Today's post was written by Dawn Stephens, the Minister to Women at Brook Hills. To read part 1 of this post, click here.

During those dark days while we were waiting and I was pleading for God to “do something” in my husband’s life, I learned a few lessons that I hope encourages you.

Stay faithful to God and your marriage

It will be normal for you to have thoughts that tell you to “run” from the day-to-day struggles of uncertainty and questions. It will also be normal to wonder if God sees and really cares about where your husband and family are walking that day.

But, remember a few things:

Wherever you “run,” life follows. Your running away from home, into a unhealthy relationship, or to obsessive thoughts only makes the situation worse for you and your husband.

But there is one place I want to encourage you to “run” - to God.

Daily make a choice to stay faithful to your marriage and husband by “running to them in your mind” each morning. One way, is to keep a picture of your wedding day close to remind you of your commitment to him.

If you are reading this and have given up on God ever solving your husband’s problems, good! You may say I’m crazy, but I truly believe that once you “give up” trying to solve his problems and focus on “running” to God each day, the load is lighter for you.

I admit, I did not “give up” soon enough trying to solve Greg’s problems, which caused some contentious and heated moments. For us task-oriented women, this is extremely hard! It's something we can only do in Christ’s strength.

Matthew 11:29-30 says, “'Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'”

Take Christ’s yoke (representing something that keeps an animal straight and focused on the task) and learn from Him. How do you do that?

By listening to Him, reading His Word consistently, and the key, “submitting daily (maybe hourly) to Christ’s control of your thoughts, words, and choices. Let His “yoke” gently guide you back to your Master each day. Ask God to tell you where you are trying to control and manipulate your husband’s current struggles. Then, do what He tells you to do!

Stay connected to God and community

As hard as it is to stay focused on what God is telling you during your husband’s current struggles, do! Commit to read the Word daily in order to anchor your thoughts and emotions. Set your heart and mind on His ways, not your worries.

For a full-time working mother, carving out time each day to be in the Word and to engage in uninterrupted prayer is very hard. I learned one tip, which was using my car as my “prayer closet.” I read and prayed there each morning before going into the office. I encourage you to ask God to help you be creative in how you stay connected to Him!

A few passages that were especially encouraging to me include:

  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

  • “'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

  • "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

In Hebrews 10:25, Paul encourages us to “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I want to encourage you to participate consistently in a women’s small group. Ask God to direct your path to a church in your area and to inquire about women’s small group Bible studies.

You desperately need other Christian women to walk with you on this journey. Seek out a small group and ask God to bring an older woman into your life. Listen and learn from her. God has allowed other women to walk this road to now be able to encourage you.

Please, dear sister, as much as possible attend weekly worship services. The Scripture preached and the songs sung will encourage and embolden you to face the next week and fortify you to live with your husband’s struggles.

There will be Sundays that your flesh will be tempted to stay home, sleep in, and not attend worship. In anticipation of those days, I encourage you to pray the night before, asking God for good rest and a renewed anticipation to worship with His body!

Stay focused on loving your husband and helping him “fight”

I want to strongly encourage you during this season to verbalize, through words spoken or written, your love and commitment to your husband and marriage. Often, people walking through seasons of discouragement start thinking unhealthy thoughts like leaving their family, that life is better somewhere else, or that everyone is “against them.” These are just lies of the enemy and have to be fought with the Word of God.

There will be days your spouse is too weak and discouraged to fight. This is when you can be used by God to guide him to a deeper faith by:

  • Reading Scripture to him, maybe even at bedtime

  • Pray with him before he starts his day.

  • Contradict unbelieving and pessimistic beliefs with Christ-centered and Scripturally consistent truth. How about tucking one into his briefcase or lunch a few times a week?

  • Stop him from “talking himself worse” by accurately portraying the situation back to him

  • Urge him to “preach the gospel” to himself instead of preaching gloom and doom!

There may be times that you need to be extra sensitive and mindful that your husband’s discouragement has turned to depression and hopelessness. If so, let me encourage you to talk open and honestly with him about these feelings and then together with your family doctor.

As I look back on our journey that is still unfolding, I can actually thank God for the perseverance and faith that it grew in me.

As James 1:3-4 says, “Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Because as we all know, another testing of our faith is just around the corner…