Today we want to let a few profound truths about our identity sink down like roots that keep us secure in the knowledge that in Christ, I am strong, SO deeply loved, and complete. Oh you guys, I find myself longing that we could all truly understand these truths, just as Paul did as he wrote our passage for today. I fall to my knees and pray along with him that they would sink deep into our hearts and change us forever!
Often, when lies have defined a relationship for many years, we’re left wondering, will I ever stop waiting for the other shoe to drop? Even after years of solid recovery, many of us find ourselves struggling to believe we’re not still being lied to. How can we ever know for sure; we wonder? What if we’re being naïve or foolish? What if He got a whole lot better at hiding it? Why didn’t God reveal the truth sooner the first time? How can I be sure He’ll reveal it this time? What if… How could he… Why did He… How will I… The questions are endless and maddening! So how can we put a stop to them before we lose our minds, and bankrupt our faith?
We’ve been studying what the Bible has to say about communication, and this week it’s all about how important it is that we all tell the truth. All the time. We need to be deeply committed, as the saying goes, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in our marital communication, and you better believe we’re going to need some help from God!
People far wiser than myself have named three stages to the process of healing from Betrayal Trauma, and as a survivor, I can definitely find pieces of my own story in each of those stages. But I’m here to tell you, the journey to healing is not linear. We won’t move through them in one direction or in a straight line. Instead, we’ll circle in and out and in between the three in no predictable manner, and with no assurance that we won’t go back again later. There have been days when I really believed myself much further down the path to healing than I have found myself on the next. If you’re healing from Betrayal Trauma, you’ll likely experience the same, and I want you to know, it’s okay! Not only is it okay, it’s expected, normal, and really even healthy!
We’re talking about what it means to communicate God’s way, and last week we talked about some of the most common ways we use manipulation (gaslighting) to mess this up. We all sometimes choose to play games rather than speak plainly and honestly, but as we discussed last time, there are some whose hearts are black with evil intentions bent on control rather than mutual respect and understanding. While the manipulation tactics we talked about last week are often employed even by those who wouldn’t fall into this category, this week’s tactics are far more indicative of a very serious problem.
We can’t adequately cover the topic of communication in this series without addressing the ways in which we choose to manipulate and play games rather than speak plainly and honestly, or the times when we’re more interested in “winning” or controlling than in hearing and being heard. The reality is, I doubt there is a single one among us who has never been guilty of employing at least one of the manipulation tactics we’re going to discuss today, so we each need to carefully evaluate our own selves and bring our hearts into submission to God.
However, while we all fail to shoot straight some of the time, there are those who are so bent on control that communication has become nothing more than a way of exploiting the weaknesses of another in order to gain the upper hand in every conversation. Such people have no interest in hearing anything other than themselves, and don’t care to take the time to gently help others understand their perspective. They simply want to dominate. While we must be careful that we’re not guilty of manipulation in communication, if we’re married to a person like this, we also need to learn how to recognize these manipulation tactics and how to set up strong healthy boundaries around communication to avoid falling victim to these abusers.
Each part of our physical body is uniquely designed to serve a purpose along with all the other parts that, when combined, create a functional powerhouse capable of just about anything. The body of Christ is no different, and when we understand our role within it, and our relationship to it, our attitude will likely change. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and it is imperative that we work together well!
Here you are, you’ve found yourself in that terrible place which has become a reality for countless wives across the world. You’ve discovered your husband has a pornography problem. Maybe you’ve known for a while that he looked here and there, or that he “struggled,” but you’ve finally come to recognize that this is no small issue. You’re hurt and confused, and not sure what in the world you should do next. You need answers, but where do you look? Who can you trust?
We’ve been spending some time learning to communicate within our marriages according to the principles set forth in Scripture, and last time we learned all about the importance of listening. This week we’re expanding on that idea by talking about two practices we all tend to do that are major hindrances to good listening. We presume and assume. Like, a LOT! And you know what they say happens when we assume, don’t you? Well, let’s just say it’s asinine.
We’re talking about covenants today. Specifically, God’s covenant promise to us, and how it fits into the Old Testament and all the promises to Israel we find there. We’ve been working through a study of the book of Ephesians in order to better understand how we have been identified as God’s holy people. (Click to catch up on what you’ve missed) We’re allowing our Creator (the One who so carefully knit us together in our mother’s womb) to give us our labels, since He’s the only one who really has that right. We’re ready to dive into the second section of Ephesians two where we’re going to be introduced to the idea of a covenant promise, and learn to understand our identity as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Sadness, grief, deep sorrow; these are things that make us uncomfortable. We’re quick to call for healing both in ourselves and in others because we don’t want to deal with the painful emotions involved in a time of grief. But the reality is, when we’ve suffered a loss, whether as a result of a death, or a betrayal, or any other sudden life-altering circumstance, a time of mourning is a natural and NECESSARY part of any TRUE healing process. To minimize its importance is to cripple the mourner. It’s not the way God responds to us, and it’s not the way He calls us to respond. If healing is our goal, we have to learn to handle grief as He does.
We’re learning to communicate God’s way as we work our way through a series intent on finding the areas in which we ruin marital communication, and re-aligning them with God’s desires. Today we’re going to discuss the importance of listening. Really listening. Not just to each other, but to God as well. Honestly, if we could all master just this one area of communication, what a difference it would make! But alas, we are a society that has forgotten how to listen. So, we must re-learn this lost virtue, and who better to learn from than our Creator?
This week we’re looking at the first half of Ephesians 2 and will be stepping back a bit to re-examine more deeply some of the truths we learned in week one – Who we were without Christ, and what it means to have been made alive in Christ. Today, we’re going to learn to understand what it means to be a new and beautiful creation in Jesus – His masterpiece!
The Bible tells a story of a woman – a widow who persistently sought justice from an evil judge. Jesus encouraged us to approach our Heavenly Father with that same kind of persistence in prayer, knowing He will surely grant us justice – and quickly! This is the story of my own persistent prayer.
Are you a betrayed wife who is fiercely committed to seeking and following God as you heal? Are you looking for a community of like-minded women also recovering from betrayal trauma? Would you like to join our secret Facebook support group? Connect with Cherith on Facebook, and send me a private message to request to be added.
Or, contact me via email if you just need someone to talk to who understands and is committed to gently pointing you toward Jesus.