Don't. Give. Up.

My steering wheel shimmered with tears. Hunched over in the front seat of my car, I told God I couldn't do it any more. I was done. The misery and heartache I regularly experienced in my marriage stole my joy, my appetite, and my confidence. I begged God not to make me go back.

But instead of dancing off into the sunset without a wedding ring, I went back. Though it cost me, I went back. Through tears, I went back. Because God told me to.

Have you been there? Are you there right now? Are you doing what God has told you to do (it may have nothing to do with your marriage), yet things have deteriorated to the point that you seriously doubt you can go on--and keep your sanity?

This morning I read Exodus 5:22-23. Although Moses did exactly what the Lord commanded him to do, things got much worse. It seemed like God didn't care. "Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, (sound familiar?) Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as Your spokesman (to do what you told me!), he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!" Italics mine.

Does it seem like God is doing nothing to rescue you?

According to Exodus 6:9, when things got harder, the people of Israel refused to listen to Moses any more. "They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery."

It's tempting to give up and stop listening to God when things become too hard and it seems He is not answering our prayers. But that's where faith comes in--and knowing God's character becomes critical. John 11:42 says, "I know You always hear and listen to me." God heard me all those years, and He hears you, too.

Sometimes things get worse before they get better. Do we really think the enemy will roll out a red carpet and allow us to freely move toward our destiny? He's determined to fight and discourage us, just like he fought and discouraged the people of Israel.

We must make a conscious effort to resist discouragement. How? By drawing closer to God through reading His Word, through prayer, and through worship. And by becoming familiar with God's character.
That day in the car many years ago, my heart heard the faint whisper of a promise. And through years of heartache, God's promise to me became louder and louder until I could actually hear it more clearly than my unsaved husband's harsh, mocking words. Because I didn't give up back then, I've savored the pleasure of watching that whisper of a promise unfold before my eyes.
Whatever you're walking through right now, don't give up. With a willing heart and a God who is on your side, nothing is impossible.
Photo taken by my daughter, Emily.



26 comments:

Bina said...

...beautiful...

His Word echoes sweet...

Blessings,
Bina

Bonita said...

This also reminds me of Hagar when she ran from Sarai. God told her to go back. Going back is really hard. Believe me, there were times in my marriage when I was behind that steering wheel too, but today I'm so glad I went back.

ginny said...

What a beautiful posting, Julie. It reminded me of the times I wanted to give up on my marriage, also. But here we are 41yrs. later and I am glad I stayed. Often times, the bitterness that life sends us becomes sweet when God steps in and changes things. This was so inspiring!

Rose said...

Amen. When we keep striving and break through that is when we see what God had for us all along! Obedience to God always has great rewards.

Diane said...

I think I'm in the discouragment phase. Not every day and sometimes I am numb to it, but it lingers. I know He is still able and it will end. :O)

www.dianeestrella.com

Gaia said...

I am hearing you Julie and I know you are right. But it hurt too much and lasted too long, for others to take me for granted. I believe I can do more, for God for others. I just felt I did not need to sit around and feel worthless in my marriage, when my ex continued to take me, my son and parents for granted. I hated that feeling. But I know I am meant for better things, I will trust Godd to lead me to it, so that I can do his will. While I am healing, I pray for faith. I am ready now... not then. Sound like ranting doesn't it. Bless you dear.

Tammy said...

Your post to me back to the day I was ready and determined to give up on my marriage, again. I had already threw in the towel on my first marriage of 10 year.

Today my husband and I have been married for 23 years. God restored what the enemy tried to destroy.
I'm glad I put my trust in Him!

Terri Tiffany said...

Julie,
when I was first marriede, thirty some years ago,I went through a similar time. FOr two years, I fought a bad marriage with an alcoholic husband. Without going into so many details, I can say God is faithful. Even when there are the days I wanted to give up.

Sue J. said...

I have definitely been where you were, but I hadn't pieced together that my rough time going back was due to Satan still working to woo me. His plan didn't work, however, as the healing blessing of worship was so much stronger! God added to that blessing the will to start studying again, and holding on to His Word is my strength.

God has laid the Kutless song "That's what faith can do" on my heart this week:

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT A WORD
It’s just a reason for someone not to try.
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I'm so glad that God reached out to you that day and that He encourages you, and gives you the strength to write about this!

Cheryl Barker said...

What wise counsel, Julie. You're right -- the enemy will do anything he can to make us throw in the towel. So thankful that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

Have a blessed week!

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

I'm witness to this truth. Praise God!

Jill said...

Great words - made me think of my experience this past Sunday! As I headed into the sanctuary a gentleman stopped me and shared the hardest words I've heard about my recently published book. I sat down and wanted to cry, I was completely defeated and instantly questioning what God had me doing and doubting what had been done. Not a good way to start worship!! But God reminded me too - as the pastor prayed the opening prayer he spoke of being responsible for our own response, everything else is out of our control and then in the sermon spoke of Jesus coming for the truth. Sometimes it wasn't what people wanted to hear and that fact is still strong today. Julie, you are right we can't give up and like the title of your blog says we must believe God! Thanks for sharing, Jill

Karen said...

Julie, I know God is proud of you. You are of great worth to Him, and now to others. I love that picture Emily took. That's great! ((hugs))

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Yes, Julie, I was in exactly the same place. My husband was saved, but our marriage was a mess. I wanted out, but God would not let me. I went back in faith, and God brought my relationship with my husband to a place that I never dreamed of. Blessing followed obedience.
Debra

KelliGirl said...

Julie,
How are you my friend? I've missed you. Wonderful post as always. Your writing really shines through your honesty. Marriage, life and love—they're a choice, aren't they. And not always an easy one.

I'm much better at "bucking up" during physical challenges than emotional ones.

BTW...I finished reading Scared a few days ago and it was FABULOUS! I am so happy to have read it...and shaken from doing so. (But shaken in a good, "wake up!" kind of way.) Between Scared and Same Kind of Different as Me (also an amazing book), I feel a holy softening of my heart. Not sure for what yet, though.

Rachel B said...

Words of life as always, Julie. Thank you!

Tea With Tiffany said...

Don't give up. A strong testimony loaded with Truth. Thank you. Keep writing, friend. I believe in you.

Heather said...

Been a long time since I have had the time to stop by.

this was the perfect time and perfect post!

Thank you again for the reminder to not give up. So easy to do sometimes.. many times.

The enemy is trying so hard to take me down, take me out.... I know why. I am heading up worship for our women's retreat next weekend, and man alive! It's gonna be great, but it is hard in the process of getting there!

Philip Gilbert said...

So believing it was God's will was what kept you in a relationship that you needed to get out of?

Laura said...

Thank Him for His Word -- it's all that sustains us sometimes, isn't it? Sweet, honest post, Julie.

I finally kind of announced my book on my blog -- I finished the final edit and felt like now I could! You should come back and see.

Will I see you at FCWC? Take care!

Jillien said...

What an awesome post!! It reminds me of a sermon I attended several months ago whose theme, although not verbatim, went something like this:

Between the promise and the provision is the perfecting time. God doesn't need your help in fulfilling the promises He's made to you for your life. Although it took longer than you expected/wanted/tolerated, He was perfecting you so that when you reached fulfillment you could glorify Him completely in it.

There's this awesome quote by St. Catherine of Siena "When we are who we are called to be, we will set the world ablaze!"

Not all promises are answered immediately. Kudos to you for your faithfulness.

JM

Victoria said...

I'm thankful for posts like yours that say exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it.

And thank you for visiting me at my blog! I appreciate it.

Carla Gade said...

I always love hearing your precious thoughts. God is indeed faithful beyond measure.

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Thank you Julie. Exactly what I needed to hear today.

Blessings,
Lindsey

Nancy said...

So glad you went back. And what a story of determination and love. It's an example for me to keep hoping for some things, too.

myletterstoemily said...

julie,

so inspiring! we are leading a marriage
bible study, and it is discouraging to see
what bad shape some of these marriages
are in.

the enemy hates a loving marriage. we
really have no idea what the power of a
united, loving, committed union can yield.

i am so inspired by your heartfelt prayer
and decision to persevere.

blessings,
lea

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