When We Ignore the Warning Signs

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It’s been hard. Really hard.

These past five weeks have taken their toll.

I’m amazed at how such a little thing turned into such a big deal.

Ever been there?

One word turned into a world of argument?
One decision turned into a downward decline?
One email turned into an erased relationship.
One mistake turned into a messed up menagerie of mishaps?

It can happen.

A few weeks ago I noticed the door to my pantry was sticking when I tried to close it. That was odd.

The next morning I noticed the wooden baseboard was sagging. That was strange.

And then there was mold on the wall. Where did that come from?

I pulled the refrigerator away from the wall and discovered the icemaker tube was broken. Snapped right in two.

For several days, perhaps weeks, water had been leaking under the tile in the kitchen. Into the wall of the pantry. Under the hardwood floor of the dining room.

Then the man came.  The one with the little black box called a moisture reader.

He put the hand held device against the beautiful tile floor and called out the numbers.
30. 40. 25. 33.

While everything looked just fine on the surface, water pooled under the tile and seeped into the nooks and crannies of the downstairs. And even though fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters were brought in, the sub-flooring under the tile remained wet.

So the demolition began.

IMG_3645Demolition of the floor.
Demolition of cabinetry.
Demolition of walls.
Demolition of my emotions.

Concrete dust covered every piece of furniture.
Noise infiltrated every nook of silence.

I did pretty well for the first three weeks.
But on week four I crashed.

Even ran away to a hotel for two nights just to breath clean air, sleep on clean sheets, and listen to the quiet. (Friend, I will always be honest with you. I will never lead you to think that I am better than I am. We’re in this together.)

Here’s one thing I learned. I already knew it, and I bet you do too. But this was a vivid reminder.

Before the hammer and chisel hit the floor for the “tear out” to begin, everything appeared just fine.
Beautiful. Pristine. Problem free.

And so it is with life. It can look pretty good on the outside…but what lies beneath the surface could be quite a different matter.

Here’s an email I just received and the sender has graciously given me permission to share it with you:

My divorce was just final last Friday. We were the perfect couple. Active in church, we both had good careers, and many friends and loved our life together. Then his job got us transferred back to a city up north where we are originally from. Deep down I hated him. My life was pulled out from under me. Things between us began to unravel in 2013 when another man caught my eye and charmed his way into my life. Now I am alone and starting my life all over again at 48.I realize all the things I did wrong with my marriage and the regret I have is at times unbearable. My husband and I are still friends. He is a wonderful Christian man and he forgives me. What happened is not all my fault. It was a symptom of troubles in our marriage that we ignored. I just wish I would have listened to God and I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m praying for God to help me through this turbulent time…even praying that if it’s His will that my husband and I find our way back to each other some day.

A constant dripping can ruin a marriage.

A little leak can destroy a friendship.

A disconnected heart can chill a faith.

A cracked trust can undermine the underbelly of otherwise stable life.

All might appear just dandy on the surface, but what lies beneath may be destroying the very foundation of a relationship, a friendship, a faith, or a family.

The best thing we can do is to look for the signs and catch it early.
A sticking door.
A warped baseboard.
A moldy wall.
A chilled communication.
A distant attitude.
A lack of desire to read God’s Word.
An inability to pray.
Don’t let the subfloor of life rot away before you notice what’s happening.
Don’t allow the mold of bitterness make you sick.
Don’t ignore the warped wood of a hardened attitude.

I love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases 1 Peter 4:8

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.

Be alert. Pay attention. Don’t ignore the warning signs.

On a happy note, after five weeks I have my house back!

Let’s chat! What is one warning sign that you ignored and lived to regret?

Congratulations to Rondolyn Baker—the winner of the Starbuck’s gift card from the responses from the last blog!

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35 Responses to When We Ignore the Warning Signs

  1. Nancy Shanks February 23, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    The above post/message describes my life. Once I become bitter about something, it’s all downhill from there. I have been seeking Justice re: Identity Theft. My whole life was ruined. After this happened to me, I totally realized I was cheated out of a good future. And the bitterness took root. Anger was now practically a daily feeling. How could a loving God, allow this to happen to me. Planned on writing a book, and getting it published. Now, that dream is destroyed. For there is no way, I can get published for free, and make a profit off the book(s). Learned anger from my dad. Probably, need to read all your books. I have a closed head injury, so I get tired, and distracted very easily. Surviving the accident, and continually being mistreated by ppl, ruined my ATTITUDE. Why me Lord, why me? All of the bad things happening to me as an adult, takes me back to bad memories of childhood sexual abuse. SAVED as a child, fell away from the Word of God. Living w’ secrets. Additionally, bad memories of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I will try to purchase your books locally. I don’t buy anything online. Jesus is Lord

    • Dee June 20, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

      For me, the warning signs came before I married my husband, and despite others pointing out what was so blatant, I married an abuser. When he gave me the silent treatment and ignored me for days, I let it go. When he screamed insults at me, I ignored it. When he put my children down and called them horrible names, I ignored it. When he demanded I meet his every need and ignore my own, I ignored it. When he ordered me to walk behind him or beside him but NEVER in front of him, I ignored it. When he ignored my accomplishment and efforts and demanded more, I ignored it. When I heard God speak to me and say “I can save you from a lifetime of this,” I ignored it! Now, when he threatens to harm me financially, I am not going to ignore it. When he puts me down and refuses to recognize my love and devotion, I will not ignore it. When he screams at me for not having his coffee made first thing in the morning, I will not ignore it… and when God speaks to me and leads me on HIS path, I will not ignore it.

  2. Judy Rushing February 23, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you, I am sitting here at 5:01 am with a lot on my mind . I read your email and it helped me . last year I lost my brother in may and my mom in September. It seems like my family is falling apart. I am trying to get on my disability and I am dependt on my sister and her husband. Yesterday our newphew tried to kill his self. I know its hard on my brother and his wife, but I also know where my newphew is coming from. Your email helped me out . god bless

  3. nessa February 23, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    I see the signs..its my husband who refuses..to see,refuses to get help

  4. Kim February 23, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    Can you tell me which book this is taken from? Thank you.

    • Sharon Jaynes February 23, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

      It’s not taken from a book. This is what is happening in my life right now.

      • Kim February 24, 2016 at 7:04 am #

        Thank you for sharing your life with us! Praying for you and your ministry.

  5. Keisha Washington February 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    The warning sign i had avoided was when i seen my kids fuss at each other and talk rude to each other and not really pay any attention to it until they got older around middle school and i seen how hard it was for my girls to keep friends because of the way they talk to them. So one-day i sat down with the oldest daughter she was around 16 at the time. And i ask her why she is so mean to her friends. She stated to me that she dont think she is mean thats just how she talks. I let them talk to each other for that way so long to thats how they think they suppose to communicate. They was use to it. I felt bad as a parent cause i seen it be avoided teaching them the right way to respond to each other.

  6. Deb February 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Reading this morning of the hidden leak caused me to again reflect on my roof. My house is 13 years and like a teenager needs some more attention. Some things as wearing prematurely such as the roof shingles. Turns out they were defective and not covered by any insurance, I got estimates, replaced the roof but not completely (believing that the solar panels would protect that section from rapid decay and leaks). Work finished and into the attic I go to see if any sweeping was needed and found leaves ion the floor where no work was done. Finding no evidence of animals I went down and waited for my son in law to investigate for me! He found a hole in the sheeting. Fear of something jumping out kept me out!
    Finally got a company to remove the the panels so the roofer could do his job. They found chewed wires and an electrocuted squirrel. The hole in roof made by him saved me from potential fire.
    Paying attention to the “little” signs saved me from disaster and I thank God for that.
    Insurance covered nothing but I had peace of mind this winter.

  7. Donalee February 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Praying for you and your family right now Judy!!!!!

  8. Leslie February 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Boy did this hit the mark. My husband and I made a major move to be close and help care for our granddaughter. We thought we could find a house or property in our price range. What a shock. It has been a struggle for our marriage and relationship. I continue to pray and found a great church for support and encouragement. We hope to have a home by August. Our granddaughter is a real joy. I thank you for your honesty and blog.?

  9. Gerry February 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Thank you for the reminder to pay attention. I could have written the letter. When you think you have everything under control, watch out. WARNING time. At your most vulnerable to Satan.

  10. Uvita February 23, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Well, I really needed this on this past weekend. Last Thursday, I left my bible study with four (4) other ladies and was driving home on the freeway, I ran over something. I didn’t stop until I got home. For one thing it was late at night and my car (Mr. Sparkie) didn’t seem off-kilter. When I made it home, I didn’t see anything. But the next day I noticed a small crack in the fender. Oh well, I made it through Friday, but then the weekend came. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I unplugged the phone, I didn’t turn the TV or radio on. I was just “sunk.” I didn’t even journal or read God’s word like I do each morning. I was sunk. Kind of like you felt with your “leak that grew!” Anyway, I came back to work on Monday, and I’m here today. I guess I’m just afraid of taking “Sparkie” in to the dealer’s service department to see how much it’s going to cost to have it repaired. Plus, my job is talking about terminating some schools after 2017, and mine is one of them. I’m three (3) years from retirement. I’ve made an awful mess with my finances. There’s got to be a better way! Thanks for sharing your email.

  11. Sam February 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    A warning sign

    A lack to ready God’s Word. Although when I hear it in sermons and even bibile classes my heart skips a beat and I smile, but I can’t seem to pick His Word up and read it on a daily basis.
    What’s wrong with me?

  12. Lucy Adams February 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    This is powerful. There are signs that honesty in our marriage is a must. In our early 80’s life is too glorious (meant to be) in our Lord, to have any unsaid things. Thank you for helping me see there can be troubles behind the outside appearances. Preachers and wives often have this burden. In Jesus love, Lucy

  13. Sharon February 23, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

    When I read this this morning it was like reading my life! We had a bad leak several years ago that started under our house and had no idea until a few days later when our kitchen cabinets started to sink!!! Then we went underneath the house and saw the gushing water…going on for days! We had to have all the pipes in our home replaced due to faulty manufacturing, fixed all the other problems, and then our insurance company dropped us! Wow! It just kept on going!

    My husband and I had been dealing with his brother’s alcoholism and this became a real problem in our marriage. I just couldn’t stand how my husband was “enabling” his brother for years, “helping” him through all of his “mistakes” which weren’t my husband’s to fix. We just began attending Ala-non and are learning so much from God and others who are sharing their experience, hope and strength. My husband’s Dad was also an alcoholic, so it is beginning to unravel years of “damage” for my husband and I am seeing an even more calmer, peaceful loving man. The Lord is our real strength and hope and I truly believe he led us here in this point in time when He knew we were ready to receive it!

    Trusting in Him always, the Desire of our Hearts, Our Strength and our HOPE…JESUS!
    Sharon

  14. Alicia February 23, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    This really hit home to me. My husband and I have been ignoring the warning signs in our marriage for many years now. We would talk about them but neither one would do anything about it. Well just yesterday something happened again. We are at the point of losing our marriage. It’s like God keeps telling us but we don’t listen, and now we are in crisis. Divorce would destroy so many lives. I just don’t know what to do.

    • Lori March 2, 2016 at 11:10 am #

      Fight for your marriage. Get help. Seek support of family & friends. If you have a church home, talk to your pastor. Do everything you have to do to stop the enemy. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

  15. Cristin February 23, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    This made me think of a situation where I ignored many warning signs, and the result has really consumed me for a long time. I became friends with a neighbor who was very different from me – and I knew that this wasn’t a deep, honest friendship, but just one out of convenience since our children are the same ages. She never made me feel good, and on several occasions spoke to me in a way that left me speechless. I thought that I should “love thy neighbor” and kept on socializing with and confiding in her, all the while ignoring the warning signs that made me feel so badly in the past. Well, God did what I couldn’t do and removed her from my life. Last year she turned on me, won’t talk to me or accept apologies that I’ve given not knowing what for. It has made my day to day life extremely difficult as we see each other everywhere, share the same friends, etc. All I can say is that God sees what we see, but through a different lens. He knows more than we could ever imagine, and everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand His ways or ignore the warning signs. That is what gives me peace every day.

  16. Tab February 23, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    Hits home hard. My grandson took his life last April, my daughter refuses to discuss it with anyone, keeps telling me she’s ok, but she has distanced herself from all who love her including me. I keep praying for her and her family. When I’m with her sometimes It feels like I’m intruding.

  17. Wanda Manie February 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear about your Divorce, I have been there and lost a 20 year marriage. Now it’s been 15 years later and my part in the Divoce has heald yet his has stayed broken. As such the Lord brought a wonderful man into my life at a time I felt I could be a loyal caring spouce for someone when and if they would be in my life. Working retail I rang up thousands of people yet one day the Lord Blessed Me. I ran up a old boyfriend from back home in Sparks NV. A week and a half later we went out and well we got married 9 months later our adult kids where in the wedding. Five years later we are still on our honeymoon. Good luck love from California.

  18. Maria howard February 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Yes . My husbands not willing to communicate anymore and unwilling to do the work on our place that needs done as he says due to lack of funds. When I try to find out what is going on he just gets up and leaves. I have prayed for God to help Him to be as he was and that God would show me if I am doing anything wrong to add to the problem. Nothing has changed yet but I know that God will answer my prayers in his timing and God has answered my prayers before.

  19. Donna February 23, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    Yesterday I cried off and on all day, the birthday of my late husband.
    I am re-married to a wonderful Christian man who adores me and makes life good – even on the bad days.
    But days like yesterday can sneak up on me. My first husband loved me better than life itself, thought the world revolved around our kids and was so vey smart and loved by everyone. The only problem, he was a closet alcoholic. No one ever saw him drink or drunk except me and the kids, mostly me. He died in 2013 from complications and problems from drinking but ironically wasn’t drinking at the time. I know that I and the kids were co-dependent for years on him but we loved him and always had hope and prayers that the demons he fought wouldn’t stay. That we would get our beloved husband and father back but now we depend on Abba to fill those voids. Anger, abandonment, sadness were just a few of the emotions and lies floating around in my heart and mind. Few of my friends knew the ‘real situation’ and thankfully they stuck like glue to this war ravaged woman. Life is good now and your story is so very true – got a problem, the sticking door, find the problem and fix it immediately! Don’t put up with it or think it will go away, cause it doesn’t – it only grows into a huge mess. Love you Sharon! Thanks for sharing.

    • And Anderson March 2, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

      ((Hugs))

  20. Lenora February 23, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    very good point an eye opener thanks.

  21. amy jones February 23, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    My dear sister in Christ:

    You are in the eye of the storm, but you will come thru on the other side. God is with you. I highly recommend the book “crazy times”. It made me feel normal. You will get thru. You are beautiful and beautifully made.

    Peace,
    Amy

  22. Sheila February 23, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Hi All,

    This helps me to not be so hard on myself. I blame myself for so much and I forget to forgive myself. It’s a great feeling knowing I am not alone. I’m not married. Sometimes that can be hard because people expect you to be and if you are not then you are less than human or less than a woman.

    Well that is not true. The Bible says put God first. Love HIm with all your heart. The rest will come later.

    • And Anderson March 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

      You are never less then human for being single. I too have told myself lies. The lie “they don’t like me because…….”. Sometimes some married people don’t know how to make time for their single friends or don’t realize/know that is what their single friends think. I am married and I take time to call my single friends – sometimes. Sometimes I forget because life can get busy. My single friends rarely call me – why? I don’t know. Not my business to know why my single friends don’t call me. My business is to be close to God and not worry. Not worrying is an everyday chore. Hehe God bless

  23. Laura February 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    I know I’m a few days behind responding to this one, I read it once, and just now reread it. Wow. Exactly me. We are just within the last few months, basically finished with redoing our whole house. Had a trailer with full addition and roof, pulled the trailer out, and rebuilt that part plus the addition on the end. We lived in the small corner of the addition for a while while the rest was being done, and gradually spread out as we could. More than a year’s process of living in complete construction zone. I was completely thrown off, physically, mentally and spiritually too. My devotional life fell apart as I had no quiet space. Between my janitorial work and whatever I could do to help with the building, my body took a major toll. I know my marriage did too, so much stress, financial things and we just don’t have as much communication as I would like. I know it’s a warning sign. There’s lots of warning signs right now. I’m trying to get back into reading the bible, doing ok, but needing the prayer time to go with it. I don’t know how to communicate with God any more. I’ve just a while ago started with a friend, a small ladies Bible study group, those ladies are really encouraging. I am trusting God will draw me closer to Him and my husband, and friends. I have probably closed myself off to some people too, for lack of trust. God will rebuild. My health is coming slowly back, for one. Praying God will guide me closer to Him again. I need Him.

  24. And Anderson March 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    My problem is my responses and understanding/knowing how to communicate too some people so that they hear me.
    My mil has been the third wheel in my marriage. My husband never seen it that way. We are married now for close to 33 years. Last week I told mil I want my husband not to take her to the store when he is not feeling well. She replied snarky, I replied snark, and responses were said.
    I got partly what I wanted. When others do not respect me as wife and my husband doesn’t defend me as wife…… He is hearing me more. I am trying to respond to my ‘new’ husband. I pray for God to remind me continuously to be loving, speak lovingly, complained less and still be true to me with my husband.

  25. Tammie Puckett March 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    I was 26 years old and single. I hated being single. I thought I should already be married and having kids. I didn’t understand why I was still single. Then he entered my life. It was all rainbows and candy in the beginning. A man telling me all the things I wanted to hear – needed to hear. Then after several months, we were engaged. I was thrilled! Finally! Wedding plans began, he was on his second marriage and didn’t want the big production. It didn’t really matter to him that this was my first marriage and I wanted the production. But over the months we were together, he had somehow become controlling and he called all the shots. We were to get married in Vegas and no family was to know until after. I blindly followed. Like a lamb to slaughter. After 10 years together, 3 beautiful kids, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had no friends, was distant from my family. I had to get out. Then I remembered, way back when we were dating. God was telling me not to do it. He was asking me to wait, but I ignored Him. So I got divorced. I knew God would be disappointed in me and I felt so guilty for betraying him and ignoring him. I struggled for probably a year with guilt of divorce. Afterall, God calls us to be married for better or worse right? Well, I only had the worse.
    Today, I’m remarried to a man who never treats me poorly. He is a man of God and loves my kids as his own. We are always busy it seems with 4 kids (he brought one into our marriage) and never have enough time for each other, but we try. I know if I had listened to God, things would have been different. But I wouldn’t have my 3 gorgeous children. I spent 10 years miserable, but God has given me the most amazing man now and I listen to Him. I hear His voice telling me to appreciate my husband and show him love everyday beyond what I showed him yesterday. I’m blessed and very lucky, I listened this time.

  26. Betsy E. Bolton March 29, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

    Beautiful message…one we all need and yet we don’t pay attention
    thank you for this message sister Sharon to be alert to be vigilant to pay attention in all areas and everyday activities
    in every little thing we say and do!
    thank you so much!
    may the Lord bless you and all who read this!

  27. Diane Frazier March 30, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    Sharon, I have enjoyed the post, it describes several life issues in my life. However it is encouraging to know how real it is for others as well. I am truly blessed to have a true life event to compare with my events. Thanks for sharing!

  28. sdenise December 3, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    Ignoring the warning signs… I never saw it coming. I was 51 years old with two grown children and one grandchild. I had been married since I was 18 years old. In the early years we went through some stuff. I was young, never dated anyone but my husband. Got my first real job with a future at 23. Quickly became infatuated with my supervisor who in turn tried to take advantage of a young inexperienced girl. We got through that and went on to have two great children. Landed another job with “a future” and made lots of friends, enjoyed success and the recognition that I was smarter than my husband seemed to realize. He was always so involved in his world that what I needed seemed to be secondary. Not an excuse I know but just part of my story. Once again I lost my way. Impressing my new friends and coworkers was more important than my marriage. But one day I hit rock bottom and just up and quit my job. Dedicated myself to my making my marriage better and being a better mother. Not that I ever neglected the needs of my children, through all the ups and downs they were taken care of regardless of anything else. They are the biggest reason that I did not give up on my marriage. We raised our children, saw our son marry and have our first grandchild. One day my husband tells me how he made this comment to a female coworker. A comment that I was not comfortable with, a comment that made me wonder and a coworker that I did not know. Come to find out this coworker was riding to and from work with my husband on a daily basis. Wow how unaware I was. Started to worry, turned to fear and then to rage. Checking text messages, phone records, there was inappropriate talking. Mostly on my husbands part. Things blew up. I blew up. I was totally blind to the fact that even though I had raised our children, cooked and served my husband his dinner every night, met his needs sexually that he still seemed to be under the impression that I wasn’t in love with him anymore. He was under the impression that our marriage was over and he was working on “Plan B”. Thankfully Plan B was a decent woman that encouraged him to work on our marriage. We went through some really hard times but rededicated ourselves to our marriage. I have since gotten to know Plan B through my husband and have thanked her for being a woman with morals. But there is one catch… they call each other their best friend… he adapts his lunch schedule to enable him to eat lunch with her…she does not drive so when she needs a ride she calls on him… he checks in with her to make sure she has a ride before he leaves work…he watches his language around her because she doesn’t appreciate his using profanity…if she needs a light bulb on her porch changed he changes it…I can rip up carpet on my own while he naps and that is fine. He speaks to me in ways that he would not dream of speaking to her. If she needs a ride to the store she always asks me if it is okay for him to take her. How can I say no to her? He takes her, pushes her cart for her and even goes into boutiques with her to help her pick out new things. They have a great time shopping together. That’s one thing we have never been able to say. I am hurt that he is so considerate of her needs when he has never been that way by me. They say there is no romantic feelings between them that they are just good friends. I totally believe them but…other people assume they are having an affair and with his actions in particular I can understand why they would think such a thing. It bothers me that people think my husband is having an affair. It bothers me that people would think that I am a clueless woman who is being made a fool of. I know you can’t always worry about what other people think but to me his reputation is important. I could scream and threaten and he would stop giving her rides but I have sat back and watched him try to hide their friendship from me when he thought it would upset me rather than just keeping his distance. As I said, I honestly believe them when they say there is nothing romantic between them. But I can’t help but wonder if he is still thinking “Plan B” just in case. I have been completely humiliated on more than one occasion by people trying to tell me about what they perceive to be a sorted affair. What do I do? I appreciate this woman and don’t want to be cruel. I need help.

    • Sharon Jaynes December 5, 2016 at 11:00 am #

      Hi Friend. I think the woman needs to have another woman to help her with the driving situation. It is not a good idea for a man and woman who are not married to be “best friends.” There is too much temptation of the heart. If it were me, I would calmly talk to both of them and tell them that it would be better if she found another woman or unmarried man to take care of her needs.

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