Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
When you are walking through a serious trial that requires real faith it is very easy to let your eyes look down at the circumstances and base your behavior on the situation surrounding you instead of focusing your eyes on Jesus.
Before God really began to teach me about how to fight in faith I would arrange for different people to talk and pray with Darin. Pastors, friends, friends of friends, and counselors.
Darin was always willing to talk to whoever I asked him to talk to. Always willing. Something that I will always remember and be grateful for. I remember one time asking Darin to talk with my friend Christa’s Dad over the phone. I was so hopeful that that would begin to fix our issues…but it didn’t. Darin says that it had nothing to do with Christa’s Dad but the fact that he (Darin) just wasn’t ready to listen. At the time I even thought about buying her Dad a plane ticket to come see us.
The first professional counseling appointment I went to, I went to make sure the counselor understood how ridiculous and crazy Darin was and how I was the sane one. I explained to her how this should not be happening to us. I mean we were Darin and Julie Sims, God was going to use us to change the world…this was not in His plan…we did not have time for this! I was so ignorant and arrogant when I think about it now.
I tried to manipulate all kinds of ways to get Darin to change. I listed off all the reasons why he should want to love me, I listed off everyone else’s reasons why he should love me and why it would be totally crazy to give up on us.
NONE of this worked. NONE of it! It wasn’t until I started focusing my eyes on Jesus, just keeping my eyes on him, not looking down for a second, standing on His Word, that things began to change.
When the police came to my door and delivered the divorce papers. My heart sank, I got in my car, drove to where my friend was working and told her that I had just been served papers and without skipping a beat, didn’t even shed a tear, I explained to her with confidence, that God was about to fix my marriage and the divorce would not be finalized.
Sitting with well meaning people, listening to them tell me “I deserve better” and thinking to myself, but God, you called me to marry Darin Sims. It cannot be right to give up. It just can’t be.
People that I thought were smarter than me showing me verses in the Bible that refer to men walking away from their faith. They were using those verses to give me permission and the OK to walk away. I remember hearing that thinking those aren’t the verses God is giving me! Something again, rising up in me saying that’s not going to be my husband…I’m not going to give up on what God has for him, or for us!
I also remember…
Someone putting their arm around me and saying, “It happens to good people, Julie.” I remember thinking, well then I’m not good people.
This is the truth!
Christians were the worst. I think it is because they have expectations of what they think a perfect marriage is suppose to look like. They are trying to have grace for the sin not the sinner, which doesn’t work. They have NO tolerance for a straying/stuggling/sinful spouse especially if it goes longer than a year or two. Zero tolerance!
A perfect example of this is the movie that came out Fire Proof. Now, I am all about that movie, its basically what I did. The problem I have with it, is the expectation it may put in people that things will get better in 40 days. This is what I say to you if your marriage gets fixed in 40 days. “You didn’t have a bad marriage!” This is what I say if it doesn’t get fixed in 40 days, “Start the 40 days over.”
Non-Christians were strangely accepting of my suffering. They really have no expectations of a perfect marriage. They are just hoping to have a good marriage. Their attitude was, welcome to life. If you want to suffer go right ahead.
You must remember…
This is your race. No one else’s race. I believe with all my heart God allowed certain things to be said to me to prove my faith. I believe this is the reason I was able to endure without getting bitter. When I would hear the opposite of what God was telling me, my faith would increase. It would ignite something in me to fight harder. It caused me to believe God more! God used people’s lack of understanding to increase my Faith…now that’s God! This reminds me of Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.
This is also the truth!
If I listened to what others told me to do, I would be spending weekends and alone.
It’s your race, now run it!