It warmed my heart to read through the discussion last week. One of my passions for women in destructive marriages is to understand how important it is to do their own work. It is so tempting for you to focus all your energies on understanding, and trying to change your destructive partner, that you lose all perspective on figuring out what you have to do to stop being the repeat victim of his attitudes or behaviors.
Today’s blog is written by a woman who has made that transition. For years she was focused on what her husband’s problem was. She tried to understand him, she tried to figure out how to speak to him so that he would get it and change. Finally, she realized that the only person she could change was herself. She began her own work and has grown by leaps and bounds. I’ve invited her to share some of what God has been teaching her in this blog.
Arise, Beloved (1 of 2)
Tucked away in the depths of 1 Samuel 25 we find Abigail, my biblical hero. Take a minute, check her out! As a Proverbs 31 woman of gargantuan-sized faith, she is everything we dream of becoming. She is wise, discerning, and faith-filled. Abigail ran her household well, managed the assets and staff honorably, which was no small task considering its size and scope of influence in that day. She was strategic. She “owned” her home. It all appears to run like clockwork when you read the story from her side … except for the cog in the wheel. She was married to Nabal. He was the proverbial fly in the ointment of her chapter. Nabal rained on the parade of her stewardship. Let’s take a look today at how she handled this ongoing issue inside of her marriage. Abigail can be used to provide the Psalm 16:11 “pathway to life” for many marriages, maybe even yours.
If we look carefully, we can draw three techniques, or tools, that she utilized to help her navigate what is described as a next to impossible situation. Abigail understood the importance of these three things:
To align, arise and ascend in relationship to God both inside and outside of her marriage.
Align: All was not well in Abigail’s world, mainly in her marriage. Nabal embodied the meaning of his name, “fool.” Proverbs described a fool beautifully as one who refuses instruction, hardens his heart, doesn’t accept discipline, and doesn’t delight in understanding. Nabal proves himself throughout the chapter time and time again to perfectly depict these characteristics.
Here’s how Abigail circumvented that by aligning properly … in mainly tenuous circumstances. First and foremost, we see she was deeply aligned with truth. She understood who she was as an attachment to Nabal. According to 1 Samuel 25:17, even his servants said, “He is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.”
Later in the chapter, as she speaks of Nabal to David, “Please do not, my Lord, pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal…” she confirms this.
Out of her painful alignment in matrimony to Nabal, she pressed into the arms of her God. Her first position of alignment was to Him, and in Him, apart from Nabal, as evidenced by the fruit of her discernment. Abigail’s discourse with David in verses 29 – 32 enables her to recognize David for who he is, God’s chosen king. Her discernment is a by-product of her time with the Master, as is ours.
The message here for us, sisters, is to align properly. That happens when we allow ourselves space and time to come into alignment with the reality of our circumstances and what we are dealing with. This comes when we set aside time to renew our minds in the presence of our God. Things become clearer then. Abigail shows us the fruit of this truth as she speaks it. We simply must cease doing what doesn’t work. Her time with God allowed her to look like Him, to see with His eyes. She was able to recognize God’s anointed and deal with David wisely.
Notice she didn’t waste anyone’s time or energy going to Nabal to persuade, argue with, or try to fix him. My guess is she had been down that road before. This time was to be different. Casting her pearls before swine was no longer a wise use of her time or her resources. Her change in alignment saved her household that day. That alignment changed the course of her personal history as well. Had her alignment been solely with Nabal, she would have resembled him. My guess is that her conversation with David, and her ensuing destiny, would have resulted in a much different ending to this chapter. Align properly, sisters.
Arise: In order to arise, we must understand the necessity for and possess the solid foundation of our proper alignment with, and in, Christ first.
This happens in our direct relationship with Him … aside from our husbands. Christ gives us this truth directly in His dealing with the Woman at the Well (John 4). In a direct affront to cultural norms, He calls her to Himself for healing first. Once she is properly aligned in her belief system and her understanding of whose and who she is in that paradigm, she becomes free to address her life issues. It is a process. After finding freedom in Jesus, she is now able to arise in her anointing and pursue the full calling on her life.
Abigail exemplifies this as well. Her moment to arise came out of her understanding of these same foundational principles. Culturally to do what she did could have been a death sentence for her. Where did she gain the strength and understanding to move in that direction? Certainly not from Nabal. In the right timing, with much discernment, she made a drastic play outside of her alignment to Nabal. This was God’s plan.
Her ability to align herself with her identity in God, first and foremost, is what enabled her to move into alignment with Him to save her life and her entire household. God’s grace in that alignment even extended as far as saving Nabal, at least initially. This was her arising. In Abigail’s arising she was able to harness her biblical authority and power to ascend. It was born from the firm foundation of her alignment in her God. Where are you aligned foremost, sisters? From where is your understanding of yourself and your position drawn?
Ascend: This is an interesting concept, especially for those who come from backgrounds laden with the lies of abuse. The clear biblical definition of ascension comes from Ephesians 2:6. Here we are told that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
Like crawling before you walk, and walking before you run, we must arise before we can ascend.– Click To Tweet
When we are in proper alignment, we are free to arise and understand our position in Him ~ our position, both inside and outside, of our marriage. Our wise discernment allows us to know when and how to navigate, and operate, in both arenas. Abigail shows us that. She knew when to move outside of her alignment with her husband, in accordance with God’s will. With great strength and courage, she did so in a way that was both truthful yet honoring to her household. Her bold arising allowed for her ascension. She operated in her God-given power and authority in her CORE strength.
Her arising to meet David honored him for both who she knew he was, and for his contribution to her household. She was a peacemaker. Her ability to walk in honor and go back and still serve Nabal proved that. She did the right thing, again arising. Abigail kept moving in the right direction.
It proved deadly to Nabal not to change his heart or his ways. The Lord provided for Abigail’s ascension to rise in freedom, through Nabal’s untimely death. This was how He chose to orchestrate her provision of release. She continued to arise in strength and truth, honorably. God continued to organize her ascension … without Nabal.
Abigail was able to ascend to take her new place because of her past obedience. She aligned. She arose. She ascended to become the wife of the King of Israel. Let’s not blow through that too quickly, sisters. This was no small victory!
I don’t know what ascension looks like for you in relation to a specific outcome in your marriage but we can stand solidly here. When we are aligned with Him first, when we arise and operate in the power and authority that we have been given by Him ~ in love and honor, He has promised to finish the good work that He began in us in Philippians 1:6. He takes us as His Beloved Bride with or without our earthly husband. That’s quite an ascension.
So perhaps today, like Abigail, we can learn to ask the right questions. Ask yourself these questions and then let’s discuss them in the comments below.
Where do I find myself aligned? What tools am I lacking that would enable me to arise? How do I honor God first and then myself in Him? Do I possess the tools and strength to ascend? If not, why not?
Sisters, it is time to align, arise, and ascend. He died for our privilege to do just that.