Guest Post By – Stephanie Walker, Heartfelt Ministries Partner
I’m a romantic…a sap…a love story fanatic! I just love that feel good ending. It doesn’t matter to me that almost every movie on the Hallmark channel has the same story line and the same ending. True love always wins in the end! Happily ever after—it’s what every little girl dreams of—the fairy tale—right? The white knight in shining armor who sweeps in and sweeps her off her feet. Oh, I just love those movies!
But, I also love crime shows—NCIS, CSI, and even some of those real life stories on the ID channel (but those are not a regular for me—TV is to escape the real world). While these shows are not usually romance, they have the happy ending—Gibbs and the team are always catching the bad guy. Tragedy has to happen, but good prevails in the end. It’s what I like. Happy endings.
On the average week, I watch a little Hallmark and a little NCIS—Unless it’s Christmas, or Valentines, or Christmas in July—then it’s like 18 hours of Hallmark a day! HA! Not really—well, maybe—I do like to watch each one—usually several times!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with watching a little TV—Nothing wrong with the Hallmark channel. BUT, I have been in the middle of a challenging time in my life, both personally and with my family. My sister had passed away from cancer, I had lost my job, my family felt like was falling, and all of that messy stuff just piled up—heavy on my heart and shoulders. I am going to be honest—I didn’t do what I should have done. I took the easy (at the time) way out. Since I had lost my job, I was at home and so I started watching more and more TV. I found myself comparing myself to the characters and I never measured up. And my, unromantic husband, was falling short of the hero from the shows. (I knew he wasn’t romantic when I married him 15 years ago—he had then and still has now way more important qualities) But I was constantly watching the fairy tale and that’s what I decided I wanted. My idle mind began to wander.
Instead of doing what I needed to do—turn to God, take every thought captive, surround myself with friends who love Jesus—I resigned from serving at my church, I backed away from friends, I found myself stuck in front of the TV and if I wasn’t dreaming of having a better life, I was digging myself into a pit, by asking myself questions like:
• What if I could just be like her?
• What am I supposed to do with my life?
• Why me God?
• Would my husband or kids even care if I left?
• Why can’t my kids just obey?
• Where did I go wrong?
• What if my husband brought me flowers—one time?
• Why am I so ugly, fat, unworthy?
• Why doesn’t he hug me more often?
• My life is falling apart and it’s all my fault?
• I can’t do anything right?
• How are we going to pay the bills?
• Why don’t I have any friends? Am I just that unlovable?
Looking back at this, it was really a dark time for me—even darker than I really thought it was. And if I am honest with everyone, I am not fully out of this pit. BUT GOD! He is so faithful and has not left me—and he is faithfully giving me the tools to dig out.
So, why am I telling you this? A few reasons really—hopefully it will encourage and help someone out there.
1. TV is TV. Fiction. Even reality shows are not real—I know—SHOCKER! So, when you find yourself watching these shows, remember that they just like Facebook—only the good stuff is posted. Real life and real people are messy. Marriage is HARD! Parenting is IMPOSSIBLE some days. Don’t get stuck in the mess! God tells us in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Our mind is so powerful—and it can either be used to glorify God or it can be used to beat us down. Choose life! Don’t get stuck in the pit! Ephesians 4:23 “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” It’s impossible to do this work, without the Spirit of God!
2. Marriage is HARD and those shows don’t depict real life! They don’t show the hard days of arguing over money or what to cook for supper. They never show the wife crying her eyes out because she’s jealous of something her husband said to a friend. They don’t show the days, weeks, or even years of co-existing. They show the romance. The good times. The easy stuff! Well, I have to choose to love my husband—even if he doesn’t give me flowers or hug me or kiss me as often as I would like. I choose to love him when I have had a bad day or when he has a bad day. He is a man of God. A man, who is a wonderful husband, provider, father. God is the only one who can meet all of my needs and to place those expectations on my husband, is unfair to him and to me. Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” God is it! He will supply every need I have—even those low, emotional needs.
3. Parenting is IMPOSSIBLE some days! My kids are not perfect. They are a lot like their mom and dad. Fallen, sinners—saved by grace. They fuss, fight, talk back, make bad choices and are just downright disrespectful sometimes. BUT GOD! They are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and we are to praise Him for it!—God made each of us in the image of Christ—but only by the Blood of Jesus are we righteous! Ezekiel 36:26 says, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” I am praying for my children! Praying that God will rescue them in spite of all of my short comings and failures as their mom.
4. Life is just down right hard! Jesus didn’t say if troubles come—He said WHEN they come! We are guaranteed that life is going to be hard and messy. And it get’s dark sometimes—how we react is the key. I failed this time, actually, I fail a lot of times. BUT GOD! God will never leave you or forsake you. Even in the darkest hour, God is there! Psalm 23:4 says: Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.” In Matthew 11:30 Jesus says, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When you yoke up with Jesus, it doesn’t mean that he takes all the trouble away, it means that He helps carries the load. Bear up under that trouble and the hard times, yoke yourself with Jesus and keep on! And if you mess up like I did, it’s ok. There is forgiveness and grace and mercy at the cross!
In this pit, I got into a really bad habit of negative self talk. I am working on detoxing these negative thoughts that are in my head. I am learning to take every thought captive as it comes into my mind. 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” If it is not TRUTH, it’s not obedient to Christ, so I take it and give it to Jesus and turn it into Truth. The bible says in John 17:17, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.”
Ladies, I am going to say it again: Life is messy. People are messy. I am a hot mess! BUT GOD! His love story is the best there is! Check out the verses listed below and commit some of them to memory with me—the Word of God—THE TRUTH—is saving my marriage, my family and my sanity.
But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Timothy 2:9
for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
When life is messy and you are in the pit or feeling lonely, or have misplaced your expectations, turn to Jesus! God can meet your needs. Jesus can bear your burdens and wants to be yoked with you.
Love you dear sisters! Gather a group of friends and become like-minded so you have someone to do life with.