When we lie down our sorrows and pick up the cross, for most of us the outward transformation is anything but immediate. It usually occurs over time and as we grow in Christ, our thoughts and behaviors begin to take shape. We are made new and with our new habits, priorities and attitudes, we may discover our relationships change as well. If you are like me, you may have found yourself in a marriage that was initially built on shared interests and mutual attraction. A worldly foundation. And as my faith in Christ grew and my character in Jesus began to shape, our foundation began to fall away. Everything began to crumble beneath our feet. Though we both worked hard to mend the broken parts, we each worked with different tools. I dug deeper into scripture and prayed till my voice was lost. I shared scriptures and verses with him, I read books based on biblical principles and begged him to read a chapter. He bought flowers and planned getaways and weekend adventures. These were all meaningful and loving gestures but the more we dug in to what we individually believed would save our marriage, the farther apart we grew.
I was unable to find enjoyment in the same things because I was transforming and “drinking” and “partying” was not fun for me anymore. Quite the opposite in fact, I grew to despise alcohol. There were times that I made awkward attempts to be that girl I once was but was immediately convicted and set back on my course. He (my husband) on the other hand grew to despise the time I spent studying the word and began to use my faith as a tool to inflict harm on me. He said that I thought I was better than him and anytime I stumbled he would ask, “Is that Christian like?” to remind me that I had fallen short. While I never felt superior to him or said anything to that effect, he saw my character evolving and my interests change and he called me “boring” and said I had “forgotten how to have fun”. Towards the end, God began to open my eyes to what my husband was revealing behind the words he used.
What I saw was a broken man who believed himself unworthy of the love of God that was beginning to pour through me. I prayed endlessly for my beloved to see himself the way I saw him. The strength and courage, the kindness and generosity he displayed. I never looked down on him and still to this day after all the heartache he has caused and the terrible things he has said and done out of pain, fear and what he perceived as rejection, I still see those qualities in him. I still pray for him and I still love him. I wish I could say that this our impending divorce was something I am ready for but I am most certainly not.
Why he refuses to answer God’s call in his life is now a matter between him and God. Sixteen years of my life have been spent in perfect love with the man who’s rib I am and while I am most certain that our marriage is over, I find it impossible to let go.
So many days and nights have been spent in real agony. It’s called “heart sickness” I hear but all I know is it is at times debilitating. I think of him and wonder what he is doing, I wonder how he feels, I wonder if he still loves me. I’m aware of the things he is doing and with the many women he is doing them with. I have seen the dozens of empty bottles lying around when I have gone to the home we once shared. I can hear the “drunk” in his voice when he picks up the phone and tries to mask his intoxication. None of that makes me love him less. Truly I tell you it makes me love him more. From a distance. I will not visit with him or spend the night. I will not text or answer his calls when I know he has been drinking. These are perceived by him to be further examples of my rejection but I can no longer participate in what I know to be wrong.
My despair has been so overpowering that I have searched desperately for a resolution. For a “fix” to my seemingly endless suffering. Again I have read books, poured over devotions and reading plans. Punched the keywords. “how to get over a break-up” into Google and Bing hoping for different results. Something, anything that would relieve my pain and set me free. Well, my research kept leading me back to what I know is true. No one or nothing can provide what only God can supply.
In 1 Peter, the apostle wrote to comfort and encourage early Christians who faced persecution for their faith. “Persecution for their faith”. Hmmm. Isn’t that what I am experiencing? Paul described the characteristics of a Christian marriage and home in Ephesians and these are all principles I have come to endear and find peace in. These are all the characteristics I aspire to attain and exemplify through Gods amazing grace. These are behaviors and attitudes I have employed even without realizing the Holy Spirit was at work in me. And these are the fundamentals of my faith. The NEW foundation being labored over that cannot be shaken or dissolved by experiences or circumstances. The foundational theology for which I have come under attack and faced persecution, even by my own husband.
Peter wrote in chapter four of his first letter;
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” v. 19 (NIV).
That single verse holds so much power. With 21 words I discovered the end to my suffering. There is no timeline promised, only that in my “faithful creator” I shall abide. In fact “commit” (to set before, entrust, to pledge or bind) myself to him. As an anchor holds the ship from drifting off course so does my savior hold tight to me. I am certain that I am walking in the will of God and I am to continue to do good regardless of how I feel, what I want or what persecution comes to me.
So now my faithful readers, even as I am yet tormented by thoughts of my love lost and the missing piece of my heart, I am called to walk through this storm and do good. Ever committed to the one that holds my future. This is a choice I make every day. Often requiring re-commitment several times each day. I cannot walk this journey alone and there are many times I am carried but each day I strive to cast my cares and fix my eyes on my supplier and strength, my rock. If you are like me and find yourself seeking an antidote, know that I have found it but unlike a shot of penicillin, there is no speedy recovery. What I know is that Christ suffered on Earth in ways unimaginable so that we could be gifted with salvation. Gifted through HIS grace and mercy and there is nothing that you or I could ever do to be deserving. What we can do is accept it and in gratitude commit to Him then continue to do good works that bring glory to the one that first loved us. He has already supplied us with all we need to recover in grace.
We are on this journey together and not apart from HIM. Please comment or email if any part of what you’ve read resonates with you. It is not by accident that you came across a page entitled “Recover in Grace”. Reach out and fellowship with others who share your pain.
~ Recover in Grace