Count It All Joy: The Journey of bringing Shalom into Our Home

The start of my family’s story is a rocky one, and that’s putting it nicely. Our jourey began about four years ago. My husband I were two very naive and impulsive kids who fell in love and got married fast. Absolutely, no one thought it was a swell idea, and with good reason. We were not in very healthy places, but we were head over heels in love. We made a rash decision to get married quickly without really taking the time to consider how it would impact those around us. We were just kids and only thinking of ourselves. Nobody thought we would make it. Our decision changed alot of lives. The last few years have been ROUGH. We barely knew each other and we have endured so much heartbreak, most of which we brought on ourselves. We have been through the ringer together.

My husband lost his little girl to leukemia in Feburary of 2018. It completely wrecked us both. We did not handle it well or walk through it gracefully. There was so much we could have and should have done better for her. In the aftermath of losing her our marriage was nearly destroyed. We were so so lost. There were many times we nearly walked away, but God had other plans for us.

I struggled severely with motherhood and being a wife.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and my little girls more than anything in this world, but I kept finding myself drained..mentally and emotionally. I spend so much of my day serving others, I felt so lost in all of it. The life I was living certainly wasn’t the life I thought I would have. Spending much of my teenage years and the beginning of my adult life in addiction, when I finally got help and got well, I was married with two kids. It was a whole other ballgame that I was sorely underprepared for. I had to learn and still am learning how to be a thriving mother and wife.

The first year and a half after having my girls I was a total total zombie. I was literally dead in my soul. Everything was on auto pilot. I was severely depressed and just going through the motions.

My husband was more or less on the same spiritually dead path I was. He became a father at the ripe age of 15. His childhood ended abruptly, but in his mind he was still very much a young boy. He did things in his own time, and in his own strength, and understanding. He wrestled with a pornography addiction for much of his life, which crippled his self-worth and value as a man. We got married young and had children young. Needless, to say we were a mess. Constantly, trying to bring our house in order, we kept going about it in the wrong way. The wrong way, being in our own strength.

We would make attempts to go to church and “grow up”. None, of which lasted, because we failed to maintain our day to day walk.

It was in the aftermath of losing my husband’s daughter that we really came to the end of ourselves. God truly makes good of all things. Losing her destroyed us both. There was absolutely no where to go but up.

We started going to a new church and began a journey that changed my whole life. My husband and I committed ourselves to living righteously and deepening our relationship with God. I had read about all these things in my bible of course, but had never truly applied biblical principles into my own life.

In away, before I was living out my own religion, although I had claimed it was Christianity. I had one foot set in the world and my other in what I thought was right standing with God. I had thought it was good enough. It absolutely was not. I took what sounded good to me in the bible, and disregarded the rest.

That kind of half-measured attitude kept me from growing, and if we’re not growing, we’re dying. That much was obvious in my own life.

In the beginning of my family’s journey we began to press into the Lord and bring our household into right order with God. Meaning, the husband is the head of our household.

We are to commit ourselves wholly and truly to God’s word and obey his commands. Which by the way, is not for the faint of heart. It was rough! Talk about some late nights. We had begun a marriage class over this very topic. We nearly questioned our poor pastors to death!

I have always been a very dominating person, at least in my personal relationships. Very much so in my marriage. I prayed and prayed for my husband to stand up and become a man of God, and when he finally did I wasn’t ready to let him be the head of our household. I felt it was wrong at first, so last century. I’m my own woman, I don’t need a man to rule me was my thinking. It’s the 21st century. Women can be their own bosses. Yes, they absolutely can, but in a marriage things, biblically, should flow differently. The way I was viewing the order of the household was in a perverted way. That’s not how God planned it. The husband has duties, many more, duties to fulfill for his wife, than she does for him. The beauty of it is, if both spouses are walking with God and obeying His word and their individual spousal duties, then it should all flow seamlessly.

It was a rough, rough transition. I still struggle sometimes with submitting to him in some things, but I can’t deny the peace that has settled in my home as a result.

Men need respect, and I didn’t have much respect for anybody back then, much less my husband, who in my opinion at the time wasn’t doing his part. When he finally began doing his part, I still had issues slaying my flesh and submitting to him when I disagreed with him, or when he called me out on my crap. I was argumentative and had to have the last word. We had crazy fights. I was very volatile. It was chaos. Slowly, but surely as we started walking with Christ I began to settle down and work on my issues. God, calls us to respect our husbands, because they have a huge job. When they finally meet their maker, they are not only responsible for their own walk, but ours, and our children.

That fiery urge inside of me to refuse to submit to my husband is a consequence of the fall of man, which happened all the way back in Genesis. People, by nature are sinful and rebellious. This stems from Eve eating the apple and sin entering the world. The enemy came in and disrupted the flow of the universe created by God by tempting Eve. It had a lasting consequence that still reigns today in every home where the Spirit doesn’t live. It all originated in the fall of the first family. Satan comes to cause confusion, kill, steal, and destroy. What, better way to do that, then going after the order of each household? When the father and the mother aren’t living righteously, their children can fall prey to the enemy. They aren’t reared and raised in the word, they don’t know to obey the word, and that’s how whole families are destroyed. This is why bringing our homes in right order is so very important. It’s not just about our marriages and our salvation. It affects generations to come.

At first my husband and I had to have a complete spiritual overhauling as individuals and come to terms about our own walk with Christ and all the things that desperately needed to change. Then our marriage needed a complete spiritual overhauling. Now our parenting is in the process of being healed. That’s the beauty of bringing your house into Shalom..it all flows down. My husband, got well, then I did. Then our marriage did..now we are finally raising our kids according to biblical principles and we are beginning to see the fruit of it. We are in the process of being sanctified. We are walking out our salvation and it has not been an easy journey. There’s been a lot of tears, but this time for righteousness sake. We were deeply sick and had so much to learn, but when we began to put into the day to day work. Peace began to reign in our lives.

The day to day work is completely dependent on each spouse, but when we are in unity it’s supernatural. God can really began to move in big ways.

My husband conquered his pornography addiction… I was freed from my addiction, and not only that, but my label as an addict. The misery and suffering we were walking in has been totally healed. The day to work includes studying and obeying his word, slaying our own flesh, and living not for ourselves, but for the Kingdom.

When Shalom (Peace) reigns in a home, God has the ability to use it’s occupants to advance the Kingdom. When Shalom is not present in our hearts or home , it makes it near impossible for him to use us. In fact, if we as children of God go into a home that does not have Shalom, God calls us to leave it. The bible is very clear on this.

God can’t move in places where he’s not invited.

The great benefit of all of this work, and it is work, but when we live it out, it replaces our sorrow with joy. We literally come alive with hope and anticipation for what God is doing all around us. Our entire beings and life takes on new meaning.

We were living a miserable existence until we began this journey. Now, my heart and my life is so full, and I can trust and know God is absolutely in control and ALL things work together for the good of those that love Him.

It was not easy getting to this place in life, but we perserved and we definitely still are being pruned for His Glory.

My marriage is finally in unity, our spirits are in unity, but the work is not over. Now God is really moving in the way we parent our children. As a result of my husband’s and my own upbringing, as well as our laziness, and just plain ignorance, we weren’t raising our children to know God, or disciplining them according to what was right. We were selfish and neglectful with our attention at times. My husband’s relationship with my eldest daughter was in shambles. He wasn’t around much due to work, and when he was home, he was still absent emotionally. When his first child, got sick, he felt so disconnected with his other children, and felt guilty spending time with them, when he couldn’t bring himself to see his other daughter. Our daughter didn’t trust him, nor like him very much. Every interaction they had was negative due to him only paying attention to her when she was acting up.

I wasn’t any better, possibly even worse. I was using on and off the first two years of her life, but I was a constant so she clung to me. Back then I was so depressed and I looked at motherhood as something I had to do and resented my children for it. I was so utterly selfish. There was no joy in it for me. I resented my husband, and my daughter watched the way I treated him and came to regard him the same way. She didn’t obey him.

It all flows down, from God, to the husband, to the wife, to the children. Unfortunately, so does all the negative behaviors. Our children soak up everything like little sponges. I was an angry and demanding person. My daughter has picked up those attributes.

Now, we are in the process of correcting all of this since bringing our household into right order. My daughter and my husband’s relationship is completely different. She loves him, and she actually listens to him now before me. He loves spending time with our girls. He cherishes them and values them. All of this plays into the way they view themselves.

My days now are filled with wonder. Yes, motherhood can be daunting and exhausting, but it’s beautiful. I have joy and I’m at peace knowing I’m raising my children right. The most amazing thing is, now that we’ve corrected these behaviors in our own lives, we are giving our children a much better start in life. They are now three and nearly two. They are teachable still. I can’t help but shudder to think of much difficult it would have been had to we began this journey when they were older, but it is never, never to late. Nothing is impossible with God.

If as parents, we are failing to build our children up and raise them well, they will not have much of chance out there in the world as adults, but it goes so much deeper than that. If we are not watering their souls and loving them, disciplining them, how can we ever expect them to come to know and love the Lord?

How could they put their trust in a God they can’t see, if they can’t trust the authority they can see? If we are not training our children to obey us, with a desire to obey us, then how are we going to expect them to obey anybody else? Especially, their Creator?

This is why it is so important to bring everything into right order, because our position now affects our children, their children, and their children. My husband’s and my own addictions were passed down from our own Father’s. We were raised with the knowledge of God, but we didn’t understand and weren’t taught to obey and love him. We went through a world of pain to get where we are now. Thankfully, our children won’t have as huge as a road to pave as we did.

We definitely do not have it all together and we still have so much to learn and put into place, but I am so, so excited to see what the Lord is going to do in our lives. I am extremely grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy, because I need it every day. This way of life is so much better than the one we were living, it takes work, but we reap a harvest of joy at every turn, because we are being sharpened and refined.

For anyone that happens to read this and has any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email. I’m happy to answer anything! Thank you if you stuck with me for this long!