Enduring Through the Pain (Part 2)
Every day, as we trust and obey our Heavenly Father, we are being transformed into the image of Jesus. God can use many things to do this, but often those things can be painful circumstances and trials in our lives. This is the message Kathy Gallagher has shared with many wives who have come to us devastated and broken by their husband’s betrayal. In part two of an interview with her, she shares more about this, from her experience and knowledge of the Word of God.
Nate: Today, I’d like to circle back to something that we touched on before. And that is that even though the Bible doesn’t have tons of specific instruction for wives, it does have a lot to say about being godly. Could you give some examples of that?
Kathy: It is very difficult to be a biblical wife. And I don't mean just a wife that professes to be a Christian, but a biblical wife. I'm still learning how to do that. My personality and the character traits that define me overall as a person fall so short of the ideal of what’s laid out in Scripture. The constant challenge for me is seeing my failure. I see my weakness as a wife, as a Christian and as a leader in this ministry. I see it all the time, but it also challenges me and ignites my desire to grow. Getting saved is just the beginning of this process. We are in the process of being saved. We get saved and we come into the Kingdom, but we are being saved, and we are coming out of the world's mindset. We've entered into a different Kingdom, and its principles and values are so vastly different than what we are used to. It's a painful process going from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light. It's glorious in the beginning, but that journey is a painful, painful journey.
You can easily separate yourself from the outward things of this world, but I find that the mindset of the spirit of this age is the hardest thing to overcome. For us women who have been so hurt by our husband’s sexual sin, our reaction to pain, suffering and injustice in our natural self is to retaliate, get mad, demand our rights and fight for our cause. But that’s exactly what the world does. When we act like that, we don't look much different than an unsaved woman who finds out her husband is in sexual sin. I don't mean to be pointing my finger condemning anybody for that reaction. That is totally a natural response. But if you look at Jesus’ life, it helps you come out of the world’s mindset, or at least see more clearly how the spirit of the world is trying to shape your thinking.
Jesus is our example and look at the attitudes He had to deal with in the disciples. In the Gospels you get a very clear picture of the worldly mindset that the disciples were in. But Jesus was showing them very patiently His interior world and what being His follower should look like. The humility and lowliness of His heart is the antithesis of the spirit of this world. That's where we get off track as women. One of the main characteristics of a godly Christian, whether you are a woman or man, is humility. If we're not humble, it's hard to be broken, it's hard to repent and it's hard to forgive.
You've got to start with humility. I think that's why Jesus made such a big deal about it. And He was Himself lowliness personified. Another essential trait found in a godly wife is gratitude, but the question can easily arise, how am I supposed to be grateful? Women may ask themselves how they can be grateful when their husband has just created such a big mess in the marriage. But we are told to be grateful in every circumstance in the New Testament, and that was written by someone who was under tremendous persecution and suffering.
Nate: Can we talk about some of the character traits that you mentioned related to godliness? Why is it that a woman has to learn to live in the spirit of forgiveness if she wants to be godly?
Kathy: Being godly means that we want to be like Jesus, correct? Well, that’s the spirit that He is always in. He doesn't stop forgiving. It's an atmosphere and it is a spirit. Let’s compare it to the spirit of gratitude for instance. You don't just have gratitude on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you truly have gratitude, then you are just a grateful person. You develop and cultivate the fruits of the Spirit. You cultivate thankfulness, generosity or even selflessness. It's not something that you just automatically are full of when you get saved. In fact, initially, you don't get any of that. You get the Holy Spirit, but you even have to cultivate Him in your life. You don’t get everything you need to be godly immediately and then just live life on autopilot.
Whoever said that being a Christian is for weaklings and that Christianity is a crutch is crazy. I don't know who came up with that idea, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. It takes a very noble character to learn to walk with God the right way. I am not inferring that I’m perfect either, because I fail constantly. But you have to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness, a humble heart, a thankful heart, a heart of gratitude and a prayerful spirit. As Christians, we are growing up into Christ, into the full measure and full stature of who He is. He is the model.
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Nate: Yeah, I was actually talking to a guy the other day because he had a pretty rough night. He was in a lot of lust and he was confessing that to me. And he had actually completely resisted, but he just felt so wrong to even have those desires. I just asked him, “What do you think God is like towards you this morning,” because he felt so beaten down. Then I looked at him and I said, “I know He's proud because a year ago you were just giving into this kind of thing and now you're suffering through this struggle and fighting against your flesh and I know God is proud of you.”
Kathy: It's precious to God. That's why I love to hear that stuff. I mean I don't love to hear that he feels discouraged at the end of that battle, but it is through those struggles that Jesus is being formed in us. I really believe that about all the hardship, all the battles and all the struggles these women go through. My natural gifting is mercy. What I want to do is rescue. I want to get in there and I want to yank them out of this mess. I want to beat that sucker over the head for being so ugly to his wife. That's what I'm like. But what God is like and what He's looking for is the willingness to battle through the trials and not give over to how the flesh wants to respond.
When I got saved, this is what was told to me. “Jesus is going to make all of your problems go away and your life is going to be awesome.” Not true! As soon as I came into the Kingdom, I got thrust into battle. I gave a message years ago on tested faith, because it is so precious to God that we are going through that process. The struggle is so valuable to Him. He sees it rightly, we don't. That's why He can say that it’s precious to Him.
Nate: Yeah. So, I guess with all of the things that you talked about such as gratitude, submission, forgiveness and respect. I guess the big takeaway for these women is that this isn't just going to be magically imparted to them. There has to be a pushing back against our fleshly tendencies. We must fight to have Jesus formed in us.
Kathy: Yes, and it's very discouraging. I know that a lot of young women will hear this that are raising children and are exhausted. The thought of having to fight for a life in God in the midst of what they’re going through can be very discouraging. But I just want to leave this thought with whoever's listening that needs to hear this. If you're weak, struggling and not doing well spiritually, it's probably because you're not praying. I wish there was a different word. I wish I could use a different word than prayer, because that's become almost a dirty word in the church. I hate to say that, but that is how it is viewed. Women dismiss it and want something else to help them get through their trial. But I'm telling you, girls, it is the thing that will change the course of your life, your children's lives and probably your husband's life.
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You have to go into it believing, with a desire to understand what the Bible is saying. You know, we are so shallow with the Bible. But we need to read, study and pray about what God has said about prayer and about what He has given us through it. We have the Word of the living God, but it's become so common to us that it's cheap. Everyone is so quick to say, “Give me something else, something I can get ahold of.” Well, prayer IS the thing and that's all I have to give you. But it is the thing that you need. It is the very thing you need.
If you are weak spiritually, or if you're falling down spiritually, it's due to the fact that you’re not praying. Prayer is where the Lord meets us. He comes to us in our times of prayer. It's not instant gratification necessarily. It builds you up over time. A reservoir is being built inside and you will see it if you give time and energy to it. But that's not even the goal. The goal is for God to transform you into the image of Christ. And he does do that. He absolutely does that.
Nate: Yea. You basically have just said throughout this entire interview that Christlikeness is the secret to a good marriage. But that is not all you are saying, because I think sometimes we can be really shallow. For example, we can think, “If I'm like Jesus, then I'll get everything that I want.” And I know that's not what you're saying because when you look at the life of Jesus, you realize that this man had such a perspective about what this life was for and where things were going. But His life, when you consider it in terms of results, was unfruitful from many people’s perspectives. He did all these amazing things for people and most of them just wrote him off. Once He didn't give them what they wanted, they turned against Him. Even His disciples were mostly clueless as to what He was really aiming at. When He rose from the dead, they weren’t even expecting it.
Kathy: Yeah, they were surprised.
Nate: Yeah, they were surprised because they didn't really believe. So in terms of results, His life was kind of a disappointment. But when you see it through the eyes of faith, you realize that something more eternal took place.
Kathy: Look at it over the last 2000 years. Look at all the fruit that has come out of His 33 years on Earth. Look at the fruit. But it has transpired over a very long period of time. God is not in a big old hurry. He is very loving. He's so patient. He's so humble, and He is looking at things from an eternal perspective.