In case you missed my P31 devotion yesterday, I wanted to share it with you here. When I woke up Wednesday morning, these were my exact words – Lord, I need your help. Life is a little overwhelming at the Swope house these days. Although my marriage is great now, my need to cry out to God for help is constant with my daughter Aster’s developmental delays and daily routines. The teaching part of this devotion was such a good reminder for me. Praying He uses it to encourage your heart today.
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.” Psalm 18:6a (NIV 1984)
I don’t know exactly when it started, I just remember feeling angry and frustrated with my husband – almost every single day – for weeks.
One evening after a pretty intense “discussion,” J.J. told me that no matter what he did or how hard he tried, it was never enough. He was right. I constantly found fault in him as a husband and as a dad.
But the fact that he implied I was impossible to please … well that sent my already-unreasonable emotions reeling. I grabbed my coat and stormed out the front door. Hot tears streaming down my cheeks, I replayed our conversation in my head.
Determined to figure out what his problem was and get Jesus to fix him, I started telling on J.J. – to God.
As I filed my complaints against my husband, I finally heard myself. All the ugliness that was in my heart. All the anger spewing out of my mouth.
That’s when I realized, I need help.
I needed God to show me what was going on. To help me figure out how, after seven years of a happy marriage, had we gotten to this ugly place?
Instead of just crying, I found myself crying out to God for help.
King David was much better at this than I am. He had a habit of crying out to God for help when he was in distress. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible Commentary tells us that in Psalm 18:6, “‘In my distress’ refers, most probably, not to any particular case, but rather indicates [David’s] general habit of mind, that when he was in deep distress and danger he had uniformly called upon the Lord, and had found him ready to help.”
That night, when I stopped talking and started listening, I sensed God showing me I wanted J.J. to make up for what my dad had never been as a father to me and as a husband to my mom.
Years as a child in a broken home with a broken heart had led to a significant sense of loss and deep disappointment. Yet, I never grieved the happily-ever-after I longed for, but didn’t have.
Unfulfilled hopes became bitter expectations.
Trying to create my own version of “happily-ever-after,” I became controlling and critical. I thought if I could get J.J. to be the husband and dad I wanted him to be maybe my broken dreams could be put back together.
But I was wrong. Instead of expecting my husband to make up for my losses, I needed to cry out to God with my hurts and call on Him for help.
Are there hurts that hold you hostage? Expectations no one could really ever meet? Been trying to fix someone or a situation? Need some help today?
I know I do, and God is there.
Waiting for us to cry out to Him. Not just once, expecting a quick answer. But like the dependence we see in King David, we need God’s help on a regular basis.
As I processed what had happened in my childhood and how it affected my marriage, I learned to ask God for help through each step of my healing journey.
I asked Him to help me find the security I needed by letting Him be the father I longed for. I asked Him to help me grieve the loss of things I wanted from my dad that I would never have. I asked Him to help me forgive my father and release feelings of anger, abandonment and hurt. I asked Him to help me release my unrealistic expectations of my husband and let go of my fight for a “happily-ever-after.”
It was a process that took time, prayer, and courage, but God was my very present Help who showed me how to let go of my past and my pain, so I could take hold of hope and healing.
By the way, I’m crazy about my husband now. And so very thankful for the day I finally asked the Lord for help.
Dear Lord, I cry out to You today. I need Your help in my _______________. Please show me where to start and be my Help each step of the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Are there hurts that hold you hostage? Expectations no one could really ever meet? Been trying to fix someone or a situation? In your distress, call to the Lord. Cry to God for help.