by Amy Meyer Allen
“This is the only thing that keeps me from acting out,” my husband said as he held up the Bible, God's Word. With trembling lips and tears in his eyes he shared with me how badly at times he still wants to have sex with other women, but the truth of God's Word keeps him from carrying out his desires. He has come to believe that God's Word is truth; holy and reliable and able to keep him from sinning.
When my husband, Tim, and I were separated for six months, due to me discovering his infidelity with prostitutes, Tim was the first one to accept that God's Word is 100% true. It took me longer to get to that place. I had grown up in a church where only portions of God's Word were taught, usually the ones that had feel-good stories or moral lessons we could learn from. Because of a Greek mythology class I took in college, I likened the stories of the Bible to those ancient myths.
After Tim and I came to a true faith in Jesus and were reconciled, we both began to dig deeply into God's Word. I took many Precept Bible studies which helped me to slow down and observe what Scripture had to say. But the key to growing in my faith in God has been the application of His Word to every area of my life. For Tim, he not only applies it, he clings to it as a lifeline.
When Tim and I first separated I could only see his sin, not my own. God's Word has helped me with forgiveness, anger, pride, self-pity, bitterness, an insatiable need for attention, and self-righteousness, just to name a few!
Here are some examples of what God's Word is doing in my life:
God's Word is living and active. It has the power to overcome sin in our lives. To be most effective you must first have a relationship with the Lord through Jesus, then you must believe that His Word is true, and, finally, you must apply God's Word to your life. Don't just be a hearer of God's Word, be a doer. (James 1:22-24) It makes the difference between winning the race of life or despondently sitting on the sidelines.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV
Father, Your Word is powerful and true! I pray that You would help us to not only read it and study it, but to apply it to our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
I had every intention of never speaking to him again. After discovering my husband, Tim, had been going to prostitutes for over a year without me realizing it, I filed for divorce.
Unbeknownst to me, God had a much different plan in store. During a six month separation, God held back the divorce papers and brought both my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself through Jesus. Then He called me to reconcile with my husband.
In each of these situations, God directed my steps and showed me very clearly what to do. (Proverbs 20:24) The key was listening to Him. Every marriage situation is different. There are different circumstances, different people coming from different backgrounds, different journeys and relationships with the Lord. Perhaps one spouse is a believer in Jesus and the other isn't. Maybe they both think they are following the Lord but neither one of them has a close relationship with Him.
Many women in my situation ask me for advice. I can only share what God has done in my own marriage and encourage them to seek the Lord with all their heart. God is able to show each one of us what we should do. He desires that each of us trust Him and ask Him for advice and direction. I believe God uses these devastating situations to bring us closer to Him. Because He created each one of us uniquely, He can show us what to do in every unique situation.
Sometimes God will call us to stay. Sometimes He will call us to separate. Never will He ask us to condone or enable sin.
When God called me to move back home with my husband, I did so only out of love and obedience for Him. I was very afraid of being hurt again. During our time apart, God gave my husband a glimpse of hell, where he was headed if he continued with his life of sin. Thankfully he got the message, and, in tears of release and repentance, he gave his life to Christ. (2 Corinthians 7:10) One of the ways I knew it was God's will to reconcile was because of the true repentance I saw in my husband. It was amazing to see how excited he was about the Bible. He was convinced it was 100% true and he should live his life by it. I saw my husband as a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God wants each one of us to be with Him forever. This means truly turning from our sin, repenting, and giving our lives to Him. I believe a big part of our roles as wives is to love our husbands enough to leave them when they are sinning and not take personal responsibility for their sin. (1 Corinthians 7:2-6) If our husband is not a believer, separating for a time may be the only way God can get their attention. That old saying, “You don't know what you've got until it's gone” often comes true in this kind of situation.
I learned that if I truly love my husband, truly want what is best for him, then I cannot condone or enable his sin. I have to be the wife he needs, not necessarily the wife he wants. The wife he needs prays for him, encourages him to spend time with the Lord, cheers him on, forgives him when he stumbles, hates the sin but loves the sinner.
Sometimes love is tough. It does the very thing we may not “feel” like doing. It doesn't always line up with our emotions or feelings because love isn't a feeling but an action. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) It looks out for the best for the other person, even if that person may “feel” unloved at the time. Isn't God that way with us? He doesn't always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need. Because He loves us so much, He wants us to grow, persevere, and become more like Jesus in character. (Philippians 2:1-18)
“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” ~ James 5:19-20 NIV
Father, I pray for people that are struggling with sexual sin. I pray You give their spouse the strength they need to separate when necessary and the obedience to reconcile when You call them to that. You are a God of redemption. Help each one of us to follow You and trust Your guidance in every situation. You alone have all the answers. I pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.
Our Pastor, Skip Heitzig is preaching on marriage at Calvary Chapel Albuquerque.
It is ongoing and should last for a few months. So bookmark the page or subscribe to the Podcast
and check out his new message every week.
Feel free to pass along!
by Amy Meyer Allen
Have you ever heard someone say, “You'd better slow down, take a break, stop doing so much or you're going to get sick?” What happened when you ignored their advice? Just as our bodies have built in mechanisms which force us to slow down and take it easy, I believe God gives us warning signs when He wants us to slow down and spend more time with Him. I also believe He can use our circumstances, especially the most difficult ones, to get our attention.
I like this quote by C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. I don't know about you, but God had to shout to get my attention. It happened when my marriage fell apart and I filed for divorce. Up until then, life was pretty good. I had a good relationship with God, or so I thought. We spent time together in the morning as I read my devotion for the day my “quick fix” before the busyness of life began. I had no idea that God was not satisfied with our superficial relationship.
Through the demise of my marriage, God woke me up to what I didn't even notice I was missing. Shortly after I left my husband, Tim, God gave me an amazing opportunity to join a women's Bible study aptly entitled, “Keeping Your Focus When Your Dreams Have Been Shattered.” Tears blurred the letters as I stared at the bulletin that Sunday in church. It may have well said, “Dear Amy, This study is for you! Love, God.” You can bet I was there that Wednesday when it started. I remember asking the leader, “What am I supposed to do now?” Very wisely she said God would show me.
That very day I promised God that I would faithfully do that study, fully trusting He would have an answer for me by the end. I eagerly examined the life of Joseph: his brothers had sold him into slavery and he lived as a captive for 13 years. He could have been filled with bitterness and rage by the time he saw his brothers again, but instead he was full of compassion and forgiveness; able to see everything from God's perspective. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
During the study God corrected my bad theology and for the first time, at age 29, I understood that God allows trials in our lives in order to bring us closer to Him and to accomplish His purposes. He showed me so many other important truths as well. By the end He made it clear that my husband and I were to reconcile.
Having learned so much from that one study, I wanted more! When I moved back with Tim, I looked for more Precept Bible studies. I devoured the book of John that next year, then Romans, then James, then on to Daniel when we lived in Thailand. Since no one was leading a Precept study there, I started my own with women from all over the world. My hunger for God's Word was changing my life. Continually God revealed truth, then prompted me to apply it to my life. Wanting to be obedient, I would ask Him to give me the strength to do what at times seemed impossible.
I learned that there are no short cuts to fixing a marriage. It takes time, effort and plenty of STUDY (Structured Time, Undivided Discipline and Yearning) of God's Word. Not just a “quick fix” in the morning, but true, devoted study as well as time spent just talking with God. Anything worth having is worth investing in. I can assure you from personal experience that investing in your relationship with God is never wasted time! The most important thing is that you dig deep into the Word of God; not other people's interpretations of it, but the truths that are revealed by God's Holy Spirit through Scripture. It takes time, effort and discipline but is so worth it.
Don't ask God for a band-aid when He longs to give you the cure for your broken heart. Don't cheat yourself or God out of the deep, fulfilling relationship He longs to have with you.
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” ~ Psalm 119:24
Father, I pray for the person reading this right now. Give them a hunger for your Word, teach them Your ways, and give them the strength to apply Your truth to their lives. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
by Amy Meyer Allen
I was privileged to be able to attend the CLASSeminar Writer's Conference at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico at the beginning of this month. The theme was "Transformation" and we were each to write a story or poem that reflected that theme and this verse from Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will."
It was a fun process working with a critique group to improve my piece. This final version includes the wonderful edits of Robin Stanley.
Oh, the Life of a Butterfly!
By Amy Meyer Allen
Slow moving, confined to the earth, easy prey. This is the life of a caterpillar.
Weightless wings, floating on the wind, mesmerizing beauty. Oh, the life of a butterfly!
I felt no desire to leave my comfortable life. But there I sat, alone in the cocoon I built around myself. How did I get here? Dark, formidable, unwelcoming, and completely unfamiliar, I mourned for the life I once knew. The dark addictions of pornography, affairs, and prostitutes had seized my husband and stolen him away from me. With shattered dreams, a looming divorce and 3,000 miles between us, it seemed I would never escape the betrayal that kept me locked within the boundaries of my cocoon.
For weeks it felt like a prison sentence. I lost my identity. The sorrow grew deep. No one could ease the pain.
In the dark confines of that unfamiliar place, I began to understand I wasn’t alone. A supernatural presence was creating something new. I allowed the truth of God’s Word to permeate my heart, bringing about change from within.
“I love you. I will never leave you or forsake you,” He whispered. “I have a perfect plan for your life.”
I grew to love the quiet hours I spent alone with God during my cocoon time, letting His truth transform me. Hope for a future quietly replaced my fears.
Emerging from the cocoon didn’t happen overnight, as much as I would have liked it to. But God’s timing is perfect and cannot be rushed.
Trials that come into my life now, I view as opportunities to be transformed. God intends the changes He creates within me to be permanent. I can’t go back to being a caterpillar. Why would I want to anyway, with so many limitations, always vulnerable to predators, and a limited view of the world?
I want to soar to new heights, see the world from a higher perspective, be released from the weight of the world. Oh, the life of a butterfly!
I was born in 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I went to church all my life, I didn't make Jesus Lord of my life until I was 29 years old. My real relationship with Him began when my marriage fell apart.