A Voice Crying-out in the Wilderness of Marriage
(Part 5 of ‘Let’s Talk about Marriage’, part of the ‘In Marriage’ Series)
Lack of understanding brought me back to the ‘church’ seeking advice. Not hearing the message preached from the pulpit or lived out in the way the believers treated each other made me so angry that I began complaining (I had to address that complaining spirit before it consumed me. I found Philippians 2:14 which helped to bring me back in line each time).
First, I was confused. Then I became frustrated. With no effort on the leaders’ part, to address any of the arising issues, it brought anger to the surface. Most of my time after the first two years (which was like the honeymoon period of the marriage) of returning to the church were spent living in that anger zone. I began to believe that something was wrong with me.
From then on, I became one with many unanswered questions so I struggled with that complaining spirit. I complained to my husband about the things that aren’t right and the fact that no one seems to care. He was already losing hope in the church and they were giving him ammunition to stay away. We got stuck in a rut!
I had no parents to turn to for guidance. My grandparents were dead. Most of the people I grew up with, in my community or in the church, who knew me and would be able to give advice, were abroad.
We hadn’t been attending any of the local church groups long enough for them to know what our needs were (with the exception of one) and we weren’t comfortable going to people we hadn’t known well enough to trust them with the concerns of our heart. We had to protect the delicate areas of our marriage.
So I began to search the Scriptures for answers based on Matthew 7:7-8 and James 1:5. I started to grow in the Word—still asking questions when unsure. Each time I found God’s principles for an area of lack, I would share it with my husband. Soon, we were both growing in understanding. That motivated us and soon we were both looking forward to the opportunities presenting themselves to serve our ‘church family’. We were then able to see how it all fits within the bigger picture.
We moderated services, gave exhortations whilst helping in the Youth and Children’s ministry. My husband was asked to be the main speaker for several youth services. The first sermon he gave was the message that helped me to start the process of releasing the resentment I felt. That sermon was based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, where we are encouraged to pray without ceasing and to be thankful.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
It was a messy process but being part of that particular fellowship—watching the blind leading the blind—we were able to recognise that the Word is what washes us clean (Ephesians 5:25-27). The Holy Spirit does the transforming work alongside our willingness to do what God requires of us. God’s grace is sufficient.
A Message to Leaders within the Church:
Although this series of articles is to give a voice to the voiceless, airing the views we aren’t always able to air in our fellowship groups, in a constructive way, it is being written to help open the eyes of those who are placed in leadership positions within the church.
If you are leading a ministry group (Men’s, women’s, youth, Sunday school, Bible Study, Mums n Tots, Cleaning, Catering, ‘Worship’ etc.) you should be aware of the needs of the volunteers on your team. To do that, you should find a way to engage with the team on a team basis as well as on an individual basis. This is God’s way of taking care of the needs we have. We are a family of believers and we are called to care for each other. 1 Peter 5:2-6 urges leaders to care for the flock. James 2:14-19 helps us to understand that ‘faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.’
Volunteers are individuals who have needs and if those needs aren’t being met they won’t operate effectively. If they aren’t operating effectively, you will become discouraged and not enjoy the role of leadership. You will be tempted to step-down from your role, leaving the team dejected, feeling rejected and demotivated. You need your team and your team needs you.
God places us in each other’s lives for a purpose. Live out your purpose and inspire your team to do the same. We need each other to survive.
The journey continues in part 6 ~ A Voice Crying Out to Leaders within the church