June weddings. My Facebook feed is loaded with sweet anniversary sentiments this week! It is a popular month to get married. I always have to be different I guess. My anniversary is December although I always thought I would marry in June. I just didn’t want to wait that long to get married after I got engaged!
When I hear the phrase, “from this day forward”, I always think of marriage vows. It is a beautiful phrase that is making a statement that the decision I am making today is serious. I am declaring that the decision I am making today is going to carry on in my tomorrows.
On our wedding day, we are so fervent in that commitment as we look into the eyes of our groom. We think there is nothing that could ever happen that would tempt me to change my mind or heart. Nothing could cause me to doubt or wonder if I can go on in this decision. Seasons of marriage happen. We find ourselves wondering….can I do this from now on?
Not only in marriage, we have made many commitments to Christ that from this day forward….we will do so and so. I will read my Bible more, I will pray more, I will witness more, I will be a better wife, I will be a better mom, I will be a better friend, or I will eat better. Typically, we make these pledges at the beginning of a new year, although they can also be made when we are in a fearful time. We pray, “Lord, from this day forward I will do better.” Seasons of life happen. We find ourselves slipping away from the passionate pledges we make.
What do we do when our marriage feels empty and cold? When our Christianity feels more form than heart? When we have neither the energy or desire to get through today let alone tomorrow? When you are not sure you can deal with your current circumstances any longer? These are real feelings that I know I have felt more than once in my marriage and in my Christian walk. If I have experienced them, then I am sure I am not alone as a woman. (Shhh….I know it is taboo to talk about these things in public). But…I think it is better to relate to these things as women, and admit our struggles and how to handle them, then to shush them away in our private lives where we live a pretend life in front of everyone else. When we feel this way, how do we move forward?
1. Take it simply.
“From this day forward…” does not mean I am deciding today for the rest of my life. It means for this day I am deciding. And when we go forward tomorrow, I am deciding it again. And on the next tomorrow, I will decided it again. We cannot live in the tomorrows. We must live in today. I can only live life one day at a time. Do not dwell in the “is this my future?” Live today. If you got through yesterday, you will get through today. That is as far as you need to go. Don’t overcomplicate things with tomorrow’s. Simply take it one day at a time.
2. Take it slowly.
Remember those seasons we talked about? Our lives and our marriages have seasons. The best marriage advice I ever heard was from a lady I deeply respect and admire who had been married for 50 years. She was a member of a former church. Jimmy and I were in a season (not long after my paralysis and our whole world had been turned upside down) where it seemed we were fighting over every stupid little thing! We had never been like that and I panicked!! I went to her and told her that I didn’t know what our problem was. Here I was waiting on a lecture, or to be told where I was failing even more, or that my disability was destroying us or something! She said none of those things. She threw her head back and laughed and said, “Oh honey. That is so normal. Marriage has seasons. You are just in a season and it is all going to be fine. You just keep communicating…even if it is staying up all night fussing. You will get through it.” Do you know what unbelievable deep relief I felt when I heard that? You mean someone else has seasons with their husbands? You mean we are going to be okay? You mean I just need to stop panicking and realize that we are living a normal marriage? Yes. That is what she meant. You know what? It was a season. We got through it. Don’t be haste in your decisions in these times.
3. Take it seriously.
We are told that Satan is out seeking to destroy us. As a child of God, Satan cannot have my soul so he would love to destroy my life. Anything worth having, is worth fighting for. This is a mantra that I have claimed for my life. A good marriage is worth having. A real and fulfilling relationship with Christ is worth having. A good testimony is worth having. A sweet relationship with my children is worth having. Encouraging friendships are worth having. If these things are worth having, then sometimes you have to fight for them. You may have to have conflicting times as spouses to be able to work out the bigger picture for the sake of a true relationship. Fighting for priorities so that I can have private time with God is something you have to tweak at times. Taking a stand for what is right, even if you know you will be mistreated, is necessary for a good name before the Lord. Discussions late into the night with troubled children as you seek to know their hearts is worth it for that relationship that is most important. What am I saying? I am saying that there is a battle that has been waged against those who love Christ. Satan will use anything in his arsenal to try and destroy us. He will wreak havoc in our marriages, and he will do his best to defeat us and rob us of the joy of the Lord. This is serious stuff. This may not just be a bad day. It may be Satan’s plan to give you a bad life. Remind yourself Who you serve. Remind yourself Who you represent. Remind yourself who wants to destroy you. Then, resolve to yourself that you will not be a casualty. We are more than conquerers through Christ! Allow Christ to fight for you!
Are you in a hard season of life? Take it seriously because it is a spiritual battle where God desires for you to give Him the glory and Satan desires to destroy you. Take it slowly and don’t make any major decisions in haste. Take it simply because that is when we can say each morning, “from this day forward Lord, help me to glorify You!”