Replenish Your Soul: Finding Joy in the Wilderness of Sickness

When the session with Rachel Martin began, I realized that I was sitting listening to an amazing woman of God. A woman who has encountered big struggles in her marriage in the form of severe illnesses. And yet, as she spoke I could see and hear the peace, trust, and joy she had learned to find in God through the midst of her trials. Throughout her entire talk, I was taking copious amounts of notes. ūüôā

The emotions we feel are not us. Our emotions do not need to direct our path.

With sickness and trials come many emotions. Some emotions are uncontrollable. Sadness, frustration, and panic. While these emotions can be normal, they should not define us or our lives. In fact, we must work to intensely guard our hearts to keep these emotions from taking root and opening the door for bitterness and anger.

While emotions shouldn’t be controlling us or our marriages, there is a time and a place to mourn. With illness comes a new way of life filled with uncertainty about the future. So let yourself mourn and give your husband the time and space he needs to mourn as well.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Even in the midst of an intense trial, our relationships with Jesus must still come first. Because the closer we are to Jesus, the stronger our marriages will be. Trials, such as illnesses, can take a big toll on our marriages. They can cause walls to be built up, but this does not honor God. In fact, allowing the trial to mold your marriage allows Satan a foothold to destroy your marriage.

2 Samuel 22:2 “And he said: ‘The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.'”

How can you work to strengthen your marriage even in the face of what seems to be insurmountable odds?

1. Keep communication lines open. Don’t let things build up inside of you. Share your heart with your husband and allow your husband to share his heart with you.

2. Establish time alone. When a family member needs you, it’s easy not¬†to¬†make your marriage a priority. But time alone just the two of you is important to build a strong marriage.

3. Be honest. Let your husband know your struggles and let him share his struggles with you.

4. Pray together. Once you share your struggles give them over to the Lord.¬†Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.”

5. Incorporate laughter into your home. Proverbs 15:13 “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorry of the heart the spirit is broken.”

It is so important that in the midst of a trial like this that we, as wives, don’t look to our husbands to provide joy. They can’t. In fact, no one can give us joy except God. And God is the One who takes a mess and can turn it into gold. He is the One who can redeem the situation.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

What are some ways to find true joy during an illness?

1. Find joy in the little things. Ask God to open your eyes to the blessings He gives you each day. Look for ways to bring joyful moments to your family and then write them down. Don’t forget what God has done and is doing in your life.

2. Look to Jesus in the midst of your storm. Remember the disciples on the boat with Jesus in the middle of the storm. (Mark 4:35-41) When the disciples looked at their surroundings they grew fearful. But when they turned to Jesus, He calmed the wind and the waves.

3. Give each and every day to the Lord.

Exodus 14:13 “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afriad. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.'”

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