My marriage was in shambles. I had been neglecting to speak the truth to my husband. I had neglected to be loving & nurturing to my husband, and I had completely let myself go physically. For years I had known there were issues I was uncomfortable with & for months it had burdened me to the point that I was paralyzed with doubt, fear, pride, anger & resentment. I was unable to accept the feelings I was having toward some of my husband’s behaviors because those feeling spoke directly toward some old wounds from my life as a child & my life as an alcoholic, drug addicted adult.
If I acknowledged that Ryan’s immaturity was hurtful to me it would certainly mean that I was desperate & would accept any kind of behavior just to have the “appearance” of being loved. The truth is, I was desperate & I was willing to accept hurtful behavior just to have to appearance of being loved. I tried everything imaginable to sugar coat, or hide Ryan’s selfishness & pride because his shortcomings meant I was not worthy of real love. So I was compelled to deny my feelings even existed. Except for frustration & anger, (those were task-master emotions), my other feelings of, hurt, disappointment, abandonment, neglect, were weaknesses, exposing the wounded child, the drug addicted, alcoholic adult that I despised; the woman, girl, child that was detestable & dirty & unloveable and stupid. I could handle the action emotions, but the ones that saw into my pain, into my past struck fear & panic in me that I couldn’t possibly look at honestly.
At the same time my selfishness ran rampant. It was fair game, if he was allowed to be selfish & irresponsible, so was I. I had a free pass, and I took full advantage of it.
We had our ups & downs. Our triumphs & failures & we always managed to come to an understanding of sorts & “keep the ship afloat”, but there was that little pinhole in the hull of our ship that kept seeping water into the bottom of the hull; most of the time we found something to plug up the hole with. Sometimes it was genuine forgiveness, & a sincere desire to love one another, other times we would shove something superficial into the hole & hope it held. It could be a new job, a new project, a changed perspective, or just ignorance. Ultimately, we were floundering, and I knew it.
As our ship continued to list to the left, my desire for a totally renovated, & restored ship remained dormant. I couldn’t admit our ship wasn’t in tip top condition; that would mean I’m a lousy person, a failure, (again) and I couldn’t possibly know anything about love or relationships or character. In fact I even used my faith in Jesus to cover up my concerns about how our character defects would eventually run the ship aground or find it at the bottom of a dark sea of sin & selfishness.
I said, “well the Lord will take care of Ryan”. He has never failed me yet & I’m certain He’s not about to start now. But if we were to keep plugging up a God shaped hole with “world-shaped” putty, this ship was going to sink. How was the Lord ever going to work in our lives if we kept sweeping our issues under the carpet? Or if I kept denying they even existed?
Truth is the Lord WILL take care of Ryan, but not until Ryan submits to His authority. Could I make that happen? No. I had tried for a solid year to be a good witness & share all the Lord’s triumphs in my life, but I could not change my husband.
The day came when I could no longer lift a finger to plug up the now GAPING hole in our relationship & my husband left. I wanted a 30 minute fix like on the TV family shows. I wanted everything to be right, right now, but it wasn’t. I was alone. For the first time in many years, I was alone.
At first I was relieved that I had at least conveyed my feelings of dissatisfaction with our marriage, but then the truth began to settle in. I knew I had to get to a safe place. I had to tell someone what was happening, or surely, I’d have a drink and a crack pipe in my hand before long.
As my friend Margie & I prayed our hearts and asked for the Lord’s intervention, I was flooded with tears. My emotions had finally come to the surface. I was able to embrace my fear of loosing my husband, the hurt I had been burying for so long, the regret for not being able to prevent this from happening, my shame for being so irresponsible with my feelings and my marriage, and most of all my pride that kept me fruitlessly trying to keep the ship afloat. It was done. My back was against the wall & all of these emotions, whether justified, or false came pouring out. I had finally admitted that I was powerless to single-handedly manage my marriage. I purged myself to the Lord.
The tears came as a cleansing flood. Finally, I was being freed of the emotions I had bottled up for so long. I wept & wept & prayed & bared myself as a pitiful mess, helpless & broken by my own neglect and denial. I laid my husband at the foot of the cross & gave him to Jesus right there & I knew there was power in what was happening.
As we closed in prayer I saw a thick forest with a beam of light appearing through the middle as if the trees were being parted. I didn’t understand, but just then Margie smiled so big & just glowed, she said, “do you feel it?” “The Lord is so thick right now, I feel His presence.” I felt it too & it also felt like I was glowing. My heart was so lifted by prayer & release of emotion and the act of honestly pouring out my pain & sorrow. I told the Lord what I wanted & I believed He heard me & was actively moving on our behalf right then. I didn’t know how He would choose to manifest His “answer”, but I trusted Him.
Margie sat with me in counsel until I stopped sobbing & urged me to seek the Lord on some specific things.
1st) What was I supposed to do now?
2nd) Why was I unable to even look at my husband or even be in the same room with him?
Then she asked me to call her later with what the Lord’s response was to my questions.
So after my time with the Lord & an amazing display of His love & faithfulness I drove to town for some groceries.
As I reached for the phone to call Margie and tell her how the Lord responded to me, there it was again; a densely populated forest, slightly parted with a wonderful beam of light trying to peek through all that brush & foliage.
The Lord spoke quietly to my spirit… The forest is the garden of your life. You see a tangled mass of trees and bushes and hedges with prickles & briers. The unkempt vegetation overshadows the foundation of the garden. The woundedness you have sustained, the tangled mess your life became as a result of your separation from Me and the lies that have hounded you from childhood are the wild thistles & burly brush you find obscuring your view of the paradise I fashioned from you.
I am clearing out the forest of your life & restoring your garden to the likeness of Eden; preparing a place for you to dwell that is free from the brambles & briers and thorns that sting & tear. The separation of the trees you see has come from my breath of life upon the timberland of the Holy Refuge of your heart. I have parted wildwoods of your life & the shone the light of My Son through to encourage you to look deeper into the mass of this jungle. Do not fear the wilderness it appears to be, for my sickle is a two edged sword & with it I shall make beautiful again the garden I have created. Come boldly unto Me child of My own, for I alone am the Lord your God, the lover of your soul.
See the thick underbrush… the growth so dense & dry. It obscures the natural beauty of the tall and mighty trees that form the canopy over the garden floor below. The underbrush must be pruned away to clear the way for passage into the glorious place I have prepared for you. I will shear away every unfruitful shoot that has taken root in My beautiful garden.
Fear not my daughter, I am with you all the days of your life and every step of this journey. Take my hand, walk with me & trust the next step, I will show you marvelous & wonderful things.