It is always astounding to me how a new perspective in an old situation can change the emotional landscape of one’s existence in that exact moment. Suddenly, though circumstances have not changed at all, you have, and every thing that is happening around you from that moment of clarity on feels different.
As anyone who’s been reading my recent posts probably knows by now, I’ve been engaged in a spiritual battle over my marriage. In a nutshell, my husband Chef is in the throes of a midlife crisis, and I, the ultimate passive aggressive control freak that I am, find myself not only unable to “help” him find his way out of it, but have been clearly instructed by the Lord not to bothering trying. For the back story, you can read any of the plethora of posts under the marriage category or my initial post, I’m A Casualty in my Husband’s War Against Time. For those who just want the cliff notes version, here it is: I’ve not been very obedient to God about staying out of His and Chef’s business. As God is inclined to do, He has used this experience as a refining fire for me, and while He is dealing with His son, Chef, He has also been dealing with His daughter, Bird, as well.
Never in my life have I been able to see my own heart so clearly as I have these last few months, and I have to quote Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Through this experience, I’ve had to come face to face with some demons that have haunted me since I was a child, and I find that this recent upheaval in Chef’s and my marriage, which I had once considered a time of discipline from my Father, has instead turned into a time of Healing. And, for me, it all boiled down to trust.
Do I trust God?
Had anyone asked me that question even a few days ago, I would have answered with a resounding “yes”, and been convinced that I was being truthful. Whenever you ask almost any Christian this question, we will almost unanimously answer that we do, and probably not think twice about it. But I’ve had this sneaking suspicion for the last few months that God was pointing out a rather nasty little flaw in me, and that is my inability to trust anyone, even Him.
Subconsciously, I kind of always assumed that God loves all mankind, and even the sparrows, more than He loved me.
Even at this very moment, as I’m typing these words, my heart is sad and afraid about opening up myself to being vulnerable to pain and disappointment. But at the same time, I have been given a new perspective from the Lord, and I feel the sense of peace one gets when they finally surrender to Him and trust that He will do what is best for us.
Yesterday, I gave up my battle with Chef, and with God, and admitted defeat. I literally, for the first time since it all started, gave up my own panic, fear, anger, and manipulation, and instead embraced the knowledge that maybe God wasn’t kidding with me…He told me not to try to fix this, even a little bit, and turns out, He is never fooled by me….even when I’m fooling myself.
Because Chef was gone for a few days on a trip, I had a lot of time to think about my next move, and the more scenarios that went through my head, the more frustrated I got, because it all boiled down to one fact…you can’t fix something in another person when that person doesn’t want to be fixed. Period.
Now, I’ve been thinking lately that my motives for wanting Chef to address these areas of his life were good ones, but instead of focusing on him and his motives, I instead had to look at my own, and they were rather sad and disheartening. I just wanted to continue to live in the life I’d carefully set up for myself, and I didn’t want Chef’s crisis to mess that up.
I’m sure a psychologist would have a hay-day with the number of reasons I have for not trusting other people, but it my thought that God isn’t interested in my excuses anymore. Yes, there are valid earthly arguments for me being this way, but He is my maker, and also my Great Physician, and after a lot of years allowing this coping mechanism to go un-addressed, the time had finally come for another step of healing to occur. And frankly, it just wasn’t a healing I had ever wanted or asked for. And I’ve resisted this process every step of the way.
If I am being extremely truthful with myself right at this moment, I’d have to say “No”, I haven’t trusted God all these years. Oh, I’ve prayed, and He’s answered. I have sinned, and asked for forgiveness, and I believe wholeheartedly that He has forgiven me. But always, somewhere in the dark corners of my mind, I’ve always thought that I was just a technicality in His system, not really a beloved child. I knew He wasn’t a liar, so I was saved. But to believe that the Creator of Everything in the Universe, actually cared and loved me as an individual was too hard for me to process, so I just didn’t. I’m exceedingly gifted at ignoring what I don’t want to see.
I’ve taught God’s love and mercy to any number of people, and I can say honestly that I meant every word. I have had no problems believing for all the good things from the Lord for other people, but I just didn’t want to trust God with the things that were really important to me, just in case He might not have my best intentions at heart.
Why should I? Up until only a day or so ago, I’ve almost always been the captain of my own destiny. I’ve been somewhat skilled at setting up my own controllable environments, and holding things that threatened my neatly ordered world away from it. And, for the first time since I was a small child, I actually came to trust Chef completely. I was shocked, surprised, and somewhat horrified when I realized this a few years ago, but I also have to admit, I really liked the feeling, too.
But by creating this structure of trust on a foundation of manipulation and control , all I was really doing was setting up the Perfect Storm for myself when the people in it decided to rebel, and it all fell down like the house of cards that it was. And frankly, I’ve been grieving for my lost environment, and struggling to rebuild on that same shaky foundation.
I would have to say that for the last several years of my marriage, I’d replace Jesus on the throne of my life with my husband, and even a baby Christian knows, God isn’t okay with that. I also have to say that there were only a couple of things that Chef would ever be able to do that would have removed him from that high place of honor in my life, and over the past few months, he did exactly two of the three things.
I want to take a moment to say this…his issues probably aren’t the things everyone thinks they are. He isn’t having an affair, which is definitely one of the three things I’d really, really have problems with. I don’t want to paint a nastier picture than it really is. But he’s struggling with normal midlife crisis stuff; issues that, to a person who thought things like this were only in her long distant past, have opened up a dialogue with myself that I think will prove to be the cornerstone of my new foundation, and it won’t be unstable or easily destroyed. And more importantly, it isn’t built around Chef.
As a teenager, a person once gave me this Word from the Lord, and what had struck me so curious about it was the tone that it had. They had told me that I had dropped my vase, and it had shattered and the water had gone everywhere. And instead of going to my Father and receiving another vase with new water, I was on the ground, trying desperately to fix the broken vase, and reclaim the lost water. I remember thinking it was kind of an odd vision, and I have to admit, I disregarded it completely….until right this moment. Boy, does God know me, or what?!
Yesterday, I spiritually gave up trying to accomplish rebuilding my broken vase, and scooping up the lost water. Instead, I received a new vase with clean, fresh water from God, and I have stopped grieving for the lost house of cards. Instead, I have a new hope, and it isn’t hitched to anything Chef does or doesn’t do. I’ve learned that maybe, just maybe, God isn’t my Father because of a technicality; what if He actually really does love me? Maybe it was no mistake He called me by my own name; and even venturing out a little more, I can say that I can trust God with all my important stuff, and He won’t let me down.
Today, when I woke up, I had a real peace and a sense of calm that I’ve not really experienced much in my life. And when the devil arrived, as usual, to shake, rattle, and roll my world, my brand new foundation stayed firmly in place. In fact, it wasn’t much of a battle at all, and the skirmish was easily won and quickly over.
Trust isn’t something I truly understand when it comes to other people, and I doubt this is my last encounter with my feelings about it, but I do have a firm knowledge that this is what God had in mind for me when all of this crap first started months ago. He gave me a lifetime of proof that I could, indeed, trust Him, and now, I find that I needed that proof, and a lot of it, before He would have been able to address this problem in me. It makes me feel like He patiently sacrificed Himself all over again for years, accepting my somewhat suspicious, distrusting service to Him. And He did that patiently and kindly, just for me. And, when the time was right, He cared enough to tear down my pathetic dwelling I’d built on the sand, and instead helped me lay down a foundation of stone built on solid ground. A place that would be safe against the hurricanes of life.
How can I not trust a God like that?
It is with complete, heartfelt honesty when I say this: I am truly grateful that all of this has happened, because I’d rather have this peace and stability based on the foundations He lays for me, than have to do all the hard work it takes to keep my shanty-like environment, built on the sands of mistrust, from crumbling all by myself.
I feel like that life didn’t pass His inspection, and the dwelling has been condemned and torn down. Now, building has begun on a new life, and it will be better and far more trustworthy than the one I’d built for myself. My old marriage is over; now, I look forward to my new one.
Maybe it is a good day to ask yourself — Do you really trust God?