was a good first step to take.

No matter what you’ve been avoiding out of fear, determine to take one positive step today. Here are a few empowering verses to use when fear is holding you back:

 

1. Psalm 27:1-2

The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?

 

2. Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.

 

3. Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

4. 2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.

 

5. Hebrews 13:6

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

 

6. Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Discussion

  1. 121

    I desperately need your prayers. My husband of 14 years has decided to give up. He had an affair several years ago and I decided to stay, work on my issues that contributed to the affair (still his responsibility, but I needed to own my part) and forgive. It has not been easy … he has not repented and worked on his issues and remains angry and bitter. Recently he decided that he has given up. He says he doesn’t love me and isn’t attracted to me… in fact, he never was. I have struggled with weight my whole life and he simply cannot get past this issue. I continue to work on it and give it over to the Lord, but he can’t love me unless I lose weight. The worst part of all of it is that he is angry and bitter at God because of my weight. God hasn’t answered his prayers for me to lose weight or for it not to matter to him. Please pray for him. Pray that he comes back to a relationship with the Lord and puts to death his sin. He simply isn’t willing to deal with the sin in his life and it has resulted in more and more sin…. pray that he stops blaming everything on my weight and deals with his sin. Pray for deliverance for him. Pray that he remembers and keeps his promises and comes to a realization and knowledge of what it really means to love as Christ loves us. Please pray for strength for me. I know that I know that I know I am not supposed to leave. God has not released me from this marriage and despite all of the storms, I have complete peace about my decision to stay. I made my decision 14 years ago and I am not waivering. I know that I need to trust God in this and it’s the most difficult thing I have ever walked through.. It’s hard to think about a life with a man who does not truly love me for me, but will only “love” me if I meet some standard of beauty that is not realistic. Pray that God would help me lose the weight and then not be resentful of my husband if it happens. Also, pray for protection for our son throughout this difficult time. There is so much hurt. I know God isn’t surprised by this and I know God is bigger than these issues no matter how overwhelming they seem right now. I know this is a huge request, but I would be so grateful if you would pray. (Romans 5:1-5)

    • 122
      Tracy smith says:

      Hi JJ~ I can so relate. Though my husband doesn’t say his feelings come from my weight gained over the past several years but, I can tell it does! He hasn’t cheated on me but, has said he has thought about it! (see the rest in my post below) I too feel a marriage can be saved! It takes God, hard work, faith, love and communication!!! I will be praying for you and ask that you please keep my marriage in your prayers as well. <3 a sister in Christ

  2. 123

    Our son will be graduating from college at the beginning of August. He needs a job and a place to live, because his lease is up at the end of June. He can come home and live with us, but he feels like it would be better if he wasn’t quite as dependent on us. We agree. This may seem like a small request in the bigger scheme of things, but it is a stressful time for him and me. We pray that God will provide him with a place to live with a good roommate if need be and a job that he will be able to feel successful at.

  3. 124
    Tracy smith says:

    Hi Lysa~ my husband and I just had our 18th wedding anniversary! In Feb. he came to me and said he felt he wanted to leave me, he’d been unhappy for a long time and wasn’t “in-love” with me anymore. After many talks he agreed he would stay and try. Move ahead, i find out couple lies and Monday we talked a long time! He said he feels like he is in a tug of war inside. He feels like he should leave and maybe I would be happier with someone else. That he couldn’t see growing old with me anymore, or feel the passion for me. I said, I knew with God on our side we could get through anything! We’d been through many tough situations in our lives and could get through this too! I explained how I believe that Many couples who have been together this long have felt this way at some point in their lives and that yes, it’ll be hard work but, it can be fixed! I gave him examples of married couples we both knew of that felt this way and look at how great they were now! He said but, there are some that stayed together and are so unhappy! I said I berthed never really talked about their true feelings and worked hard at making them better for each other either! I chose to look at the couples who did work hard on their marriage! That I wanted us to be a great example to our children for one day when they struggle in their relationship they can say how well their parents did to work things out! He does Love me he says this over and over again! I said where there is a spark, a flame can grow, and where there is a seed of Love, Love can grow stringer! After long talks, I asked if he would go to a counselor with me, He said he wanted us to try by ourseleves first, that he would not keep things from me, that we would be ok but, if it didn’t seem like it was getting better then he would go to the counselor! So, I’m asking for any advise one might have to help us along the right path of repairing and rebuilding our marriage! I’m asking for your prayers for our marriage most of all. Thank you so much!

  4. 125

    I’d greatly appreciate your prayers. My husband left me a little over two years ago, with a 2 year old and pregnant with our 2nd son. He’s still gone. He had an affair, can’t settle this with himself, says we are better off apart, says it’s better for our kids, says we’ll both be happier, says God doesn’t like it but he’s okay with it, says I’ll find someone better, and on and on and on. It’s all a bunch of lies. And I don’t know how much more I can take. I do not feel released from my marriage, I do not feel moving on to someone else or something else is what God has called me to do. But I am SO TIRED! And hate the pain and anguish this causes my babies; they still grieve the loss of their father even though they see him weekly. They ask for him often, they pray and pray and pray, and my eldest asks questions like, “Mom if I keep praying will God answer my prayers and bring Daddy home?” I don’t know the answer, or have the answers to give him, or know what else to do. Other than to trust and keep holding on. I want more from this life than to be the wife who is waiting for her husband to come home, when he wants nothing to do with her. . But yet this is where I am at. Thank you for the prayers!