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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
Note Worthy Info: I now refer to my ex-husband as Mister in future writings so as not to be sued for using his real name.
Welcome back! Yay! Before we delve into Ephesians 5: 1--7, I'm compelled to proclaim:
I write to validate, comfort, empower, and restore hope to women who've been deeply wounded and struggle to forgive--and not to fan the flame of a woman scorned and spawn a tribe of man-haters. (I'm just say'n.)
So, how does one validate the swirling vortex of rage and confusion that often sweeps through a heart devalued and discarded and yet, avoid giving the enemy a foothold?
The short answer is Jeremiah 6:14. "They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace" (NIV). You see, God gets it. He see the wounds of His children minimized, and He's not pleased. When will we learn? Saying we're fine when we are not fine does not make us fine.
Because we cannot overcome what we deny, hope begins with truth and the validation of our pain. Always and forever--an honest confession (what happened and how we're repsonding to the circumstances), coupled with the desire to yield to what God has to say about all of it. This, my friend, is how to bypass decades of emotional turmoil with the enemy calling the shots: "Bit-ter! Party of one. Your table is ready!"
Here's my whole truth: When Mister devalued and discarded me, I was wounded (read: a bundle of raw nerves in a heap on the floor), but I was also furious. Like, if-I-wasn't-a-Christian-and-I-thought-I-could-get-away-with-it-I-would-kill-him-with-my-bare-hands furious. But that was only the half of it. The other half was that deep down I'd internalized the lie that I am not valuable, and therefore, unlovable.
So for me, healing required an honest confession of how I saw myself, along with the desire to believe God when He says I am a woman worth fighting for. And then I had to fight FOR me--for ME. That's right. In the name of LOVE, everyday, I stood toe to toe with my greatest fear: I'm unlovable. Spoiler alert: Worthy me kicked unworthy me's butt.
He loves me. Not he (Mister) loves me, but rather God, loves me. He. Loves. Me. Before you toss this statement into the category of excessively lame, consider that most of my life I believed that I believed God loved me. But it wasn't until the man I loved for 18 years tossed me to the curb that what I thought I believed about God bumped up against what I really believed about myself, which can be summed up in the desperate question I asked my psychologist in June 2013:
"I've just spent 18 years in a relationship that shouldn't have lasted 8 days. What's wrong with me?"
And then I fell apart. By the grace of God and the help of a wonderful psychologist, I eventaully got up and proceeded to spend the next several months in the ring. Believe me, there were days I was so emotioinally punch drunk I saw stars. But that's okay because God, who created the earth and stars, was and still is in my corner.
Victory is sweet. What did I walk limp away with? Self-respect and the truth. There is nothing wrong with me. But there was plenty wrong with my perception in regards to relationships. I grew up in an abusive household where rose-colored glasses were a necessary shield of faith if you were to survive the unwanted touches of a broken man in the dark of night. In essence, minimize the seriousness of the wound, and be sure to stop and smell the roses in the light of day. This became the template for my marriage.
Was he faithful? No. Honest? No. Did he have good will toward me? Nope. Did he honor me? Negative. Was he careful with my heart? With the hearts of my older sons? No. Was he willing to follow Jesus into his own healing? Sadly, no. But in the name of Jesus, year after year, I stayed and prayed, clinging to my definition of love rather than God's.
I only wrote about the good times because it was all I could see. That is, until God joined forces with AT&T to jolt me into reality and spring me out of the twilight zone.
He loves me not.
It took over a year to accept this. Seriously. And can I just say, a lot of praying, therapy, swear words, and beer went into that season, though not necessarily in that order. Disclaimer: If you are a recovering alcoholic, this is not me encouraging you to have a drink.
Now for Ephesians 5: 1--7:
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor course jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be partakers with them.
That is a mighty long check list. But baby girl, if you're in a relationship with a man who for years has kept a steady stream of this kind of foolishness going (with some really great times in between but with no lasting repentance) then sooner or later if you are to thrive in Christ, you must step into the ring with the truth about you and knock out every lie you've internalized.
Walk in love.
Do not be deceived with empty words.
He never loved me. (But then again, neither did I.)
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 @ 6:07 PM CDT
Welcome back for part two! Here's a quick re-cap of the previous blog. If you slacked and didn't read Matthew 4: 1-11, at least consider re-reading Part One. (Scroll down. It's right underneath Part two.)
When we left off, Jesus was in the wilderness and on the heels of a forty day fast, where Satan was attempting to defeat him with a combination of three things:
- The Word
- God given desire and ability
- Weariness due to deprivation
Three points to consider:
- Jesus is the Living Word, who only acts on what "proceeds from the mouth of God."
- Jesus has the God-given desire for food when He's hungry, coupled with the ability to satisfy that hunger.
- Jesus is fatigued due to an extended period of deprivation.
If you've read this story, then you know, straight away, Satan says, Dude, if you really are the Son of God, turn these rocks into a pizza. (Okay. These actual words are not in the holy writ, but you get the picture.) A very hungry Jesus replies, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" The enemy makes another two attempts to deceive and each time he begins with the phrase: It is written. Jesus, in turn, responds with: It is written.
Why would Jesus, who is perfectly capable of quieting the rumblings in His belly, respond in such a way?
I'm no theologian, but I'll tell you what the take-away is for this Bible-study girl. God created me with the desire for marriage. (A til'-death-do-us-part-marriage.) In Christ, this desire is coupled with the ability to uphold my marriage vows. And to fight for my marriage if it's in trouble.)
My marriage was never easy. For many years, (he) struggled with drug addiction. I was the classic co-dependent. When he was "clean," let's just say moderation was never his strong suit. (Freebie #1): The roots of addiction will forever seek some form of expression if they are not severed with Truth and Light. (Freebie #2) The root of addiction is fear and it feeds off selfishness. I don't say this to be all judge-y. Perhaps you battle addiction, yourself. I have friends who are recovering addicts and they go to great lengths to live an honest life. They know, an addict who protects his/her addiction, is an addict who does not yet desire to be made well.
That being said, there came a time when both my God-given desire and ability to remain married was clearly trumped by the free-will of the man who is no longer my husband. These were facts I did not want to accept. And I found myself trying to keep a marriage alive in wilderness territory. Long deprived of the nourishment God assigns to marriage partners. I was so weary, I could scarcely remember my identity in Christ. So guess who showed up, touting 1 Corinthians 13: 4-9? That's right, SNL Church Lady fans . . . Satan!
- Love SUFFERS long and is kind.
- Love does not seek its own.
- Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.
- Love never fails.
- Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
THIS is WHY it is SO important that we learn to recognize the voice of God for ourselves. Hebrews 4:12 says the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discern-er of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I sought wise counsel. I met with two pastors. One reminded me of my wedding vows. The other agreed I had biblical grounds for divorce. I have a deep reverence for both men. Each quoted scripture. That's when I knew I would have to hear the final word from God. Because I was the one who would have to walk it out.
At the end to the day, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-9, is not "what proceeded from the mouth of God" in my circumstances, but rather Mark 5:34. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
By the way, the word well, translates to safe and protected. The decision to follow Jesus out of my marriage has been absolutely heartbreaking. But I am safe. I am protected. I am free.
How many times have I unknowingly exploited the Word of God by hand picking scriptures that only speak to my desire and abilities (granted, God-given), with no regard for the written word God would speak directly to me and my circumstances. Jesus didn't make a move without first hearing what proceeded from the mouth of the Father.
Thank you, Jesus, for rockin' my world, rescuing my soul, and reaching into the recesses of my heartbreaks. Amen.
You are not alone,
Published on Friday, June 13, 2014 @ 5:17 PM CDT