Do you ever kick yourself after you leave somewhere for not saying the thing that was running through your head? Yeah that’s me tonight so that is spurring on this post. I felt that tug to say something at our small group tonight and didn’t. i don’t really know why i didn’t but i didn’t and when i got in the car my husband expressed that same tug and that same kick in the ass for himself for not saying what we shoulda. So now I’m saying it if for no one else’s benefit but my own for that future moment when i don’t say it again. 🙂
Ok so here it is. Our topic of sermon this week was on intimacy in marriage mostly sexual i don’t really know i missed it i was running a 5k and didn’t bother to download the podcast but really the topic is not totally relevant. The topic of sermon lead us to talking about marriages and struggling in our marriage and about being open and honest with others about those struggles. Which lead to a conversation about having alter calls for prayer for couples who were struggling in their marriage. Anyway my husband (whom i agree with) expressed his sadness that when our pastor does that no one actually goes up to receive prayer. It was then expressed back to us (which in part i agree with and i say in part because i agree and get it but i am convicted in that i don’t think this is what God would want of us) that people don’t go up because 1 it’s not the right forum for that kind of prayer and 2 you don’t want to be that couple that everyone then knows struggles in their marriage.
Ok so i kept my mouth shut but here it is…
I get that and like i said i agree with that. Maybe it’s not the right forum I mean it is the end of a service in a large group and we don’t have the time or resources to give the needs of each of those struggles. I agree but I feel convicted because there is no better cure for a broken struggling marriage than that of prayer. No one is asking you to share every detail they are simply saying if you are struggling we would like to pray for you and to be honest i don’t know one married couple who couldn’t benefit from a little prayer. I’ll be honest i always thought my grandparents had the perfect marriage and then a couple of years ago i learned about an argument my grandparents were in the middle of and i was blown away! i seriously thought they were above this they hold each other on pedestals they are the couple I’m sure will die together they are that much in love. If they can have major fights 50 years into their marriage then I’m sorry we all can use a little prayer in our marriages! we are broken people and broken people have broken marriages that is reality.
Now as for not wanting to be “THAT” couple. let me repeat WE ARE ALL BROKEN!!!! AND BROKEN PEOPLE HAVE BROKEN MARRIAGES!!! We are not all broken in the same way but we are all broken and therefor no judgment!
So then the conversation went on to be what’s next. How do we deal with this brokenness. And it was said that that type of altar call for prayer was not the way. and that even in a small group setting like ours it was probably not the best forum.
Again I kept my mouth shut. and again i half hazardly agree it does seem kinda not the right forum for all of us to spill all the ways in which our marriage sucks. I agree because again what benefit does it do to put it all out there with no resources to fix, change, help. But again here is what i wish i woulda said. It benefits us because we need prayer! and Prayer benefits us!!! Really people it does!! I promise we may not always see the fruits of prayer but prayer is fruitful!
Here’s the thing that has been running through my head and tugging at me all night. We are made for community we desire community and we desire to be known and to have vulnerability in relationships. But if we continue to justify our way out of those opportunities we are never going to experience that incredible intimacy that God desires for us!! And i know it seems awkward and scary, it does, the world says it is for heaven’s sake! But it seems that way because the world says that brokenness & those struggles are dirty laundry and we shouldn’t put it out there for all to see. But i want to tell you the world is wrong! Those struggles that we are experience, that so-called “dirty laundry” is not a bad thing, it is God working on us. It is his opportunity to prune and grow us and it his opportunity to be glorified. So yeah I’m not saying every moment is a great moment to put it out there but there are good moments to put it out there because sometimes we go through a struggle so that God can use it to glorify himself and make things new and redeem things!!
Here’s how i know this. I have experienced one of those broken dirty laundry taboo things in my marriage and let me tell you God used it to 1 bring me closer to him and 2 to prevent it from happening to someone else. 3 years ago my husband and i dealt with an inappropriate extramarital relationship. Seriously the moment it came to surface I didn’t know what I was going to do, but in the moment broken I went before God and handed it to him and i saw him work a miracle! Crazy miracle! He redeemed it, he redeemed us, and redeemed our marriage. There is still of course fall out from it trust issues and such a lot of struggles we have now can trace back to roots from 3 years ago. But so can a lot of good. I have never felt closer to God, I have never seen him work the way I did that night. It’s a crazy story for another day. But here it is because in that moment we were vulnerable enough to go to people we trusted and say we are struggling we met couples who had been there done that and could now pour into us and they did! because we were vulnerable enough to stand up in service and say hey we are struggling and can’t pray anymore we had friends and people we didn’t know who didn’t know what was even happening lay hands on us and pray crazy to the point prayers that have blessed us. and because we were vulnerable enough to share our story we have been able to speak into at least 1 other couple’s life that i know of who was dealing with exactly the same situation as ours. aside from them we have also had other individuals over the last couple years come back to us and thank us for sharing with us because they have been encouraged in their own marriage by what we have gone through.
So no maybe an altar call for prayer isn’t the place to lay it all out there but i would challenge all of us to be a little bit more vulnerable and a little more counter cultural and put it out there and say hey i’m broken and struggling. you don’t have to share all the “dirty laundry” details if you don’t want. But remember God uses our struggles and you don’t know how he may use yours.
Ok that is all. that is what I wish I woulda said 🙂