Desiring a “Happily Ever After”

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Sheri Rose Shepherd
Desiring a “Happily Ever After”
Fighting the Temptation to Give Up on Love and Marriage
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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I don’t know where you stand today with the man you love or loved—or if you are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. I can tell you, though, that if you’ve been hurt, you can be sure Your heavenly Father knows how hard it is to love and forgive the one who caused you pain. Yet regardless of the relational devastation you face, no one can keep you from finishing strong for God’s glory!I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married and divorced to three different people. As part of several blended families, all I understood about marriage when I was growing up was “unhappily ever after.” But then I became a Christian at twenty-four and married my husband, Steve, just a few years later. Because of my love for God and my husband, I honestly didn’t think anything could shake my own marriage or faith.In the summer of 2007, however, my happily ever after was wiped out and my faith was tested. The family foundation I had worked so hard to build and protect was almost destroyed, along with my ministry, in that season of my life. I truly believed that God had forsaken me.

I had just finished writing my book for mothers about raising sons to become godly husbands. As I excitedly ran upstairs to e-mail the manuscript to the publisher, I suddenly felt as if something dark hovered over me. My passion for the book’s message was drowned out by the fear of an attack from the enemy that could come against me and my family if I stepped on his territory . . . young men and their future marriages.

I called the publisher and said I’d need to wait and pray for courage before submitting the manuscript. I went to my son, Jake, who was eighteen years old and a senior in high school at the time, and asked him if he had any plans of rebelling against his faith once he graduated from high school. I told him I was willing to give him freedom to find his own faith in Christ, but I didn’t want to put out a book about raising boys if my own son was going to walk away from the Lord. He reassured me that he was strong in his faith and that he felt I should publish the book. I decided to take the chance to make a difference and sent in the manuscript.

The book began climbing the charts, and everything seemed to be going well. I even began speaking with my son at conferences for mothers of boys. Then three months into my book tour, my fear of attack hit. My husband had taken a job that we had both prayed for. This job appeared to be a blessing; however, his new position required him to violate some of the boundaries we had put in place to protect our marriage, and we ended up separated.

There I was in the public eye of ministry, fighting to save future marriages, and somehow my own marriage was falling apart. My son was devastated by the division between me and his dad. It was too hard for him to deal with all his confusion, pain, and anger, so he took a break from his faith and began using drugs and alcohol to comfort himself. I had always known to run to God for cover when there was a great attack, but now I felt like He had left me alone on the battlefield to fight for myself. It appeared that all I had believed about God and all my effort to build a strong foundation for my own family had been shattered. My pain, my shame, and my life were an embarrassment. I felt as if I were battling an out-of-control fire that would burn up everything I loved and lived for. Every night I would cry myself to sleep as I struggled to understand why God had not protected me while I was attempting to accomplish something for His glory.

One night I could not take it anymore, so I fell to my knees and told God I either wanted Him to fix my family or I wanted to quit the ministry. Then I felt the Lord asking me a bigger question: Was My life, given on a cross for you, not enough for you to finish strong even if it means surrendering the life you wanted? For the first time I realized that my heart’s true desire was to feel loved and secure, and yet no man on earth could love me the way my Lord does. In that moment of crisis I found the true meaning of following Christ. God had not forsaken me, but He did want to free me from depending on others to give me my happily ever after.

That night I gave my heart’s deepest desire to God and chose to follow Him at any cost. In exchange, He gave me something so much better; He gave me peace that was more powerful than my circumstances. My faith was no longer in people; it was in Christ alone. Although nothing outwardly had changed yet, I had been changed. Today, Steve and I have celebrated twenty-five years of marriage, and our son serves God with His whole heart. He and his bride have given us our first grandbaby girl. However, to be honest, restoring our marriage was excruciatingly painful and more difficult than either of us expected. As hard as this trial was, it taught me a valuable lesson: our Lord is the God of comfort and the author of a new beginning. He can and will rebuild a beautiful life out of any broken heart willing to make a change. He will use one sacrificial choice; one act of forgiveness; one sincere, repentant heart; and one woman who is willing to step out in faith and start rebuilding with His love for His glory.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visitwww.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Being Content in Singleness

A close friend and I were discussing being single and content today and I really loved his perspective

“…Until I learned that God wants me to be content and satisfied no matter what. I.E Even in singleness. Now when I’m tempted to feel unhappy/discontent, I start praying. I thank the Lord for the beautiful (handsome) and amazing wife (husband) He has for me, and then I tell Him that no matter what, with His help, I’m going to be content. I tell Him that I’m happy NOW, and that I’m not going to have ANYTHING be an idol in my life. Not even something I don’t have yet”

 

-Elle

 

Interesting Article

For the Gals: 8 Principles for Dating  – This website also has a lot of great, interesting articles.

Running Full Speed After God

Reposted from August 2, 2011 

We are in the midst of that time of year. Some dread it, some love it, some celebrate it, and some do all three. Don’t know what time of year I am referring too? If you are a girl you do. It is wedding season, and whether you are in the wedding, going to the wedding or just creeping on facebook looking at the daily postings of wedding photos you feel it too, and you are asking the same question. When will it be my turn?

Now a word of advice to the boys, if you ever hear a girl or think a girl is not interested in getting married, you are wrong.  Every girl secretly has their wedding planned, we dream of the day we can make the phone call telling our closest friends that we are engaged and to start the planning process somewhere other than in our head. Within the last few weeks I have been talking to a lot of my single Christian friends and we have all come to the same conclusion. As a 20-something, we have no clue how to date anymore. Even though some of us dated a little in high school or possibly college things are different now.  Most of us don’t want to date just to date or to claim bragging rights that we are no longer in the singles club (Don’t laugh I know a few of  you that rush to your facebook the moment you can change your relationship status.)

The truth is we all want the husband, we want the marriage, we want to dream about having children.  We all have that moment that we dream about sharing. There are certain things I cannot wait to say to my future husband. Making you wish for that special someone? Well I have a few words of advice, advice that I remind myself everyday. Get ready, you are going to want to remember this.

It is ok to be single!
…crickets….

No, I’m serious, there is nothing wrong with being single, because when God puts that person in front of you, you will know.

So what do we do while were waiting?

We pray. Yes, pray for your future husband (and boys pray for your future wife!) Sounds crazy?  Not at all. How do we pray for our future spouse?  We pray that they are surrounded by Christian friends and family that will support and encourage them.  We pray for them to be caught in their sin in order to be held accountable, we pray that God is preparing both of us for the day we meet (or the day we realize they have been with us all along)

So for now. I am ok with being single, and instead of chasing after a guy in hopes he is the right one, I am going to run full speed after Christ and keep Him as my focus.

I am going to clothe myself in strength and dignity and smile at my future (Proverbs 31:25) Just like the wife of noble character.

Maya Angelou put it best when she said “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

And at some point, when I least expect it, God is going to answer my prayers and show me to the man of God that I will one day marry, and when that happens, I will still run full speed after God, only then I will have someone running right beside me.

-Elle

Interested in help for praying for your future husband? Check out this book: Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His By: Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer

What are your views on dating? How about dating as a Christian? This month I’m going to really focus on being a strong, single woman of God, and I invite you to come on this journey with me and to also write on the subject and let me know your ideas and thoughts