I remember the day I told her, with all excitement, that I was getting married... I hadn't applied to colleges, college was out of my reach. My parents had lost a business and our childhood home, there was no money for me to continue my education at the moment - that could and would come later. Right now, I was excited to be getting married. I met a great guy who I just knew was the one God had for me. She didn't buy that... Neither marriage nor God's plan. So rather than gaining a bridesmaid - I lost a friend.
My friend's opinion was that I should wait, go to school so that I would never depend on a man; men were not to be depended on - my dad nor the loves that she had along the way. Men failed our moms... Her parents divorced. My parents stayed together though my dad remained mostly absent to us, finding the bottom of a bottle instead.
I remember my friend saying, "All men leave, wouldn't you like to be able to support yourself when that day comes?"
That was the first time I heard the "All men..." sentence, followed by the excuse of expected behavior. I remember my heart hurting for her... All men couldn't possibly be like my dad or the relationships she'd had.
There weren't many conversations between us after that.
Fast-forward 10 years... I did get married and now in my late 20s someone I looked up to had cheated on his wife of almost 30 years. He had justified it and excused it... I was blown away. His response to me, "Laurie, all men cheat and yours will too someday."
The second time I heard the "All men..." sentence... My heart broke. Really?!? My husband... My husband of 10 years, someday he will cheat on me? You know that? Those were the thoughts that ran through my head.
My husband and I were battling with infertility and the last few years had been so tough on our marriage, something I will be writing about soon... there had surely been more than once we didn't think we were going to make it and we were already fighting against all odds. To top all of that off, neither of us were walking with God.
I gave my life to God - when I was 13. We (my brother and me) attended church when my mom could take us or on major holidays. My desire to remain close to God waned through high school and before I knew it God was not much of a thought in my mind and my behavior sure exampled it.
Into our marriage we sought Him together and I looked for God with every negative pregnancy test and doctor appointment... God became the lamp of a genie I would rub. "God, if you would only..." "This month, okay God?" Church wasn't much help for either of us... infertility left me angry and alone.
Fast forward to present day, some friends are struggling with their marriage - having some of the same arguments we'd had just 10-12 years ago... the struggle is lust, the places men put their eye, search online, looking outside their marriage. My husband and I struggled with this too in our marriage and somedays we still do - anything airbrushed and made-up looks much better than what home life looks like sometimes.
This time we are walking closely with God, we know His commands, His expectations and yet we still sin. In the heart of all is sin and we will always struggle with these things but we have the work on the Cross, we have Grace... He have been justified through our belief and faith in Christ.
While sin is still ever present and in almost anything; we may lust, we may gossip, we may tell that one teeny-tiny lie so we don't have to commit to that one gathering... We remember to focus on scripture and are transformed by the renewing of our minds, by choosing Gods way rather than our sinful way...
In talking all these things through with our friends I found her husband saying, "All men..."
And something rewound each "All men..." sentence and something in my Spirit stirred... The words came quick out of my mouth.
Maybe all men (and women) on this earth will struggle, maybe we will all fall short time and again. Maybe we will cheat on our spouse, let our eyes wander, fall into a bottle of booze or needle in our arm... Walk away from our children... Give up on responsibilities... Or any number of things that happen in the world but does that make it ok?
Is that the sentence we want our sons and daughters to continue to hear or do we want more for ourselves, for our marriages, for our children and their marriages, relationships and lives? Especially as believers, don't we want to move past "All men..." and change the conversation? Wouldn't it be better to say, "Without God, all men... and with God, His power, His Spirit we can be changed, we can be made new?"
The way it has been doesn't have to be that way any longer... It starts with me, it begins at home... We can change the storyline, break the generational curses... Stand up for abstinence until marriage, faithfulness in marriage and a new life following Christ.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.