Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Letter From a Friend

Six years ago this past January, through the heartbreaking experience of a miscarriage, I met some incredible "virtual" friends who I have grown to love and communicate with often. (Feel free to read more about that journey HERE.) A few days ago I received a message from one of those sweet ladies via Facebook, explaining some recent struggles that she has been experiencing in her marriage and life. Because I have been approached multiple times by women who are wrestling through similar issues, I decided to post (anonymously, of course) her letter to me and my response.  My prayer is that God will encourage at least one woman who may breeze over this post and give her hope.  As my awesome pastor says, "Our marriages don't need to be perfect... They just need the hope of change."

Her message:
Just wanted to tell you today how much I appreciate your postings and quotes on Facebook lately. I so need to see evidence that prayer and faith work and can change things right now. (I mean, I *know* that, my very existence shows me that -- for that matter, so does my son's) but somehow knowing something and really, truly believing it with all of your heart are two different things.
Anyway... I read your blog post a while back about how so much in your marriage has changed... and meant to read it more intensively... and write you more about it... and haven't. All I can say is that I can identify with the first part, and have spent the past few months dealing with a lot of the same. I'm at a point where I recognize a lot of things I've messed up in my marriage (but can't quite get to the point of forgiving the things my husband has). And I have felt in the past few months, through A LOT of studies I've been going through at the same time, that God is doing something. That he is showing me more about grace - both giving and receiving it. That he is still trying to convince me to reach out to other people instead of doing everything on my own. And that I need to keep turning to prayer and having faith that he will finish whatever it is that he has started.
So I'm asking, if you don't mind, for you to join me in praying for that. That God will give me the ability to talk through issues with my husband without getting angry about everything and ruining the conversation. That He will show me who to talk to here in real life and what to say (and I have a bit of that... but it is so, so hard to carry on non-superficial conversations with kids always underfoot...). That I will focus on what God has done for me instead of what I think he should be doing. Some of those seem rather vague to me, and I hope it doesn't seem weird to hit you with what is (to me, at least) a pretty personal e-mail message when we don't even know each other in real life. I just really appreciate your transparency and being real (and I get the impression that your church is all about that and so I appreciate that too).

My response:

First of all, I want to say a big "thank you" for writing me about this. Sometimes throwing stuff out there on Facebook seems like a "crapshoot" of sorts and I always wonder if anyone every really reads it. I confess that I am tempted at times to even stop posting stuff that I believe is beneficial because of the fear of being hidden, blocked, etc. Messages like this one from you remind me that my role as a born-again believer is to share the Gospel and its implications in my life in whatever avenues are available... and then trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. So, again, thank you.

Secondly, everything that you've described about your relationship with your husband resonates so deeply with my heart. Believe me when I say, I HEAR you. I know the frustration, tears, bitterness, regret, anger, and so many other emotions that I don't even believe are covered in the English language. I wish there was a step 1, 2, and 3 to give you to make all those awful feelings disappear instantly and to make your marriage suddenly perfect. But we both know there's not one.

In my experience, all I can point to as the source of my marriage's healing is God and God alone. There was a moment in time during our separation that God opened my eyes, showed me how awful & self-righteous I was--WAS, not had become, always was--and then gave me a brand new heart to see the all-satisfying treasure of His Son, Jesus. He really became that: ALL-SATISFYING. THE TREASURE of my life. Everything that I had been searching for in my husband (and all other men in my life years before) and requiring him to be was never, ever going to be found in him. I was trying to make him my savior. And I never really knew the difference until I truly, wholly, supernaturally was given the Savior. What a huge difference!

Now....... do Alec and I still struggle? Ummmm, yes. Quite often. In 1 Peter 5:8, we're warned that our "adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I know he still targets our marriage and my family, maybe even more than before. I know that this miracle that God performed in my heart and in my marriage makes him furious. But I also know and live from promises like the ones written in Romans 8:31-39, along with many, many others.

From a practical standpoint, I will tell you that 1 Peter 2:21-3:6 has been my go-to passage when my flesh screams at me to get angry, fight back, let ugly words towards my husband fly out of my mouth, etc. It wasn't until recently that I even realized what the "Likewise" in verse 3:1 was referring to. It is referring to Jesus and the life He lived in our place when He walked this earth. He gave us wives an example/pattern for situations such as these. "...When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly..." Once those soul-needs are truly entrusted to and gratified by the One who can fully meet them, we are then free to healthily serve and love our husbands as Jesus did those around him.

My sister, saturate yourself in the truth of His Word and place all of those unmet, heart-heavy emotions into God's all-sufficient lap. He will take them and He will meet them. He is SO good. And He is good FOR you.

Yes, yes, yes, I will pray for you. Please keep me updated on your journey. I'm always one Facebook message away.

Love you with the love of the Lord-


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