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Today’s Truth

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me”

Song of Solomon 2:10 NIV

Friend to Friend

I could hear the wailing from the driveway. It was 5:10 a.m. and nature soundly slept. All was quiet, except for the animal-like cries making their way out the back door and into the still dark dawn. My husband and his sister were giving their mom the news that her husband of sixty years had passed away. After three months in a rehab facility recovering from a fall, Bruce Jaynes quietly slipped away and took Jesus’ hand.

Jesus or no Jesus, Mary Ellen was devastated that her husband had left her.
“How could he leave me?” she cried through salty tears. “He said he wouldn’t leave me.”

They had been a matched set. Like a candlestick made to be part of a pair whose mate had gone missing, her light was exponentially dimmer without her Bruce.

In the following months, Mary Ellen walked with the limp of a woman missing half of herself. Her forced smile looked pained. It was difficult to watch as two intertwined souls became a single strand. Four grown children and their spouses, plus a slew of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, took extra care to let her know that she was loved and needed, but it was never enough.

Six months after Bruce took his last breath, Mary Ellen joined him. After a fun-filled day at a great-grandchild’s birthday party, she had a heart attack and left us in a matter of minutes.

I think of the words of Solomon to his soon to be Shulammite bride.

Listen! My beloved!

Look! Here he comes,

leaping across the mountains,

bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

Look! There he stands behind our wall,

gazing through the windows,

peering through the lattice.

My beloved spoke and said to me,

“Arise, my darling,

my beautiful one, come with me.

And she did. Bruce’s Shulammite had gone to be with her beloved.

After my father-in-law had gone to heaven, I think of how my mother-in-law would have loved to pick his dirty socks off the bedroom floor one more time. How she would have given anything to hear him blowing his nose too loud in front of company. How she would have happily ironed his shirts yet again. How she would have loved to hear his snoring rather than the silence of the night. How she would much rather cook a meal for two than heat up a bowl of soup for one.

What would she say to those teetering on the brink of divorce, who huff in frustration, who turn their backs to their husband’s reaching hand in the night? I think she would hold their gaze with a knowing look. Grasp their hands with an urgent plea. I think she would tell them that marriage is worth fighting for. It’s worth the hurt and the healing. The ups and the downs. The irritations and the celebrations.

I think she’d tell them that the big picture of marriage is created with the brush strokes of tiny moments—that both the dark and the vibrant hues are necessary for depth and beauty to emerge. That the marriage of two imperfect people is the perfect recipe for God’s glory to manifest itself to a longing world. That the legacy of a lifetime is too precious to toss away. Work at it. Give it all you’ve got. Start over as many times as you have to, as long as it’s with the same man. The best marriage you will ever have is the one you have right now.

She would remind us that marriage isn’t all about you and me. It’s about glorifying God. It’s about sacrifice. It is about caring for the needs of someone else above your own. It is about believing in the impossible when your hope is all but gone. It’s about asking God to give you wisdom and then having the courage to change when he reveals the problem is you. It’s about a covenant with the God who intertwines two souls with the thread of His presence.

I think she would say to forgive quickly and completely. Don’t waste one day on bitterness or resentment. Because time is precious and fleeting, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. All you have is today.

Let’s Pray

Lord, thank You for today. Help me not to waste it, regret it, or take it for granted. Help me to see today as the gift that it is.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What would you do today if you knew it was your last?

How would you treat your husband if you knew that today would be the last day he’d be on this earth.

I know that some of our GiG readers have already experienced that last day. I would love for you to comment and share with those of us who haven’t any words of advice.

More From the Girlfriends

The Song of Solomon is a confusing book for many. But when you break the code and decipher the romantic language, it all makes sense. In my latest release, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon, you’ll see God’s design for one of His greatest gifts. Parts of it will have you saying, “Is that really in the Bible?” Yep, God made sure of it. Click on www.lovestruckthebook.com for more details.

25 Responses to “What My Mother-in-Law Would Tell You”

  1. Cyndee says:

    Good Morning and Thank you for sharing this message! It is definitely one I want to focus on … I love my husband of 40 years more each day, and I want to be sure he knows that. God’s blessings always!!!

  2. Val says:

    Lovely. Piercing. Thank you for this.

  3. Pat says:

    Good morning…i am a widow twice (36 years of age and then again at 49) and can’t stress enough to all whom I meet these exact sentiments. We have no idea how precious our marriages are until they are no longer. Fight for your marriage, fight for your spouse and treasure each and every day that you are given together. On a scale of 1 to 10, that “thing” that is between you is a “0” in comparison to the anguish of soul that accompanies the loss of our mates. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Today’s GIG hits so close to home as I had my last day 7 1/2 years ago and there isn’t one day that I wish for one more hug, hand held,conversation or any of the other ordinary things that became so normal over our 35 years together. I actually just shared with our grown married daughter that my deepest regret was fussing at him about nonsense and I guess what is knitpicking over such unimportant things. I realize that we all get busy and life is happening and patience and time grows short so we focus on the here and now in those moments but if you can step back and pause before reacting your reaction wouldn’t be one of regret. I have no doubt my husband loved me completely and that he knew how much I loved him but my one regret was and is that my tone when making comments over those little things wasn’t always full of patience and grace. All those little moments are what I long for now, all the little habits and touches are so missed,even the annoying ones. He is fabulously free and with Jesus and for that I am so thankful but the moment he left me my life was forever changed . Gentleness is a great quality and one that should be showered over those that matter most. It is by GOD’S grace that I had a great love and by HIS grace that I continued on this journey each day. I am blessed !

  5. Tonia says:

    Good morning! Thanks so much for this message. I just celebrated 18 years of marriage on Monday. Your message hit home with me. I find myself taking my marriage for granted at time. Life takes over us sometimes. Thank you!

  6. Kami says:

    My husband and I tell each other that we love them at each parting. A phone call, going to bed, running to the store, all of them. Even if we’re angry. Because you never know what God has planned.

  7. Sandi says:

    First, I want to say that this is a beautiful story. When We married, my husband and I said that our story would be like this one. Even before we were dating and were just best friends, we said that we would grow old together, after our spouses passed. Unfortunately, after 22 years, my husband passed. I love seeing couples who have been married 50-60 years- that’s how it should be.

    God has walked, carried and loved me every step of the way. I have never been angry, but often I do wonder why. Then I remember His plan for my life is bigger than I could ever imagine! My heart breaks when I think of the words and actions that were directed at him, after a frustrating day with the kids. I wish I could redo all those moments. I wish there were more hugs and smiles when he walked through the door. More moments of holding hands, or gazing with love into his eyes. More random dancing in the kitchen. But through all the valleys, God showed His Grace and Love. 5 years prior to his passing, my husband accepted Christ, and he put his trust in Him.

    So put down your phones, hug more, hold hands more, dance more, pray for him more, flirt more, love more.

  8. Jess says:

    This is a wonderful piece. We lost our father a year and two months ago today and I know we lost apart of our mom with him. Though she has her children and grandchild, I know it’s no where close to the love she shared with my dad. It also seems like by acknowledging it, it sends her into a deeper hole. I don’t know if she’ll ever really grasp her new normal. But in reading this he gave me a deeper insight to her pain and has helped to try and be a little more patient with her.

  9. Michelle says:

    Absolutely beautiful and so true! Kathleen’s comments are such truth also. I look at some of my comments to my husband of 29 years and think it’s high time I speak a little more gentle, respectful and full of grace. He deserves it! Thank you for today’s devotion.

  10. Debbie says:

    Thank you Sharon. Beautifully written. We’ve been married 42 yrs. It still takes work. We truly are an example of the Lord working through us, for at the ages of 18 & 19 we really didn’t know what we were doing (We just thought we knew!) I am often reminded of how life is quickly slipping away & the knit picky things that tend to irritate us just don’t matter. They are a tool the enemy uses to put strife in the lives of Jesus’s disciples.

  11. Gabrielle Jordan says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

  12. Kris D. says:

    This was so beau it brought me to tears. Thank you!

  13. Kim says:

    Thankyou for this reminder..my marriage has been a challenge, to say the least! My husband and I have been married for 28 plus years and we have 6 beautiful, now adult, children together. My husband struggles with alcoholism and has for the majority of our married years. There have been many moments of despair, hopelessness, and devastation… but not once has divorce entered my mind…separation, yes! But never divorce. This alone is a miracle of God and not once have I felt he wasn’t walking along the road with me. This has been our saving Grace! All credit and honour and glory (if there is any in our marriage to speak of, lol) is due to Him! He is in the middle holding these two messy people together! We love each other and most times we don’t even know why! We just do! That’s a miracle! We live in a small, remote, northern community and I was approached to lead a prayer and support/bible study group! Me! And my messy marriage! Now that’s a miracle! I want to leave a legacy to my children and others with not so perfect marriages that it’s worth it! No matter what society says! Gods idea of marriage and family is the answer to this broken world…and that even messy marriages matter❤️, thanks for listening and I hope this encourages someone out there with similar struggles that it’s ‘ok’ to keep working on your not so perfect marriage and that your not alone in choosing to love someone who struggles with alcoholism❤️God loves us ALL!

  14. Alana says:

    Today’s article was so needed in my life right now!! We are a newly retired couple so we’re together constantly. Little things tend to get on my nerves!! My patience is not what it used to be! I can’t imagine my life without him !!! He is my perfect match. I pray that after reading this article (which was so we’ll written) I will appreciate my sweet husband more. He deserves the best.😍

  15. Alana says:

    Today’s article was so needed in my life right now!! We are a newly retired couple so we’re together constantly. Little things tend to get on my nerves!! My patience is not what it used to be! I can’t imagine my life without him !!! He is my perfect match. I pray that after reading this article (which was so we’ll written) I will appreciate my sweet husband more. He deserves the best.😍

  16. Donna says:

    Today’s message hurt….. a lot.

    This Sunday marks 2 years ago that my husband of 30 years turned his back on me and our children and suddenly left me without a word of warning. He was my rock. My soulmate. My EVERYTHING. And he left without even taking his toothbrush to be with another woman. Our divorce was final this past May but it has been 2 years of pain for the kids and I.

    I have often said it would have been easier for us all if he had died.

    I have been in therapy for the past 2 years trying to rebuild my confidence as he turned this all around and blamed me for his leaving. I am finally feeling like I’m in a better place, but this message hit a nerve for me today (Sorry!). Like Mary Ellen, I wish I had a chance for a “do over”, but I keep telling myself that God has something better in store for me…it’s the trusting Him to lead the way that’s the hard part!

  17. Gina says:

    Thank you for sharing this story about your mom in law and her grief. I agree, if she were alive today she would have wisdom to share with women who struggle with forgiveness. I am one. After 20-years of marriage, I divorced my sons father because I had hardened my heart. Unable to cope with the pornography with which he struggled I could only see it as a sin against me and I extended little or no mercy. Now, almost 20 years later I have seen my part in that struggle, my own inability to come alongside my husband as his helpmate taking a stand against the devils schemes. I’m married again to a wonderful Christian man, but I have forever lost my first love. Not a day goes by without regret and the damage the divorce did to our sons (they were 13 and 16), continues in their lives. I’m not saying, “excuse the behavior “ but if I had it to do again, I’d spend more time on my knees interceding and less time on the phone complaining. Our God is a God of mercy and miracles!! In my first marriage, I didn’t stick around long enough to get the blessing. I pray if you are being hurt in the same way you take a stand and confide in women prayer warriors to pray with you and lift you up. May the Lord richly bless you today with His mercy, kindness, and love.

  18. Janis says:

    We just celebrated our 50th anniversary💞. All the glory goes to God! We have survived infidelity, the loss of our daughter and divorce. When we were young we divorced for 4 1/2 yrs, got saved and remarried. We still had many problems but we had a mediator Jesus we could go to at a moments notice. When you put God first there are is no telling what he can do with your marriage if you let him lead. It is not easy to live with someone you see there every imperfection, but not your own. Someone gave my husband great advice if you want your wife to change, you change and she’ll respond. He was 100% correct! My husband is very sensitive, I never saw it until my sister said it to me. It changed how I looked at him, also made sense how he reacted to things. All this to say surround yourself with praying positive people who believe marriage is a sacred bond and look at the positive. Nothing is impossible to God. No one said it would be easy but it’s so worth it.

  19. Janis says:

    We just celebrated our 50th anniversary💞. All the glory goes to God! We have survived infidelity, the loss of our daughter and divorce. When we were young we divorced for 4 1/2 yrs, got saved and remarried. We have survived infidelity and our daughter was left quadriplegic for 7 yrs after an accident and than passing away. We still had many problems but we had a mediator Jesus we could go to at a moments notice. When you put God first there are is no telling what he can do with your marriage if you let him lead. It is not easy to live with someone you see there every imperfection, but not your own. Someone gave my husband great advice if you want your wife to change, you change and she’ll respond. He was 100% correct! My husband is very sensitive, I never saw it until my sister said it to me. It changed how I looked at him, also made sense how he reacted to things. All this to say surround yourself with praying positive people who believe marriage is a sacred bond and look at the positive. Nothing is impossible to God. No one said it would be easy but it’s so worth it.

  20. Karen says:

    AMEN and AMEN…. Sharon, I think THIS devotional of yours is among the VERY BEST you have ever written, sharing your heart like this. THANK YOU for your heartfelt words of wisdom, encouragement and love. THIS IS AWSOME!
    (coming from a second-chance … loving your husband of 32 years of marriage!)

  21. Lou says:

    This is such a powerful message and so true! Life is fleeting. Nothing is guaranteed, and all too often, we forget that. We focus on things that don’t really matter and forget what does matter. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Hopefully, those of us who are still blessed to have our spouses will remember your words when we get frustrated with the small things in life.

  22. Elena says:

    Amen 💜

  23. Marie says:

    I forwarded this devotional to my fiancée. We both lost our spouses and are making plans to be married.
    After being married for 45 years to my high school sweetheart, I feel blessed to have found that kind of love again.
    Although love at our age is different, the things that make or break a marriage are not.
    I will not fuss about the small things…. and in reality they are all small things!!!
    Thank you for this devotional

  24. LesL says:

    Thank you Sharon, lovely and hopeful message, agree 100% with it, marriage is worth fighting for. Now what if my husband is CHEATING on me? – what to do? How to fight? Confront him or not? God help me!

  25. Bernadette says:

    This was a nice message. I am divorced 8 years now and it still hurts. I still feel rejected but I know I am loved by God.

    My ex-husband and I share two children so he is still in my life. Sometimes we are mean to each other but more and more I am realizing that I should not respond to him when he says or do things to upset me and I should not go out or my way to be mean to him. Silence is golden. It is also the best response.

    My prayer is that I remarry some day. I am 40 and I want to share my life with someone. I want to be close friends with someone. It is nice to have a shoulder to cry on sometimes. It is nice to have someone to talk things through with.

    Being single is tough but I have to trust God.

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