This morning I had the awesome privilege of visiting a church in Broomfield and spending the morning with their MOPS group.
We talked about Philippians 4:4-9 in the context of marriage--about rejoicing in the Lord and finding our joy in him, about what it means to be gentle, about turning worry into prayer, about letting God do the job of guarding our hearts, about changing our thought patterns about our husbands, about putting into practice what God teaches us.
I'm always a little surprised at some of the things that come out of my mouth. I do prepare and study a lot in preparation, but sometimes I say things I wasn't planning to say! And much of the time, it's exactly what I need to hear. And it's always interesting to hear what stands out to others--I love the conversations that happen afterward. In fact, I hung around for almost two hours after I was done today, visiting and listening to what these precious women had to say.
I shared quite a bit about the path that Toben and I have walked--especially through the hard valley of him being diagnosed as bi-polar. I was amazed at how many women commented on that--and how bi-polarity or other mental health issues have touched so many lives in a relatively small group.
One of the things that I have prayed is that God would use what we've been through to bless others--and he continually answers that prayer. Today was a good example of that, as I hope I was able to encourage some of these women who are just beginning to walk the path of dealing with a husband's mental illness by testifying to God's faithfulness in leading us through. It's such a hard place to be--and at times it seems like there's no light at the end of the tunnel.
I don't have all the answers by any means (there's that lesson from Beth Moore's Stepping Up again!), but I remember so well just needing someone to listen and give me a hug. And too, I know that God's power for Toben and me was unleashed by the prayers of so many people lifting us up to the Father. So I'm committed to praying for these women who shared with me today--that God would work his good, pleasing, and perfect will in their lives, that he would provide them with strength and encouragement for each day, that they would grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of God is for them.