I don’t think it’s strange that the anniversary of my first blog post is on Good Friday, the day they crucified Your son. I was so discouraged this time last year and needed an outlet. For some reason Good Friday has always been full of sorrow and grief in my personal life. But, Lord, to write this… to tell THIS story almost seems You’re asking too much.
I don’t understand it, but I will obey. Because when I consider where I was two years ago today and four years ago today, I can’t help but thank You for keeping me.
Four years ago April 6, I made the choice to end my marriage. I knew things weren’t right. I wasn’t even emotional about it because I’d done so much crying before. Divorce was the only option because I didn’t want hate him. Even now, I know I made the right choice, but the journey from that place to where I am now has been…
Indescribable… but I will obey.
Two years ago, another promised that he loved me. I didn’t believe him. He was one of those guys that just played games. He wanted to do right, but his arrogance and jacked up experiences with women wouldn’t let him. Yet he pressed and pushed his way into my soul. And because I was lonely, I let him.
I remember going to church and hoping that the pastor would preach something profound and powerful enough to keep me from dating this guy again. We’d been at it before. I didn’t want to go back down that path, but I was still entangled. And that damned loneliness…
His tall and statuesque frame intrigued me. Straight lust… might as well call it what it is. His face… ehhh. Not particularly my type of guy, but all the other ladies loved him. So surely I should be glad he wanted me. By the world’s standards he was a good man, but something just wasn’t right for me.
Lord, I didn’t know my worth. I couldn’t comprehend that Your love for me exceeded what he could ever offer. He made me feel good. I can understand how David felt with Bathsheba. I think all of us have chosen someone or something over You at some point. The fact that I had grown so much, yet I still turned my back on You frightens me. I could mess up again… but I trust Your grace to cover me.
That night… he didn’t call. We’d made plans. He asked me to move with him. I’d said no, but he insisted that I must love him. He insisted that he loved me. I could’ve made it work with him. I certainly wouldn’t have had any concern for money. Do you remember my prayer that morning? I asked if he were the one for me. And if not, then show me.
You told me to get dressed. And I did. I got in the car and drove. You led me to drive and…
There it was.
His bright blue, tricked-out Chevy Malibu. At a hotel. I couldn’t have missed it if I tried.
I had a choice. To take the Jasmine Sullivan route, or to be patient and wait for answers. Either way it would be crazy. But I knew I had to stay. Because this would be the LAST time he’d force his way into my life. He needed to see that I was done. I prayed that whatever woman he was with had already left because I couldn’t handle a two against one battle. I was already weak.
So I called… cleverly left a message that I was headed to the gym which was conveniently located right next to the hotel where he’d lodged. And like roaches scatter in the light, he came scurrying out.
He saw my frustration. Saw my pain. Dropped his head. He refused to respond to my questions. Instead of listening to those raging voices in my head, I drove away.
I died that day. I was crucified by my own choices. My soul was cast down. I could not hope in You because I had turned my back on You.
And, Lord, I couldn’t hear You, feel You, discern You. My faith took a fatal blow and my spirit man had been all but torn asunder. Satan’s minion had taken his sharpest sword and nearly sliced my soul in two. His demons tormented me and consulted me to plunge from my bedroom window to the ground below.
I searched for You. You were there, but I couldn’t find you.
And, therein lies the problem with sin. I didn’t consider that when I got up from the bed of sin that Your presence had departed from my life. It didn’t occur to me that my faith had been so damaged that I wouldn’t be able to approach Your throne.
I watched the window for a good 20 minutes, even looked down. Lord, it must’ve been you that said “It won’t do the job.” I’d just end up with a broken bone or two… definitely not comparable to the death I felt inside. So I got back in the car and drove…
It was Sunday and usually I wouldn’t miss church, but the night before I had been tormented. Even more so now…
I was consumed with grief, self-hate, anger. You led me there, and Your people consoled me. They loved me and dried my tears. Oh, God! I remember how so many ran to my rescue. Some said it would be ok…I knew that wasn’t true. Lord, I knew that if I didn’t get this right in my life, I’d be condemned to hell here on earth and in the afterlife. Yet, I was thankful for their kindness and consolation.
I made it back home in pieces and rested. I did not eat for days. I read my Bible and listened to one song over and over. My soul, God, was thirsty for You. I could only fight to regain my peace in hopes that my faith would be restored. I needed to be in Your presence.
Your Word came. It was heavy and hard to receive. It discouraged me emotionally, but my spirit cleaved to it. Anyone who knows You understands that a rebuke from the Lord is like a feast compared to never hearing Your word at all. Just the fact that You spoke… I thank You.
How unsightly I must have been… to have known You and chosen something lesser that only intended to destroy me.
To have given myself to someone so undeserving. He didn’t even know You.
To presume that he could offer me a portion of what Your presence provides.
But looking back, Lord. I understand now that the rebuke you sent gave me a choice. The scripture says that You will not put on us more than we can bear. But I had put this on myself, and it was certainly more than I could carry. You gave me a choice, at that point, to face my brokenness and transform my own suffering into Your suffering. One would work a brighter future for me, while the other would render me helpless and hopeless.
…For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
I chose Your suffering. Because if I suffer with You, I’ll reign with You. That’s Your promise, and You’ve never lied.
And, so today, Good Friday, April 6, 2012, I can confidently say that I stood against each of his three advances since that time. I can say that I’m no longer on life support, but I’m living and loving. I can say that 2011 was the last year that April 6 would destroy me because I’ve discovered Your resurrection power. No longer am I entangled or even enticed by these lusts… My heart belongs to You.
I cannot imagine surviving this life without You. So many, Lord, are heart-broken and tormented daily. They cannot hear Your voice. And, it is my prayer that as I share my shame, someone who identifies with my pain will turn to You because You are surely there with them. Some have stories much worse than my own, and some feel there is no forgiveness for what they’ve done. I pray that they would come to know the truth!
With great joy and victory, I thank You! No longer am I heartbroken, sad, or lonely. You’ve filled my heart with promises, and my faith and peace in You grow everyday. I ask, Lord, that You do the same for my brothers and sisters, and for those who don’t yet know You.
Let this story, as unpleasant as it may be, bring glory to Your name because You are faithful…. You saved me. Thank You!
In Jesus’ name,
Last Sunday, I left you hanging…
I know it’s a cold thing to do, but there was a method behind my apparent madness. The teacher in me wanted you to draw your own conclusions before I placed further ideas into your head. It is my sincere hope that you, my cyber sister friend, have considered my last few points regarding your relationship. I hope that you’ve asked yourself if your significant other is really loving you the way God intended, if he is handling business as the leader of your home, and if he is one to whom you can submit.
So many “good, Christian girls” marry in hopes to actually be able to submit to a man of God only to realize he’s not half a man and has even less of God. And so we don’t know what to do because we think that in order to please God we must please our unplease-able husbands. But I laugh at the enemy… There is a solution to your problem.
At the risk of bearing too much of my past, I’d like to revisit my previous points and support them with anecdotal evidence, some of my own and some of someone else’s.
- He’s your husband, not God. Yes, we must honor, love, and obey, but there must always be a place that you preserve for you and your God alone. Elevating anyone, children included, above the place of the Almighty will open you to heartache and disappointment. I remember being torn between my relationship with God and my relationship with my ex-husband. It seemed I couldn’t maintain my walk with Christ as long as I was trying to please the other. I would imagine Adam felt the same ambivalence when he watched his beloved taste the forbidden fruit. Imagine what he must have thought in that moment. She knows this is wrong. She knows this will separate her from God. So will it separate her from me too? But I LOVE her. Icannot live without her… But God loved me first, and I love Him! God or Woman? Woman or God? So he ate the fruit. He chose Woman over God, and as a result all of mankind fell. What if Adam had not eaten the fruit? Would God have allowed him to redeem the woman he loved so much keeping our heritage in Eden intact?Could God redeem your spouse as a response to your faithfulness to Him?Absolutely! Could things fall into place should you decide to focus solely on the other person? It’s possible, but not likely. I wish you well either way.
- If he doesn’t demonstrate Christ-like love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay. The Bible says that a man must love his wife as he loves himself. So if he hates himself……………. Oh ok. A self-loathing person is bitter, self-destructive, angry, manipulative, and unforgiving. If these devices are demonstrated in your husband’s interactions with you, do what you can to keep order in the home, but anything that is detrimental to you and the family or feels out of sorts, you MUST stand your ground. I’ve known women who had unfaithful spouses that felt obligated to sleep with their husbands. Don’t lay yourself down under a man that you know (or even with legitimate reason, think) is being unfaithful to you. Don’t leave bills unpaid that could affect you in the long run because he’s “got it under control.” Do what you know is right to do when it’s time to do it. You’ll have pay later. I had to pay later when I could’ve stepped up and handled things when I knew he wouldn’t.
- If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.Two big points here… It seems this would be common sense, but how many of us chase behind brothers who lack any restraint in their personal lives? The purpose of a relationship is to build something. You cannot build with a person who chases thrills, emotional highs, or any other high for that matter… Strangely enough, folks who lack self-control attempt to control everything around them. Don’t be that kind of victim.I wish a brotha would ask to see my grocery store receipt to calculate my drivetime home. I have a Chemistry degree, and I know how to use it.
- Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well. I laugh when I hear stories of young grooms demanding their brides to do as they say because the bride must submit. Submission,in its finest form, is mutual. He should think enough of you to discuss matters before making a decision. I can’t think of one woman in her right mind who wants to be the man and take full responsibility for a family, but I also can’t think of one who wants all the decisions made for her without consideration for her needs. The pendulum swings both ways, folks… both ways. Menfolk would do well to allow us to take the lead from time to time.
- If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The strongest, wisest, most prosperous men on this planet answer to someone somewhere. If your boo-bah-dee-boo-boo claims to love God but won’t submit to a pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The concept of respecting authority eludes some people. So not only do these misguided fellas lose jobs and underperform at work, but they also fail to walkin the proper authority as the man, husband, and father. Men at their best when they are accountable to other men.
- You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. I looooove to wear make-up. Love love love! I don’t wear a lot, nor do I wear anything crazy, but I do like to highlight my features. Well, when I wasmarried it was strongly suggested that I stop wearing make-up. In fact, it became a source of tension between us, particularly if I was going out to the store without him though he neeever wanted to go along. That’s another matter altogether. But the tension remained until I made it clear that I wasn’t going to stop wearing it. Before long, he’d just stare at me while I put it on… in awe of my beauty of course. He learned to respect something small that mattered to me. See– *pulls out church lady glasses*—folks have the tendency to project their own insecurities on others. There is no need for me to feel unattractive because you have an issue. If I love you, make-up won’t make me cheat. If I don’t love you, nothing short of God’s hand will stop me. Ladies, you can comply if you so choose, but make sure you choose to do so for the right reasons.
- If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue…it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart. Ladies, some things we just cannot compete with. Some things we should not have to compete with. If he truly loves you, then he will learn over time to keep his eyes only for you. Don’t expect this to be an overnight process, but cover yourself in prayer as you fight the battle against insecurity and low self-esteem. But in the meantime, you don’t have to do,wear, or behave as some fantasy woman who has no emotion or need. You don’t have to bare it all like women on television. We don’t have to be overly outspoken to be heard, or wearing a nappy fro to be appropriately Black. (Oh gosh… did I type that? Yeah, I did. Team relaxer, baby!) But let me qualify this… Some of us DO need to lose weight. Some of us DO need to grow our hair out. Some of us DO need to find out what it means to be feminine. Some of us DO need to learn how to cook and clean a house.
I think I’ve picked enough on the fellas, don’t you agree? I mean all the good menfolk are screeeeaming at me wondering why I’m talking about these bad dudes when there are bad women out there too. Don’t worry… that’s the next topic. So I’ll see you same time next week?? *raises eyebrows looking for your agreeable smile* I look forward to it.
I look forward to reading your comments. As always please tweet, post, share, email, SUBSCRIBE! Let me know you’re out there! I’ve made it to the other side of the planet a few times now, so send me a cyberwave if you please! Until next time…
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,
Photo Credit: By SidewaysSarah on Flickr