Three Ways to Battle Bitterness in Marriage

Bitterness is so insidious. Often, I don’t even realize that I’m nurturing a root of bitterness until it grows so large that it begins choking out the relationship. This article challenged me to look first at my own sin before responding in bitterness to my spouse or any other relationship. When I am faced with the enormity of my own sin and the reality of God’s forgiveness, how can I not offer forgiveness and grace to my spouse?

The primary weapon in this fight is an ability to see my own sin, not my spouse’s. Your willingness to forgive will be in direct proportion to your capacity to see the mountain of sin for which Christ has forgiven you—at infinite expense to himself.

Pride is the root of most bitterness. Pride makes me see my own sin with 20/300 fuzziness and my spouse’s with 20/20 clarity. This kind of self-righteousness is deadly to marriage. It demotivates forgiveness.

[I]f God exacted the same standard of justice from you that you demand from your mate, you’d spend eternity in hell. Christians forgive because God first forgave them. Ultimately, Christ’s forgiveness, secured for us at the cross—at infinite expense to himself—enables us to forgive. Forgiveness is a supernatural act, and we’re never acting more like God than when we’re forgiving another person from the heart.


Reflecting Glory in Our Post-Partum Bodies

I remember years ago my mom telling me the story of my birth. She then jokingly remarked to me, “After you were born, my body has never been the same.” I felt a tiny twinge of guilt that I had forever changed my mom’s body. And then I had twins, and now I can say my body will never be the same. There are days that I really struggle with that fact. I’ll see old pictures of my pre-baby self and be filling with self-loathing. Why can’t I be that fit, that thin again? This article greatly encouraged me. The author reminds us that our bodies were created to bring glory to the only One who truly deserves it, not to glorify ourselves. Even (or especially) our post-partum bodies are able to beautifully reflect the glory of God.

The fading beauty of our bodies safeguards us from exalting them to a place they were never meant to be. Keeping us from fooling ourselves that we could, even for a minute, steal the glory that is God’s alone.

The story we were created to live in is about Another’s glory, a glory we so desperately desire when we get caught up in the empty promises this world offers for our body image. While we were busy exalting ourselves, our God veiled his glory in the frailty of flesh. He humbled himself, taking on a human body, to deliver us from our vain seeking and show us the better way of pointing to and reflecting a glory bigger than ourselves. 

The Messiah opens our blind eyes and gives us a vision for what is truly captivating. Our tired arms, aching backs, and postpartum bodies inhabit the very Spirit of God who promises to renew us inwardly when we fix our eyes on the unseen. When our eyes are on Christ, our bodies are both stewarded and given away in service to his will.

[Risen Motherhood]

In the Lord Your Labor is Not in Vain

Sometimes I feel like all the extra Christian activities I am engaging in are fruitless. Can anyone else relate? I’m usually so excited when I begin volunteering in a new position at church, but the shine quickly wears off. I begin to question whether I am having any impact. Is it really that significant that I watch 15 two-year-olds while their moms go to Bible study? Am I having any impact on the teens that I spend each Wednesday night with? Most of the time they seem more content to be on their phones than engage in conversation. However, when we are doing the work “of the Lord” we can know that our work “in the Lord is not in vain.” Even if you’re rocking babies and changing diapers so the parents can listen to the sermon uninterrupted or if you’re helping park cars so church goers can have a smoother entrance and exit, you are doing the work of the Lord. So take heart weary fellow-workers in the Lord. What you are doing has eternal significance and we do not labor in vain.

When laboring for Christ is discouraging, we’re told to keep on keeping on—“be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” But why? Is it just because we’re told to? Not at all. It’s because that keep-on-keeping-on labor is meaningful: “…knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” No matter what it looks like in those moments, or in those evenings when you come home and wish you did that thing or said that phrase differently, the work for the Lord still matters. We might be tempted to believe it’s vanity, but that’d be wrong: We “know” it’s never vain.

[Looking at Christ]

Alexa, Do You Love Me?

This article shocked me. “People aren’t only coming to Alexa with basic help requests; they’re also coming with confessions. “Alexa, I’m depressedis among the many confessions users are voicing to the digital assistant.” We are hungry for meaningful connection, we desire to be known in a deep way, and we are looking for it in all the wrong places–including a digital assistant. As Christians, we can offer hope to those whose souls desire connection with their Creator. Alexa may be able to answer most of our questions, but only God’s voice can satisfy.

It’s astonishing that more than 50 percent of our interactions with Alexa go beyond simple command and fulfillment. Users are talking to Alexa in a way we’d typically talk to our best friend. [E]ven as voice technology advances, no non-human, disembodied voice will ever offer the true connection we need. 

Our job as Christians—those who have ears to hear the voice of Jesus, knowing it as the true voice of God—is to recognize that even in a secular, disenchanted age, souls are naturally haunted by echoes of God’s voice. They look for it everywhere, longing for it, because they were made for conversation with it. 



Anger Podcast with Jasmine Holmes

I never thought of myself as someone who struggled with anger but then I got married and had kids. Everyone says marriage is a pathway to sanctification–I feel like that’s an understatement. Marriage and now children have revealed just how sinful my heart really is and how prone to anger I can be. But thank God that in Christ we are no longer slaves to sin.This podcast was incredibly helpful for me. I hope you enjoy it as well.

By his grace, anger is not something you always have to be ruled by. You may always struggle with it, but you don’t have to be ruled by it, because your King is Christ. So, even as you struggle he still has lordship in your life and lordship over that anger. That changes everything. [Journey Women Podcast]

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