Ministry has proven overwhelming. I cannot let it "roll off my back" as I hear of marriages being destroyed and lives being crushed. I carry the burden. I needed a long walk today to vent my frustrations to God. Why did He create us, knowing full well that Satan, our enemy,would pursue us endlessly? That just doesn't feel like love, not today. Recently, God has been preparing us for full-time ministry on campus by using friends as tools for creating boundaries. This week, we were shown that there was a need to further protect our marriage. No matter how much I love another family, Todd must minister to the males, I minister to the females. No one of the opposite sex can be in the house when only one of us is here, even with kids home. It left open the door for Satan to whisper into Todd's ear lies that he just couldn't shake... Even more, no long phone conversations, because they foster too much intimacy. That was shocking to me, because I just want to be a listening friend. The line has been drawn, and we are working to obey.
As I walked, I reflected on the effect sin has in our lives. Each decision triggers another, opening the door to deeper obedience to Christ, or sadly, opening the door to disobedience, and allowing Satan a foothold. In my mindseye, I saw sin, depicted as an altar to worship. Just like in Old Testament times, something must be burning on the top of that altar. What is burning? Those people, dreams, relationships- that are affected because I chose sin rather than God's way. They are sitting on top, burning into ash that will become marred forever. In marriages, kids are being sacrificed for so many cheap desires. I began to ask God, what was my altar, my sin? Were my kids suffering, my marriage? I would like to say God said, "No, Tami, you're doing great." Not so much. Each time I sacrifice my time with God, for laundry, a nap, Facebook, or this website, I am starting a domino effect in my life. Where it ends I do not know. It scared me though. How will it change my marriage, Garrett and Joshua? How will it change me in the future? Without a doubt, it makes it harder for me to hear from the Holy Spirit.
God has really been pressing me about protecting my marriage. He has been blessing us, just recently, redeeming an area that really reflected more death than life since our wedding day. Another insight from God about the domino effect. Since we didn't wait for each other physically, we both brought in baggage we didn't know we were carrying. Eight years later, we are still dealing with the effects. It has been eight years of praying for God to heal us. Praise God for the healing, but I wish I understood the domino effect as a teenager. Satan truly deserves the name, The Deceiver. Once that first domino falls, the deception becomes harder and harder to recognize. Where am I being deceived? Where is my unconfessed sin? Well, I am off for a quiet time. Time to wait on the Holy Spirit's voice.