One of the definitions of trust is dependence on something future or contingent : hope.
About two years into my second marriage, I put my trust in God for my husband’s surrender to Him. I can’t say my husband is not a believer; I have confidence that if he died he would make it to heaven. However, the desire of my heart is that my husband would live a life surrendered to God, completely.
During our first marriage to each other he attended church with me, even helping in children’s ministry some. We attended an extended premarital Christian education program before we married the second time. Over the years, we went through Christian counseling at least four times.
Throughout our marriage, we have faced a lot of up and downs. If I’m honest there were times over the past fifteen years that my trust in God wasn’t as strong as my faith in Him. I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I believe that God’s Word will not return void. However, my own desire to control things often gets me in trouble. I realize that although my faith is in God, my trust is often in my own ability. And well, my own ability can not change anyone.
I attribute many of our downs to my own selfish ambition and desire. I have a strong personality. I love a good argument, and know the buttons to push to get one. I like to be in control. I can be manipulative. I trusted in my ability to get my husband to surrender to God. The problem with that is manipulation, control, persuasion and pressure won’t bring about lasting change. Instead it creates an unsettled environment. A divided loyalty – not only in the person being pressured, but in the person doing the controlling. I was asking God for my husband, but I wasn’t trusting His process.
I realized that as much as my husband was “like a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind” as he tried to please me and tried to be true to himself, I was probably being blown worse. I was up when “God was working” making my husband do what I thought he should be doing. I was angry when my husband was doing his own thing. I was disappointed often. I was an emotional roller coaster because I was trusting in myself, not God.
I still remember the day that God pointed it out. And honestly there was a night and day difference in my behavior and my husband’s behavior. Our marriage made a 180 degree turn and is stronger now than it ever was before.
God prompted me to stop trying to control – God was and is in control and my husband is the head of the house. That was difficult for me, and at times I still pick it back up, but God has honored that decision. I started deferring decisions that I would usually make to my husband. Unless it was something that went against God’s Word, even if I disagree or don’t want to, I still follow my husband’s decision.
God prompted me to stop placing a guilt trip on my husband – He reminded me I am not the Holy Spirit. Conviction is not my job. Love is. I still ask my husband at times to do things or come to special services. Sometimes he says “yes,” usually it is “no”. I stopped throwing temper tantrums to get my way. I stopped making snide comments to make him feel guilty for not doing what I wanted.
God prompted me to speak positively about my husband – This one came through a friend who asked me “Why are you married to your husband, you never say anything good about him?” It really was a check in my spirit because she pointed out my words did not match my heart towards my husband.
I worked hard to submit the words I said about and to my husband to be more honoring. I decided that I would take any negative thoughts to God, and keep the praise public. Not that I do not vent to him or to close friends at times but the majority of the time, I speak life over my husband.
God prompted me to stop arguing – My husband, despite our spiritual differences is not my enemy. Ephesians 6:12 says For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
God prompted me to stop fighting back with my words. Sometimes I still start down this path, but ultimately I have learned to stop my part of the arguing sooner rather than later. I realized it takes two to argue. When I submitted this to God, I would stop and initially continue my argument with God silently.
Silence has worked to bring peace, because most of the things that would escalate into a fight were insignificant matters that I just continued to press. It got to the point, while I was still praying, that my husband would come to me to apologize for his part or God would convict me to go apologize for my part.
God prompted me to trust Him – I had to release my desire to have things my way and get things my way. God’s ways are so much higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9). He knows what my husband needs more than I do. He loves my husband more that I could. He sees in my husband things that are hidden from me. He knows every detail of my husband’s life. He desires an intimate relationship and surrendered life with my husband much more that I do for him.
There are many areas where I could have chosen to show how placing our trust in anything except God creates a chaotic environment. When we ask God for something, we must ask in faith and then step back and allow Him to answer that request. He will answer it in His time and in His way. We must trust Him with those areas. The poem below has been a favorite of mine since my teen years, in my home as a reminder to trust God completely.
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never did let go.”
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on trust. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.