Through my counseling ministry, I have learned that holidays can be particularly disappointing for believers. We live in a world that is hard, scary, and sometimes downright hurtful. Yesterday the world offered us cliche and commercial messages of love. For some, these messages might have led to greater service and love for their spouses. For others, the messages led to heartache, pointing to unfulfilled longings resulting from divorce, a broken marriage, death of a spouse, or singleness.
How was your day yesterday? Whether it was good or hard, I have a message of encouragement and hope. Even the most loving relationship on earth pales in comparison to the far superior intimacy Christ has for you. He is preparing for you a wedding day that will surpass all others. Every broken intimate moment here is being used to fashion your clothing for that day.
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.” For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” Revelation 19:7–8
I want to represent this intimacy, that Christ offers you not just for the future but for today, in a story about Cassie.
Cassie came to me in a distressed marriage. Her husband was passive and uninterested and he didn’t seem care. She was not happy and reacted in harsh ways. She yelled, threw items, or even hit him. It was her attempt to force her husband to care. When he would yell back it brought a strange comfort to her—it let her know he was still there. What was motivating Cassie’s behavior? As we met we discovered together that underneath Cassie’s anger was fear and sadness. She longed for a husband who cared. Her aggressive behavior was an attempt to make him care. As God gave her insight into her heart and how it was acting out, she was able to take her emotions to God instead of against her husband. She was raw emotionally and at times wrestled with God. The intimacy God offers allows us to bring our hurts and our anger to him. If you read the Psalms closely you see that God welcomes strong emotions and engagement.
It was a beautiful thing to witness, Cassie finding her own voice and her own story in the Psalms. As she wrestled with the pain of being unknown and unheard by her earthly husband she found intimacy and communion with her eternal husband. Did that take away all her pain? No. Did it change her husband? No. But it radically changed Cassie. Her voice was heard. Her pain was seen and known, and it mattered to God.
Cassie’s story is still in process. She now has a trusted friend she can call when her emotions feel overwhelming, someone who can help her turn to God when even he feels distant. She experiences care and intimacy not only with God in her prayers and in the Psalms but also in the community of her church. Grace tends to be like glitter, it falls off on others and sticks. Recently, her husband has noticed that Cassie doesn’t have as many outbursts. He sees the process of change. God is slowly working in his heart and providing a desire for change as well.
The counseling process can be painful and lengthy. Lasting change usually comes in the form of small steps. Please pray for Cassie and her husband to learn how to communicate in godly ways. Pray for her friend who when called upon needs words of grace that meet the needs of the moment. Pray for her pastors and church community, it is hard to notice when people are struggling.
And pray for me and our 10 counselors at Redemption: Twin Cities. Ask God to help us work in such a way that we know who our Redeemer is and rely on the Holy Spirit to bring about change. Pray that each of us will be growing and deepening our own intimacy with Christ as we offer him to others.
May you experience the love of God today, especially if you are disappointed about yesterday.
Biblical Counseling Director for Redemption: Twin Cities