In the years before this incarceration, our marriage was not always pretty.
Sometimes it was. There were always threads of love and hope. Joy even.
Everything in our lives was not ugly and sad.
However, the ugliness and sadness was always lurking under the surface. I knew it was there.
I began to study and pray.
I read the books I have listed in the book category as well as many others I haven’t listed yet. I took notes in a journal. Many of these posts are taken from this journal. I am thankful that the Lord prompted me to keep it.
I sobbed over many of the Biblical principles I studied because I realized that I was the only one that I could require to change.
I remember that at first much of what I read made me angry.
“HEY! Wait a minute! I am not the one in the wrong here.”
God lovingly spoke to me through his word and the studying I was doing. He showed me where I was wrong and where I was in sin.
He is still so gracious and faithful to continue to work on me. Even when I am sorely tempted to say “Haven’t I learned enough yet?”
One book that greatly opened my eyes was Our Covenant God by Kay Arthur. I recently read this book again and learned so much. I highly recommend it to you. There is so much to learn about God and salvation in this book.
Before I continue I want to say that if you left your husband or he left you, I am not judging you at all. I know there are perfectly legitimate reasons for a marriage to end.
I also know how heartbreaking and desperate being in a marriage like that can feel. I was very close to leaving my husband. I have thought these thoughts. Had these discussion with counsellors. Cried those tears.
This is simply a telling of the story God is writing in our home. What he wrote in your home may be different and that is not for me to comment on or judge. Please understand that.
As I studied covenants in this book, two stories struck me between the eyes.
The first is in Joshua chapter 9. I won’t quote it all here, you will enjoy reading it on your own.
I always remember finding it a fascinating story in Sunday School.
And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;
And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
In this account, Israel makes makes a covenant with Gibeon.
They made it hastily without prayer and they were deceived. They were not from a far country, they were neighbors.
Do you find it interesting that the Gibeonites knew that making a covenant with the Israelites would be better than fighting them?
Because of this covenant, Israel could not obey God’s command and destroy them as “inhabitants of the land”.
When the enemies of the Gibeonites fought against them, Israel was obligated to help because of their covenant.
Joshua had not asked God before he entered this covenant, however, because he upheld the vows God fought for Israel.
God honored them for keeping their hasty covenant. That is how seriously God takes covenant making.
Kay Arthur writes,
“Even though Joshua had failed to inquire of God before entering into this covenant, God’s loving kindness was there–He would come to Joshua’s aid because Joshua honored the oath of covenant.
Isn’t that comforting, beloved? Pause for a minute and think about it. Do you find yourself in a similar situation? What have you learned that you should do? And if you do what is right, do you think God will meet you at the point of obedience?
Of course He will–for He is a Covenant God, one who will take on your enemies, come to your defense, and commit His weaponry to your side. Try Him. Test Him. Walk by faith. Our Covenant God
When we honor our covenants, God comes to our aid as well.
This story goes on to tell how God fought for Israel when the honored their covenant to the Gibeonites.
Joshua 10:10, 11 tells how God confounded the enemies and threw down great stones from heaven on them.
Vs 12-14 talks about the day the sun stood still.
God did that! He did that for them even though they had disobeyed him by entering a hasty covenant. Instead of giving up at his failure, Joshua honored his covenant and walked in the obedience of faith.
I knew when I married my husband that he was probably not God’s best for my life. I chose to enter into a covenant with him and most of all with God.
Of course, the moment I entered that covenant there is no question of if he’s the one. He truly became that one.
When I was studying this and realized that I made the marriage covenant primarily to God, I decided to do whatever it takes to honor my vows.
It’s a little easier to say now– several years past that decision.
It was gut wrenching and frightening at that moment. Perhaps in the future there will be times that I have to go back and study this again. I know that could definitely be something I face again.
I was comforted to understand that God will come to my aid because of my faithfulness in honoring the covenant.
The second story is from 2 Samuel 4
And Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.
When King Saul’s family heard that Saul and Jonathon had been killed, they fled in horror.
Do you know why? They forgot the covenant.
Jonathon and David had entered into a covenant
I Samuel 20:15, 16
But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.
They panicked and ran. Mephibosheth’s nurse grabbed him and ran. She fell in her haste (and lack of remembering the covenant) and the boy was hurt.
Because they forgot, they did what looked right in their own eyes and a little boy was hurt.
As I read this, I could remember my many moments of panic about the future. At these times, I was not looking to God at all. I was not remembering the covenant.
I could picture myself grabbing my son and running just as this nurse had. I realized how easily I could have hurt my child by my panic and fear. Damage could have resulted by my failure to remember the covenant.
Kay Arthur writes,
“Isn’t that so often the way with us, beloved? We hear something that grabs our heart and clutches it–squeezing the life out of us–and we collapse or panic. We forget we have a Covenant God whom we can trust completely.
A God who already knows and already has a plan,
A God who is never blind sided by the actions
or schemes of man!
Because of irrational thinking–because Saul’s household moved too quickly in the panic of the moment–Mephibosheth would be a cripple for the rest of his life. If they had simply waited, surely they would have heard David’s lament at the death of Saul and Jonathon.” Our Covenant God
I am choosing to honor this marriage covenant I made to God. God has stood by me in this fight. It is a fight.
There has been a battle for my husband and this marriage. I am sure that the future holds more battles. The evil one would like nothing more than to see our family destroyed. To see us give in. To hurt another little one by his thieving schemes.
I praise God for restoring our marriage.
Prison seems a curious way of doing it doesn’t it?
I praise God he is in this battle with me and he is on our side.