2 posts categorized "Trish Fuhlendorf"

Guest Post: Lessons Around the Mountain

Dear friends, I'm so happy to have Trish Fuhlendorf back with us today. I love this post she's written for us about control. It's a good word for us, especially right now, because we in no way want to interfere with whatever God wants to do in our pre-believers. Love you! ~Dineen

Lessons Around the Mountain
by Trish Fuhlendorf

Fotolia_87585133_XSI recently took a personality profile called the DISC for my job. It’s referred to as a talent insights report. D-I-S-C breaks down as follows: D=Dominance, I=Influence, S=Steadiness and C=Compliance.

Shocker of all shockers, I am high “I” (Influencer) and high “D” (Dominance). In layman’s terms, my personality can be summarized as controlling.  One of my husband’s most frequently used expressions is, “your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.” True, indeed. My personality is perfect in my profession. As a matter of fact, all of my colleagues on my team who hold the same job are also high “I” and high “D”. I guess we controlling types just naturally gravitate to sales oriented work.

Here in lies the problem with being controlling; it does not work in our relationship with God. Jesus tells us that we are to lay down our cross and follow Him, or in other words, completely surrender. For a high “I,” high “D,” this is my daily battle. As Joyce Meyer once said, “God doesn’t fail us when we stumble. He just says, “Another time around the mountain, my child.”

Flashback to 1998 when God saved me and suddenly I found myself in an unequally yoked marriage with all the heartbreak that this implies. I remember thinking, “my worldview has completely changed; now Stu and I have nothing in common.” In addition to this, we also had to contend with the other huge thorn in our marriage, addiction to alcohol.

So in comes Trish, the bull in the china shop; ready to take charge! “If I can get Stu saved, eventually he will get sober, we will have the same world view, and life will be perfect”. So began my first trip around the mountain. I would leave Christian books on his bedside table. I would post scriptures on the inside of our medicine cabinet (subtle, right?). And last, but not least, I would plot and plan as to how to surround him with godly men that would of course, influence him. I can almost hear God laughing as I write.

As I was putting my plan into action, I continued to study God’s Word. I kept finding scriptures like John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you” and 1 Corinthians 2:14 ” The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” I asked myself, “How can I fill Stu with the Holy Spirit, so that he understands?” I can’t. This is something that only God can do.

Initially, these scriptures were upsetting to me because they removed me from the equation. After lots of prayer and reflection I learned that it was all about God’s work in Stu. My job was to fully surrender. My only “control” if you will, was prayer. Although prayers are not intended as a way of controlling God, they are our way of being in relationship with Him; our way to fully surrender our spouses to Him. To know that I no longer needed to orchestrate my husband’s salvation was freeing.

It is exhausting trying to control someone else’s life.  And while I learned an important lesson during this time of my life, still my personality and natural impulse in life is to control. I am a mountain girl after all.

Side Note: I asked Stu what topic he thought I should write on. He said, “Tell everyone what a control freak you were during our unequally yoked years.” No offense taken.

 

Trish headshotTrish Fuhlendorf is first and foremost a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. She is a wife, married 28 years. God saved her in her mid thirties, then her husband about 10 years later. She is a tireless advocate for the covenant of marriage and has a love and compassion for those in the bondage of addiction. She is a Regional Manager for K-LOVE and Air1, a mother of 2 adult children, loves her home state of Colorado, her 2 big dogs, cooking and exercise (to off-set the cooking).

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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Guest Post by Trish Fuhlendorf: Happy vs. Holy

IStock_000016466788XSmallAfter I became a Christian, it seemed like my marriage got a little worse every day. Stu couldn’t stand the fact that I was a Christian. He hated seeing me read the Bible and if he saw me reading a paperback, he would always ask what I was reading; knowing that it would be another Christian book. Then the criticism would begin, “Is that the only thing you can read?”

In addition to the light vs. dark dynamic that was getting worse all the time, his drinking and subsequent anger were on the rise. I got to a point where I couldn’t find any commonality between us and I dreaded him walking through the door each evening.

I remember seeking counsel from a woman at my church. She suggested that I make a list of Stu’s positive attributes. This would accomplish two things, it would help me focus on the good qualities of my husband and also give me ideas of things on which I could compliment him. However, asking me to swim the English Channel would have seemed an easier task. I stared at a blank piece of paper for what seemed an eternity. Finally, I came up with 2 or 3 attributes. It was a painful and ultimately pathetic assignment.

Where was the relief? I searched the Bible for an “out clause” of my marriage, but found nothing that applied to my situation. I cried out, “I am so unhappy. Isn’t there something in the Bible that tells me that God is concerned about my happiness?” I found verses talking about the “joy of the Lord,” but nothing about me being happy. But how can God expect me to go through life unhappy?

Then He impressed upon me my role as a godly woman. I am called to live in relationship with God and that should affect all of my earthly relationships. My children will most likely be married someday. Do I want them to start their relationships with the legacy of divorce nipping at their heels? Would I ever advise them that if they’re unhappy in their marriage, they should just bail? What kind of godly example would I be if I ran to divorce just like so many in the world?

I didn’t fully comprehend what God was trying to tell me. Is God more concerned with my holiness than my happiness? Yes.

It was time for me to accept the husband that the Lord gave me, but it was also time for a change in me. This would only happen through Him.

Now, I wish there was a guarantee, that our obedience to Christ would one day be rewarded with happiness here on earth, but there is not. So, in choosing to actively love our spouses every day, even though you might think they don’t “deserve” it; remember that we do not deserve God’s grace and forgiveness, yet He gives it to us freely.

I started thinking about how much God loves my husband. I eventually thought to ask God to allow me to see my husband through His eyes. Almost instantly, I developed a profound compassion for him.

I also learned the difference between love, the feeling of affection, and love, the verb. And that love, the verb, is crucial to a successful marriage. I started enacting small, loving gestures each day toward my husband; resting my hand on his leg as he spoke to me, a kind text message in the middle of the day, a little unexpected gift, etc. These gestures were not easy at first. I had to force myself to do them, but over time they became easier and those feelings of affection returned to me.

Ultimately, God’s request for me to love my husband was not only possible, but with His help, my marriage improved tenfold. Happiness is not a goal that can be pursued or a state of being that can be lost. It is simply an emotion that we experience on and off throughout our entire lives as a reaction to our circumstances. Nine times out of ten, we have no control over the circumstances that dictate when our feelings of happiness come and go. So, the notion that a person will be happier if they trade in their current spouse for a different one is a bit ridiculous when you consider the lack of a logical foundation.

But, one thing God does tell us to pursue is joy. Joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is a fickle and fleeting emotion, while joy is contentment in the presence of God. I contend that if we grow in Christ and engage his expectation for our holiness, that joy will be present regardless of whether or not happiness chooses to show up.

 

Trish headshotTrish Fuhlendorf is first and foremost a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. She is a wife, married 27 years. God saved her in her mid thirties, then her husband about 10 years later. She is a tireless advocate for the covenant of marriage and has a love and compassion for those in the bondage of addiction. She is a Regional Manager for K-LOVE and Air1, a mother of 2 adult children, loves her home state of Colorado, her 2 big dogs, cooking and exercise (to off-set the cooking).

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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