Hi, my name is Karen Sherwood and I’ve been a Christian almost all my life. I grew up in a Christian home, and was taught the truths of the Bible, like:
Ephesians 4:17 “… that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
… and Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us…”
… and especially Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”
But I still struggled in my marriage, year after year, especially in the area of respect. I would make certain strides every now and then. I would go to a retreat, be convicted of my sin, put verses about God calling me to walk in a manner worthy of Him, muster up some willpower, and read books on my biblical responsibility as a submissive wife. Prayer, at that time, was mainly a means of forgiveness, not a constant source of surrender or power.
After 12 years of marriage, I felt like I’d tried everything in my own strength. The desire was there to be pleasing to the Lord, but I would fail time and time again.
That’s when my dear friend, Jodi Biegel, offered to pray with me on a daily basis. Since last Fall, we have been praying most mornings, and what a blessing it has been! It has been a daily refocus and surrender to the Lord for strength, as well as a petition that He’d change my heart. I felt as though I was finally on the road to overcoming my biggest stumbling block to spiritual victory.
Then, three weeks later, I had a major blow up! It should have been the perfect family day. My husband had the day off and we decided to take the kids to Tom’s Farms. There I was, in the car, screaming at my husband in front of the kids, over some silly thing I can’t even remember to this day. It was like an out of body experience. I remember hearing myself say these harsh words, thinking, “Who is this woman?”
That’s when I knew I needed to get help. I realized that I was out of control, and there really wasn’t anything I could do on my own to get that control back. My husband had always teased/threatened that I should go to one of those PMS treatment clinics… and so I did! Two days later I was tested and put on Progesterone immediately. I also was found to have a low thyroid, so I was put on supplements for that.
I guess I’d always felt shame as a Christian that I couldn’t overcome something through prayer. I always resisted seeking help because I saw it as a mark of being a weak Christian. On the drive to the clinic, the Lord gave me this verse: Matthew 5:30a “If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off!” I realized then that there was no shame in receiving help, and I felt the Lord put this in my path, at just the right time, to give me a tool to be obedient to Him.
Since then, what a difference it’s made! My husband and I have not had one fight since I have been on my “Happy Juice”. My husband is so relieved that he doesn’t have to hide from me several days out of the month. He and I now have hope as I am able to “self-correct” and not see life through a “dark cloud”. God is healing our marriage and creating trust and love in areas that have been strained. I am learning to read my body, and have realized that I have somewhere to turn when I’m feeling like “everyone is being mean to me”. I still have my bad days, because I am still sinful. The Lord is teaching me to recognize what is sin, and what is hormones.
Jodi and I continue to bring things to the Lord in prayer. The Lord is working on my heart, and the hormone treatment is working on the things that are outside of my control. I feel like I finally have tools for victory to live the spiritual life that God has called me to live.
I would encourage anyone to get a prayer partner. I can’t stress to you enough how HUGE this has been in my life! This has been a way for me to daily renew my mind and set it on the things above. God honors prayer and an earnest heart seeking after Him.
God is calling all of us to be victorious in Him. Whatever’s causing you to stumble and not find victory in Christ, pursue that with all you heart. Bring it to Him in prayer daily, and He will make changes in you. If He’s prompting you toward an area of obedience, then He will enable you to do what He’s called you to do.