Monday, June 29, 2015

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

I fell on the bed exhausted. Thoughts I had never dreamed I'd have had been bombarding me for months. And for the first time in years I felt the pangs of an old foe...guilt. I turned on some worship music and cried. I told the Lord how awful and dirty I felt. I lay there arms outstretched and let his love flow over me until I fell asleep. 

This was the turning point for me.

You see, I absolutely adore my husband. For the first four years of our marriage, no matter what financial problem, personal tragedy, or health issue came up, we were a team!  

But this past year I found myself thinking about another guy while I was with him...

Yeah, this was not like me. 

Yeah, I was completely ashamed of it. 

And it didn't just suddenly happen one day. It was far more subtle than that.

It started with something Joe would fail to do or something rude he would say, and immediately I'd hear the lie...he doesn't think you're lovable anymore.

And then he'd be too tired to do anything when he got home, and the lie would surface again...he doesn't want to spend time with you anymore. 

At first I shrugged the little thoughts off. But they came more and more often, and after a while I got too tired to fight.  I started to believe the ultimate lie...your husband doesn't like you anymore.

So I started making some new friends and started finding in them what I thought I was looking for...someone thought I was interesting! After I had spent the last year feeling invisible, someone saw me and wanted to know me!

The lie surfaced in a different way this time...your husband doesn't make you happy anymore...maybe one of them can...

And when I looked up, I saw how far my thoughts had fallen, and how far they had taken me with them. 

We all hear the stories of spouses committing adultery, of families torn by it. We never think it will be us. We never dream that we would be seduced by its call.  I certainly never thought it'd be me. And even though nothing physical had happened, it was still adultery. In my heart, I had already been putting another man in my husband's place. Didn't Jesus say, "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully, has already committed adultery with her in his heart"(Matthew 5:28)? Mine may not have been a sexual lust, but it was an emotional one. That's when I realized I needed help. 

After that surrender to the Lord in tears of shame, He started opening up conversation with mentors who prayed for and encouraged my marriage. And then He opened up conversation with my husband. And I realized that he was having a fight of his own. I had been so caught up in my own battle that I had failed to see how discouraged and alone he was. 

What I realized from this year-long fight in my heart is that any marriage can fall into adultery, that even women are susceptible, and that it doesn't happen overnight. I also realized that it's so important to have people in my life who can encourage and correct me without judging me. People who have been where I am and can show me the way out. If you are in this place, dear sister, please do not fight alone. Bring it all before your Father in heaven and he will bring you people who will help you. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Woman to Woman

Your hair is so healthy.

You’re such a good mom. So attentive.

I love seeing you interact with your family.

You’re such an inspiration to me!

Sweet, life-giving words spoken to me this past week by some very good friends. They cannot even know how I replay these over and over in my heart or how much they mean to me. It is partly because they were words spoken from loyal hearts, partly because I very rarely hear such words spoken to me, and partly because they speak straight to the least confident parts of who I am.

As a woman, there is nothing more life-giving to me than to be encouraged by another woman. Do you know what I mean? It’s one thing to be complimented by a man or by a husband…something in the back of my mind wonders if it’s just the testosterone talking. But to be complimented by a woman is a little unsettling at first and yet so amazing. Sadly, because as women we very rarely encourage each other. We gossip. We cut each other down. We size each other up. So a sincere, encouraging word is so refreshing.

I want to be the kind of woman who builds up the women around her.  I want to be the kind of woman other women can let their guard down around.  I want to be like these darling friends of mine, who have seen all I am, and still love and support me.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Dance

My husband and I took swing dance lessons before our wedding. He had never really danced and I had never danced with a partner, so we thought we should at least have some basics before we had to dance in front of a crowd at our wedding.

The first couple of classes were miserable. He lacked confidence and I lacked the ability to follow. I kept trying to guess where he was going to go and kept ruining the flow. He was trying to get the moves down right and make it look good. We were having no fun at all and wanted to quit a few times. But with each class, he got better at moving and I got better at letting go and following. Now we love to dance around in the kitchen all the time!

I was talking to a recently married friend a few weeks ago about the difficulties of adjusting to married life after being single for so long. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s frustrating. It makes you wonder if maybe this was a bad idea and if maybe you should quit. Cut yourself some slack. Cut your husband some slack. You are learning to make a life together. Two different personalities, backgrounds, cultures and expectations. You’re not going to dance the waltz on your first go. It’s going to take time to make something beautiful and unified. But the learning is half the fun! And in a few years you’ll get to look back and laugh at all the tripping over each other you did, and marvel at the beautiful dance you’ve created!