Since before we married Husband and I dreamed of short-term missions trips together. That our destiny included the nations. That we would pour our recourses and talents and time into reaching out to the word for Christ, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing water for the thirsty, help bring freedom to the captive and Jesus for the lost. And we would be a missions minded family, and our children would know there was a world God loved beyond their own.
Our trip to Haiti last week was a dream come to life after nearly a decade and a half of waiting for it. And the long years of the journey that took us there were arduous ones. Though we’ve had blessings, grace , and joy along the way, the trek has not been without hurt, rejection, strife, turmoil, confusion, brokenness and disappointment. Marriage has never been easy for us. Wayward wilderness wanderings many times have almost brought us to our breaking point. And more than once I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk or stay.
But each time we’ve seen God be the one who binds us together. Each time we go through the difficult place we come out stronger. The marriage ceremony lasted only an hour or so, but the transformation to become one flesh — a lifetime together.
As we were in Haiti together, I thought how we might have missed this. I thought of the promise from Jesus, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.” (Matt. 18:19 NLT) And often think how the union of marriage is one great power of agreement and if the verse is true then also a threat to the enemy of our souls. Perhaps that’s why the devil fights against marriages so.
In the book To Walk or Stay, Lara says of the “early moments of soul-chaos, the enemies of darkness were losing the death grip they held on our home. The Almighty had launched an all-out assault on the strongholds suffocating our family.”p.15
When I first began of To Walk or Stay: Trusting God through shattered hopes and suffocating fears,I wasn’t sure what I’d find, but after reading the first few lines of the introduction I was taken.
In Lara’s own words she spoke on her video about the book, “This is really not just a book about marriage, it’s about a really big God who wants to meet us in the darkest of valleys, and minister hope and life and healing. He’s just that good.”
I never imagined reading it would begin a transformation in my heart as a wife, yes, but as a woman and a daughter of God.
In To Walk or Stay, Lara G. Williams has gone bare — soul bare. <– Tweet It begins with her story of discovering her husband’s infidelity, her own heart-transformation and continuing with God’s story of redemption and restoration. She shares the raw, honest truth of her pain, her turmoil, her brokenness and her walk through healing and how she chose to stay in her marriage despite her husband’s unfaithfulness. It was the faithfulness of her God that made it possible.
“I chose to stay, but it wasn’t a heroic choice. It was one that God led me to make; and one I made only by His stregnth. In that staying, He faithfully restored in more ways than I could have ever imagined.” To Walk or Stay p.21
Her story is beautifully written and woven throughout you will find the liberating truth of God’s Word.
Included are brilliant study questions that I did not want to pass over, but wanted to take time to answer each one to allow a deeper work to take place in me. For me it’s a been a book about reflection — my reflection. God using Lara’s words to help open my eyes and see clearer. To graciously and gently say, “Look at your own heart. Let’s work on it together.” <–Tweet part of that?
“Early in marriage I had thought that the greatest blessing would be for my man to change. But in actuality, the greatest blessing came when I found myself in that inner room of intimacy with God.” To Walk or Stay p.21
And these words have begun a work on my soul, one that will not be easy, but will produce life “He [God] gave me a vision to see my thoughts…I claimed to love God and love my family. But I tore my own husband apart in my mind. That wasn’t love. I could hold my tongue…But negativity towards my husband consumed my thoughts…Our marriage needed my mind to be free from the divisiveness…My mind was a dishonorable mess.” To Walk or Stay p.40
To Walk or Stay isn’t book to breeze through, but work through, and the work would be done in you by the Spirit of God working deeply and gently within to help transform you from the inside out. <– Tweet part of that? It’s a book that change how we relate to God and others and how we translate grace, mercy and forgiveness in our own lives and toward others, not just in proclamation of words, but in thoughts, speech and action.
I believe I can write whole posts just on lines of this book — it’s that deep, rich and full of wisdom and truth. And that’s part of the reason I am looking forward to the online book study I will be a part of, for To Walk or Stay. It begins April 15th, and don’t worry, you’ll hear about it more from me. Click here to RSVP.
In the mean time, To Walk or Stay is a book for every married or one-day-will-be-married women. You can buy the book by clicking here. If you’d like to read reviews of the book by other beautiful writers and friends, and join in on some giveaways, too, click here.
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