This morning, I have the privilege of sharing the words of a dear friend, prayer warrior, and fellow writer. Few women demonstrate such gracious poise and compassion over people. Quick to respond with prayer and confident to approach the throne of grace, Jennifer reaches beyond the temptations of merely pointing fingers and excusing behavior. She's the first to ask, "What can we do and how can we accomplish what the Lord wants in us?" I love her heart and humility, as further expounded in this post.
Surviving Life’s Storms Victoriously
by Jennifer O. White
by Jennifer O. White
I can remember my mom confronting me with my inability to say, "I am sorry!" I suppose that was my first glance in the mirror at my own pride issues. I have really struggled with owning up to my weaknesses. It is OH SO EASY to see the weaknesses in other people. But wait .... does that mean it is easy for them to see the weaknesses in me?
Who am I kidding?
Of course other people know my faults. This fact used to cause me enough anxiety to require medication. But several years ago, God invited me to pray for humility.
How do I know it was God who suggested it to me? I didn't know I had a pride problem, so it wasn't me having a logical discussion with myself and deducting this was a problem I should address. The enemy of my soul surely didn't suggest that I seek God for freedom from the very sin that had him cast out of heaven.
Our Secret Sins
A few years ago, my brother told me about a time when he knew God was calling him to confess a hidden sin to his Bible study group. He was very nervous about doing it, but he knew it was God’s will and God’s prompting. So he did it. He boldly confessed his sin and asked each person to forgive him. Each person offered him forgiveness. And that was the end of his struggle with that particular sin. His obedience opened the door to his healing.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
One of my weaknesses in marriage has been to rehearse the things that frustrate me. I have a WONDERFUL husband and I have failed him many times by nurturing dishonoring thoughts about him.
So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33
Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Thankfully, my counselor had been teaching me how toxic those thoughts are to our relationship. I followed her advice and practiced confessing to God each thought as it came up. Then I would ask for God's forgiveness. My side of the conversation with God would go something like this:
“God, I know that thought about David was not from You. Please forgive me. I forgive David for … (when forgiving him was necessary).”
I would breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I had been obedient. Within minutes another dishonoring thought would race across the movie screen of my mind. Each time I chose confession and forgiveness, I found it easier to resist the thought. Today, I realize that I was living out James 4:7. I was submitting myself to God and resisting the devil, which comes with the promise that the devil will then flee from you. This act of obedience also helped me avoid having a root of bitterness take over my heart.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
Windshield Wipers & Storms
God helped me to see the importance of confessing and practicing forgiveness as a powerful combination with the following illustration. The storms of life are as sure and unpredictable as the thunderstorms that frightened us as kids. Today we drive through storms to get where we want to go and we use our windshield wipers to see our way through the storm.
In the relationship storms of our lives, we have confession and forgiveness as the tools to see through the storm. As windshield wipers cast down the pouring rain, confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness casts down the rebellious thoughts and arguments designed to separate us from God.
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
The next time you find yourself rehearsing the faults of others remember to turn on the windshield wipers of your mind. Choose to obey God's instructions to honor others, confess the sin, ask for forgiveness, and forgive the other person. Your choice will bring peace and confidence in the midst of life’s storms.
“And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17
AND you will open the door to the healing God offers.
Jennifer O. White is the author of Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress and Marriage Armor for the #PrayingBride. Get your free copy of Seeing Your Spouse through God’s Eyes, a very important chapter from her book, here at JenniferOWhite.com