It’s time to remove the obstacles and LOVE back…

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I had always thought of myself as a good neighbor.

Early in our marriage, when life was fresh, fairly untainted and for the most part distraction-free, and I made pies in my spare time. Lots of pies. Oh, I wasn’t great at it at first, but I can distinctly remember feeling determined to master such a homemaking skill as a new wife, and so I rolled and formed dough over and over until I got it just right.

I’ll never forget the first time I gave one of my pies away. I walked timidly up to the door where a wife had just lost her husband; a room full of children, their father, well before this world says it’s time. Heavy grief consumed their home that day, and I didn’t have the right words to say. So I tapped gently on the door, handed over the pie, and prayed that the contents of that plate would somehow convey the depth of love and sympathy in my heart.

As time went on, my pies made their way into the hands of several others close to me – sometimes in celebration over happy things like birthdays and babies, and other times in an effort to encourage due to sickness or grief. My husband would every so often joke that all of the world’s problems couldn’t be solved with a pie, and I would jest back and say that I thought it was a pretty good place to start.

I had always thought of myself as a good neighbor, until my neighbor thought I wasn’t.

We had moved into our very first home earlier that year. That spare time that was once filled with carefree stuff like pie-making was gradually overtaken by demanding jobs, bills and increasing responsibilities. The years that we had dreamed about were upon us, yet somehow now they didn’t seem quite so dreamy as the weight of the world slowly crept in and began piling on top of us.

Enter one summer weekend, one feverish husband, and a father-in-law who graciously wanted to serve us well by mowing our overgrown lawn. Except for the grass wasn’t blown in the right direction at the property line on this one occasion, and the stakes went up.

Literally.

Green metal fence stakes, hammered angrily into the ground right in the middle of the tiny pathway that connected our neighbor’s lawn to ours. Oh, our neighbor didn’t have to say a word. The stakes communicated the message loud and clear that day all on their own: disapproval, with the intention to divide and keep our mower – and our lives – from crossing paths in the future. Nevermind the high fever or the good intentions or the well-meaning father-in-law. It seemed it was too late to explain all of that. The obstacles had already been placed.

Everything in us wanted to fight back. To explain our case. To point out his ridiculous anger and lack of compassion. To remind him that life is short and this was just grass for crying out loud.

But instead we made a choice to love.

My husband wrote a beautiful letter of apology, recognizing our neighbor’s impeccable lawn and complementing his gardening skills. He admired his work ethic and the pride that he took in his home, evidenced in the excellent care it received. Tyler’s words were filled with humility, gentleness, and a desire to make things right, whatever it took.

And I made a pie. Heh. I realize that pies don’t solve all of the world’s problems, but they’re not a bad place to start…

Our apology was welcomed with tears and embarrassment by the wife next door. Our delivery opened the door for her to share some hurts that she had been experiencing, and it opened the door for us to love like Jesus. And while the husband never did speak of the disagreement directly, soon after, the stakes came down. The obstacles were removed, and the relationship started on the path of restoration.

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Over two thousand years ago, the obstacle was our sin. Man created a division in the Garden so devastating that it separated us from God. The fruit was eaten. The sin obstacle was placed. And God made it clear: Heaven’s holiness couldn’t be tainted by our broken state. He could have punished us forever. Drawn the line in the sand. Set the stakes in place.

But instead He made a choice to love.

Oh, it meant sacrifice. It meant crossing the line and bridging the gap and taking the blame. But Jesus took on the cross with humility and grace, initiating the first step, because of obedience to the Father and because of His love for you and for me. And when we accept the gift of grace extended to us, the obstacles are removed, and He has the power to reconcile us to a right relationship with God.

Beautiful, matchless grace, all because of God’s pursuing, redeeming, everlasting love.

God’s love changes everything. It changes the critical fate of our eternity, all the way down to how we love our neighbors on the most inconvenient, unfair days. It has the power to change me and to change you, if we’ll let it.

Love is the foundation for redeeming the world back to our precious Father. But God chose normal human beings to be the ones who would make His love known. He loved us, and we are blessed and redeemed by that healing, comforting, always present love. And then, out of gratitude, we choose to be that kind of love to the world in which we are living. ~ Sally Clarkson – You Are Loved, pg. 127

We don’t have to have it all figured out, and all of the world’s problems won’t immediately disappear. But God’s love is the foundation on which we start. Life is short. Will we choose to love God and love people with all that we have, before it’s too late?

{You Are Loved}.

Now it’s time to remove the obstacles and LOVE back.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.”

~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

At His feet,

*LET’S TALK: Do you struggle with accepting God’s love for you, with loving God or loving the people God has placed in your life? What obstacles stand in your way? Comment below… we’d be honored to pray for those obstacles today.

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GMG Mentoring Applications Now Open! If you have been considering leading a group through Good Morning Girls, you may be interested in Leadership Mentoring. If you are a current leader but are needing encouragement and ideas, you may find that Leadership Mentoring helps you re-focus. To find out more information about our Leadership Mentoring Program, click here.

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Sad that our {You Are Loved} study has come to an end? Don’t be! We’ll be taking a couple of weeks away from the blog, but we are excited to announce that we’ll be spending this time praying, studying and preparing incredible resources with you in mind as we plan for our upcoming ESTHER study this Fall!!! Meet us back on the blog in TWO WEEKS, when we’ll share more details with you! For now, we’d be honored if you’d save the dates:

Fall 2014 Session
Rest: July 27th-August 1st
Mentoring: August 4th-15th
Leaders Group Preparations: August 4th-15th
Enrollment: August 18th-29th

Dates: September 1st-October 24th
Study: Esther Study

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Comments

  1. I would greatly appreciate prayer. I am the one wanting to drive the stakes in the ground towards my in-laws. Currently it is my brother-in -law and his wife. They take advantage of us and even though my husband knows we are being manipulated, he lets his family continue to do it anyway. They have taken us over and over. It makes me angry at them and at my husband. I don’t have a loving attitude towards them at all. Unfortunately. That includes my husband. I am beginning to see him as one of them and not part of us.

    • Hello Sheila,

      I’m so sorry for your struggle. We are praying for you and your situation. We are so flawed and it is hard to having a loving attitude during conflict. Praying for peace and resolution for you and your in-laws.

      Blessings,
      Martha, ‘Leadership Team’

  2. Oh, I can so relate to Sheila’s situation. Except mine is particularly my mother in law. I’ve tried countless times to reach out and repair and for a while things seemed ok. But my trouble is the “how am I supposed to love someone when they keep beating me with the olive branch I extend over and over?” Then I am immediately reminded of the scene in Fireproof where Kirk asks the same question of his wife and ultimately breaks down. It’s a vicious cycle. When the gloves came off 4 years ago, I wrote her off. Terrible things were said to us. I have finally come to a place where I was able to forgive her in my heart, but I still don’t like her very much. I am trying though. 20 years is a long time to disagree with someone so strongly. I would appreciate the prayers, especially seeing as my mother in law has been my focus during this study. I still harbor some anger but God is helping me with this. Thank you so much for this amazing study, and may God bless you Women for helping so many of us. I look forward to Esther!

    • Nita,
      Thank you so very much for sharing about your mother-in-law. I enjoyed the movie Fireproof as well and yes it is a vicious cycle. I remember when I forgave my ex-husband for our abusive marriage – it gave me a great deal of peace to let go of the harsh feelings I’d been harboring toward him.
      I realized that forgiving him did not mean I condoned what he did or that we would be friends – it was more about strengthening my relationship with God. That helped me a great deal but it was so hard. Lifting you up in prayer and I’m glad you are joining us for Esther.

      Blessings,
      Martha

  3. Prayers for you Nita and Sheila! I’ve had some acrimony with my MIL, and any attempt on my part to apologize or explain myself just left us rehashing and arguing, so I leave it alone. I am NO expert, but I think you can be loving, but set very intentional boundaries on the relationship, so further hurt is not done. I’ve had two boundaries books recommended lately. I’ll see about posting links for you!

    • Meg,
      I agree, as a friend told me recently ‘it is loving to have boundaries’. I have set boundaries with my mom – it helps greatly! Thank you for sharing. Praying for you and your MIL!!
      Blessings,
      Martha

    • I will second the recommendation of the Boundaries books and suggest that you get the accompanying workbook. You will not regret it. Blessings on you and your situation!

  4. Michelle says:

    Whitney, your words just spoke to me today. I do have trouble accepting that God’s love is for me too. I am trying to resolve this and this study has been an immense help. Your story was a beautiful example of putting Biblical teaching into action. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    • Michelle,
      Oh I’m so glad to hear this study has helped immensely in ‘accepting God’s love for you’. Praying for you and your journey in resolving that God’s love is for you as well.
      Blessings,
      Martha, ‘Leadership Team’

  5. My husband and I have been separated for almost a year. We just can’t seem to get along–when we try to spend time together, it always ends up in a fight. Now my husband refuses to speak to me or have any contact with me, says he wants a divorce–the stakes are up! Both of our hearts are hard–please pray that God’s will is done and that He shows me how to honor my husband’s position–and not his behavior. Practically speaking, I don’t know what that looks like.

    • Andra,

      Heavenly Father, thank you for another day to serve you and for sending your Son to die for our sins and redeem us by the cross. I humbly come before you on behalf of Andra, her husband and their marriage. I ask for your blessing on Andra and her husband to come together in respect and love, listening to each other, being willing to forgive and to seek forgiveness. I pray that they acknowledge you and listen to your wise counsel.

      I pray that all bitterness, anger, will fade away and be replaced with compassion and humility so that they can work through their differences. You alone have the power to heal and restore and we trust your loving care and almighty wisdom. Father, all these things will bring you glory, praise and our heartfelt gratitude. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

      Blessings,
      Martha, ‘Leadership Team’

  6. Having trouble forgiving, loving a family member as well. After years of manipulation and lack of boundaries (the book was recommended to me as well) and ending in betrayal and an attempt to destroy my family and marriage, I decided to write this person off. I reasoned that confining to allow this person access would cause further hurt. I know that allowing resentment isn’t healthy. Don’t know how to forgive and love in obedience to God’s word. This person hurt my family and it would also be necessary to bring healing and forgiveness in my husband’s heart as well. Thank you.

    • Rachel,
      I’m so very sorry! I responded to Meg further up in the comments, I had to learn to set boundaries with my mom. It’s not easy but our relationship is far better. I love her dearly, I don’t like her ways but loving her through Christ eyes has been the only way I’ve been able to keep my relationship with her. Praying for you. ~ Blessings, Martha

      Heavenly Father, thank you for the countless gifts that come from your hand, especially the grace we receive through your Son, which brings the forgiveness of sins. You alone have the power to heal and restore and we trust your loving care and almighty wisdom. Father, you are the Great Physician and we humbly pray that you would extend your healing hands to bring comfort and strength to Rachel as she works on being able to forgive and love in obedience. Father, I ask that Rachel and her husband be willing to forgive and to seek forgiveness, to come together in respect and love for one another and listen to each other. I pray for restoration, help them to deal with whatever it is that is hindering them. Father, all these things will bring you glory, praise and heartfelt gratitude. We ask this according to your will in the name of Jesus, Amen.

  7. Melissa says:

    Thank you for your words today. Love is able to conquer so many of life’s obstacles. Even if the love is not received the way we want it to be, we have tried and we have shown God’s love to others. Showing God’s love and glorifying God is wonderful. I am thankful to be God’s child.
    I am looking forward to signing up for the Esther study. :-)

    • Melissa,
      Love IS able to conquer so many things. You are right, even if it’s not received in the way we want it to be. We are only responsible for our actions and reactions to God. Glad you will be joining us for Esther! :)

      Blessings,
      Martha, ‘Leadership Team’

  8. I didn’t start this knowing how much I needed it. Thank you for the past eight weeks. They have transformed me. Im still a work in progress, but I am learning to love myself. I’ve never had problems loving others, but the fear of being less than perfect has always left me feeling unworthy of all my blessings. I have silently best myself up inside. This devotion and study has started my path to being free through God’s love. Pray for me as I pray for you. :)

    • Oh Lily,
      Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I think we always be a work in progress until our Father calls us home. I have not loved myself very well but I have loved on others intentionally – like you mentioned. I always wanted others to feel loved even if I didn’t. This study has helped me face my demons and freed me to love myself again. Praying for you as you journey down the path of loving yourself. Lean on God’s strength!

      Blessings,
      Martha

  9. This was a beautiful post. It definetly encourages me. But there are days where I struggle with believing God loves me. There are days where I just feel so dirty, so broken and so hurt that I wonder how and if God truly loves me. And to make matters even tougher, I’m going through a situation with my mom and when I talk about faith and God, she brushes it off. She won’t listen. And it hurts a lot. I just want to rest assured that God loves me and that he wants a deeper relationship with me.

    • Paige,
      Thank you for stopping and sharing. I mentioned in an earlier comment about struggling with loving myself. I use to think it was God not loving me but realized it was me all along – NOT loving me – I was not forgiving myself. Those are hard and long days when we go there.

      I’m so very sorry to hear about your mom – it is hard when we want to share about our Heavenly Father and salvation with loved ones and they reject Him. Sometimes when others do not want to hear about faith and God, we just show them Christ by our actions by praying for them and loving them. Blessings,
      Martha

      Heavenly Father, I’m lifting up to you Paige, as she seeks to accept Your Love for her as she continues to work on a deeper relationship with you. Father, please bring peace to Paige, calm her life and direct her steps. Father, I ask that Paige’s mom see you are the foundation of her future, that she will seek wisdom and salvation through Jesus. You sent John to prepare the way; because of your love and mercy a new day is dawning. In Jesus’, Amen

  10. Shelley says:

    Dear Angela, Sally and Whitney
    Thank you so much for this Bible Study.
    The Book, the You Version Plan and the Blog have been such an inspiration to me.
    I have been applying the truths that have been shared and it has made a huge difference in my life and relationships.
    Thank you for showing and sharing God’s love.
    SLS

    • Shelley,
      Thank you for your sweet note! So wonderful to hear that the book, the youversion plan and the blog have been such an inspiration to you. Praise the Lord for applying the truths and what a difference it has made in your life. <3
      Blessings,
      Martha

  11. I’ve always been a shy, soft-spoken, reserved person. Due to several close family members who have very overpowering personalities, I don’t have much self confidence left. I have loved this study and learned it will not be a one-time thing, but, something that will have to be practiced by me to let God’s love shine through me and for me to spend more time with God on my own to build my self-confidence in Him! Please pray for patience for me to learn to love people like God, even when their words hurt, and for me to learn to build my self-confidence in Him! :) Thank you!

    • Tamara,
      So glad you loved the study! I will refer back to it many times as I deal with overpowering personalities in my life as well.
      God, our Father, please shelter Tamara in your loving arms and strengthen her through your love so that she may have peace in her heart. Father, thank you for watching over her as she deals with overpowering personalities. Father, I pray that Tamara leans on you for confidence and patience. Help her set boundaries which will help her in loving others. You make your love perfect in us and free us to live like you. We hold tight to your promise of eternal life. In Jesus’, Amen

  12. I hope they are not causing you pain or hurting you by being so overpowering, to the point you say you have little or no self confidence left. Family should love you and protect you, if they don’t then you must protect yourself. If this is hard for you, think of yourself as a small child, your own child. You wouldn’t treat your own child badly or allow someone else to, would you? Love yourself enough to protect YOU!

  13. Melodie Baas says:

    I need prayer in a major way. My marriage of 7 years is completely shattered & it all started almost 1 year into it. Some tragedies hit hard and were not in our control but my daughter was born in the midst of it all. She is my reason to keeping when there aren’t other reasons. But my husband coped with all the loss & heartache in a destructive way. First, battling a major addiction to pain pills, unable to keep jobs and eventually caused us all to lose our home and any kind if financial income. We moved in with his parents before and during my pregnancy then moved out 2 days before I gave birth to have to move back just after our daughter turned one and we are still there now and she is 4 1/2. He refused to work for 3 yrs. and about a year ago finally got on suboxone therapy. He stared a job finally 2 mons ago only cuz his dad begged his work to hire him but he refuses to use his income to support his family and will not allow me direct access to it thru any type of banking. Although he has come a ways since he was at his worst his behavior is still very destructive. There has been several fights that have been very physical causing injury to me and my daughter has witnessed most of them but he hasn’t ever inflicted it on her. His parents have also seen it many times but feel I am the partial cause because I attempt to bring up important issues that he doesn’t want to talk about, there they believe I provoke most of it. My father committed weeks before his dads business filed bankruptcy leaving him jobless and my only option was to depend on his parents whom I barely knew that well yet. I mourned my fathers death living with them being critiqued for showing grief & taking to long to get over it as well as the entirety of my unexpected pregnancy. He has 3 sisters & 2 brothers but I have always dealt with being ostracized by them all. Now that my famy unit and support system I once had has dissolved into nothing I am left with no options. I only stay cuz I have no means to leave & provide for my daughter and me on my own. I do not have a car even. I don’t want my child to grow up in the middle of all this but I won’t disrupt her world even more by going to a shelter. Me & my husband we so connected before all this. I can remember the day exactly when I began to see the changes happening in him. I barely leave the house bcuz he controls that making everything he wld like to do a priority over things Im supposed to have to do. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety and always have way before our relationship ever started. I’m scared now. I have nothing left in me to keep going on like this. I know in my heart that his wrongs are not my fault but he still blames me & now I start to think I deserve this bcuz it is me. It’s made me so insecure. I never have moments where I can just be me & not have to worry that the real me is embarrassing & problem causing. I’m ashamed to tell ppl so I know longer have girlfriends to go to. I don’t have a single thing in my life that is for enjoyment & fun. So I rarely even leave the house or have the ability to cause he decides if I go but if he lets me its for 20 mins or less before he calls to say he needs me to come back cuz something came up that he wants to do. In my daughters 4 1/2 yrs of life he has never spent more thn 4 -5 hrs at most alone with her and even thn she doesn’t get fed or properly cared for. It’s left to me to do whn I arrive home. Most dads after 4 yrs have spent a whole day or mare alone with their kid and they know enough to do for their kid the same that wld be done if mom was there. I know the man I married but this man is not him. There weren’t signs or red flags that I may have missed so til recently I thought that by prayer & faith in The Lord he wld eventually overcome most of this behavior but to just do nothing about the environment my daughter is being raised in has reached a point that I can’t continue to allow her to live in all this. I was raised with a Godly foundation from an early age & by example thru my parents & it’s what I want my daughter to have to. She starts preschool in the fall and now will remember more as she continues to grow. I keep praying & asking God to plz show me what I do and plz open doors that will atleast help Belle and I to have other options that our healthy. All the fighting is wearing me dwn in every way possible & Im afraid I will fall apart and then she won’t even have atleast 1 stable parent consistently involved in her upbringing . I feel like a single mother & have for so long but I still have to deal with her dads abusive behavior. I don’t understand why God won’t atleast answer prayer for belle’s life/environment to finally be more consistent & stable. I literally have no one in my life who I can go to for help or even just comfort. I’m not even exaggerating that, I have no where to go even temporarily and no means to do leave without help atleast temperarily to get some distance & a chance to rest mind body & sole while I seek permenant solutions. Where is God in all this for me. I here stories from many of amazing answer to prayers but for me I don’t even see an alternative or even just His grace in atleast a small area in life to provide even brief moments. I highly doubt anyone will be reading all this let alone anyone who wld, cld, or cared to help but I haven’t stopped reading his word or looking for comfort thru the words of others. I’m really afraid every day & I hate my life. I ask Gid at times to plz justly me die somehow so I can go be with him in heaven but I don’t want to leave my child with that grief & having no one. I hesitate to put this out there cuz I have no thoughts of wanting this or attempting it but I have thought about God just taking both me & my daughter home to be with him because this world has nothing and every day if filled with struggle & hurt in some way & as she gets older she will become more aware of the life she is in due to us her parents. Her pain will then begin too. I have never ever had the opportunity to take my daughter to the store and buy her something or clothes. Not christmas or bday gifts. I depend on others to gift her the things she is in need of instead of her getting something she actually asked for. I just want to experience motherhood in that way. The fun of taking her & the excitement she shows when we look together & pick out what she likes & I go pay for it. Or me getting to look forward with excitement for her to open the gift from me that I actually picked out & got for her. I hate everyday & there is no escape from any if it. I don’t necessarily mean I want to divorcee. I wld just like time apart so I can spend it with God & seeking what He wants for me us I know God can & wants to heal my husband & I pray for it daily. We have only one room which we share with our daughter that is our space. I crave having the space and time to go be come rely alone with The Lord but my daughter is never away from my side cuz the space we can occupy in my inlaws home is just that one room & it’s been made clear every few days that we stay with them out of there feeling obligated bcuz we have a child but we are not really welcome. If this firs get read by anyone I just need your prayers. I’m hopeless rt now and living in constant fear wondering whn or even if The Lord has a future for me that is good & not evil like his word promises or does that not apply to me and my family. Have I done something that bad. I want this all to end if its all that’s in store for me. Since I was 19 my life has been better off dead than continuing. Help me Lord! I need you so badly!

    • Praying so hard for you, Melodie, that God will empower you to make the best decision for you and your daughter. There are people out there who care and will help you, and may you have the strength to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. God never meant for you to do this all on your own.
      Much love–Samantha

    • Melodie, you have incredible courage to write your story. I did read all of it, very carefully, and I know I’m not the only one who did. You have been heard – both by God, who knows and loves you, and by those of us here at GMG.

      My heart hurts for all that you have gone through and are going through. I can sense your desperation, and I wish I was close enough to give you a hug.

      I do not believe that God ever intended that we should endure abuse. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. I do not know where you live or what resources are near you, but there are often safe houses where you can go temporarily while you sort things out. Not saying you need to leave your husband – I can tell you love him dearly and miss the person he was – but you may need a physical separation for safety while you evaluate.

      Your daughter is a precious gift. Things that are happening in her life now will help mold and shape her as she grows – your faith and dependance on God will shine in such a dark situation.

      Please know that several of us are praying for you, your daughter, and your husband. It may feel like you are alone, but you’re not.

      Amanda, GMG Leadership Team

    • Melodie, I hope you come back and see my response. If you have the ability, consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline, but only call from a safe phone: 1−800−799−7233. If you don’t have access to a phone, you can look them up on the web at http://www.thehotline.org. There is no commitment when you call – only whatever help you need. Someone will listen and help you figure out your options. You have no obligation to leave, but they’ve been at this a long time. They will have many suggestions. You are not the first person to have this kind of situation and they are experienced at helping. I wish you all the best there is and I will be praying. Just know that this abuse is NOT God’s will for you. *hugs*

  14. thank you so much for the study. I realy looking forward to the Esther study, and so does my group who lead on facebook in the Netherlands.

    Thank you so much.

    Eveline

    • Eveline,

      So glad you enjoyed it and that you and your group is looking forward to Esther! YAY!

      Blessings,
      Martha

  15. I can’t wait until the fall to do the next study! I was hoping to do the Thanksgiving 2013 fall study while on break, but I am having a hard time getting the free study material and reading plan. Every time I click on the link it gives me HTTP 404 Not Found message. Can anyone help me with this problem?

    • Hello Julia,
      We are on a break, and doing site maintenance. Please email me at enrollmentgmg@gmail.com with ‘Thanksgiving 2013’ in the subject line, I can send you workable links for it.

      Martha, ‘Leadership Team’

  16. Melodie Baas,
    I am praying for you. I have been exactly where you are. I mean, really, I have been in your exact position and every one tells you something different. I spent a lot of time praying what God would have me do when my husband was battling drug and alcohol addictions. His answer to me was very clear: Stay. And so I did. I stayed when the power was cut off because he drank away the bill money. I stayed when I had to beg for help. I stayed when more than one pastor told me I should leave ‘for the kids’. I stayed because God was very clear: Everyone in my husbands life had given up on him. God wanted me to not give up – to show that man what real love is. It wasn’t easy. I cried many tears. But I stayed.

    About 2 years ago, he ended up in the hospital. He stopped the drugs and drinking. It’s been almost a year since his last cigarette. God is still in the business of miracles. That said: my husband still refuses to believe, to trust in God. But I will not give up.

    I can not tell you what course of action you should take: if you should stay or go. Only you know all of your situation. My only advice is to PRAY! Without ceasing. Pray before you get out of bed – pray that God will give you the strength to go about your day with joy! Pray that God will speak through you when you brush your teeth! Pray that God will remind your husband of his love for you as you brush your hair and put on makeup (if you wear it). Pray that God will provide as you fix meals and eat! Rejoice in your daughter and the miracle she is! Pray! Pray for your husband, that God will soften his heart to both you and your daughter. But above all PRAY! God will give you the answer you need. Pray so you can hear it. Then hold to what you KNOW! Let no one speak doubt about what God will tell you to do.

    • Andie,

      Wow, thank you for sharing! You are right.. Pray, Pray and Pray! Praise the Lord for your husband stopping drugs and drinking. God is so good! Praying that your husband will see what God has done in his life and that he will take refuse in Jesus tell of his salvation.

      Blessings,
      Martha

    • Andie,

      Abusing drugs and alcohol is one thing. Abusing one’s wife and child is another thing completely. Melodie’s husband is actively abusing her, causing her both physical and emotional injury. Her safety and that of her daughter is in jeopardy if she stays. He keeps her a virtual prisoner in the home and abuses her in other ways. She has begun to believe she deserves it. Her physical and emotional safety are both at stake. In my opinion, staying, at this point, is about the worst choice she could make. Even if she chooses not to seek a divorce, she needs to be freed from that situation long enough for the trauma to subside and for her mind to be clear to make the best decisions she can for herself and her daughter.

      In Melodie’s case, it appears that others have given up on her, not on her husband. The person in need of support, in this instance, is Melodie.

      By no means am I suggesting she give up on praying for and encouraging his recovery, but by staying she is enabling him to continue to abuse her, which gives him no incentive to stop whatsoever. Sometimes we have to lose our lives in order to find it. (Matthew 16:25). Standing up and ensuring that there are consequences for his actions may be the very thing he needs most.

      Melodie, my prayers are with you.

  17. Loved this story of love.

  18. Hi, I’m so sorry to post this here, but I don’t see a contact link to e-mail to ask this question. I’m just stumbling onto your site and am trying to start one of the previous bible studies (Intentionally Focused) on my own and whenever I click on the link for the study guide and reading guide it brings me to broken links. I’ve tried on 3 different servers now and none of them are connecting. I’ve also tried the other study guides thinking it was just this one and am having the same problem. Could someone please e-mail me the study guide and reading guide, or the correct links to these? I’d love to get started – I’m really excited to come across this! Thank you!

    • Hello Tina,
      We are on a break, and doing site maintenance. Please email me at enrollmentgmg@gmail.com with ‘Intentionally Focused Links’ in the subject line, I can send you workable links for it.

      Martha, ‘Leadership Team’

  19. Crista N says:

    I had a question: Will the Esther study include a special book or just reading/study guide? I am trying to share the study with a few friends but want to give them as much information as possible. If we need to purchase a special book for the study I would like to give them the heads up.
    Thank you!! So looking forward for the next adventure into God’s Word!
    -Crista

    • Hello Crista,

      The Esther study will just be the study guide, reading plan and the Bible.
      Thank you for asking and we hope you and your friends enjoy the study.

      Martha

  20. Micheline Beattie says:

    You gave a whole study on love, yet you don’t answer an email so I could join a group on the study. That shows rudeness, not love. Very disappointed you do not practice what you preach.

    • Hello Micheline –
      I’m truly sorry that you are disappointed and feel we are being rude. It saddens my heart that you think we ignored you. We work very hard in replying to all emails we receive, however please know that we do receive thousands of emails and we are only volunteers and answer them as quickly as possible.

      I purposely checked the enrollment email – and I do not have any messages from you or any unanswered messages from anyone. I also checked the enrollment form and I could not find your name on there either. Are you sure that we got your email? Please feel free to email me at enrollmentgmg@gmail.com with ‘Esther private group’ in the subject line and I can get you placed in a group when our enrollment starts back up for the study of Esther.

      Enrollment is between August 18th-29th and I will be able to add you to a group during those dates only. We do list our available groups here on the blog during the ‘enrollment period’ for members to search and ask to join a group. We care very deeply and do love our members, after the enrollment period ends and the study starts, we stop adding members to our groups because it is disrupting to the group members and it is hard for them to bond if a leader keeps adding members.

      Please allow me to help you.

      Blessings,
      Martha, ‘Enrollment Coordinator, Leadership Team’

  21. SSamantha says:

    This post is such a blessing, especially for those of us who don’t reach out often enough or who let the mean people scare us away. We are called to love our enemies! Sometimes it is a struggle for me just to be nice to the people I’m supposed to love, and it is so inspiring to read Whitney’s story of walking through the hurt and rejection to love a difficult person with an open heart and mind. Beautiful. I am helping out with vacation bible school at our church this week and there are two older boys who are very, very difficult. Everyone has had it with them already but I know their home life and I know how much they need love and I am praying for the grace and patience to love them through their defiance and negativity and disrespectful behavior. Stories like Whitney’s are beautiful reminders that we are called to draw these people to us, not push them away. Thank you for the reminder.

  22. So many times God has directed me to respond to hurt others have done to me,in this way. But I am glad I learned this lesson a long time ago. Now the hurt I feel is the hurt of others that would strike out at me because I am aware of how deeply the other person is hurting.

  23. SHAME ON ALL INVOLVED!!!!!!!!!
    Money. It’s all about money who paid what and you steal the concept that you two created years ago. That is not the love of Jesus. All of you are selfish. “It’s mine” “no it’s mine”
    While lost, lonely women are seeking you are ALL (both sides) giving God a black eye in Hisown name no less. With the love of Jesus this could have been worked out. PURE SELFISHNESS. MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. Sad for all INVOLVED. I’m disappointed in both sides of this mess. But like any dysfuctional family you’ll all take your toys home and do it your way. And the enemy gains ground and continues to fuel the fire of broken friendships. Both sides lose and victory goes to the enemy in the name of Pride. Sad. Disappointing……. unity out the window and friendships down the drain. A high price to pay to do it “my/our way”

  24. Wow I loved the book and the blog about You are Loved study. I even bought 5 copies that I gave to my family and friends.
    However everything that has happened over the last few days is in stark contrast to everything you promoted.
    Actions speak louder then words.
    Satan is so very happy that there is a rift and the actions of ALL you ladies has done a lot of damage to Christianity. I think you need to re-read your posts and the book.
    God help us all we need Him.
    Such a sad thing to have happen.

  25. “Oh, sweet friends.” I used to believe this, -that you lead well and that you considered us, those who looked to you for spiritual encouragement and wisdom, your “friends.” Now I believe, with all my heart, that this ministry needs to be dissolved. I am concerned for your actions as they relate to James 3:1. I am concerned for those who have trusted you to lead them well, both in the Word and in your example before them. I am concerned for those who would lurk here, who do not know the Lord at all. When it is all stripped away, -all the petty finger pointing, heel digging, fault finding, etc., -when it is stripped away, we are left with the reality that two long-time friends went against *everything* they have very publicly claimed to stand for, to Satan’s satisfaction and to our Lord’s heartache. So. very. disappointing. Comments are being removed and hidden from view as fast as they are being added, but you cannot, absolutely cannot hide from your own conscience. I know you don’t want this incident to be belabored, but it is a consequence of publicly stealing the creative property of one of your dearest friends, and publicly airing your grievances as well. You know, if I owned a hair salon and worked behind a chair, in my own salon, for a season, then backed away while others continued to work behind their chairs daily, that would not give them the right to take my salon from me. Not at all. This is all so very wrong, and I cannot be silent about how hurt I feel from the fallout of it.

  26. Thank you so much for your comment on our blog. We are so very sorry for the pain that women involved in both ministries have endured. That said, we humbly add that it is impossible for you to know all of the factual information involved in this situation. Please know that we are hurting along with you, covet your prayers, and are so grieved by the public display of this transition that has affected so many. While it’s difficult to endure public scrutiny, we also don’t feel that God has yet given us clear direction to make the details of our side of the story known to the public. Even so, we know that God has a plan in all of this, and we are seeing the cross more clearly as we depend on Him. Please know that we have consulted with Biblical counsel, feel that the integrity of this ministry is intact and that it is right to continue on the path that God has set before us. Thank you for your concern. We are thankful that as we study God’s Word, we continue to pursue wisdom in our walks with the Lord. Your comments have been heard and taken to heart, and though grieved, we understand your choice to move on from our ministry.

    Humbly,
    The LGG Team

  27. sometimes its hard to show love when you dont feel loved. not only by spouses, but those we associate with on a daily basis. i understand that not all people know the lord or what is means to know him, for for those of them that do and dont, its a very hurtful experience.

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