Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Love That Won't Let Go

"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the]testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."

The way I have lived my life is to pull up my boots and make life work.

Over half of my life was spent in trying to find a set of rules and follow them. One of the rules I have strived to know and understand is how to be submissive to my husband.

All I knew what to do was to do what Danny said, not make any waves and be happy all the time.  After all, I was to have a quiet and gentle Spirit.

Of course no one can do this all the time so I had to pretend.

When my family and my marriage fell apart and I came out of my pretend world--that I was not this perfect wife and mother--knowing I had failed, I turned inward.  I had given it my best shot and I had still failed.  So all I knew to do was go into isolation and solitude.  Without realizing it, I separated myself from the world and my family.  I could not face my failure.

Danny was completely oblivious to my feelings.  To him we had a great marriage and I was very happy.  He was caught completely off guard by my illness.  He was wrapped up in his work and thought the family was doing fine.  After all, I had not told him anything different.

I went from trying hard to not trying at all.  From living under the law to having no law at all.  I was like a wild buck, trying to find my freedom.  Not that I did anything bad.  I just did nothing at all.  I let my marriage go, my children and my home.  I would come in and out of wellness and do a little with the world, even Bible studies, but for the most part all I did was sit in a daze or sleep for 17 years.  I spent hours upon hours with God.  I know.  I meditated, had solitude, and made my world a world I could control.  It was getting smaller and smaller all the time.  My life was a mess and I was a mess.  I was lonely and alone in a family full of people, a world I had created.

Then last year, actually Sept 2012, I began reading articles that applied the gospel to your everyday life.  I had studied this for years but God still had lots He had to do in my heart to bring me to a point of seeing.  I had not understood it in the way Rick Thomas wrote about it in his ministry, "Counseling Solutions."  I began to surround myself with people that knew about grace and who I was in Christ.  I began to see myself as Jesus saw me. Faithful friends and mentors had prayed for me for all these years. 

Yes I am a sinner saved by grace, but now a saint dearly loved and forgiven. I did a study on Ephesians.  It all started to click.  Just as Paul saw, so did I see.  It was Christ and Him crucified, but oh, the depths of how far this would go into my struggles, my depression, my seeking approval and people pleasing, the idols of my husband and my children.  The scales began to fall off my eyes and I began to see God's love for me in new and exciting ways.

I just wish you were here with me in my den, in my spot, everybody needs a spot to meet with God. I have a friend who just goes and works outside.  It doesn't have to be anything like mine, but we all need a place to meet with Him.  Yes God is with you all the time.  He lives in you, but you need a spot with things you love.  Mine has  reminders to me of the ones I love, to pray for them, with the things I enjoy, like a good cup of coffee, that I am to be a blessing to others and love them as Jesus and the Father and Spirit love me; of ministry.  All the things I love, my study Bibles and creative things are near me.  My heart longs to tell you so much He has taught me.

Submission is a law and Christ came to fulfill the law, but to also increase the law.  He said it is to love God and love people.  Danny thought things were ok because what I was doing was not all bad. But I left out the relationship. 
What Jesus is all about.  It was my heart.  My heart longed for approval not to love my husband as Christ had loved me, selflessly.  I didn't know how to want the best for him and honor him for him.  It was for me.  

I didn't know how to shepherd my children's hearts.  All I knew was to do for them.  This is only a taste of what it is to be a parent.  What God has been teaching me that it is Christ and Him crucified.  It is about relationships and loving and being ok when things don't go my way because I have a Father in control of my family and my life, and I can do my best but mess up and still trust Him to bring good out of it.  He is teaching me new and better ways to love all the time and it is exciting.

God does not need us to redeem the world.  He gives us the joy of being a part of it.  We can choose to remove ourselves from life or to join in with what He is doing.  I wrote a little devotional book mostly for my family.  While I was off the computer and very sick God got it to 150 women in prison and who struggle with addictions.  He did that without me.  The blog grew unbelievable while I was gone.  He is giving me the opportunity to continue with Him what He has done.  I don't want to miss out anymore of my life to others and my family's life.

I am ashamed of what I have done, now that I see it, but Christ died and bore my shame on the cross.  So I can live a life full of joy and peace and happiness even in the tough times.  I have not stopped the work of God, He has worked in my family and others, I just chose not to be a part.  The funny thing is He even worked on me.  We cannot stop what God is going to do in us.  "It is finished," Jesus said.  We do not limit God but we can limit our participation with Him.  But He restores even that.  One of my favorite verses is that He restores the years the locus have eaten.  

God has been teaching me to learn to walk by faith, to trust Him and not myself.  To depend on Him and hear His voice.  He works in our weakness to bring about good and His strength.  I have prayed "God, would you heal my mind?" many times, and He hasn't.  I have ask myself, "Do I still trust You, Lord?"  And the answer today is, "Yes!"  The answer is "yes" to Him, and to this life He has given me.  He is more than enough for me and I am realizing and accepting it more every day.  

So now I can love my husband and children and others with all my might.  Not to get what I think I need.  I go to Jesus and the Father and Spirit for that. But to love them to give them Jesus and to give them me!  I still fail at this but Jesus didn't fail.  His righteousness is mine.  His life is lived through me. His forgiveness and love is mine.  My challenge is to live this life out of what He has already done and is doing.  It is not about me but yet He desires that I be with Him as He is with the Father and the Spirit.  It is a beautiful thing. We are all one.  I am to relate to Danny as Jesus does the Father in some ways, they are equal but Jesus is in submission to the Father.  But I am to Danny as the church is to Jesus.  He is my picture of submission and a love that just won't let go.