Light Prevails through our Battles

God has been prompting me to share the following blog post series to highlight how the toxic cycle of my hateful treatment of my husband resulted in him turning it around and mistreating me.

To reveal how our immature, ignorant, and carnal hearts led us astray from God’s purposes for our lives, but most importantly, how starting to allow God to speak to our hearts in those moments brought His perspective, as well as clarity to see and understand each other’s positions.

I pray the in-depth look at this vulnerable piece of our marriage helps you to see that although you may have been hurt or you have hurt someone you love, God loves you no matter what, and it’s imperative that you allow Him to open your eyes to pains and hurts that could be preventing growth in your relationship.

This is our story.

Hateful Words

My son was angry because my husband was deployed (again), and he was raging at me. So, I sought comfort and help from my best friend, my husband, the leader of our family, only to hear the words that every wife never wants to hear, “Well I know what it’s like to live with someone like you”.

The words hit me like nothing I could ever imagine. “What an ugly thing to say to someone”, I thought to myself, “If this is his response to me something is really wrong between us”.

Painful Withdraw

After the rejection of emotional support from my husband I began to withdraw, not talking to him for a good week or two. I played those same words over and over in my head. It seemed like I couldn’t outrun my own thoughts.

I had come to expect the ugly response my husband gave me. I knew something was different, wrong, worse. However, I could never put my finger on what changed in our relationship.

After I scrutinized the painful words my husband spoke to me I reached out in an effort to reconcile. But it was too late. The hateful things I’d said and done over the years had come back at me.

Wrong Reactions

My human reaction was to FREAK OUT and blame everything on him. “I’m right in this”, I told myself. “I don’t owe him anything; I’ve already asked for God’s forgiveness for the all the pain I caused in our marriage”. I still believed it was about ME.

The further away he pushed me the more I clawed to be close to him, and the worse the situation got. As a result, we spent the next month not talking. This is not the first time someone avoided me because they hated me, but this was much more devastating. This was my own husband.

He was spinning out of control, deciding that the best course of action was to leave me, all while I was stressing out with yet another deployment were I was being forced to raise our four children alone.  Inside I screamed, “WHAT DO I DO!?”.

Little Help

I reached out for help from the leadership in our church, because by this time in our marriage we were growing in the Lord, and serving as leaders in our local church together. I thought for sure my leaders would be there to talk to him.

Surprisingly, that didn’t get me anywhere. Without giving out too many details, some answers were, “I don’t think I can do that”, or “Well I made sure my expectations were clear before I got married”. A little sarcastically I thought, “I’m glad you told me that, but how does that help MY marriage?”.

The most well-meaning, but useless advice I received was, “You need to pray”. I laughed then and even now thinking about that specific comment. “Do you really think or believe I haven’t been praying about it?”, I nearly shrieked.

At this point I was losing my mind about who to turn to for Godly advice. Eventually very few people, to include my kids, walked with me through the hardest time of my life.

Open Eyes

In desperation I went back to God. “Where are you?”, I cried out, “What do you want me to do?”. God’s response was to seek forgiveness and prepare for battle. I thought, “Crap, forgiveness for what?”.

Then it dawned on me. It seems like yesterday as I write this, but it had been years since God revealed another piece of the ugly side of me. This one was HATE.

It didn’t hit me at first, but my freak out response to my husband’s hateful words was full of selfishness, which tormented and hurt him.The Hate Cycle.

My eyes were opened to the fact that I was still guilty in our marriage. I hadn’t considered that God forgave me, but my husband might not have. As I focused on growth and maturity in myself I’d forgotten about the state of hurt I left him in.

I was hateful toward my husband so many times, and it could take years to undo the damage I caused. I didn’t want to, but I had to ask myself, “Was it wrong that he felt this hate towards me?”.

Fighting Solo

I finally understood what I was fighting for, but I still had a problem. What kind of battle do you go into knowing that you really only have a hand full of people for support?

Inside I shouted, “During war there are usually hundreds of warriors beside, behind, and some that even go before you. But I have very few people, to include my kids, who are walking with me through the hardest time of my life”.

It was clear that God was now calling attention to this remnant of our past in my marriage that was never taken care of, but what in the HELL was I going to do!?.

To be continued…..

Face 2 Face

Face to Face with Ourselves

The moment we come face to face with ourselves, we are brought into a parallel world; between the place of what we were and what we will become. A world filled with the most intimate thoughts of what we tells ourselves. 

In these moments or seasons we are faced with rejection from others; our friends, our spouses, our children, leaders, and even strangers. It is the battle field, and this face to face encounter with ourselves will determine the outcomes of our future. It takes hold of our entire being, forging (or forcing?) our minds to define the whispers we tell ourselves and directing our journey.

Personally, I have encountered and even told myself, “You’re too much for people”, “You over complicate things”, “I’m not sure what you mean (I feel stupid), no-one will understand you”,  “You’re not girlie enough”, and “You do not belong here”.

 

Face to Face with Rejection

I have felt rejected all my life, but honestly this rejection has allowed me to face myself, and to mirror what I see against God’s vision of me. Rejection is what has driven me towards questioning, “why we allow others to tell us who we are”, “how we should be treated”, and “why we exist”. Honestly, if we look to one another for approval, we will all be sorely disappointed.

 

The Bible says in Psalm 94:4-5 NIV,  “They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting. They crush your people, LORD; they oppress your inheritance”.

 

Basically, we allow others to use their worldly perspective to determine who we are by what they think we should be or look like. This give us a broken, corrupted view of ourselves, especially if they are not viewing us through God’s lens.

If you ask me, this is where we allow limitations to stop us from growing. It only takes agreeing with one person’s personal view of us to shift our thoughts away from the direction God is driving us towards, which is Him and who He says we are.

 

Face to Face with God

Recently, I had a face to face with myself about the many times others rejected me. God met me in that moment and gave me the reassurance I needed. I heard His Words of Truth; it divided the lies of the enemy, and reminded me that we all fall short. As I regathered my thoughts it was clear that His Spirit led me towards a place of peace and encouragement. I allowed the Lord’s comfort to remind me that I belong to Him.

In that face to face moment God did not abandon me. Instead, He directed my thoughts to realign my existence and purpose towards the person He has chosen me to be. It was a moment that forever changed my perspective of rejection; from believing the lies the enemy says of me to the Truth that rejection can lead me straight to God’s Word about what He thinks of me.

 

God’s Word says in Psalm 118:22-23 NIV, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes”.

 

So I asked myself, “Why would I allow these lies from the enemy to be used against me?”, and decided, “I will no longer let rejection from myself and others determine the truth of who I am! Every time rejection tries to define me I am going to let that drive me even more towards my true identity in Christ”.

– I CAN NOT BELIEVE OR SEE WHO YOU ARE, UNTIL I BELIEVE WHO GOD SAY SAYS I AM-

 

We must see ourselves face to face through the lens of God before we can believe and speak into the identity of someone else. When we partner with the Lord rejection from others pushes us to see where we are CLAIMED BY GOD, which in turn allows us to view others from a place of love. We can then see through God’s lens who He says they are. The lie of rejection is defeated!

 

Confront

Alessandro Pronzato counsels, “If you… go to the desert to be rid of all the dreadful people and all of the awful problems in your life, you will be wasting your time. You should go to the desert for total confrontation with yourself.”

In the time it takes for us to realize that running away with hopes of finding something new, a complete circle has been made. The same voices surround and cloud our thoughts and take over our minds. Eventually, we think to ourselves where has this taken me? How much time has been wasted? Am I still battling the same conversations in my mind?

Just recently, well to approximate the time I have spent that last 3 years living in this desert, facing myself. I even had a tattoo put on my arm to remind me of the times of the desert. The tattoo has trees growing out of a light bulb. The tree represents the desert and the light bulb represents me being the light. Whether we are living in the desert season or not, we are to be the “salt and light” to the world. However, that means we must change our perspective of what that means. My initial response was, this sucks!! I would like to run and hide especially from the thoughts, “you’re not a good mom, leader, or soldiers wife.” All I hear is, “you hated the world, so now you must suffer, for the hurt you reflected upon others.” What made matters worse is when close loved ones said, “that it is all your fault,” or “I know what it is like to live with someone like you.” As if, my own thoughts are not strong and loud enough at keeping me from freedom. Do I really need more people telling me how much infliction or pain, I have caused?

Facing myself meant taking a new perspective. This was going to be a season in the desert for healing, renewal, and redirection. That meant listening and admitting to all what others were saying about me. It also was a time to make me face the realities and truths of God’s love and purpose. The desert seasons will vary from person to person and can be different lengths of time, that is determined by God. You may want to avoid, numb yourself out or not admit you need it, but remember that the renewal of our hearts are not to benefit ourselves. It is made to unite and prepare our hearts for the presence of God’s Kingdom to bring about an eternal change.

People ask me, “how do you handle all of what you face?” Let me point out some important steps with handling the things we face. First, confront yourself. It will always be the first and most important step to change the circular, and dead end pattern you have been making. Second, time is to silence your own voice. When our voices are silenced we are intentionally creating time for God’s voice to intervene. Third, replacement. Where the heart is placed bleeds a reflection to whether we are listening to what God is doing through us. Forth, direction determines whether you stay or go. We sometimes face what is true, but never act on it to move us away from what is keeping us in the same pattern. These steps are meant to renew and strengthen our hearts for a sound mind and soul.

 
Our predetermined perception of the desert is what stops us from what we do not want to confront. A changed perception will determine our new destination.