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Faithful Wives

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Natalie,1 didn’t have a choice in the break-up of her marriage. While she wanted to forgive her husband’s extramarital affairs, stay married, and try to work it out because she loved him, he abandoned her to start a new life. Left with a young son, she had no choice but to go on with her life.

Sadly, Natalie isn’t alone in seeing her marriage come to an end. Statistics indicate that Christians are just as likely to get divorced as non-Christians. In general, 32% of all Christians who’ve been married have experienced a divorce, which is statistically identical to the 33% incidence among non-Christians. Especially troubling is that the figures suggest that comparatively few divorced Christians experienced their divorce before accepting Christ as their Savior.2

Although it may seem disheartening to the Christian community and women like Natalie who desire to stay married, despite the numbers, there are those who are fighting the good fight of faith, especially when it comes to staying married.

Martha’s Story

Martha shares that as a young wife, "I always suspected that Bryan was fooling around on me, but had no real proof. He would stay out all night on occasions and come home hung over. I never really wanted to believe it though. I always felt like he loved me. On many occasions before Bryan’s conversion, I wished that I could just stop loving him, so that I could just leave and not feel pain. I loved him, no matter what, and somehow, I knew he loved me too, so leaving was never a real option, besides, I had two small children to raise and not having a daddy was not an option."

With Martha, even when her own heart was telling her to stay, others questioned her decision. "Plenty of people tried to tell me what a great woman I was for sticking by him, others just thought I was stupid for staying, but I just felt trapped and made a fool of for so long."

Kelsey’s Account

Kelsey, on the other hand, didn’t discover until seven years into her marriage that her husband struggled with pornography. Waking up one night to find him viewing a pornographic movie was more than she thought she could bear.

Upon entering marriage, Kelsey had believed she was marrying someone committed to God, marital purity, and faithfulness. After confronting him over the pornography, her husband told her how he thought marriage would solve his problem, so he didn’t tell her beforehand. Now, Kelsey felt betrayed, rejected, and deceived. "I suddenly felt like my whole marriage was a lie, that I had been naive. I was angry with him, because he hadn’t told me before we married, so that I could make my decision based on the truth. I felt cheated from the purity I had committed to in my marriage."

Even though Kelsey’s husband told her he was sorry and that he had repented, his secret life continued. Kelsey prayed, even fasted, hoping he would be free, only to discover him involved in it again. She wanted to believe him each time, but eventually, she lost complete trust in him.

As a result, Kelsey experiences disillusionment and, at times, doesn’t want to stay married or even feels that she loves him anymore. Still, she wants to keep her marriage vows to the Lord and shield their two children from the effects of divorce. Nonetheless, Kelsey has her ups and downs, where she struggles with anger, resentment, jealousy, and hopelessness.

Coping With Unfaithfulness

Martha discovered the truth of her husband’s unfaithfulness only after he hit bottom. As a result, he gave his life to Christ and entered rehab for drugs, which led to him being tested for AIDS.

"When I found out that Bryan had been unfaithful, it was after his conversion. He only confessed this to me after I had asked him if there was any other way he could have contracted HIV other than sharing needles. I was devastated when I learned that on three separate occasions he had had a one-night stand. I asked a lot of questions about who, what, when, how, but all he could tell me was the color of their hair. He didn’t know any names. Somehow, this made me feel better knowing that he didn’t have any feelings other than sexual toward these women. I also realized he was now a changed man, so I couldn’t hold it against him, although it hurt me. God helped me to forgive him."

Martha didn’t blame herself for her husband’s unfaithfulness, but she did when it came to his drug and alcohol abuse. She always thought that if he loved her enough he would stop for her. Unlike Kelsey, she knew his unfaithfulness wasn’t about her, but rather about his relationship with God. And that her self-esteem is based on whom she is in Christ.

"God was always faithful to me during these difficult days even though Bryan wasn’t," states Martha. "I drew all of my strength from Him and learned that He was the only constant in my life. God protected me, and my children, from contracting HIV and always provided everything that I needed. I learned to put ALL my trust in Him!"

On the other hand, Kelsey went through a time of blaming herself, reinforced by her husband’s comments that "she hadn’t met his needs," or "she had spent too much time with the kids." Painful feelings of being compared to the pornographic images brought self-esteem issues of unattractiveness and insufficiency.

Although it has been years since she first discovered his struggle, Kelsey continues to fight overwhelming feelings of disappointment, anger, and unforgiveness towards him. Yet, she knows and believes that she needs to forgive him, even if he never changes.

Remaining Faithful

Both Martha and Kelsey have remained faithful in their marriages. Martha’s husband Bryan died a few years after his diagnosis of HIV. "I never wanted to marry again after Bryan died, or so I thought, but God had a different plan for me."

Scott, Martha’s new husband, has often told her that knowing how faithful she was toward Bryan was definitely something that attracted him to her. Martha notes that, "I always thought it would be a turn-off to someone, knowing that I had a husband that had died of AIDS, anyone would be afraid to be intimate with me. God definitely blessed me with someone who didn’t share that view, and I am reaping the benefits of being faithful including a post-vasectomy baby! God does have a sense of humor."

As well, Kelsey is committed to remaining married, despite her negative thoughts. She looks to God’s Word to help her through the tough times, when she feels like giving up, or faces painful memories of her husband’s unfaithfulness that sometimes flood her mind. Kelsey continues to pray for her husband, and for herself, that God will change her heart, heal her from feelings of rejection, and teach her to truly forgive. She believes Romans 8:28, "that all things work together for good to those who love God."

Outcomes of Faithfulness

Although Natalie, Martha, and Kelsey all chose to stay married, each one experienced a different experience and outcome in doing so. Natalie chose to stay, still her husband left and didn’t want to be reconciled. Later, she married a wonderful man who became a father to her son and their own children. They shared a long-lasting marriage until his death several years ago.

Martha, too, stayed and experienced the joy of forgiveness and the blessing of transformed husband. Even though she eventually lost her husband to HIV, she continues to reap the benefit of her faithfulness in a new marriage.

Moreover, Kelsey chooses to stay each day. While she struggles with adverse feelings towards her husband, she has the hope of God working through her faithfulness to not only change her husband, but also herself.

In Hebrews 13:5, Scripture gives us the promise that God will never leave us or forsake us, even though a husband may do both. Ultimately, faithfulness as a wife is not dependent upon a husband’s faithfulness to his wife, but upon God’s faithfulness to the wife.

Lkittlebio2Lynette is the associate editor of Ungrind. She’s married and the mother of four daughters and has lived in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and a few other places in-between. Lynette has a weakness for anything made out of denim, shoes in a variety of styles and colors, and clearance sales. Her writing has been published in numerous publications including Focus on the Family Magazine, Spiritled Woman, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, Brio, CCM, FamilyFun, Small Group Trader, and more! She’s also featured in the books: Disney’s FamilyFun: My Great Idea, Parent’s Magazine: The Best Advice I Ever Got, Small Minds With Big Hearts: God’s World From a Child’s Point of View, and The New Woman’s Day Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Every Occasion. Lynette has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and has written for Dr. Robert Schuller, Dr. D. James Kennedy, and Joyce Meyer. She also produced Dr. Kennedy’s daily radio broadcast the Kennedy Commentary.
  1. Names have been changed for Natalie and Kelsey.
  2. Barna Research, 2008
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Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters and serves as associate editor of Ungrind. Her writing has been published in numerous publications including Focus on the Family Magazine, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, KirkCameron.com, Start Marriage Right, Growthrac, and more! She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University with experience in broadcast media and also serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.

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When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

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Faithful Wives

by Lynette Kittle time to read: 6 min
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