Carrie Prouse

Being Made Fit

By February 20, 2016 Faith

Occasionally I have a problem with God.

See, my problem is I have problems. Problems that I need Him to solve for me. Now.

And part of my problem with Him is He rarely, actually never, solves my problems as quickly as I want Him to.

I am currently studying covenants, and my studies have brought me back to the beginning. Back to the book of Genesis. I’ve been reading about Abram. “Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6, NIV).

Interesting character, that Abram, or Abraham, as God likes to call him. God made some BIG promises to Abram. And one thing I have learned is that when God makes promises to His children He doesn’t only make them work for it, He makes them wait for it too. And it kind of seems to me, the bigger the promise, the longer the wait.

The bigger the promise, the longer the wait.

Ever feel like that?

I’ve had my fair share of waiting. I was a single mom for seven years after my divorce. Want to guess how long my sister was single after her divorce? About a week. No lie.

About a week after her divorce was final she went on a date with her high school sweetheart and that was it. They dated for about a year and a half and got married.

Not me. Seven years almost to the day.

Seven years is a long time. Much longer than seven days. But it was worth every second of the wait for my marriage to be restored. God healed my relationship with my husband, and after seven years of divorce Chad and I entered what I like to refer to as “Round 2” of our marriage.

I didn’t see that coming.

But God did. He knew exactly how much time it would take for me to learn how to become completely dependent on Him and how much time Chad would need to mature into the fine specimen of a man I am glad to call mine this time around.

Did I do everything perfectly the seven years I spent as a single mom? Not even close. I blew it many times. I would go out with guys I knew were not godly. I would go places I shouldn’t go, do things I shouldn’t do, say things I shouldn’t say, you get the point. I blew it. Often. But despite my failures, God was still in the process of working a whole lot of me out of me. Over time my faith grew stronger despite myself and my failures. I knew God had something great in store for my life. After a couple of years I finally mustered up some resolve and started putting my foot down to things that I had been making exceptions for.

This week when I was reading about Abram in my Bible Knowledge Commentary (my most favorite Bible commentary – if you don’t have one you should look into ordering one. Now.) I came across this, “God had much to do before fulfilling His promise – including disciplining His nation to make it fit for receiving the promise” (BKC, page 55).

Wow. God makes sure we are fit for receiving His promises. Isn’t that amazing? And beautiful. And reassuring. When we have to wait, and we know that we know that we know that we heard God make a promise, but it was so long ago we are starting to question if we understood correctly. Then we realize, we are still being made fit to receive all that God has in store for us. Whoa.

That right there pretty much knocked my socks off this week. I’ve been waiting for a while. Actually I just counted on my fingers and realized I’ve been waiting since January of 2009. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been waiting for seven years! And I’ll wait another however long I have to, but God made a promise to me. I know He hasn’t forgotten or changed His mind. He’s waiting on me to be fit to receive.

So what are you waiting for? A dream job? A godly spouse? Waiting to start a ministry God has given you a vision of? Maybe you know you are supposed to go on a mission trip but you haven’t heard from God about where you are supposed to go, when you are supposed to go, or maybe you know you need to go but you don’t know what it is that you’re supposed to do once you get there! Maybe its fostering or adoption. Whatever it is that God has promised you, maybe it’s time you start working on getting fit to receive instead of sitting around waiting on God to move.

During my time as a single mom someone told me, or I read it, I honestly cannot remember how I know it but I know it, anyway this is the story I remember:  If a man wants to marry a godly woman he will never meet her if he never leaves his home.

We have to get out there and get fit to receive. We need to work on preparing ourselves so that when the time is right we are ready to receive the promise God has in store for us.

The promise God gave me has had me shaking in my boots at times, sometimes it has brought me to tears that He wants to use me at all, and other times I have been filled with complete exhilaration at the sheer thought of what He told me. I don’t know if it will happen when I’m 40 or in another forty years but one thing is for sure, when the time is right I want to be fit to receive!

I am waiting in faith. While I am waiting, I am trying to allow God to use me in any and every possible way He feels necessary.

Today, right now, write down what God has spoken to you. If God has given you a promise write it down. If you’re like me you don’t like to put things like that in writing so write it real small and later you can make confetti out of it, but write it down. Now think about everything you are currently going through and think about the seasons you have been through in the last several weeks, months or years and see if there are any connections. Is it possible that God has been allowing you to experience certain circumstances that could be shaping you and molding you and getting you fit for your promise?

…I know. He’s so good and so sneaky!

I’m so glad He’s in charge! All I really have to do is put my faith in Him and allow Him to lead and guide my steps. Often when I don’t understand the who, what, when, where, why and how, I cling to Isaiah 55:8, ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.”

 

A Second Chance

By July 22, 2015 Marriage

Every time I tell someone the story about our remarriage after seven years of divorce, the response is always the same, “You should write a book!” The enthusiasm of those making this suggestion always makes me laugh. But the day God told me to write a book of our story, I wasn’t laughing. I hit my knees and reminded Him there was a reason I was a math teacher for 14 years!

Months and many prayers later, I have completed the book proposal for A Second Chance: Allowing God to Heal and Restore Broken Lives and Marriages. The following post is a small portion from Chapter 9: A Rattling Noise. My hope is for our story to encourage anyone who is in need of a life-changing second chance from God.

Skin Covered Them

 “… and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.” Ezekiel 37: 8b

We were getting married!

We set the date, found the ring, and decided how and when we would share the news with Sadie that, at last, she would have the family she longed for and deserved.

God was busy reassembling the pieces of our family.

 

I shared our plans with my parents. I knew they were concerned. They had every right to be. Surprisingly, they did not try to change my mind. I think they, too, realized that God had His hand all over the restoration that was taking place.

Chad shared our plans with his parents, and they were ecstatic.

 

Then the day came for us to tell Sadie. We both wondered what her reaction would be.

 

It was Good Friday, and we were all three going to the lake together for the weekend. As we sat at a red light, Chad announced to Sadie we had something to share with her. She eagerly begged to know the surprise. “Your mom and I are getting married.”

Her reply was unexpected, yet priceless. “So I don’t have to go with you on the weekends anymore?”

Out of the mouths of babes!

We explained that once we were married, we would all three live in one house together and no, she would not have to stay with her dad on the weekends anymore. She would be able to see both of us every single day.

For the remainder of the drive, she was starry eyed, but didn’t say much. You never knew what was going on in that soon-to-turn seven mind of hers.

 

When we arrived at the camp, Sadie asked me to join her in the restroom. She sat on the potty, looked me square in the eyes and asked, “So when did you and my dad decide to get married again?” I explained that for the last three months, her dad and I had been going on dates and we agreed that our divorce had been a mistake. We wanted the three of us to be a family.

What she said next still blows my mind. “Well, I think you and my dad made the right decision. When will you have a new baby?”

For three years, Sadie had asked for a baby brother. And for three years, I explained to her I had to remarry before I would have a new baby.

At the announcement that there would be wedding bells, logically, Sadie knew a baby would and should come next. Now the question was how long would she have to wait for this baby once the wedding was over?

I assured Sadie she would be a big sister, hopefully, sometime soon. Chad and I had already discussed having another child once we were remarried. I couldn’t promise her a baby brother, but I at least wanted her to know there was hope we would have a baby in the future.

 

And Breath Entered Them

 “Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet-a vast army.” Ezekiel 37: 9-10

May 25, 2012, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, exactly seven years to the day since our marriage had ended, Chad and I stood face to face with Sadie by our side. In the presence of an intimate group of family and friends, God breathed the breath of life into our marriage.

There stood a vast army. To many, it was just the three of us. By many standards this did not qualify as a “vast army” at all. But to me, the three of us had battled and survived so much. With great courage, strength, and dignity, we were ready for whatever the world would throw at us.

Our family of three was completely encompassed by the will of God. His presence made our army vast.

 

God’s Word says it best,

“Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10: 9

* I would love to hear your feedback after you have had an opportunity to read this excerpt from A Second Chance: Allowing God to Heal and Restore Broken Lives and Marriages!

 

The Vicious Cycle

By July 22, 2015 Marriage

I love my wedding ring. When I glance at the ring on my finger my mind immediately goes back to May 25, 2012. That was the day Chad and I said “I do” to each other for the second time. My pastor spoke about our rings. You’ve probably heard something similar to this at most weddings you’ve attended:

A circle has no beginning and no end. Circles are used to symbolize eternity because they are never ending.

It’s easy to forget the joy we felt on our wedding day. When the newness of our ceremony wears off and life gets real. Sometimes our life gets real busy. Then there are seasons where life is real dull. There are times where we may feel like our marriage is more symbolic of a hoola hoop with a kink in it, than an eternal circle of refined metal.

Recently I read The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler (which is an AWESOME book by the way!), and in this book he talks about “the crazy cycle.” What was craziest to me, was this was the same concept I had referred to as “the vicious cycle” many times in the past.

First, let’s take a look at the word “cycle.”

When I hear that word, I instantly think about my monthly period. Since high school I have referred to my cycle as Sally, or Aunt Sally, and since high school I have loathed these 3-4 days of my 28-day cycle!

Merriam-Webster defies cycle as  “a set of events or actions that happen again and again in the same order : a repeating series of events or actions.”

The vicious cycle looks something like this:

The husband gets comfortable in his marriage and begins to unknowingly make his wife feel unloved. In return, the wife begins to do one of two things. She either makes desperate attempts to get her husband’s attention OR she begins to belittle her husband out of anger and frustration. Either way, husbands don’t like either of these reactions, especially when they have no idea what started them in the first place. So what do they do? The husbands pull back even more, showing less love than before. This fills their wife with even more frustration! And so, the cycle begins.

Sound familiar?

Stop the cycle!

What I didn’t realize, until I read Matt Chandler’s book, was that Paul writes about this cycle in the New Testament.

“Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)

Men, by nature need to feel respected. Women on the other hand, need to feel loved.

So what Paul is saying here is this, “Men, love your wife to fill her intrinsic need to be loved, and ladies, show your man the respect he naturally requires.”

When both husband and wife treat their spouse the way their spouse is made to be treated, the vicious cycle disappears! Vanishes. Like that, its gone!

During round one of our marriage, Chad and I were completely stuck in the vicious cycle. We were oblivious at the time, but we were in it.

I would get my feelings hurt that Chad seemed to want to spend more time with his friends than me. So out of anger and severe insecurity, I would let him hear about it. Guess what? Yep, this did far more damage than good. All I did was drive a wedge even further into our relationship. When I took things out on my husband, the last thing that made him want to do was spend more time with his angry, complaining wife. And take it from me, once the cycle starts, it’s not so easy to make it stop spinning out of control.

Now we are on to round two of our marriage. There are still times where anger and insecurities flare up inside of me. Sometimes I want to go off on my husband. In those moments I have to step back from the situation and take a personal inventory of what is going on inside my head and my heart. In those times of self-awareness, the Holy Spirit helps me see what is truly happening. Normally the truth is, Chad is clueless that I am feeling unloved and he is just going about his business in true Chad-like fashion. After seeing the truth of the matter, I have a choice. I can blow up and make it worse, or I can be gracious and show my husband respect despite my feelings being a little bruised.

If you and your husband are in a vicious cycle, I want you to know you can help make it stop. I urge you to go to God, who has the power to heal and restore all things that are broken. More than likely it will take time and won’t change overnight. It may help to start by apologizing to your husband, and ask for his forgiveness. They always say admitting you have a problem is the first step.

You may need to begin by simply asking God to help you to be gracious towards your husband. In our own strength, submitting to do what is right is not always easy. Luckily we can tap into the power given to us by The Holy Spirit.

If you are someone who opens up by journaling, write to God about your feelings. Find someone godly to counsel you, if you need to talk it out. Whatever it takes to stop the vicious cycle will be well worth it in time.

I would love to hear your feedback if you have made it out of the vicious cycle in your marriage. If you are someone whose marriage is in the midst of the vicious cycle and would like to share your thoughts on this matter, I would love to hear from you too!