One Heck of a Mess

for love covers a multitude of sins.

for love covers a multitude of sins.

“Would you like me to cut you up an apple too?” The words slipped from my mouth as I could hardly even recall the last time I had taken the time to do to my husband what I would want him to do for me. I remembered a moment in time several Christmases ago when as I was getting myself something to eat, I asked he & his friends if they would like something too. As one of his friends looked shocked, my husband said, “That’s just the kind of person she is.” Or something along those lines. And I was. For many years.

Somewhere along the way, I’ve started acting like an entitled brat.

There was a hard 8 years my husband put me through what seemed like hell in many ways. It wasn’t all that way, there were some good times he likes to remind me of when he thinks I only remember the bad. However, through the roller coasters of dishonesty, pain, & extreme selfishness & manipulation at times, it was hard to think that the good times weren’t somehow just a rug put over the accumulating mess that needed swept up. Somewhere along the way, God got a hold of my husband’s heart, & I was left dealing with the mess left behind because I had let my heart grow too calloused to ever allow God to disrupt my self-sufficiency. But the thing is, being self-sufficient isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s making a god of myself because I forgot that God cared about me anymore. It was thinking that I could take the reigns & do a much better job than He did.

But I couldn’t. I can’t. Nobody can.

For years, I tried to act like I could overcome all the mess. Like I could clean it up on my own. I did all the wifely duties & then some. I thought if I just did this & this, then my husband would love me. If I just do a little more, then he would appreciate me. I started playing my own manipulative games unaware of the enemy’s hands I was playing into. Looking in from an outside perspective, my husband didn’t deserve the treatment he was getting. If I were a guy, he would have been told he was lucky to have me. Being the girl in the family I grew up in, I was just doing what was expected of me. Which really didn’t help. When I was told by those who didn’t know all I did for him & all he had put me through how lucky I was if he helped out in the least, it made me furious at times. I wanted to share with them my story, what I had gone through. What I was put through. As though I had no choice in the matter. And truth be told, in ways, I felt very stuck. Like I had no choice.

My husband was dishonest about a lot of things until we were engaged. When I found out, I didn’t want others to think badly of him, & kept it to myself. Originally, I felt awful & then furious at Satan that my husband would think I wouldn’t accept him completely as he was, that he felt the need to hide who he was from me. But after getting blamed for his dishonesty due to my lack of trust at a time I was completely vulnerable, I was just blindsided. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I bottled it up. I lacked any knowledge about boundaries. As my findings of more dishonest areas grew, so did my confidence in the fact that God brought us together. I tried to run away from the relationship. I gave him back the ring many times & was just told to put it back on, & I did. Part of me knew I was supposed to marry him, but I knew it shouldn’t have been under these circumstances. And my lack of boundaries & my growing insecurities didn’t help. The rockier things became and the more lies surfaced, the more I wanted God to come through, & when it didn’t feel like He did, the more I started building a wall around myself to protect myself from the hurt. I felt if I couldn’t physically separate myself from the pain without leaving him & ruining our marriage & in a way, our kids’ lives through divorce, the only way I could stay in it, was if I mentally separated myself from it with my imaginary walls. The problem is, when you build a wall around yourself to protect yourself from pain, you also trap yourself from ever feeling love too. Or any good thing.

And I didn’t. For many many years. My walls became my prison. When I didn’t feel hurt, I felt numb. Nothing could get in. Or go out. My dreams became tormenting. I could literally feel when another lie was about to surface from the tormenting dreams I would go through, & my walls would go higher. If that’s not hell on earth, I don’t know what is. When my walls cracked & let some of the pain get in, I would get controlling. I wanted to control our circumstances because I felt like I physically, emotionally, & spiritually couldn’t handle another hit. And truth be told, I couldn’t. I was already in survival mode & I was drowning. I read once that a person with my personality’s body often manifests on the outside what they’re going through on the inside. It didn’t matter how controlling I became with my food or how much I withheld from myself or how much discipline & hard work I put my body through, my physical body went into survival mode. There was a point in time, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. And it wasn’t even the time I tried not to.

That’s what bottling in pain & becoming a victim can do to a person. It’s not pretty. It often feels like hell on earth. It’s scary to even admit I allowed myself to get so deep that I couldn’t even see the surface.

And the even harder part was having tasted intimacy with God in the past. If I didn’t know what could be, I might not know I was missing out on so much. But I had. To know how good & great God is, & then to go through almost a decade of intense tongue lashing flames with no God in sight, is agonizingly painful. I was ashamed of who I had become. I felt He would no longer accept me. I didn’t want to be where I was. Who would? I cried out to Him. I just cried at times. I tried and tried. And tried harder. Hoping He would accept me. Playing the same manipulative games with God that I started playing with my husband. GOD, PLEEEASE ACCEPT ME. LOVE ME. FORGIVE ME. I CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS! I NEEED YOU! The pain was unreal. I gave to Him, I gave to others, I obeyed all I knew how. I honestly wouldn’t wish what I was going through on my worst enemy, yet at times wished someone knew what I was going through so I could have someone who could relate. But all I felt was alone. And in a way I was. I was crying out to this wonderful amazing gentle lamb of a Father, yet all the while knowing He can seem like an untamed lion at times that could allow me to go through this dangerous “adventure” & I was too terrified to truly let my guard down. To let Someone so wild that didn’t have to answer my growing number of questions in. Knowing some questions might never be answered in this life. And I didn’t know if I could deal with that.

Yet despite my growing pharisaism, God completely ruined me one day in a good way. He burst right through my built up walls, and lavished His love on me in a way I can’t describe. I was literally trembling and a complete puddle of a mess for a whole day. He showed me the beauty He saw in me & what He imagined me to be despite the beast that was growing inside. He brought back this innocence and childlikeness I had long forgotten. I thought it was too wonderful to be true. Yet, it felt so real. More real than anything I had ever experienced. Too wonderful to experience on this earth that I thought He was going to take me to be with Him then. I wrote my family and some old friends just in case so they’d know what happened to me & what He had in mind for them as well. It might seem crazy, but nothing felt more real. When it happened, I knew that all I had gone through was for a reason & forgiving my husband & others seemed easy. I lost 14 pounds in the 2 days following just confirming what was going on spiritually & the burdens I was carrying so long were starting to be lifted after not being able to lose any weight for almost 2 years & going to doctor after doctor who couldn’t tell me why my body wasn’t absorbing any nutrients I was eating & one told me how I couldn’t fix all the problems I had physically even if I had all the money in the world.

But despite it being the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me & despite it giving my husband & I a second chance on our marriage, there was so much that happened after that made me afraid to ever let it happen again. I started realizing how much I cared about what others thought after all. I enabled a spirit of rejection to grow stronger than my love of God in my life, and the areas that I had swept up & cleaned, but not yet allowed to be filled with God’s love & His spirit, I only allowed something 7x more ugly to start growing in my life. And being put through a hard miscarriage, 2 cysts rupturing, being told by a dr. what I mentioned before, almost 11 weeks of bleeding & severe pain after my miscarriage worse than any of my natural full-term births, followed by a super busy reffing & athletic directing season on top of teaching my husband had, a super hard pregnancy I had, followed by all the changes mentioned in the last post, I have felt wiped. And while I’ve felt wiped, I haven’t given much thought to how any of this has affected my husband either. I’ve been too busy attending to my own wounds. Too busy trying to convince myself that none of the insecurities I feel have to do with my identity. Too busy trying to convince myself that while my security & stability seem to have been severely shaken, my husband’s a new person.

God got a hold of him.

My sister reminded me how all our lives we had a really nice grandpa. He made us feel so loved. He was married to our very bitter grandma who we never felt loved from. Apparently, he acted stupid early on in their marriage & the rest of their lives she could never forgive him. He grew up to be this amazing, loving family man, & the beauty she once possessed seemed long forgotten.

It’s kind of been passed on through the generations.

I don’t want to be like that.

My husband was stupid. Apparently, a lot of guys start out stupid. It takes a long time for some to grow up, even if they are 6 years older. But he has. He’s grown up. He’s become an amazing man. I don’t need to remind him how stupid he’s been. I don’t need to keep re-hashing all the negative years to make myself feel better about how far I’ve fallen or to allow myself to keep my victim mentality. If he’s allowed God to change him & I’ve seen him at his worst, then I can allow Him to change me too. You jump; I jump, hubby. 😉 I don’t need to be an entitled brat. Nobody should deserve what I went through, but in a way we’re blessed when we don’t get that. Only Jesus dying & paying our price has even made Heaven on earth & beyond attainable. My husband doesn’t owe me anything for all the years of selfishness & pain that affected me. And I don’t have to go the rest of my life acting like he does.

I want to love recklessly again. I want to break the chains of bitterness & unforgiveness of past generations. I don’t want to pass it onto my children. And boy, is it strong. But my God is stronger. 🙂 And God’s love can even pour through this dried up wasteland of a person I’ve become. He can make these dry bones live again. 🙂 And you know, giving is just the kind of person I am (as my husband once said)-the person God created me to be, that I’ve buried for so long. It’s time to let Love in-& you know, out too. 😉 And if He can do it through me, you better believe He can do it through you because I’ve been one heck of a mess.

 

~*Weathered Heart*~

You left your heart open
For far too long
Thought it was invincible
Couldn’t be more wrong

You didn’t use an umbrella
To shelter it from rain
You didn’t know storms
Could weather so much pain

Now you’re left
With a torn, weathered heart
You’ve tried to mend it some
But it’s easily torn apart

And your heart
Once thought to easily survive
Is just dying
Dying to stay alive

In an attempt to
Rescue itself from more pain
It closed itself up
To shelter floods of rain

And the door of your heart
Was shut to many-a helpful knock
And in order to survive
It would have to unlock

It would have to open up
To see blue skies again
And it would need to let the Son
Take the place of sin

It would have to risk dying
In order to survive
And it would have to open up
If it ever wanted to thrive

And with one last gasping
Breath of air
It cried out with strength
You never knew existed there

It cried out for mercy
It cried out for grace
It cried out for healing
To take place

It cried out for forgiveness
Of not opening up before
When the Helper chose
To knock on its door

And it opened up
Wider than ever
It chose to risk everything
If it was its last endeavor

And the floods came
And the rain
But it wasn’t like ones before
It washed away the pain

And the Son came
He helped your heart thrive
And with His help
Your heart will always survive

You leave your heart open now
Never to close
Sometimes storms may come
But they leave with rainbows

-R.A.D.

Identity Crisis

1234202_766438165028_1791408816_nThere’s been a huge identity crisis going on in our world. Not just in the world but in the church too, and I feel like part of the problem is coming from us in “the church”. For a long time, many in the church have put people on pedestals causing many to be shocked by sin, almost to the point that people feel afraid to even admit that they struggle with different sins. For too long, people have felt as though they need to put on a mask to even go to church or they will be judged un-rightly. Often this judgment is even worse for leaders as they are often put on the biggest pedestal of all. Yet, we often forget that the whole message of the gospel is the fact that we were deserving of death for our sins and yet, Jesus died for us WHILE we were still sinners and that our testimonies lie in His goodness and nothing that we’ve done or earned. Some of us have walked with God for a while, but have forgotten where we started on our journey. We’ve forgotten that while sin may be pleasurable for a season, it is absolutely miserable to feel as though God doesn’t care for us. It is that sin that makes us feel that we’re enslaved to something that is often a huge burden. We often act like the older brother of the prodigal son. It upsets us when God saves someone who clearly didn’t deserve His forgiveness, forgetting that we too never deserved it. This realization has been causing a rift among Christians. We oftentimes forget to extend the same grace to those who are in the place we just came from. Maybe you’ve never been guilty of that, but I know I have.

As wrong as I have been, I’ve been having an even harder time with so many Christians accusing others in the church of being unloving for calling a sin a sin. I feel like the church should be the safest place to be open and “come out” of whatever sin we’re struggling with. There, one should be able to get help from others who have been forgivensometimes for the very sins or temptations others are struggling with. I feel like Christians should be the most transparent and open and honest, and not be afraid to ask the most questions. These questions should lead us to seek; and when we truly seek God, we will find Him. I’m all for that. God’s all for that.

I’m all for loving everyone. God is love. The Bible tells us that the two greatest commandments are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We’re even told to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us, persecute us, use us, etc. As far as the Bible’s concerned, we’re not off the hook when it comes to loving any person. However, I never thought that calling sin what it is would be considered hateful and that defining someone by their sin would be considered graceful and loving. If anything, if someone were to define me by all the sins I’ve struggled with, I would feel discouraged, hurt, and hopeless. And if something in my life was causing a separation from God, I would hope that a loving friend of mine wouldn’t be afraid to point out what I was unaware of. All of us have struggled in some way or another. We’re all undeserving of God’s love. Right now, there’s been such an identity crisis going on that it’s understandable why the amount of people struggling with homosexuality and transgender issues seems to be on the rise. Why are so many struggling with these identity issues?

There are plenty of reasons for this. First, what used to be thought of as innocent child’s play and curiosity has now led many parents to believe that their child is gay. In an attempt to show love, they have accepted this belief and spoken it over their kids. Secondly, there are many more kids who are being raised in broken homes or who have been physically or sexually abused. Some are belittled at a young age for being “different” than what others consider the norm. Others feel undesirable among the opposite sex. Many are tempted with same sex attractions. Many don’t know how to have close friendships with boundaries. The media’s lies definitely haven’t helped, etc. (Not all of these things will lead to someone struggling with homosexuality. These are just some of the things that can clearly lead to that struggle and temptation and are clearly causing an identity crisis).

It’s really sad that so many are growing up not knowing who they are. Those same kids are being defined by their struggles and a lack of understanding on our part. For a long time, if you were to say to most Christians that a person is born gay, they wouldn’t have believed you. It was clearly a chosen lifestyle.

Somewhere along the way, many of us have accepted the notion that people are born gay.  I’ve actually heard some Christians who use the argument that we’re born sinners that I addressed yesterday so they guess some people can be born gay. There was a huge article written and shared by a Mormon (I think?) that was spread widely in the past year or so. He said that although he’s married to a woman, he knows he’s gay because he’s attracted to men, yet has never acted upon those attractions.  Obviously, there’s a difference between being tempted, entertaining and lusting after those thoughts, and acting upon them. As I addressed yesterday, if being tempted alone made someone a sinner, then Jesus would be considered one. Yet as the Bible says, Jesus was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. Being tempted just means we’re human. I always wonder if the people spreading the article would consider someone a liar who is tempted to lie, but has never lied?

When Christians use the same lie that people are born gay, we are only contributing to the bondage they are in. If God created people to be born gay, then it would be wrong for Him to ask them to go against their nature. The question then becomes, what is natural? What did God plan from the beginning? Is homosexuality what He had in mind for anyone?

Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:2, Matthew 19:4, and Mark 10:6 all say that in the beginning God made mankind male and female and Genesis 2:20b-25 goes on to say:

~*But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.*~

First off, the Bible makes it pretty clear that He created man to be male and female, and that a man and his wife-woman shall become one flesh.

Genesis 1:26-28 says:

~*Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”*~

Second, God tells man to be fruitful and multiply. Can homosexuals be fruitful and multiply?

In Ephesians 5:25-33 it says:

~*Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body,[a] of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[b] This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.*~

Third, not only does it share about husbands and wives/men and women becoming one flesh again, but also states how our marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church (which I agree, very few marriages look like today). Satan hates anything that is a picture of Christ’s love for the church, and it makes sense why marriages are under such an attack today.

But really, what does the Bible say about homosexuality in particular? I know many say that the verses stating that homosexuality is an abomination in Leviticus don’t qualify as they were mainly written for the Israelites and how not many people follow all of those laws anyway, so let me use some others.

Romans 1:18-31 says:

~*For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.*~

How are God’s invisible attributes clearly seen since the creation of the world and understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (what many refer to as the Trinity though it’s never mentioned in the Bible and the Godhead is mentioned three times)? Why would God say that people are without excuse because of this? What are God’s invisible attributes clearly seen and understood by the things that are made SINCE the creation of the world? Remember, Genesis 1:26-28 says:

~*Then God said, “Let Us (the Godhead) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.*~

In other words, man made in God’s image- male and female, being fruitful and multiplying, filling the earth and subduing it, and having dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth should clearly show His invisible attributes and His eternal power and Godhead since the creation of the world and it is understood by all that is made.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

What does natural mean? Some definitions from Merriam-webster.com says:

-existing in nature and not made or caused by people : coming from nature
-not having any extra substances or chemicals added : not containing anything artificial
-usual or expected
-based on an inherent sense of right and wrong <natural justice>

a : being in accordance with or determined by nature
b : having or constituting a classification based on features existing in nature
-implanted or being as if implanted by nature : seemingly inborn
-having a specified character by nature

I could go on. If it wasn’t clear enough, a man and a woman’s body fits together naturally. Our God- our Creator, created us in a way we naturally fit together. It says that

~*…God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts (not love as many argue), to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen*~

And that BECAUSE man served the creature rather than the Creator, He gave them up to vile (evil) passions. What is a picture of those evil passions?:

~*For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust (not love) for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.*~

If God made nature and everything that is untouched by humankind is what is inborn and natural, and God made man in His image, male and female, then how could He have created people gay when it clearly says that goes AGAINST nature?

It goes onto say that God gave those who did not retain Him in their knowledge a debased mind to do those things which are not fitting (and lists all kinds of wrong-doings), but goes on to say, who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Does God ever say that homosexuality is deserving of death besides in Leviticus twice and a few other times in the Old Testament? Here are just a couple of the times, though there are more.

1st Corinthians 6:9-10 says:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

1st Timothy 1:9-11 says:

“knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

Sodomite: a person who has anal sex with another person : someone who practices sodomy

Clearly, God is opposed to homosexuality. Clearly, it goes against what He intended. However, does that mean people who have chosen a homosexual lifestyle are without hope? Absolutely not! Ist Corinthians 6:9-11 goes onto say:

~*Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] (some translations even say those who practice homosexuality-showing that it is a choice once again) nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.*~

There’s hope! First off, since people aren’t born gay and it’s unnatural unlike being born as a man or woman, black or white (God’s variety is a beautiful thing!), He can lead us back to what He had intended in the beginning. He can and wants to wash us and sanctify us and justify us in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God of whatever sin is separating us from Him– and yes, one of those is homosexuality. Should we love homosexuals? Certainly! Like I said, we’re not off the hook to not love anyone. If anybody should be best at loving homosexuals, it should be us because we should know how undeserving we are of love and should be the most grateful. However, like I said, I don’t find it loving to ignore the fact that someone I care about is heading down a path that leads to separation from God and all sorts of other consequences. I also don’t find it loving to say they don’t have a chance to head down the right path because they were “born that way” and will not continue to speak that lie over them. And I most certainly don’t find it loving to define someone by their sins or struggles. If that person has asked for forgiveness, as far as I’m concerned, they’ve been clothed with Christ’s righteousness and God now sees Jesus when He looks at him/her. And did He not create us from the beginning in His image?

Love Conquers All

My 2 baby girls when my youngest was 11 days & my oldest 3 1/2.

My 2 baby girls when my youngest was 2 days old & my oldest was 3 1/2.

Do I know how much God loves me? I mean, really  know deep down in my heart and soul? It doesn’t matter where I’m at in my journey with God; He keeps bringing me back to this. And with that comes the question, “Do I love others and see others the way God loves and sees them?”

I re-read through the New Testament this year and as always before I read anything, I asked God to speak to me through what I was reading. I found myself underlining so many verses about Christ having compassion on the people. It was such a beautiful thing. These were people most other law-abiding people turned away or condemned and accused. Jesus loved the least of the least, had compassion on them, and healed them! And that’s what He’s called us to do!

I know I’ve only had small glimpses of Christ’s love, but it’s enough to keep me coming back for more. It’s amazing how freeing seeing through the eyes of Love can be. For too long, I had lived under the weight of feeling like I had messed up too much to be loved by God. I would never speak anything like that over anyone else’s life, but I believed so many twists of the verses in Hebrews 6 about falling away from salvation, that I thought I who once tasted God’s incredible gift had fallen too far from His grace. I became like the people described by J.S. Park trying to earn Christ’s love:

” I meet Christians who are super-glossy, picture-perfect, law-abiding people, but they are absolutely miserable and difficult to be near. Their every movement is dictated by a strict rigid ruleset that is motivated by a desperate fear. If your efforts are not driven by grace — that God absolutely loves you no matter what — then you will punish yourself towards an invisible standard that looks like success but feels like slavery. Such a standard might work for a little while to conform your behavior, but it will never become a part of you: it’s just an apparatus that imprisons you. Only grace can truly be internalized to melt your heart, and though it can take longer, a truly tenderized heart follows God with all joy and perseverance. This is motivation by grace and grace alone. ”

I was miserable. There were many times in my marriage that I looked like a modern-day Proverbs 31 woman on the outside, but as I mentioned before, a lot of it came from a striving out of an insecurity that I was unloved. I would see and hear about all these women who were overwhelmingly loved by their husbands and while I’ve always wanted other women’s husbands to show their wives love, because I wasn’t loved even with how much I was “doing”, I would look at them and wonder what they did to be loved like that and why what I was doing wasn’t enough, why I wasn’t enough. I felt like something was inherently wrong with me deep down. I was jealous that these women could be so loved without the performance. The more unloved I felt, and the more my husband sought other things than me, the more I felt the need to control our situations. I’m still not perfect in this. There were so many years of dishonesty, I’ve developed some ugly habits. But the more love God has shown me, the more freeing I’ve become, and the more God has been able to work in my husband’s heart. My husband has told me that the times he’s sought other people and things, it wasn’t because of a lack on my part, but a dissatisfaction he had with God. The more he’s satisfied with God, the easier it is to turn away from any temptation, and the love God has given him for me and really for and through both of us as I hardened my heart a lot during that time has been better than we’ve ever experienced. It’s a beautiful thing that could only come from God’s unconditional love and grace! (We’re definitely not perfect in this though!)

Too often I’ve seen that we as Christians seem afraid of speaking of God’s unconditional love and grace. We may speak of it to people who haven’t heard of Christ, but it’s almost as though once someone receives salvation, we expect performance or if people who have known God’s love screw up, we immediately condemn them and forget that God’s a God of second chances and thirds and fourths and nothing can separate us from His love!

I often wonder if we speak so much about performance because it seems easier to love others if they’re doing what we want or if we ourselves have forgotten the wonder of His love for us. We put sin on such a pedestal and act terrified of it and speak about the Bible as though it’s a book of rules we need to follow without getting to the heart of it. We expect people who don’t know God’s love to perform as though they do and act as though the good news is about looking perfect and following the rules. Yet, God says that LOVE is the fulfillment of the law and whether we can speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, we’ve become nothing but sounding brass or clanging cymbals. And though we have the gifts of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though we have all faith, so that we could remove mountains, but have not love, we are nothing. And though we bestow all our goods to feed the poor, and though we give our bodies to be burned, but have not love, it profits us nothing!

I love how David says in Psalm 119:32:

“I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.”

God enlarging our hearts with His love is the only way to fulfill the law. Walking in the faith of His love for us and our pursuit of Him is the only way to please Him! You can be the best preacher and have the most appealing arguments until you’re blue in the face, but only God’s goodness will lead people to repentance!

God humbled Himself and came in the form of a man and brought Himself to our level to show us His love for us and defeated Satan and all powers of darkness through that love and that is our greatest weapon because love conquers all and never fails! When are we going to take up His weapon of choice and fight all manner of darkness? When are we going to love the least of these? When are we going to remember the depths of our sin and remember the wonder of His love for us and show that same level of compassion and grace and love to those around us? When are we going to soften our hearts enough to love as Jesus did?

The Transforming Power of Love

My husband and I on our wedding day.

My husband and I on our wedding day.

I read this article the other day. As always-at least from pretty much all that I’ve read of his, Matt Walsh was spot on. I was challenged to be the best for those I love. I read it for me-for me to grow and become a better person through it. I can’t say that I’ve always read things like this for me. Sometimes I’ve read things like this and wanted to take it to my husband and say, “See, I’m not the only one who thinks this way and why can’t you be more like this or understand this?” It would have made me feel even more justified to withhold love from him. As I was reading through some of the comments, I noticed a lot of people weren’t reading it for themselves. They were reading it for their significant others or just people in general, thinking what a narcissistic generation we have being raised up. And when we think that way, I think that we become part of the problem.

While it may not seem related, I’ve never really understood why people don’t go to church because of the hypocrisy that’s there. I know it’s there. I know it’s hard to be around people who are hypocritical. I’ve just always thought that if you see things you don’t like, you should try to be part of the solution not the problem. So, if you don’t like hypocrisy, make sure you’re not being hypocritical and make sure you’re being the picture of Jesus you wish to see in the church. Merriam-webster.com defines hypocrisy in this way:

hy·poc·ri·sy

 noun \hi-ˈpä-krə-sē also hī-\

: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel

So in a way, any time someone claims he/she won’t go to church because people who go to church aren’t acting like Jesus, I have to question what one thinks Jesus would do and whether or not he/she is doing what Jesus would do. Luke 4:16-21 says what Jesus did:

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[a] To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[b20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Not only did Jesus go to the synagogue (kind of like our modern-day church), He also spoke of what He came to do-what we should be doing. By saying we won’t go to church because others aren’t being like Jesus-who by the way, was surrounded by the Pharisees-the people Jesus even called hypocrites, I think in a way, we’re being hypocritical. We’re not acting like Jesus either-whose custom was to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and not only that, He wasn’t part of the problem looking down on others, He took the responsibility to be part of the solution. Actually, He is the solution.

In the same way, I think when we read these articles thinking about what others need to do rather than for ourselves, we’re being hypocritical and part of the problem. We’re on dangerous grounds then because we’re doing exactly what Satan would have us to do as an accuser of the brethren. We become so blinded by the plank in our own eye and instead start pointing to the speck in someone else’s eye. We let a root of bitterness grow up in our lives that defiles many. When you instead focus on other people’s problems rather than taking responsibility for your own actions, you take Satan’s side and start accusing people that God wants to redeem. Your love grows cold and can no longer have the affect that love has. As Martin Luther states:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I think that it’s an honest assessment at times to say that a lot of “Christians” are hypocritical. I think a lot of us resemble Pharisees more than people who have been redeemed. I know I have and am truly sorry for it. I know there are times I still forget and continue to act hypocritical. It sometimes seems that the longer a Christian “serves” Christ, the more entitled we feel. We become like the jealous brother in the prodigal son parable forgetting that all our Father has is ours. We forget that while sin may be pleasurable for a season, it only leaves us absolutely enslaved to it. We become addicted. I don’t think any Christian man or any man with a conscience that hasn’t been seared can honestly say that he truly enjoys being enslaved to the addiction of porn. It might seem enjoyable at first, but the longer you look, the more your lust grows to even things you would have originally been mortified over in the past, and the more you become enslaved. It’s a fix for them- just like any drug addict or any person stuck in sin can attest to.

When my husband sinned against God that I let have an affect on me, I grew really bitter and unforgiving. While I tried to do everything right on my own, the more he sinned against me, the more justified I felt to be unloving. What hurt the worst was when my husband would sin and hide it from me-always believing it wouldn’t have an effect on me if I just didn’t know, not realizing the wedge it was creating between us. Then, he would often tell me, “Well, if you don’t forgive me, God won’t forgive you.” It was absolutely selfish and disgusting and not apologetic at all. Trust me, if anybody can say that they married someone with a narcissistic problem, I can. I wasn’t given an apology and I wasn’t given time to heal; and to make matters worse, I knew he was right. God says that if we want forgiveness, we have to be forgiving ourselves. Instead of becoming forgiving, I felt justified in my anger because what he was doing was absolutely wrong; and I knew it, and I continually tried to get him to know it. It didn’t matter how many times I told him what he was doing was wrong, that I wouldn’t even wish this on my worst enemy; it didn’t change him. It didn’t matter if I tried to be everything others deem as the perfect wife, my actions could not penetrate his heart. If doing everything perfectly on the outside made someone lovable and led people to repentance, then the Pharisees would be the most lovable people of all and have had the greatest influence. And like I said, I knew God brought us together and I grew really angry at God for ever bringing him into my life. I had never been treated so badly in my life- and I haven’t always been treated so well. Instead, I could have just continually taken it to God and allowed God to soften my heart more and become more like His perfect bride.

Unfortunately, it took me a long time to do that. God’s still releasing me from the strong hold I’ve had over my life. I lost a lot of trust in God during that time although He’s always only remained faithful to me. My view of God became tainted with how my imperfect dad had treated me growing up and how my husband was treating me. I lost sight of the fact that people are flawed-all of us, including me. The only blameless human to walk this earth was Jesus. I started trusting my own strength to protect myself rather than casting my cares on God, and became overly sensitive and hurt to all the sins my husband committed. I became controlling of the situations we were going to be in, and became fearful of the times that I couldn’t control.

Even if I could manage my husband’s actions during that time, I couldn’t change his heart, and I knew that. It was a painful realization. I could never draw his heart to me by anything I did, and it made me fear never being loved. Because I stopped trusting God, I didn’t have a stable foundation and the more uneasy I felt about different things (I had the worst nightmares during that time-was seriously tortured during my dreams), the more controlling I became and the more I felt like I had to find out if my husband was being unfaithful because he wouldn’t be straight with me. While it was painful to find out the “truth” of situations, it was also relieving to me to know I wasn’t feeling uneasy for nothing. It became a fix for me. It was addicting and very damaging. I would have given anything to just be completely set free from it. I felt like there was no way out.

Thankfully, nothing right I did changed my husband’s actions and heart. If it had, I might have continued to trust my own strength instead of turning to the only One who has the power to save. The only One who can redeem all of us. I would have been trapped into believing the lie and sin that my works could save me and others, rather than God’s grace. I would have thought that I could produce the same fruit that only a life connected to God’s vine can produce. We are only branches. When we disconnect ourselves from the Vine, NOTHING good can come from us as God is the only One who is good who can produce goodness. And it is that goodness that leads people to repentance.

The fact that nothing I did and the fact I couldn’t do it on my own-literally, I couldn’t handle it; I was driven mad and on the verge of insanity with my un-forgiveness and bitterness- although I was good at hiding it at times- made me come to the end of myself. While I had cried out to God to fix all my problems before, I cried out to God in a whole new way. I needed Him. I wanted Him. I couldn’t do it on my own and I realized that. I realized that I had gone down a path of sin that was leading me to Hell and I feared the One who has the power to send me to Heaven or Hell, but I also knew He loved me and a broken spirit and a contrite heart, He would not despise. He has always remained faithful to me and never denied Himself despite my many infidelities/sin. It was His love and goodness that led me to repent to Him, and I could trust in His forgiveness over me because of His lovingkindness and faithfulness that never fails.

Because I had been forgiven much, I’ve been set free to love much. I have been set free to love in a way I’ve never loved before. And my husband, holy cow, he’s like a whole new person! Yesterday, I was again reminded of that fact as we were walking on some ice and he, without my asking, held my hand to make sure I wouldn’t fall. He’s written me numerous letters apologizing for the way he’s treated me (obviously, a far cry from how he was before) and yet so grateful for the way God has used Satan’s plans he intended for evil over my life for good. He’s become the biggest blessing in my life and my best friend! I often feel like he’s too good for me now! Only God could do that! Only the transforming power of God’s love can do that! Yeah, we still screw up at times. We still fall back occasionally. We’re still human and we haven’t fully “arrived”, but we know what that path leads to and are more aware right away when we start heading down that path. We can turn to God and ask for forgiveness from Him and each other now and know we’ll be forgiven. Because we’ve both been forgiven much and can love much more freely.

We all have a choice. We can keep reading articles and the Bible and think of others and point fingers and feel justified with where we’re at in life or we can look to Jesus and allow His perfect transforming love and the fire He tries us with to melt all the impurities in our lives. There’s always going to be someone worse off than we are. But pointing at others who are worse off than we are doesn’t make us any better ourselves and doesn’t produce the change we wish to see in them. Only love can do that. Only by seeing ourselves in light of Jesus and His truth will we be able to freely allow Him to do the work He wants to in us. Only by His power can we love our enemies (sometimes people who shouldn’t be our enemies), do good to those who hurt us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who spitefully use us, and that’s what God has called us to do.

Like I said in my previous post, God wants to be glorified in any and every marriage. He doesn’t want us to separate what He has joined together. Yes, He’s called husbands to love and serve their wives like Christ does the church and to wash their wives with the word. But women, even the best husband isn’t God. He’s going to be imperfect and have flaws. The only way we’re going to have our “happily ever after” is when we get to see Jesus face to face. Don’t expect from an imperfect man what only God can deliver. We’re still called to respect him even in his failures. Don’t withhold love because your husband isn’t who God created him to be at the time. If anything, that’ll just drive him more into his sin as he’ll feel justified in his sinful mind to keep sinning since he’s not receiving love at home. Men, please don’t wait for your wives to be all God’s called her to be either before you start loving her. Withholding love from her will not produce the fruit only God can do in her. You can go your whole lives waiting for the other person to do what they’re called to do and I know personally many people who have done that (I wrote this poem after attending the funeral of one of those people) and wasted the rest of their lives in bitterness and some who are still doing that.

Who you are, what you do, and how you react are all things you’re going to have to answer for yourself someday when you face God. We don’t answer for others, only ourselves. We need to make ourselves in right relation to God and allow His Holy Spirit to work through us and the fruit that comes from that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. You can try hard and seem to have some of those on your own, but if you’re not allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work through you, your “fruit” will not last through the storms of this life. We all face storms. Some of us are fortunate to have more loving marriages from the start, but everybody faces battles in this life. We can allow those battles to harden our hearts to God and others around us causing our love to grow cold and unusable, or we can allow God to allow that fire to shape and mold us to be the people we’re created to be and soften our hearts to Him and extend the grace and mercy we’ve been given to others. What choice are you going to make? Are you going to join all the others waiting for others to get their acts straight or are you going to become responsible for your own actions and become transformed by allowing God to love you and use you to love the unlovable? It is impossible to do that on our own and when we do that, God gets all the glory and we are here to bring Him glory!

*There’s a story I want to share where this lady has clearly brought God glory and allowed God to extend a love that most of us can’t even comprehend in an extremely difficult marriage where most of us would have told her to leave and felt very justified in doing so. Because she allowed God to use her to love the unlovable, she has allowed her life to glorify God and reach others in a way that wouldn’t have been possible had she not responded in the way she did. When I first read this story, I think I was in high school and bawled like a baby praying for God to give me a love like this but hoping I wouldn’t have to go through something like this to produce that kind of love. I almost forgot about the story though since it had been a while back, until my pastor read this story this past Sunday during his message (really good if you want to hear it) when he talked about marriage and divorce. Again, I couldn’t hold back the tears at all. This story is such a beautiful illustration of God’s love and it is so worth reading! It’s only 3 pages in the book “Larger Window” by DeVern Fromke (HIGHLY recommended-pretty much anything by him as he is a great man of God) and I know it’ll make this post seem super long, but if you read anything today, I hope it’ll be this.

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Could You Have Loved as Much?

Bob Considine writes…

Edith Taylor was sure that she was “the luckiest woman on the block.” She and Karl had been married twenty-three years and her heart still skipped a beat when he walked into the room. As for Karl, he gave every appearance of a man in love with his wife. If his job as a government warehouse worker took him out of town, he would write Edith each night and send gifts from every place he visited.

In February 1950, Karl was sent to Okinawa for a few months to work in a new government warehouse. It was a long time to be away, and so far. This time no little gifts came. Edith understood! He was saving his money for the house they had long dreamed of owning someday.

The lonesome months dragged on. Each time Edith expected Karl home, he’d write that he must stay “another three weeks.” “Another month.” “Just two months longer.” He’d been gone a year now, and his letters were coming less and less often. No gifts…she understood. But a few pennies for a postage stamp? Then, after weeks of silence, came this letter:

Dear Edith,
    I wish there was a kinder way to tell you that we are no longer married.

Edith walked to the sofa and sat down. He had written to Mexico for a mail-order divorce. He had married Aiko, a Japanese maid-of-all-work assigned to his quarters. She was nineteen. Either was forty-eight.

Now, if I were making up this story, the rejected wife would fight that quick paper-divorce. She would hate her husband and the woman. She would want vengeance for her own shatter life. But I am describing here simply what did happen. Edith Taylor did not hate Karl. Perhaps she had loved him so long that she was unable to stop.

She could picture the situation. A lonely man. Constant closeness. But even so, Karl had done the easy, shameful thing. He had chosen divorce, rather than taking advantage of the young servant girl. The only thing Edith could not believe was that he had stopped loving her. Someday, somehow, Karl would come home.

Edith now built her life around this thought. She wrote Karl, asking him to keep her in touch. In time he wrote that he and Aiko were expecting a baby. Maria was born in 1951; then in 1953, Helen. Edith sent gifts to the little girls. She still wrote to Karl and he wrote back: “Helen had a tooth…Aiko’s English was improving…Karl had lost weight.”

And then the terrible letter. Karl was dying of lung cancer. His last letters were filled with fear. Not for himself, but for Aiko and his two little girls. He had been saving to send them to school in America, but his hospital bills were taking everything. What would become of them?

Then Edith knew that her last gift to Karl could be peace of mind. She wrote that if Aiko was willing, she would take Maria and Helen and bring them up in Waltham. For many months after Karl’s death, Aiko would not let the children go. They were all she had ever known. Yet what could she offer them except a life of poverty, servitude and despair? In November 1956, she sent the two girls to Edith.

Edith has known it would be hard at fifty-four to be mother to a three-year-old and five-year-old. She hadn’t realized that. in the time since Karl’s death, they would forget the little English they knew. But Mariah and Helen learned fast. The fear left their eyes; their faces grew plump. And Edith, for the first time in six years, was hurrying home from work. Even getting meals was fun again! Sadder were the times when letters came from Aiko: “Aunt, tell me…if Maria or Helen cry or not.” In the broken English, Edith read the loneliness, and she knew what loneliness was. She knew that she must bring the girls’ mother here too.

She must make the decision, but Aiko was still a Japanese citizen, and the immigration quota had a waiting list many years long. It was then that Edith Taylor wrote me, asking if I could help. I described the situation in my newspaper column. Others did more. Petitions were started, and, in August 1957, Aiko Taylor was permitted to enter the country.

As the plane came in at New York’s national airport, Edith had a moment of fear. What if she should hate this woman who had taken Karl away from her? The last person off the plane was a girl so thin and small that Edith thought at first she was a child. She stood there clutching the railing, and Edith knew that, if she had been afraid, Aiko was near panic.

She called Aiko’s name, and the girl rushed down the steps into Edith’s arms. As they held each other, Edith had an extraordinary thought. “I prayed for karl to come back. Now he has- in his two little daughters and in this gentle girl he loved. Help me, God, to love her, too.” (B.C.)

From DeVern:
I feel sure many wives would have exhorted Edith:
“Forget him! Get on with your own life.”
To some that may seem like sound advice, but that is not what Edith felt God wanted for her, and we appreciate her decision. She might even have questioned in weak moments: “Was it really God telling her to forgive, and forgive some more?” Yes, she chose to send her roots deeper into the river of his grace: And God responded by giving her two daughters and a close friend.
It is awesome! When God writes the last chapter, for whatever He writes is good…good for all. The Psalmist seems to know this:
“I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh shall rest in hope… Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Let us be assured…
“…weeping may endure for a night,
               but joy cometh in the morning!”

Father, I am sure that I could not endure as Edith did, but I remember that You are the One Who provides special grace for those Who choose Your best. I now choose to become Your channel for loving all the “Aikos” and their children around me, who are helpless victims of sin and lust.

Every Wasted Second

Engagement photo of my hubby and me.

Engagement photo of my hubby and me.

There he is. He’s hurt you countless times. You can’t even remember the last time you only had good memories. Every offense brings back a painful wound that has never seemed to fully heal, and yet he expects to be loved. He hopes to be forgiven. Oh, the nerve of him! How dare he! Doesn’t he know you have a right to be mad? A right to get even?

You. You’ve been so good to him. You take care of his kids. You clean his house. You fold his laundry. You work out and try to look nice for him. You even pack his work lunches on occasion. You even look forward to time spent in the bedroom and you hear that’s rare. You’ve been the perfect wife.  Anybody would be happy to be with you, but him, obviously. I mean, if he were happy, how could he do this to you? He’s the luckiest man in the world and he takes it all for granted. He takes you for granted.

You’ve never done that to anybody, have you? Surely, you’ve never treated anybody so badly, especially not someone who’s treated you so well; or, have you?

I think sometimes we forget, sometimes I know I forget, that there is Someone who we have all betrayed who has only ever loved us. Someone who’s been nothing but good to us and yet we’ve nailed His wrists time and time again. Someone whose forgiven us way past the 490th time. Yet, somehow, we turn our eyes to other things-things we know are going to hurt Him. We know in our heads He has our best in mind and yet fail to really know in our hearts.

Somehow, we forget just how many times we’ve failed Him over and over again when He’s never deserved it. Somehow we forget that throughout all our mistakes, all our purposeful failures, all our faithlessness, He’s been faithful and He will never deny Himself. He’s our Anchor and support when our whole world crumbles.

Then, a spouse, a significant other, a child, or even just a friend, fails us. How could they? We’ve never done anything to deserve it. We haven’t failed them. So we start keeping mental records of the times they’ve hurt us and feel justified in not loving them. We forget that love suffers long and remains kind and keeps no record of wrongs. We forget that love never fails even when everything else does. We forget that Jesus will never leave His bride, the church; yet think that He’s all for a separation when we’re not treated fairly as though He was and is treated right. We forget that nobody’s perfect and we’re debtors ourselves in need of forgiveness; yet, we turn to those “in debt” against us and act just like the unforgiving debtor in the gospels of the Bible.

I understand. I’ve been there. In fact, I lost so much hope for our marriage and over myself and knew I would beat myself up if I ever got divorced my whole life, that I just tried to end my life instead. It was an ugly mess. Honestly, I knew there were issues -major trust issues before we got married. I couldn’t stop shaking and bawling and could barely force myself  into my wedding rehearsal and needed major prayer from my sister and her husband just to get me through the doors. I know it might seem weird that I didn’t call off the wedding. Believe me, that thought crossed my mind plenty of times. I even gave the ring back probably 10x while we were engaged and was told to just put it back on and I did and I pretended like we were happy and not many people knew anything I was going through because of it. I didn’t want anybody to think badly of him and I stopped talking to any of my guy friends because I knew I was vulnerable. And somehow, through all the mess, I had to lean on the fact that God did show us, plenty of times actually, that He had a plan over both of our lives together. With all the trust issues, I started doubting those promises God made over us, but I knew that He did make them and He’s always been faithful to me, and I knew He never gave me peace to end it.

While I didn’t go into my marriage blindly, I didn’t realize just how badly the sins were that we were both entangled in. His might have seemed worse at the time, but I was believing so many lies myself and I grew angry at God for ever bringing us together because I knew He did. I had read “Created to be His Helpmeet” (read with caution if you choose to read it please-there are definitely pros and cons to it as I have grown to realize) about 4x before marriage and even again after marriage and was determined to be the perfect wife. Somewhere along the way, I started taking up burdens not only over myself and my actions, but over my husband’s actions and his salvation. I definitely never meant to be manipulative and honestly normally had a heart for my husband the majority of time, but when he would hurt me again, you would have never known it. And he knew that. My husband knew my “love” wasn’t strong enough to love him through his flaws because I lost hope in God and started trying to love him out of my own power, which was limited. I grew so hopeless and so angry at God that my works weren’t producing the results I wanted. I couldn’t make my husband love me. I never felt loved. Our love was flawed and imperfect, and honestly still is, yet God has slowly been redeeming lost time and giving us a marriage we had long ago lost hope of ever having. Our love has grown immensely for each other in the last year! That itself is a miracle!

Time can’t heal our wounds, but God can. When we walk in His wisdom, God can redeem lost time.  Un-forgiveness and bitterness are not worth it. Trust me. It’s a death trap. Literally. You cannot live fully when you have un-forgiveness and bitterness in your heart, no matter who you’re with. The Bible says divorce covers one’s garment with violence. I get it. There are issues you might need to separate yourself from until you and maybe even your kids can heal, but please even then, pray for your spouse from afar and lean on God and His strength that never fails, and seek wise, Godly counsel from people who fear God before making such a huge decision-if not even just for the protection that might be needed in those circumstances. You never know what God can do through you being willing to stay, even without the word at times, by your chaste conduct, accompanied by the fear of God. God says whatever He has joined together, let not man separate. He wants to be glorified in any and every marriage and wants us to show the mystery of God’s covenant love for the church. God can restore the most difficult marriages and use your struggles to help others going through similar situations. And when He restores difficult marriages that would have completely fallen apart without Him, He gets all the credit.

I wrote a new poem tonight kind of through my husband’s eyes when I felt justified to bring up his wrongdoings, but also through eyes that have been hurt just by not being loved well. We all want and need Love and are lost without it. However, we cannot love without receiving love from the unending Source of love. You may be right in feeling justified to not love someone; but in the end, it won’t do anybody any good and you’re wasting your time. Anyways, my husband seemed to enjoy it and I hope you do too.

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~*EVERY WASTED SECOND*~

You talk to me, mentioning
All the mistakes that I’ve made
The last thing I need to hear
Are all the times that I’ve strayed

I wish I could take back
All those painful memories
I wish I could say sorry
In a way you believe

I wish to be forgiven
Through all my mistakes
We need to cast an Anchor
Whenever our world shakes

You’re right to be mad
You’re right to accuse
But every second we waste not loving
Is a second we lose

I want to love you
In the good, the bad, the in-between
I live to want you
When you’re nice and when you’re mean

I need to hold you
In the times you want to leave
I’ll give you a reason to smile
When all you can do is bereave

I want to be loved
In the good, the bad, the in-between
I live to be wanted
When I’m nice and when I’m mean

I need to be held
In the times I want to leave
Give me a reason to smile
When all I can do is bereave

Can we move forward now?
Not dwell in the past
Every second not loving is wasted
And the years go by so fast

-R.A.D. (me) 1/25/14

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*If you have been divorced, please know that God can and wants to forgive you and restore you and especially with my past actions, it would be silly of me to ever think less of you!

**My hubby has read this (honestly, I have him read all my stuff- normally before, but sometimes after if he’s not around ’cause I normally need the reassurance and he’s been gracious to give it to me!) and even said, “You’re on a role.” 😉 God has truly transformed him far better than I ever could have done if I had my way! Thankfully, for the most part, I’ve been learning to get out of God’s way; though, occasionally, even tonight, I struggle at times remembering to do that. Live, screw up, and learn all over again I guess. 😉

***If you want to read any poetry on screwing up in relation to God, go here.