I woke up an hour earlier than usual this morning. When that happens I ask myself why. I have been accused of “over thinking” and “over analyzing” on several occasions and I have decided that I am guilty as charged. However, my over thinking and over analyzing has served me well. In this instance, I asked, Lord, what do you want me to do? I thought maybe I woke up extra early so that I could read my Bible or pray and sure enough, when I started praying, I realized why I had woke up.
Let me begin by saying that almost everything I have learned in life has come from my own experiences. As a graduate student, I learn the material by relating it to something I am familiar with. When I am working with clients, I relate to them through similar experiences I have encountered. When I study my Bible, I understand the scripture by relating it to something that is applicable in my own life or in my environment. The reason I say all that is because my blogs are typically about my experiences and how I see and understand God through them. More times than not, I reveal too much personal information, yet, I believe that the truth speaks louder than a make believe scenario and the reader is intuitive enough to tell the difference. So with that, I begin.
For any of you who know me, you probably know the struggles I have had in my marriage. For those of you who don’t, suffice it to say that it is nothing short of a miracle that my husband and I are still married. We have an uncanny bond that can only be explained by the fact that it is God given. In our four years of marriage, we have tried to divorce each other 3 separate times and split up a total of 5 times, not a very good track record. Crazy as it may sound, never once did those separations have to do with the fact that we did not love each other. On the contrary, we love each other very much; we just both come to the table with sorted pasts that predicates our behaviors when times get hard. I think Dale and I have both come to the conclusion individually that our marriage is about something bigger than just him and I and that has forged a commitment we had never had before. That isn’t to say that both of us have a difficult time “staying” but when we do get to the place we want to run, we try really hard not to.
I am learning more about who God is through the relationship I have with my husband. Here is what I mean. Before I met Dale, I had spent three years on a Sabbatical. That is to say that I didn’t date anyone for those three years. I spent my time somewhat in isolation. I worked out, I went to church, I wrote in my journal and I ran my business. I did not even spend time with friends, I was alone. The sabbatical was induced by a break up that was really difficult, because it represented my “belief” in what I believed God was doing in my life and I really thought I would end up with the person who had just broken my heart. After the break up, I was so broken and dismayed. I knew there was no place to turn but to God. I had already decided the bars and cheap thrills were not for me because they always left me empty, so God became my only option. During those three years, God taught me what love really was. I remember nights when I would cry like a baby from the loneliness and say to him “I wish you were flesh so that you could just hold me and make me feel safe.” I felt so frustrated that God was a spirit and not tangible, yet there was no mistaking his tangible presence. He was there with me and he was holding me in a way that I could not see with my eyes but I could feel in my heart and spirit. It was during one of those times that he began to teach me the role of a husband. He showed me that my earthly husband would be the flesh and blood that would hold me and comfort me as an extension of my spiritual husband, Jesus. I know it must sound trite, but at that time in my life it was so important for me to create a distinction between who God was to me and who a man was to me. Up until this time in my life, I always chose a man over my walk with God. I found myself compromising my beliefs in order to fit into a relationship. The guy who represented the breakup I just discussed also represented the very first time in my entire life that I chose God over the relationship, which made it all the more difficult when it ended because I knew I had done the right thing by God. I thought for sure HE would honor that. For me, I didn’t know how to draw a distinction between my love for God and my love for a man because I was trying to fill a void with whatever means possible. Men always took first place because they were flesh and blood and I needed that. God was intangible and often silent. He left me to walk in obscurity instead of certainty and I hated that because I was afraid. Yet, when I finally surrendered to him during this three year sabbatical, I learned what my relationship with a man was supposed to represent and I learned how important the role of both husband and wife are. In this instance, God was distinctly showing me the differences between my spiritual husband, him, and my fleshly husband I would one day have. I knew that my fleshly husband would be an extension of the love God has for me.
Fast forward three years later, imagine my surprise when my marriage started to fail after just 2 months. I didn’t understand. I was so confused and profoundly wounded. My husband and I spent the first three years trying to divorce each other, yet, I went into this marriage with the belief that this was the marriage God had been preparing me for which it is. However, it is not without its struggles. Every single thing in our lives is being used by God to teach us about ourselves and about his love for us. There is nothing that is not purposed and there is not an end point to the lessons until we are dead. I finally understand that there is no one place I will “arrive” at on this earth, my destination point is heaven. I use to think that everything I have learned was leading me to my “purpose” that place where I would arrive at when everything falls into place at once and life gets better. Coming to the realization that life is one big journey and none of us ever “arrive” took a lot of pressure of the expectations I had about myself and about my marriage.
So, back to where all this started. I woke up an hour early wondering why I was awake so I started to pray and inquire of the lord if there was something he wanted to tell me. As I lay there in bed praying, my feet where touching my husbands. I felt him move in bed to a position away from me. Since I am an over thinker and being the girl that I am, I wondered to myself if he was moving so he didn’t have to touch me. I felt hurt and I ask God in that moment if my husband would ever be able to give me the love that I needed as his wife. I asked God if my husband would ever really trust that I was on his side in life and if he could ever trust the fact that I truly love him with all my heart. Immediately God begin to show me in my thoughts how often we move away from him. He showed me all the times I had chose to not trust him and walked away from him. He reminded me that all the while, he was there, loving me and waiting for me to come back to him. It hit home with me so completely that I was inspired to get out of bed and put my thoughts on paper.
The issues that my husband and I have in our marriage are exactly identical. We both question if the other is committed. We both question if the other really truly loves us. We both question whether or not we can trust one another with our hearts. We both react identically the same when faced with hurt, judgment and rejection. Dale and I could not me more alike. We were made for each other and both of us have said to one another that there is probably no one else on this earth that could live with me and no one on the earth that could live with him. We are difficult people. This morning I asked God, will my husband every trust that I am on his side? It breaks my heart when he treats me like his enemy. Don’t get me wrong, I do treat him the same at times, but in that moment this morning when I was praying, the lord said to me, that is exactly how I feel when people don’t trust me. I just started crying because I understood just how vast Gods love for us is because I know how deep my love for my husband is and God’s love for us is indescribably more infinite. I fail daily at unconditional love. I do not give my husband the love he needs and deserves because in doing that, I risk rejection and pain. Yet, that is exactly what God does for us. He shows up time and time again to love us, even though we don’t trust him, even though we question him and even though we turn our back on him and try to do life our way. Then when we get to the end of ourselves yet again, he is there waiting.
I know God is asking me to give the same love to my husband. A task I fear I will fail because of my own fear of being unloved in return. But, when I have ears to hear the lord, he reminds me that my marriage is in his hands and this is the man in which he has joined me to. There is no doubt that Dale is exactly the person I needed in this life if for no other reason that I grow in God because of him. I believe all the struggles I have had in my marriage are present to grow me in God and to grow me as a wife. I believe Dale is everything I want and need, just like Jesus is everything I want and need. But life is a journey, here a little and there a little. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Isaiah 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” this scripture helps me to remember that things do not happen overnight. The happen by putting one foot in front of the other. Walking one block at a time until eventually you can run a marathon.
Someday, my husband and I will grow into a strong unified relationship and I will eventually have the love I always imagined. But until then, I am learning how to love and how to give and how to be, hopefully, a godly wife and woman. Until I arrive at that destination point, I am so thankful for the struggles, because those struggles are giving me deep roots and a stronger bond in both my marriage and with God.
God IS good all the time, we are just afraid to trust that!