Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh

My heart seems to break over and over again nowadays. I think a lot of it has to do with seeing divorce permeate the relationships of my close friends and family members - maybe I would feel less passionate about it if I hadn't seen the effects it has on those I love. But I have. We're told by society that we should be happy. Happiness is a good thing, right? Sure, but God doesn't promise us happiness. He promises us persecution. Victory. Rest. Joy.

Happiness is fleeting. Joy is found in knowing our creator. Especially in marriage, we are called to sacrificial love. That doesn't sound very happy to me like 99% of the time. To be honest, I'm really selfish. I like my time to be mine. My husband occasionally does things that bug me. There are times when I think we should do one thing and my husband disagrees. I'm the first to say that I am not good at laying down my thoughts, desires, and even needs in submission to my husband (and probably even worse at submitting to God), but marriage is a process that changes you - refines you - and I'm still in process.

Okay, so we have to get through the times when it's not all peachy, but what marriage can withstand adultery? We like to write that off as the unforgivable sin because God made an allowance in the bible for those who had hardened their hearts, but isn't God in the business of changing hearts? Separation I understand. It's not healthy to be in a manipulative or abusive relationship, but what if we took the time apart to focus on having God as our #1 and praying that he will work a miracle in our spouse's heart? I see divorce as different than legal separation because while one gives you distance with an intention to work through the situation, the only additional "benefit" to divorce is the option to remarry. That's the point when you stop believing that God can overcome.

I know this is a touchy subject. I'm not saying this in judgment. I'm not condemning anyone here. I honestly mean this as encouragement to those going through a hard time in your marriage. God is bigger. He can change hearts, even the hardest ones. Can you find fulfillment in your relationship with God alone and be an intercessor for your spouse? I'm not saying that it's supposed to be easy, but I have seen marriages that survive and even thrive after unfaithfulness.

God seems to give us an "out" where divorce is concerned in the event of adultery in a couple places in the Bible. The problem with using that out is that the minute we start rationalizing our "right" to do something is the minute that we take God out of the equation. We are to stand up for truth, not for ourselves. On the contrary, we are supposed to be willing to lay down our lives for those who use and persecute us. (Check out Matthew 5 & Luke 6) Yes, it says to love those who persecute you, but what is love? "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." And maybe those we're called to love would qualify as friends.

I hope this Valentine's day, no matter what your relationship status, you know that God so loves you. He has wonderful plans for you. He can give you joy even in unhappy circumstances. When we keep our eyes on Him first and foremost, everything in the background gets a little easier.

Change of Heart (Paper Hearts #2)Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Man, this one was almost physically painful for me to get through. Don't get me wrong, the writing style was magnificent and Courtney certainly has a talent for story telling, but I never want to read a Christian novel - however well written - which has me pulled toward rooting for a divorce. It's an absolutely detestable feeling.

Yes, this happens in real life. Christians get divorced. I've had a front row seat to too many of my friends and my family going through something like that. Truth be told I have radical views (even compared to most other Christians) on marriage and divorce, so that definitely elevated my dislike of this story.

I love the message that Courtney was trying to get across. Submit to God's will. I just think the execution was pretty much non-existent. Evelyn's character ends up happy. Yay. The problem is, can you find one single part of the story where she is actually submitting to God's will, or does she finally find her own happiness? Trevor pines after a married woman... for 10 years! He keeps saying he's submitting it to God's will, but his actions clearly speak otherwise.

Honestly, I wanted to give up on this book about a quarter of the way through, but I felt like in order to give it an honest review, I had to see it through to the end. The technical writing was great, conversation fluid, and characters were well developed, but sadly static and on the wrong side of a very precarious line of Christian morality.

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