The Door: Shut and Locked

It is quite normal for a Covenant Keeper to experience being with their spouse’s family for various reasons. Family members get sick and a hospital visit is the right thing to do. Children have birthdays and graduations from high school and college with a family gathering to celebrate an accomplishment. A family member dies and there is a funeral to attend. There will be reasons why you, your spouse and your spouse’s family will be together and many times this gathering happens in a small space making it impossible to ignore anyone. Often your spouse will be there with the other person. If this has not happened to you, it probably will happen. It is best if you can deal with your emotions in advance of the event.

I remember when our oldest child graduated from high school. I had saved money so that I could have a gathering at our home to celebrate his accomplishments. I wanted Rex to come, but I had no intention that the other woman would be invited. Marilyn Conrad was my mentor and cheerleader at that point in my life and she quickly set me straight on what behavior was appropriate. She, not so gently, told me that I was going to invite both of them and that I would be a gracious hostess to them. She said I could fall apart when it was all over but until that time my behavior would be a shining example of Christ living big in my life.

These were great words of wisdom. Because my CK group was praying for me I was able to do exactly what Marilyn said. The Holy Spirit in me prevailed instead of my flesh. It wasn’t easy, but with Him all things are possible. When we are faced with this type of circumstance, carefully choosing your plan of action based upon the Word will bring Jesus into this situation and bless all who witness it. I didn’t slam the door shut in order to sooth my flesh but rather propped it open so that the Holy Spirit could work not only in my life but the lives of the people around me. Keep in mind that Marilyn was very involved in my life and was operating from the Spirit of God within her. She prevented me from being reckless so that God’s grace could be extended to everyone involved. God gave me the grace to walk this out exactly when I needed the grace and not a moment before.

Later in my stand, the Lord told me that He would give grace to someone in my extended family to be able to love Rex again. Until then He was just giving me the grace to love Rex. Sure enough, before Rex started on his road home, the Lord began to give my extended family grace to love Rex. It was a sign of Rex’s return home.

The healing of a family is so much more than just the healing of a marriage. I believe that for an impact that large to happen there are many restorations that take place. Everyone involved will see and know the power of our Jesus! But until then your family does not understand what you are doing. Right now you may be the only person receiving grace to love your spouse. But you can be assured that when other family members need God’s grace to understand your stand, He will graciously extend His grace to them. Until then He wants you to walk in the grace to love your spouse, no matter what.

A covenant keeper shared this situation with me:

“Thank you, Carolyn for that encouraging word. You made me think of the larger picture. There are many people that are impacted (by my stand) and will be impacted in the future. I was just thinking this morning how comfortable I am with my husband’s family and with being together with him and the other person. After a funeral for one of his family members, my daughter and I sat at the same table for lunch because he invited us to sit there. I sat next to his sister who has always been very nice to me and whom I visit. One of her daughters told me that I am part of their family. The nieces and nephews still call me their aunt.

“The fact that I forgave him and the other person from the get-go has opened all of these doors for me to be there and to be comfortable. And of course that inner heart and soul healing is so key. I can’t thank Jesus enough for what He is doing. To God be the glory.”

Jesus may never ask you to become best friends with the other person in your spouse’s life, but He does expect you to pray for them and to treat them in a civil manner. You cannot expect the Father to heap grace upon you if you are slamming and locking the door on His grace being extended to your spouse and the other person. It is the goodness of the Lord that draws people to Him. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 (NASB)

Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you as you give grace to others that He will give you the grace to continue to love your spouse.

Author: Carolyn Johnson
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