I hope you were challenged as I was by Lisa Shea’s testimony last week. Male or female, husband or wife…we are all faced with a critical daily decision: will we choose to obey God? This choice isn’t dependent on our circumstances. When Lisa heard the command from the Lord to respect her husband unconditionally, in spite of negative circumstances in her marriage at that time, she faced this same choice. Although it wasn’t easy…and it defied all of her natural instincts and feelings…she chose obedience so that she could someday tell her children she did all she could.
One reason this moved me so much, is because my own mother faced that choice years ago, even though my parent’s marriage ended in divorce when I was just 4 ½ years old.
I know it wasn’t easy for my mom, but like Lisa, she made a decision to honor God. I saw her faithfully spend time in God’s word and pray…every day. I knew her broken heart was being satisfied by Jesus. Even at my very young age I knew she was not relying on her own energies to get her through this very sad time in her life.
Mom didn’t have control over many things revolving around the divorce, but she did have control over whether she would choose bitterness.
During those years my mother did something remarkable that I really didn’t realize until many years later. She never dishonored or bad mouthed my father in front of me. In fact, I can’t remember my father ever speaking unloving things about my mother either.
So even after divorce, Mom chose to obey the command in Ephesians 5:33 to respect her former husband…for the sake of her children. In her desire to honor God she let go of things and entrusted herself to Him! As I said at her funeral 10 years ago, she left me a legacy of faith that money could never buy.
As I travel the country with Emerson, I have the privilege of hearing many stories of both heartache and triumph in marriages. Often the stories of heartache include deep, sorrowful regret. Regret for choices made during times of great stress and pain…choices that felt “right” at the time, but which ignored God’s greater call to choose obedience. It breaks my heart to think of the painful consequences that could have been avoided had the parties involved looked at the bigger picture…a picture that included putting faith and trust in God’s commands.
Because of my mother’s decision to obey God’s commands, I benefitted, even growing up in a “broken” home. Because of Lisa’s decision to obey God’s commands, her children are benefitting from a family that is “whole.”
No matter the circumstances, we all have the same choice to make. Will we choose to leave a legacy of faith and obedience? A legacy of unconditional love and unconditional respect? Our decision to obey unleashes God’s blessings on our life and the lives of future generations!
With a grateful heart,