1 Peter 3:6New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right [b] without being frightened by any fear.
Lately, it has become really evident that I have been living in a bubble of fear. I’ve been afraid that my favorite human being
on this earth was going to have truly and permanently disappeared forever, and this unfamiliar tortured soul would be all that was left. I was afraid that I would never get to say thank you to the man who made me so very happy for decades and raised a family with me. I wish I’d known the day before all of this really started up so I could have emblazoned his laughing eyes in my memory forever. I think that is what I miss the most these days. I miss the real Chef, and probably always will.
Fear is a powerful emotion, and I never really gave it much thought in relation to being a wife until all of this happened. But now it’s mention in the verse above makes perfect sense to me.
Men’s design is different and serves a different purpose here on earth, but a woman is specifically created to be the help-mate to man. When a husband indulges in affairs, pornography, or is emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive, unappreciative, critical, mean or just ignores her altogether for long periods of time, it isn’t just one aspect of her life that is launched into crisis. It effects a core part of her because somehow she’s failed at the very thing she was created for.
It becomes her very existence and self-worth that starts to crumble and fall. Second guessing, reviewing past decisions, and trying to shoulder all the guilt for how she is being treated tends to follow, and the march to destruction is well on its way. We are excellent public relations managers for the men we love, and sometimes that creates so much confusion, we end up aiding them down dangerous roads, instead of actually helping them come back. Being the gentler of the two sexes, the nurturer, we tend to hold on to hope a lot longer than men do, refusing to leave the one we are inclined to serve and protect behind, even when it becomes clear that the relationship has become toxic to both parties in such a way that it becomes dangerous to her. That in turn gives the devil some real time to damage her deeply, pointing out every mistake, blaming and accusing her constantly, and eventually turning her bitter and angry. And a bitter, angry woman is a tornado of destruction left unhealed.
All one has to do is open their eyes and look around to see just how many women are walking around with wounded souls that stare flatly out of sad, bitter eyes. My heart is broken all over again when I recognize the pain, and that is a new development for me lately. I’ve always understood pain, but this is a whole different level for me. I will hold this lesson close to my heart forever. It was costly but important.
Two days ago, hung over, feeling depressed, frightened out of my mind because my husband didn’t come home or call me for a couple of days, I went to my God and just cried, raged, and begged for this whole thing to be over…with the results I wanted..of course.. And He answered me clearly through the haze of my pain, and the tears stopped falling and I metaphorically laid down my sword and left the fight. His priorities outweigh my desires, and while He wanted me to have what I wanted, that decision wasn’t up to Him or me. It was up to Chef, and that was all that could be said about that.
But for His daughter Bird, there was an answer. Simply put, He was removing me from harm’s way. He simply told me “Enough”. It was time for the healing for me to begin, and He reigned down mercy, forgiveness and comfort all around me. The sea in my head stopped churning and I felt strong again. Even more amazing is that when the Lost Man finally did show back up, full of excuses and apologies, I never felt a twinge of anger, fear, bitterness…nothing. My reaction confused him, of course, so he headed in another direction, trying to pick fights with me all night long and I only felt the warmth of the word ” Enough” floating through my mind. I saw the man differently this time, and while I was sad, it wasn’t the same. I was sad for what the devil was doing to him, and how hard this lesson was going to be due to his inability to be honest with himself, and I felt compassion for him. I was grateful though, too, because I had 20 years of a wonderful marriage..I wouldn’t have given that up even if I had known all this was coming. But I also gave him back to God completely because his eternal soul is more important in the long run, and I am not His salvation. It was so easy to forgive him all of a sudden, without attaching any expectations to it at all. I am still hopeful that when he is well again we can be restored, but that is no longer the reigning concern in my heart. Maybe one day..but not now. For once, I’m excited about what God has planned for me next, Chef or no Chef.
We talk a lot on these blogs about the traditional wives submit/husbands love kinds of lessons, and they are important. But in the midst of all my confusion, God showed me something about myself and this unique situation I’m in that made me stop beating myself up for failing to be able to overcome this great sadness in a spectacular warrior-like manner. My weaknesses probably resonate more with people than any super spiritual strength. We’re all weak sometimes, and there is no shame in acknowledging we just don’t always get it right the first 908 times. But the important thing is that we keep on getting up and trying again, no matter how often we fail.
God was soothing me in those early hours of the morning, reminding me that I am His daughter first, not someone’s wife. My identity isn’t linked to some other human but with my Father in Heaven. He pointed out how often He has scooped me up throughout my life and moved me to safety before some horrible things happened, sending certain people to me just when I needed them the most, and He showed me how much my tears have hurt His heart, not just lately but from the first moment I cried out to Him. He’s always tended to my healing with a gentle hand, and His mercy has never once wavered. I am still that same tree that survives the hurricanes right to the bitter end, like He promised when I was a child. His Word never returns to Him void.
And then He made it clear that His daughters to men are gifts that they neither earn nor deserve, and do not own. There are limits to what He expects us to endure, and we are never required to be engaged in sin for the pleasure of another, or to be tormented to the point of destruction. We are children of God first…nothing should ever jeopardize our spiritual walk with God. Not even our husbands. There are limits to what the Lord is going to allow me to endure, and the time had come to remove this stubborn daughter from any more destruction.
His design for woman left her more vulnerable to the ravages of men who have chosen serving themselves and their own desires before their families or the Lord, and He did not consider these many months of failures on my part as wastes of His time. He isn’t disappointed in me. He can still make something good out of my weaknesses…The intense ripping of a spiritual bond is almost too painful to describe, but I think He wanted me to understand it. I would never have understood that particular ripping of a soul before, and now I have a new understanding and appreciation for the brokenhearted women of this world. I can now speak from experience.
I felt my peace and humor come flooding back. My Help has arrived and taken over, and I’m feeling a little bit steadier today. Thank you, Lord.