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Friday, March 18, 2011

the journey begins....

I am my mother?   Oh no, you didn't......

My husband had identified a pattern I had not seen.   I literally kept him at arms length....."you don't hug me back, you keep your arms between us..."   Ohhh, how that hurt.   Immediately I had flashes of seeing my mother push my father away.  An affectionate man, I remember as a child he was always trying to hug or kiss her.....she would give him a brief second and then push him away with the loud declaration "okay, that's enough...".   uh oh......what had been modeled for me?  Did I know how to love my husband?   Did I know how to be loved? 

Life came into question.    The man I loved was flawed, sure, but how much of that was really me?   How much was I projecting?   How on earth was I going to figure out HOW to love this man the way he should be loved?

What on earth does being a "wife" really mean??   What does it look like?  ........{gulp}......do I need to....{shudder}....change?      .....where are the answers?

The Lord had been working on drawing me back for some time.   I was a private school kid.....frankly I don't remember a day without knowing the Lord (I didn't grasp the vastness of that blessing until a few short years ago).  In my 20's, married with an instant family......it was an interesting reality.   I'd gone from living at home with my parents to living with Mr and wham!  .....becoming a step-mother.....yikes.  (Never did like that "step", we don't really use that word unless clarification is needed with someone new to our lives.)

There was a lot of adjusting going on.  The kid stuff I was totally comfortable with, other than having to share this child I loved beyond my own understanding with someone else who had all the control.....it was easy.  We'll call her "The Teen" now....at the time I met Mr, she was around 6 months old so she knows nothing different than me being in her life.    But the WIFE part?    Well, I just thought it would go on like when we were dating.....um....no.

Okay so back to my "....what the?" meltdown/revelation moment.....The Lord had been calling me back.  It was year 3 of our marriage and I was on my own at that time, as the Mr had no desire for anything church related.   I was a miserable, trapped in my pride, human being.    Married life wasn't what I thought it would be.   We had our son ~a beautiful (be careful what you ask for) answer to prayer ~ who was a nightmare challenge as an infant.  I was exhausted, lonely, miserable, poor, living in a really bad area and the only thing keeping me in my marriage was my pride.   I would not, under any circumstances, give anyone the ability to say "I told you so".   I would not admit to being wrong and "divorce" would not pass my lips.    I was stuck. 

Lord give me the strength.   I began to pray.    Where do I start?  I remembered that when I was little the woman who watched me before and after school would listen to a christian radio station.   I found the same station and played it day in and day out.  Pour goodness into my decaying brain.  Give me hope. 

We were a one car family so I was stuck just as literally as I was figuratively.  Books.   What did I already own?......I started to dig.   Ah, a gem I never even read (purchased in my spiritually high post graduation life): Living Free in Christ by Neil T Anderson.   I devoured it in one afternoon.   I couldn't stop reading, couldn't put it down.....I sat there at the kitchen table and moved only to tend to our son (I'll call him "the Dude").   Now in hindsight I see how the Lord knew I would need this book.   I can actually remember the day I purchased it and I never picked it up again until this time.  He knew the moment I would be stuck and need something to grab hold of to pull myself out.   In the back of the book are the Steps To Freedom in Christ.   Essentially it's a spiritual self cleaning.    A crud removal system from all the junk we accumulate over our lives, things we touch and are touched by in times when we have no idea what they really are.

I sat at that table and felt the Lord's Spirit wash over me and fill me up.  It was a physical sensation I cannot fully describe.....but it was a turning point.   Not long after as I was listening to that christian radio station, I heard guest speaker Stormie O'Martin, talking about her book "The Power of a Praying Wife".   Something in me clicked....I had to have it.....I knew this was a tool I needed. 

I began the book with a smug feeling that it would satisfy my desires to be right and to change him.....that was slapped out of me in the first few sentences:  "First of all, let me make it perfectly clear that the power of a praying wife is not a means of gaining control over your husband, so don't get your hopes up!  In fact,  it is quite the opposite.  It's laying down all claim to power in and of yourself, and relying on God's power to transform you, your husband, your circumstances and your marriage."  Ouch.  Well then.....{deep breath)....okay, keep reading....  Here is when I made the choice to stop nagging, stop talking about church and shut my mouth until I knew what I was doing (because clearly I didn't).  It was an act of pure discipline.....that I failed miserably on many occasions but try, try again....it got easier.   So I decided that when he watched TV in bed I would read my book right there next to him.   He would see that I was praying for him.   ....but I didn't say anything..... {so clever}

The change in me began here.   Learning to rely on the Lord who loved me and provided for me years before I would know what I needed or where I would be.  It became a real and personal relationship....no longer "abstract object to be worshiped" and "worshiper" but a walk with me talk with me relationship. Here is where I learned to pray.   Here is where I chose to make the Lord my husband and I would serve Him by being what the man next to me needed. 

Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
1 Peter 3:1-2 

A choice that brought me on a beautiful walk with Him and transformed me, my husband, our circumstances and our marriage.
I am not a writer.  I am not a scholar. I'm not even college material.....but my hope is that the Lord will help me to share what He has taught me and maybe......it will help you the way it helped me.
Blessings, the Mrs.

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