Trust: The Relationship Builder

He looked me square in the eye, and with determination and sweet love, he asked, “Do you really want to do this? Now’s the time if you need to change your mind.” My arm fit perfectly underneath my Dad’s arm and I looked back at him direct, our matching green eyes looking intently into each other’s souls.

“Yes, Dad.”

“Okay, MegBeth.” He smiled, with a strange sort of smile and tears in his eyes. We turned, my arm still tucked loving under his, and walked slowly behind the trail of bridesmaids in crimson gowns, who led the way to the man I was going to marry.

I now understand my Dad’s strange smile. At that moment, I was no longer under his protection. No longer a Daddy’s girl. I would no longer run to him first for safety, wisdom or advice. I had finally found a man worthy of my trust. And I was choosing him.

I had all the reasons not to trust: other boyfriends had cheated… pushed me past my boundaries… slandered and gossiped about me to others. But this man was different.

He had a boyish charm, light blue eyes that were full of warmth, and a smile that made my heart beat faster. But more than anything… it was a choice on my part to trust him that sealed the deal.

And it was the scariest walk I’ve ever had to take with my Dad.

Thoughts of the future… will we stay best friends as we had been the last two years? Will he forgive me when I mess up, again and again? Will he seek forgiveness and apologize even when he’s beyond angry? Will we have heartache and hurt between us? Will we have children and will they complicate or strengthen our relationship?

I now know the answers to all of the questions that were darting through my mind as I put one foot in front of another, while my Dad held me gently under his arm. Since then, Michael has broken my trust. And yet- would I still make that choice almost 17 years ago? Yes.

So, there I was (17 years ago) standing next to a man who barely looked his age, who couldn’t wait to take my hand from my father’s.

It was in those moments that led up to right then, that I was choosing to trust. Choosing to take a man’s hand to lead me into the next stage of our lives. I had no clue what the future held. I didn’t know that I would cry wretched sobs over this man. But, I made a choice. Just a choice. My thoughts and emotions had no pull either way. I decided to choose. Nothing more.

Trust Is…

So… what is trust? And is it something that we are born with? Or is it something that grows within us? Does it depend on nature or nurture?

To rely on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing is what trust is defined as. You could also say it’s having confidence in someone or something.

According to a thesis “Nature versus Nurture: Is Trust Innate or Learned? An Analysis on Human Capital Determining Trustwritten by Deanne Lorraine C. Dummo and Mary Kristine P. Rabe, it was determined that trust was innate, and not learned. So… we are genetically disposed or indisposed to be trusting. That’s pretty crazy- but it gives us a window into knowing ourselves inwardly. It may be harder for you to trust- by nature. Or easier!

So… what is trust worth? Do we need it to survive?

Essentially… yes. Trust is what holds families, organizations, and nations together. There needs to be an element of trust to keep any kind of relationship together. We may not realize the importance of trust… until it’s gone. Trust builds camaraderie in groups/churches/sports and with those shared interests, and builds until it seems as though the “organization” moves and breathes as if it’s its own organism. 


To Trust or Not to Trust

So- why do we choose not to trust?

We base people’s intentions on their actions… and not always on their words. Growing up in Nebraska, when someone gave you their word, it meant that they would follow through. You can imagine when I moved to Missouri for college, and assumed that people’s word would always hold true. I learned pretty quickly, that it didn’t. I had to begin to base who I trusted on whether their actions lined up with their words… or not.

My mom used a phrase once, “They talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk.” I’ve found this is more reliable than relying on anyone’s word now. Which is really sad… the words we speak… don’t mean anything. We have to base our trust on the actions of those we’re looking to trust and whether their actions match their words.

When we choose to trust someone or something, we are opening ourselves up to vulnerability. By giving our trust, we are allowing them the chance to hurt us, whether intentional or not. And, by golly- we are not going to be hurt- right? Put yourself first- isn’t that the motto of the world right now? I mean- come on people… it doesn’t get more self-centered than that.

But, when it comes down to it- it’s just a decision. We choose to trust… or not to. It’s simple.

Squash Growing Distrust

And when we feel that distrust begin to bubble up from our guts, nerves or emotions- we need to choose to get rid of it. And I honestly don’t know how that would work for you. But for me? I usually pray first.

Step One: Pray First

There are moments in my marriage, even now after 16 ½ years, that I feel distrust crop up in my heart towards Michael. It has nothing to do with insecurity… or his integrity. It has to do with the spiritual war that’s raging around us. It can also crop up when our expectations are not met. We must be on our toes when remembering that we are in a spiritual battle all the time. 

Ephesians 6:12 says:

Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.

So, when I sense distrust in my relationship- I pray. And if it doesn’t go away, I immediately talk to Michael. I treat all other relationships and friendships in the same way. The Deceiver is a master at dividing the church, families, and friends. Which brings me to the next step.


Step 2: Start Talking

Bringing things that are in the dark, into the light, always works. It always brings healing and health back into a relationship. If you’re struggling to trust someone you should be able to trust, talk to them about it.

Ephesians 5:13:

But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible…”

Now, don’t get me wrong… when you bring things into the light, you need to check yourself before you start talking. Make sure that you have good intent and are seeking wisdom and unity in your relationship. If you focus on healing and reconciliation with God’s help and leading from the Holy Spirit, health should be restored.

Step 3: Leave It With God

I don’t fully understand why distrust happens. But, when I give my distrust to God… he almost always is faithful to help me work through it in every aspect of my being. And if there’s one being that we can trust- it’s God. Man is flawed… but God is not. We can continuously trust in Him over ALL OTHERS.

One of my favorite verses of all times (I have it taped to the mirror in my bathroom) is 1 Peter 5:6-7. The way it’s written in The Passion Translation (check out my post on versions and translations here!) is pretty neat.

If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, he will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in his hands. Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.

The key here is- once you’ve given your distrust to God, you can’t take it back. (See next step 🙂

Who to Trust?

When I began searching through Scripture for how to deal with distrust or even trust for that matter, I found something interesting. Almost all the results point to trust in Father God and his Son, Jesus.

Step 4: Trust God

Trust in the Lord completely,

and do not rely on your own opinions.

With all your heart rely on him to guide you,

and he will lead you in every decision you make.

Become intimate with him in whatever you do,

and he will lead you wherever you go.

Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,

for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion

and avoid everything that’s wrong.

Then you will find the healing refreshment

your body and spirit long for.

Proverbs 3:5-8

If we can’t trust our own opinions, then who can we trust but God? We need to remember to allow God to lead us in every decision in our lives. That’s a tough thing to write- even tougher to live it out.

When we look further into scripture in a handful of times, the authors of the Bible wrote about the shaky choice to trust money over God and another time how the disciples trusted Judas Iscariot, the disciple who then betrayed Jesus. Hmmmm….

So, it’s clear that if we trust money over God, it will fail us. And sometimes, if we trust another human being, they could betray us. It is possible. (In the book of John, chapter 2, it mentions that Jesus didn’t entrust himself to his followers yet, because he knew that the hearts of men were fickle. Whoa!)

So, in the end… we have a choice to make.

Step 5: Choose to Trust

In this day and age, trust is hard to find. When we’ve been hurt over and over by people we’ve loved, it can be hard to let down your walls. But you’re gonna have to if you want any fulfilling and loving relationships.

Sometimes, a phrase just sums it up. 

Suck it up, buttercup. 

If you want solid relationships, you’ve got to trust. First God. Then the person.



Literal Vs. Figurative

I’m a writer who loves to write about the world in my imagination. But when I write stories, I want people to understand that it is not an autobiography but a version of a reality that I know personally or a combination of real stories that I’ve put together.  It’s...

The Busy

The Busy

It never fails… once I begin to feel like I’m getting a handle on this church planting thing, our lives get even busier.  There are rarely nights home as a family… our laptops come out to finish work as soon as the kiddos are in bed… and my hubby and I forget to connect.  It isn’t until we are laying in bed, ready to say prayers, that I realize… “I have so much I want to say to him… but he’s almost snoring already!  I should have put my laptop down and just forced him to talk to me earlier.”  Ha!

The thing is, within our marriage, I’m not the only one who notices when we barely have time for each other.  Just the other day, Michael spoke to me, with a slight whine to his voice.  “Hun, are you going to be busy every night this week with meetings?”  He gets it.  I get it.

So… when we realized we had to get a handle on our time together, we sat down and made some specific choices that are helping our marriage.

Put Down Technology

For us, after a certain time (decided by both of us), we put down our laptops, phones and turn from the TV to actually engage in each other. We need to talk about anything BUT work.  (And it’s usually church work that we want to discuss…)

Family Dinner

This is something that begins to lack noticeably when we began to become more and more busy.  As of now, we’ve stopped grabbing a bite to eat even when we’re running late from soccer.  We go home, make sandwiches (or I prepare something in the crockpot beforehand) and we sit down as a family and talk.  I’ve seen a huge difference in our boys’ lives.  They are more self-controlled, less whiny and are more content than when we’re forgoing our dinners around our table.  Plus, we take this time to discuss serious and silly matters that we don’t normally talk about (and they LOVE this.)

Regular Date Nights

Many of you may think… “Yeah, yeah, yeah… we’ve all heard that before.”  But seriously people… are you taking dates with your spouse regularly (at least twice a month)?  This is so important!  And they don’t need to be extravagent!  We have had a date as simple as putting the kids to bed, grabbing a “redbox” DVD and snuggling on the couch.

Weekend Retreats

No kids allowed.  Seriously.  We have, since we were newlyweds, made sure that we have an escape away from our home in order to reconnect with each other.  Every other year, at least, we schedule a weekend away (using calling our parents to come and stay with the kids) and GO.  We usually take this time to focus on us as a couple… and not on anything else that’s going on around our lives.  (Check out a Weekend to Remember… they have great marriage retreats and hotels lined up fairly often.)

Family Vacations

This is extremely important.  My husband and I have decided that we will try to take a minimum of 2 vacations as a family.  Find someone reliable to fill in your shoes at the church while you’re gone and go visit family that lives in another state… travel more to stay at a resort hotel with water slides for the kids… or plan a quiet camping trip.  We all need time where our kids will see us “stress-less” or more in tune to them.  Sometimes getting away from your church can be useful.  It will give you a time of rejuvenation, stillness and extra bonding time for your family.  When you return to your church plant, you will be ready to jump back in, fully recharged.

It’s Worth It

True rejuvenation will occur when you see the fruit that God has planted within your church.  You will watch as it grows and matures into something beyond understanding.  I love this passage in 1 Thessalonians where Paul is speaking so sweetly to the church there.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 (The Message)

9-12 You remember us in those days, friends, working our fingers to the bone, up half the night, moonlighting so you wouldn’t have the burden of supporting us while we proclaimed God’s Message to you. You saw with your own eyes how discreet and courteous we were among you, with keen sensitivity to you as fellow believers. And God knows we weren’t freeloaders! You experienced it all firsthand. With each of you we were like a father with his child, holding your hand, whispering encouragement, showing you step-by-step how to live well before God, who called us into his own kingdom, into this delightful life.

13 And now we look back on all this and thank God, an artesian well of thanks! When you got the Message of God we preached, you didn’t pass it off as just one more human opinion, but you took it to heart as God’s true word to you, which it is, God himself at work in you believers!

Keep pressing on, friends.  Remember that God is with you and wants the best for you… no matter how busy you become!

Support for Your Man

Too many times, I have criticized my husband… to friends, family and under my breath (okay, sometimes out loud).

(Why? Okay- confession time. I’m a control freak. I like to keep everything in line… including my husband, children, house, etc. The HUGE problem is… I will never be able to control others and the choices they make.)

Take for example, my 5-year-old son. We had an awesome block party last weekend, and thanks to an amazing block party coordinator (Go Deborah!), the Fayetteville Fire Department came out to check our corner hydrant. Since they had no calls, they were able to stay for burgers, show off the truck, spray cul-de-sac down with water and let kids take turns spraying the huge fire hose. My middle child was in awe of the hose. So much so, he ran directly into its path, full force, and face to the water. Now, if any of you have met my child, he can scream and wail, like the best of them. I was in fact, talking to another mom at the time, until his “well-recognized” scream broke the “normal” block party noises. (See photo.)

My husband (who was across the street) and I both turned to the sound and leapt into action. We picked him up, soaked to the bone, clutching his face and we comforted him. As soon, as his cries had ceased, we both talked to him. “You need to be careful close to the hose. That water is super powerful and hurts when you put your face in it.” He nodded his understanding and within seconds was back in the thick of it, playing his heart out.

Now, I would like to say that he made the right choice in not making his way to the front of the water stream again. But he didn’t. Ten minutes later, another one of his piecing screams disrupted the partygoers and I found myself, once again, holding a soaking wet child.

This is just one example of not being able to control others. As a woman, I find myself wanting not just to control myself and how others view me, but my entire world… that includes my husband, children, extended family, etc. Now, before you start thinking to yourself, “Wow, this girl has got to loosen her grip!” I want you to know… that I tell myself that constantly.

I learned early on, (I was 13, in fact) that I was considered a perfectionist and that I would always struggle with the need to control things around me. Over the past 15 years or so, though, I have learned slowly but surely, how to let that need waste away. I still struggle with it- believe me! When my husband announces that he’s invited several people over to dinner with only a couple of hours to spare, I usually freak for a minute or two. (Not at him, mind you—in my own crazed mind! Ha!) And in the hour, leading up to the group arriving, I do tend to push my “bossiness/control-freakiness” to the limit. (I am working on that!)

During a women’s bible study, (one in fact that I was leading- God has a sense of humor), it pointed to the fact that since Adam and Eve’s sin, we as women would always struggle with “rebelling” against or struggling to control the men in our lives.

Shortly after Adam and Eve told God of their sin, He spoke some truth into their lives that haunts us even today. Genesis 3:16, in the New Living translation says, “Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth.”


“… And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

“Ouch”. Can you imagine being Eve and hearing those words come out of God’s mouth? I wonder if Eve fully understood the depth to those words. Could she even fathom the generations of women who would struggle not to bitterly suggest to their husbands that they pick up their nasty socks out of the middle of the living room floor? Or that some of us would bicker and fight with our husbands over what jobs they were applying for? Or what job they “needed” to apply for? Could she even determine that some of us would even go as far to say, “I wear the pants in this relationship.” Hmmmm…

Should we be proud of that?

Are we proud of that?

You see, this isn’t even a talk about that horrible word that we all cringe when we hear: SUBMISSION.

This blog post has nothing to do with that.

But it has everything to do with supporting our husbands.

How do we do that without controlling? Believe me, ladies, I have not quite figured this out. But I believe it starts with beginning to think of us as walking alongside our husbands and allowing him to lead our families and us.

It might look like sharing your opinion, but supporting his decision to choose something different. It might look like praying for him, when you see his struggles and the vast amount of choices that he has to make everyday. And it will probably feel a tad bit like you are sitting “shotgun” in the car… just try to not become a back-seat driver…. I will too. ☺