Just over two years ago, Jen and I moved back into her parent’s house, due to financial reasons. We had lived at the apartment for the first three years of our marriage. It allowed us to get closer to each other, and to really develop as a husband and wife. That season was a blessing, but it also prepared us for being back at her parent’s house. I would like to write some posts in the future on some of the significant things God has done during these last two years. This post though, will mostly focus on our relationships with her family, each other, and God. I want to share it to say, “Wow, check out what God has been doing,” and to encourage people who are going through less than ideal circumstances.
Living with other people, it is easy to see their faults. For example, our conversations are less private since we have been living here. There have been times when we were discussing something, and someone else jumps into the conversation. It isn’t malicious or anything and I’m sure we do it too, but it was something we noticed. So, that caused us to check our hearts and to ask God for patience. Just as He works in us, He works in others. Just as it takes time with us, it takes time in others too, but we have seen evidence of growth in ourselves and different members of her family.
We are also trying to be more considerate with what others are going through. Jen and I may be busy, when someone needs to talk to one of us or needs help with something. We have had to practice putting others first. We’ve had to remember that God gave everything for us, so we should be able to sacrifice for others. It may not be ideal, but perhaps that person needs to vent, or they just need advice, or someone to talk to. We are definitely not perfect at this, but we are seeing improvement.
One thing I had been in prayer for over the last year is for other men that I can build relationships with. I don’t really have any close male friends, at least the kind that I could pray with, challenge, encourage, etc. Then God was like, dude, you’ve got other guys in the same house with you. I prayed for opportunities to build closer relationships with the other guys in Jen’s family, and immediately opportunities arose, mostly without me seeking. I would get to discuss something one of her brothers was going through, or they would be able to help me with something I am going through. I have been able to pray with them, and even sing when one of them is practicing music, and I don’t like to sing Christian songs for the most part. Ugghh. I have to say, sometimes God answers prayer very quickly. I have been so blessed by conversations with each person in her family, not even just the men, though.
Even better than closer relationships with her family, has been a closer relationship to each other and to God. Through things that each person in the house is going through, we have seen that, really the best thing we can do for another person is to pray for them. Yes we can give words of encouragement, give them a ride somewhere, let them use our things, or help them with some chore, but sometimes the only thing you can do is pray for them. When we don’t know how to answer a question, or how to help in a situation, we try to read what God’s word says about it. We may discuss certain situations, and pray about them together. Then Jen and I will challenge and encourage each other. This has really helped us grow closer to each other, but most of the time we are reading and praying individually, which really helps us get closer to God. So, I can say God is working through different situations and relationships, at the very least because I can see growth in our relationship with each other and with God.
So, if you are living with other people when you would rather be alone, or with fewer people, consider a few things. Be patient with them. You’re not perfect either. Look for opportunities to bless them, and be aware of the ways they help and bless you. They may do a lot more for you than you realize. Though even if you think they don’t, remember that God does a lot more for us than we realize or deserve. Lastly, use this time to grow closer to them, and closer to God. When you don’t know how to deal with them, or how to help them, or how to encourage them, go to the Bible and to prayer. Even if the opportunity to tell them what you read doesn’t come up, and it often doesn’t, you will be learning something and getting to know God better, and wow is that awesome.
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