When Relationships Hit a Hard Patch: One Epiphany that Can Change Everything

After ten years of marriage, Shauna Shanks’ husband revealed he was having an affair. Although this news was unexpected, even more unexpected was what happened next. Instead of agreeing to the divorce, God directed Shauna to 1 Corinthians 13, urging her to practice what she now calls The Love Filter. Rehearsing what she had always thought to be an easy scripture—this new circumstance presented the biggest challenge of her life. Her book, A Fierce Love chronicles how God restored her marriage from brokenness. But the bigger theme, and her favorite story to tell, is about a great big God who still redeems. She describes their marriage collapse as a big object lesson about God’s great love and his plan of redemption. It’s a grace to welcome Shauna to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Shauna Shanks

It would have been easy to pin the failure of our marriage on Micah, on the most obvious problem at the time: infidelity.

It would have also been wrong.

I became heartbroken to realize my own failures and shortcomings. I discovered the sin in my own heart that had contributed to this failure.

I was not blameless here.

One particular night, I wrote in my journal about how unbearable it was for me to witness the way Micah was acting. That night Micah had been watching football on the couch across from me, yelling carefree at the screen and casually playing on his phone like nothing was amiss. Just like any other normal day. He acted completely unaffected by the breakdown in our relationship, and that hurt beyond words.

Here sat this person who had stood at an altar and professed to love me. Yet his behavior proclaimed an attitude of blatant indifference toward me.

Those are the actual words I wrote down in my journal. “Blatant indifference.” It was as if he couldn’t care less one way or the other about me.

Not even one little tear that our ten years together was over. Nothing. Not one emotion. Just indifference.

Only a few days later God revealed to me that He Himself had the same complaint against me.

It wasn’t just the last few days that I held this attitude, but rather the last several years. “What was the term you used?” I felt the conviction of God. “Blatant indifference?”

God’s gentle conviction touched me in the deepest places, “You made a commitment to follow me, serve me, and love me. You surrendered and dedicated your life to me. You professed to give yourself over to me, to use your life for my glory, to be passionate about me and spend time with me. And what do you do? You fill up your time up with complacency and laziness. None of the things you do matter apart from me. Yet all the while you ignore me. You confess with your mouth that you love me, but you are acting toward me just like Micah is toward you. There is no difference. You are living here, showing me no affection. No time. No attention. You are blatantly indifferent.”

Ouch. That message pierced my heart. What did it matter that Micah had hurt me if I had hurt God? I was a sinner. I had been so unfaithful, maybe not to Micah, but to God Himself.

My unfaithfulness is what had been the most wrong in my past, in my marriage, and in my promise to God to live for Him.

When I turned thirty, I was not exactly in the best place of my life.

I was embarrassed by what I had become. I wasn’t anything too terrible on the outside, like a murderer or arsonist, I just hadn’t really become….anything.

I had a problem with Netflix binging.

I wasn’t living the life I was given to the fullest.

I don’t know when everything began to spiral into a careless halt, but the breaks of caring had been turned on for some time.

I had given my heart to Jesus as a little girl, even doing missions work in my teen and college years, but clearly by the time I hit thirty I wasn’t exactly up there with any of the great saints yet. I wasn’t trying to do much with my life. I was watching Mad Men. That’s what I was doing.

Now, to some this may not seem like that big of a deal. I was still a good person, after all. I took good care of my kids, I volunteered at my church.

But this lazy and passive behavior became corruption in my life.

Revelation 3:15 addresses this. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!”

If you keep reading that same passage you’ll find the consequences of these “not a big deal” sins are pretty severe. In fact, it turns out luke-warm-ness, or laziness, it’s actually a really big deal to the Lord.

It hurt to hear God use my own term, “blatant indifference” about myself, but it was true.

These revelations turned out to be the kindest thing He could have done for me.

Do you know what it did? It took my eyes off of Micah.

I started searching into my own self, realizing how far from God I had traveled.

I stopped feeling so hurt that Micah had hurt me and instead felt burdened that I had done this to my God.

How could I despise Micah for doing something that I myself was guilty of on a much more significant scale?

I couldn’t be that other person anymore.

I had to be reborn.

 

Shauna Shanks is a wife, mother, blogger and entrepreneur. She started Smallfolk, a health food café, out of her passion for health and fitness and unchecked desire to make fancy pop tarts. Shauna and her husband, Micah, who is a police officer, have been married for more than a decade, and they are building a house out of shipping containers with their three boys on an Ohio farm.

In her newly released book, A Fierce Love, Shauna shares an intimate season after finding out her husband was having an affair. She writes about her journey of discovering the Love Filter in 1 Corinthians 13 and describes what followed as a crash course in the ludicrousness of God’s love.

This book was written in the midst of Shauna’s deepest trauma, and she purposefully did not edit out her mistakes and failures during that season. It will resonate with women who do not feel like the picture-perfect Christian woman with the fairytale life and marriage. A Fierce Love is the story of a train wreck and reaching out to God not in the calm but in the chaos and finding hope for the future.

[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

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