My sweet little one,
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that for whatever reason you couldn’t join us here. I’m sorry for all you missed and didn’t get to experience. I am so sorry I didn’t get to meet you, hold you, nurture you and watch you grow.
I rejoice in your life none-the-less. And I rejoice that you are knowing an incomparable LOVE in the eternal moment of Heaven.
Today I mourn the loss of your life, grateful that you are in the arms of your Creator. Yet I have hope. Hope that you will change the world; not by your feet walking the Earth, the power of your words nor the impact of your decisions. You will change the world because your existence changed me, hoping for you altered my perspectives. The presence of your life growing in my body showed me the power of our God and the fragility of life.
I will not know your personality or passions during my lifetime – but someday I will know you…I just have to wait longer than the few remaining months of my pregnancy.
I will not allow the shortness of your life lack impact on the Earth. Your life, though brief, will not be without meaning. You will never know breath in your lungs, the taste of sweetness, nor feel the tenderness of my kisses. You will never know the burn in your lungs when you run full force across a field for the ball or the exhilaration of jumping from the diving board into a pool for the first time. You won’t know the butterflies fluttering in your stomach as you fall in love nor the beauty and intimacy of marriage or the joy of having your own children.
Nor will you know disappointment, fear, anger, sickness nor despair. You will never cry. All you will ever know is LOVE, JOY and PEACE nestled in the HOPE we wait for.
You were designed to be royal and priestly.
You were knit together with a destiny and it will not go unaccomplished.
What He begins, He finishes.
Your LIFE marked me and I will never be the same. You made an impact. And because you changed me – you changed the world. To what degree, perhaps you can see now, but I will have to wait for.
We named you Hope. And now you live in our hope because of where you are. The remembrance of your life has become a declaration:
Our true HOPE is in Heaven!
I love you and can’t wait to meet you.
The day after I sent my husband on his great journey, my mother came to spend the week with us. I am so grateful to have her here to help me during this transition. She insists she hasn’t done a thing to help me and can’t imagine why I love having her around. She’s crazy! I haven’t loaded or unloaded my dishwasher or folded a stitch of laundry since she arrived. That alone is worth big money to a mother of three under four! But as I told her, even if she hadn’t done chores it is wonderful to have her company. Chatting, cooking, reading or just watching the news together…it’s been great to visit and have another adult in the house.
As Sunday approached, my mother considered attending church with my neighbor who is Episcopalian. I told her I would just attend the Episcopal church with her. My mother paused a few moments and then taught me that this week in the liturgical calendar is the celebration of Corpus Christi, The Body of Christ. It is the week the Church celebrates being part of God’s family through the blood of Jesus. Because of this she thought it would be better if I worshipped with my church family that I have come to love so much.
I gave that some thought and considered what she taught me about Corpus Christi in the calendar and quickly received a plan.
Yesterday my Catholic mother, along with my little family, attended an Episcopal Service (the closest thing to Catholic near my house.)
Afterward we drove to my church that I will describe as a revival-focused, charismatic church. We arrived late but were still able to enjoy the sermon and healing service while my children attended their class.
It was a busy morning but it didn’t take long for me to appreciate that despite all of the MANY theological and practical differences between churches and denominations that WE are the BODY of CHRIST, the Corpus Christi.
I was brought up Catholic.
Saved in the Church of Christ.
Received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Assemblies of God.
Licensed by the Evangelical Church Alliance.
Married into a Presbyterian family.
And currently attend a non denominational church.
There is no one church with the “corner market” on Rightness. It’s our loving deeds overflowing from a heart transformed by Jesus that identifies us as Christians.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
Intimacy has been a large part of our conversations lately. We are planning to attend a Love After Marriage conference soon and have also been preparing for a long separation due to his job. In the midst of work, travel, study, chores and parenting we have also been feeling the need for a new and closer relationship with God. Intimacy.
We have been reminded that intimacy with God is so much more than devoting time. Sometimes it’s easy to go through the motions. We are taught that marriage is a model of our relationship with God. Often routines can become habits without heart, good morning greetings and kisses goodbye.
Sadly, as many have discovered sex can just be sex and not intimacy. Likewise, you can read the Word, raise your hands in worship, make known your prayer requests, or seek His wisdom for the current crisis. It can just be going through the motions. You can do all that and never have Intimacy.
My amazing husband shared a revelation with me last night. He was reading in Matthew and a familiar verse jumped out at him.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.’ Matthew 7:22-23
Intimacy has nothing to do with how much we DO for God. We can even operate out His power, prophesy and do miracles. We can DO and DO and DO. We can even seek to know all we can about Him and have a dedicated devotional life. But did you see what He said?
“I never knew YOU!”
He wants to know us. He wants to have intimacy. He wants us to open up and SHARE ourselves with Him. Of course, God knows everything about us, even the number of hairs on our head at any given moment. But His desire is to go beyond his omniscience and engage with what we want to share with Him. He wants to know us. He wants intimacy. Like our own desire in relationship is that our lover would bare his soul with vulnerability, trust and honesty as we do the same. No coercion, no agenda, no pressure. Just Love.
I agree with Donald Miller’s reflection from Searching for God knows what “I have sometimes wondered if the greatest desire of man is to be known and loved anyway.” I believe in this bed of intimacy is the greatest fulfillment we’ll ever experience.
Are you willing to bare your heart, soul and spirit to the greatest Lover you will ever know? He is too.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
It’s been a long day. After a full nights sleep, you rose early, labored at the office for 8 hours or more. Maybe you got a chance to squeeze in a workout. You come home to dinner, time with the family and their night time routine. You have at least an hour of required reading you need to get done, not to mention spend some quality time with your spouse. Did I mention you’re exhausted? All you really want to do is put your feet up and find a good movie to veg out to. You don’t have time for a movie so you settle for 15 minutes of a a show on your DVR before forcing yourself to your books. This is a typical day. You desire a feel-good moment with no responsibility and a break for your mind. But what you really need is rest.
Not sleep, but REST!
We all need it. Our days are full and seem to be getting fuller. This isn’t the first place you’ve read that the more technology we acquire to make life easier the busier we become. In the part of the world I live in it’s popular to work and be busy. It’s not uncommon for someone to work 60, or more, hours a week. Not everyone has a family life, but if you do, these relationships take time and energy. (Hopefully, they are fulfilling and life-giving relationships but they still take energy.)
If you are a stay-at home type then you might be more tired because you don’t leave your “job.” Cleaning, cooking, planning, shopping, managing, loving, educating, did I mention cleaning. You get the idea. There is much to do. We have friends, volunteer work, ministries and homes to maintain. We’re busy, we’re full, we’re tired.
Are you not busy? Maybe bored? That’s another kind of exhaustion that also manages to drain us of energy.
Yet it seems like so much effort to “come to Him”. We feel too tired to receive the rest He promises. It may seem like one more thing to add to the to-do list. And the additional “work” drives us away to the remote control, the refrigerator or the bed.
We are bid to come to a promised place of rest. A place free of burden and worry. A refreshing place of peace. This place is full of everything we need: strength, healing, wisdom, joy, comfort, vision, creativity, LOVE. It’s where dreams are imagined and hope is born.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to find it
or look miles away in some meadow of flowers.
You don’t have to travel to an island’s distant shore
or paddle across an abandoned lake.
It’s only as far away as our next deep breath.
Media, food nor pillows (nor any other go-to subsistence) will ever give you the rest and comfort you are really needing. It may get you through. It may help you cope one more hour or one more day but it will never get you there. So, how do you get there? How do we come to Him?
How do we enter His Rest?
Desire REST over coping.
Take the drive and strength that we use to get things done and lay it aside. We have to take off our self-reliance and self-sufficiency like a coat. This is one of the hardest steps for me. Sometimes I feel like if I take off this “coat” I’ll fall apart – as if this coat is what’s holding me together. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Get quiet. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Have confidence that with your desire for Rest, the removing of self-sufficiency and becoming quiet that He will meet you. The place of rest is not a location it’s a communion. “In quietness and trust (confidence) is Your strength” Isaiah 30:15 (italics taken from KJV)
Lean on Him. Allow God to be the one to hold you together. Depend on Him for your strength, wisdom, and joy. Proverbs 3:5
Love on Him and receive Love. Share with Him, worship, listen, be filled. Psalm 36:7-10
This can be done in a few minutes or over long periods of time. Rest can be found in moments. He wants to give you rest. He wants to remove your worry and stress. He wants you to be whole, have vision and be filled with His strength. He wants to refresh you.
I am including a song below. The video is not much to look at – which is fine because you might do better to have your eyes closed. May it help you find that place of rest and remind you of His great love and promises that abound in His presence.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
I hate pink elephants. You know that tangible, cut the air with a knife, tension you feel when there are unresolved issues in the room? The Pink Elephant is the issue causing that tension. And because the tension is more comfortable than discussing it, the elephant stays stinking up the environment. There doesn’t have to be a group for a pink elephant to be present. She can be there between just two people crowding the room because they won’t talk effectively about her.
I don’t hate pink elephants because they are uncomfortable to be around. I hate pink elephants because they’re proof that strife is dividing people. There are several reasons to avoid conflict. Few, if any, are good ones. If an issue is large enough to create a pink elephant then it’s time to face it head on. Unresolved conflict in personal relationships creates distance. It’s like that big, fat elephant is standing between you. The longer you wait to deal with it the fatter she gets, the more distant the relationship becomes.
We were asked by a friend who is a professor at a large university, to speak to her Marriage and Family Therapy class about how we handle conflict in our marriage. Jonathan and I had a great time sharing stories and the invaluable tools we’ve learned to enhance our relationship. Preparing for this encounter while playing with my daughter and a pink elephant rattle of hers, reminded me of how destructive unresolved conflicts are to relationships.
When Jonathan and I first got married and began to live together I expected him to gather up the trash and put the trash can out on the curb the night before the garbage truck came by. This was something my dad always did. I never told Jonathan this; I figured it was understood. So when the can was full or trash day came and I was out lugging it to the curb myself I began to grumble. I would start to think he was a slacker, expecting me to “do everything” and work full time too! I continued with this small under current of resentment for a while and finally brought it up to him. He was baffled at why I was upset and once I got over myself long enough to have a discussion I realized I had an uncommunicated expectation that wasn’t being met. I expressed my desire and he was happy to oblige me.
This is a simple and fairly unimportant conflict but it shows that even in the smallest things the opportunity to judge someone’s character and take things personally is easy. If judgments and resentment continue, especially with larger issues, you can imagine how easy it is to become adversaries with a person you want to be close to. When we take things personally and think the other person is “bad” we tend to start closing off parts of our heart to “protect” ourselves. Intimacy is handicapped and the relationship hobbles along or crumbles in failure.
Now I want to emphasize that it is not the ISSUE that brings the handicap. The injury doesn’t come because that pink elephant went galloping around the room squashing people. All the elephant does is reveal what’s going on in the relationship. In the trash example above it wasn’t the full trash can that caused a rift in my relationship it was the thinking that my husband was a slacker, that he was using me to do his work. The thinking and believing that our spouse, friend, or sister is less than they should be causes us to become disconnected. If I had been fully connected with Jonathan I wouldn’t have jumped so quickly into negative thinking about him. I didn’t take time to understand him. I leaped straight into judgment.
Unresolved or un-discussed issues, drive a wedge between loved ones. Pretending they are not there or hoping they will go away on their own is a fantasy. The whole point of close relationships is to be – – close not wedged apart. Most of what keeps us from dealing with relationship issues is fear:
- fear of rejection or abandonment,
- fear of disappointment,
- fear of failure (you don’t get what you want or the relationship ends), or
- fear of punishment.
Another deterrent to resolving issues is dishonesty. I venture to say that if someone says, “Our relationship is so great! – We never disagree,” that someone in that relationship isn’t being honest. Dishonesty isn’t always deception. Sometimes it’s as simple as at least one party not knowing themselves well enough to express their own opinion so they only mirror the opinions of those around them.
The only reason to have a confrontation is because the person and relationship matter to you. Confrontation isn’t a fight and shouldn’t be seen as a negative but rather a positive sign of a relationship. No two people are the same, if you are around someone long enough you are bound to disagree and have conflict. This is normal; it’s how we handle conflict that shows how much we value the relationship and determines our level of intimacy.
Overcoming fears, being willing to risk and be vulnerable, and sharing your desires is a huge undertaking. Why bother?
- The satisfaction of knowing you are living free and honest from your heart and
- The potential of deeper love and intimacy.
We all have a huge need to be known and loved. So combating conflict or hunting pink elephants directly impacts how much love we have. The rewards of a truly intimate relationship far outweighs the risk. Yes, there could be pain and disappointment or even loss. But how authentic of a relationship do you have if you hold back your truth?
Here are some tips that Jonathan and I try to use when dealing with conflict:
- Confront yourself first. Sometimes this is the only necessary confrontation. We need to examine our thoughts and feelings and know ourselves. We need to come to a place of truth. One time I was all ready to confront Jonathan on an issue I was having with him. But after I took this first step of examining how and why I came to think and feel what I was, I realized it was MY thinking that needed to be straightened out. Then my feelings lined up too. I still shared my experience with Jonathan but there was no blame and he was able to share in what I was going through and encourage me.
- Know yourself. Make sure your identity hasn’t gotten misplaced in the issue. You are who you are. No one and no thing has power to define you except God.
- Check for a disconnect. Outside this issue how is the relationship? Your connection is more important than the issue. Knowing this helps keep you focused on the goal.
- Know your goal. Our goal is always a more intimate, authentic connection. If your goal is to “win” the confrontation you might want to go back to “Check for a disconnect.”
- Timing is important. The sooner issues are dealt with the better. But conversations are not always appropriate “right now.” If it can’t be discussed immediately then schedule it. I typically want to discuss things right away, but Jonathan needs preparation to turn his attention fully to the issue. It is very empowering to agree, “Let’s talk about this tomorrow at 7.” The Bible says “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” This is not a power point to force a conversation for an earlier time. You are responsible for your anger and are fully capable of letting it go before “sundown.”
- Know your judgmental thoughts. Seek understanding not justification for your judgments.
- Know your limits. On your best day the only thing in life you have control over is YOURSELF.
- Own your mess and clean it up. Apologize, change your thinking that led to the mess and don’t do it again.
- Speak honorably. We treat others with honor because we are honorable not because they are acting honorably. Romans 12:10
The purpose of this post is not to outline the step by step process of confrontation and conflict resolution but rather to help bring to light the value of hunting pink elephants and provide some personal tips that may not be in those outlines. There are plenty of tools available. Conflict management theory is used by businesses and organizations as well. If you want more details on the process of confrontation I will include some links below as well as other resources.
- Loving on Purpose– Website chalk full of relationship help. Videos, blogs, books, audio and dvd teachings.
- Boundaries and Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend. Both of these books give steps to manage conflict including working with someone who is resistant.
- Strategies for Effective Conflict Resolution – Focus on the Family
- Conflict Resolution – Mind Tools – this article discusses theories and strategies
- The Hidden Costs of Conflict Avoidance – The Hekman Group
- Learn Assertive Communication in Five Easy Steps – About.com
- Signs of Conflict Avoidance – Livestrong.com
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see. Faith is trust between lovers. But I had turned it into a negotiation technique: if I believe a thing and act accordingly then God is obligated to act on my behalf. This is not faith and this is not a love relationship. This is false intimacy – an illusion of closeness. And it’s this illusion that caused me to fall so hard after the loss of my two little ones. Looking through Grace allowed me to see God and rebuild a relationship again without my illusions.
This was probably one of the hardest times in my life but it’s one of my favorites. God and I came into a relationship I only talked about before. He allowed me to feel whatever grief I needed to and I allowed Him to show me His love and wisdom through Grace. He got my head screwed back on straight and helped me through the process of healing.
We had decided to go ahead with our last round of IVF instead of waiting until Jonathan returned home from his deployment. Our last two little ones who had been frozen for a few months were my final hope of starting a family. Looking back now I know it was my anxiety that just wanted to push to get this over with. Success or failure didn’t really matter – I just needed to move on from waiting.
It snowed that November in Seattle. Old friends who just happened to move to the area let me stay with them for a few weeks over Thanksgiving. They were renovating an old house and they let me sleep in the basement bedroom – one of the few rooms that still had a floor. The house was cold, drafty a shell of what was soon to be a fabulous home. Most of their things were in storage until the house was finished but they did have a couple chairs, a bed, a small TV and a very fabulous coffee maker. My friend told me it cost more than her first car. It’s the kind that grinds the beans fresh for each cup with a touch of a button. You can choose the strength and it even has one of those steaming gadgets if you want to foam your milk. I surely drank too much coffee those days but it was nice to curl up with a cup in one of the two chairs in the house and chat with my friend. It was also at this time, fabulous coffee in hand, that I started to write about Grace and destiny.
I have to admit I didn’t enter this round of IVF with as much Faith. Last time it had honestly never crossed my mind that it wouldn’t work. But this time I had a different perspective. I went in leaning much more on Grace than Faith and simply hoped that “Perhaps the Lord might act on our behalf”. Though I slept on a blow up mattress, Grace remained my featherbed. As I fought off worry, Grace was a comforter and support. Despite my brokenness I felt a certainty. I no longer struggled with whether or not God was good. I knew He was. I didn’t wonder if He loved me. I knew He did. And no matter what the outcome of IVF I knew God was for me wanting to see me reach my destiny.
I can’t tell you exactly how I came to be so certain. But after I opened myself to see God through Grace something happened. I lay there sobbing until the tears were all gone and I found a vulnerability and dependency that said, “I trust you.” I trust that your goodness is not dependant on my favorable circumstances. You are unchanging. I trust that you love me now and always because you said nothing could change that – I was the one who added the rules of performance. I trust that you are bigger than me, see better than me, know more than me, so no matter how it looks you are on the sidelines wanting the best for me, not trying to see me fail or teach me a lesson. Anytime I started to think about something that didn’t line up with these truths I knew my thinking was wrong. These will never change:
God is Good
God loves ME and
God is for me not against me!
I did everything just like they told me. Count these days, take these tests, and show up for this procedure. It felt just like last time. But I left the office with a glimmer of hope, “What if THIS was IT!?” I knew what to expect this time for the “Two Week Wait” but it didn’t make it go any faster. The nervous anxiety clung to me everyday until my blood was drawn. It just so happened to fall on my birthday. When she called I could tell in the nurses tone before the words came that the results were negative. I wasn’t pregnant, again.
I got that call while traveling with family on the East coast. We were touring DC and that day we visited the Holocaust Museum. I grieved but there’s nothing like the Holocaust Museum to put your life in perspective. Reading and viewing life size depictions of Holocaust victims made living without children like an easy sacrifice. And I left feeling grateful for my life.
I decided to spend the rest of Jonathan’s deployment traveling and visiting family and friends who would help strengthen me while grieving. I did a ton of soul searching and spent countless hours in prayer, worship, and writing. I got back into kickboxing – an old love – and reaped the physical and therapeutic rewards. I don’t know of a better way to work out frustration than to pummel and kick a bag with all your might. It was a cleansing and clarifying time.
When Jonathan returned home after seven months away we focused our attention on reuniting and rekindling our connection and not on family building. Although deep down in our hearts we had a hope that God would do something supernatural that wasn’t something I wanted to put any emotional or mental energy into. We even found ourselves dreaming about the benefits of life without children: more free time, more money, less stress, more sleep. We integrated back into our church family after both having been gone. I rejoined our community but stayed out of volunteering for a little while. Most everyone there knew our circumstances and despite my request for people to stop praying for me to get pregnant and have a family, they didn’t. Obviously I still had some unresolved anger, but I was working on it. Slowly I got back into ministry. It just felt good to be giving to people and I had so much to share about how God had been with me in hard times.
I think we had been home about a year when someone from church came up to me and said, “I think I have something that will change your life!” I was hesitant but asked what it was. She explained how she knew someone who was pregnant and was considering adoption. I thanked her for the news and said she could keep me posted but I wasn’t initially excited about the idea, even more so since it was just a “what if” situation. Jonathan had always been open to adoption. Not just babies but children from around the world. He has such a big heart. I, on the other hand, wasn’t interested. I’m still not sure what my issue was – no doubt it was based in fear of something. Regardless, I told Jonathan about the news and allowed myself to be a little excited about the prospect of a baby. Hardly anyone knew about the woman, she went to another church in town, but still some talk about her situation could be heard that made me guard my heart against hoping. I didn’t need anymore disappointment. I trusted God; as I said before, I knew He was good and that He loved me, I just wasn’t sure I could hear Him clearly on this issue. That was not the case for those around me; they prayed with faith for things I wouldn’t allow myself to dream of anymore.
It was February when I got a phone call from the woman, I’ll call her Mary. She knew I knew about her and her situation so without explanation she asked if Jonathan and I wanted to meet her and her husband to talk about it. We set up a time for later that week. I was nervous but allowed myself to get a little excited. My position at church was a public one. So Mary knew me but I didn’t know anything about her except what others had told me.
That day we drove just a few short miles from our house to a little shop where we met Mary and her husband. After a few handshakes and brief introductions we sat down at a small table. She looked over at me, gently laid her hands a small blue hat box and pushed it across the table saying, “God, told me to give this to you.” Inside the box was a DVD of her ultrasound and a small crocheted blue blanket she had made for the 20 week old little boy that grow in her womb. Mary’s story of regret and redemption is a beautiful one. One that is not for me to tell perhaps one day she will write it herself. Until then let it be said that she sought God’s guidance for the destiny of that little boy and she found His finger pointing at us.
My heart leapt! But I grabbed it and stuffed it back into a safe place of doubt before moving on. I took the box without knowing what to say. “Thank you?” I actually don’t remember what I said. I remember us talking about some realistic details and the four of us prayed together. From that moment on, to Mary, I was the Mommy. I went to every midwife appointment and ultrasound. We visited and got to know each other. She asked us to name him, said she’d call him Mr. Wigglesworth until we did. When time came for delivery she called Jonathan and me and we were with her the whole night.
My eldest son was born by an amazingly strong woman, her husband and closest girlfriend by her side. Jonathan cut the cord and from that moment on he was ours. In a instant I was a mother.
I hadn’t dreamed of it this way but now I couldn’t dream of it being any other. And the miracles didn’t stop there. When our firstborn was 5 months old I got pregnant without clinics, drugs, planning or trying. I know I know you hear this all the time. Someone adopts a baby and then they stop thinking about getting pregnant – they are so relaxed it just happens. I don’t know how many people told me I just needed to relax and “it” would happen. But I was not relaxed and that is not what happened. Motherhood was an identity I had to adjust to. Being a mom is hard. The exhaustion alone caused emotional and physical stress, Jonathan got orders to deploy again and a legal battle around the adoption was ensuing. Relaxed was not the word to describe me. No. This was an outright miracle! My 13 year long medically documented infertility, blocked fallopian tubes, had been healed! And nine months later: our second son was born.
We were in awe of God’s sovereignty. His Love, Grace, and Mercy amazed us. Even when I was faithless He was faithful – I just didn’t understand it, I just couldn’t see it. But hindsight vision is 20/20 and I never again struggled like I did back then. Even when trials came I had these miracles to remind me that God is faithful, like the Israelites had the 12 stones from the Jordan River as a testimony of what God had done.
After yet another military deployment Jonathan and I discussed having another child. We didn’t even consider whether or not we could. We simply decided and nine months later a little girl joined our crew.
My family is a miracle. The creative hand of God at work. I continue to live each day by His Grace, my Faith ever growing, and knowing that there is still so much more to come.
Copyright ©2012 makeitplainontablets.wordpress.com
My relationship with Jonathan changed my life. Not just because we got married and we move all over the globe but because we fell in love. Now I don’t mean that fabulous euphoric falling in love you have at the beginning (although we have that too!) I mean we fell into love. Fall is really the wrong word because it sounds so unintentional. Deciding to pursue love with Jonathan grew me like no other relationship I’d known. Loving him and being loved by him changed me and every time I changed I learned more about my relationship with God.
When Jonathan and I met I was a fully independent, established career woman. I owned a house, had a job, fabulous friends and a great church. We ‘fell in love’ got married and started living life together. When Jonathan first encouraged me to go part time I was working as a nurse in a busy labor and delivery unit. The same one I mentioned last week where nobody got to eat lunch. The job was very stressful. My days off felt like physical and emotional recuperation days instead of free days for recreation or working on our home. I had been wanting to go part time for a while but when he mentioned it a hidden part of me resisted. I accepted his offer anyway and spread the news excitedly but whenever he would mention it to people I cringed inside. He would be talking to someone on the phone saying that I was going to go part time so that I would have more time to oil paint and write. And I would wave my hand and make shushing faces to encourage him to shut up. Later I would ask him, “Why are you telling people that?” He would be confused – “What do you mean?” I’d say, “Don’t tell people that. You make me sound lazy!” After a couple of weeks I started to wonder if he had ulterior motives for wanting me to work less. Did he think I didn’t do a good enough job keeping up the house or having meals prepared? Was my being stressed out – stressing him out and he needed it to stop? Did he want me to be more financially dependant upon him?
I asked him straight up: “WHY DO YOU WANT ME TO GO PART-TIME?”
Again confused he said matter-of-factly. “So that you can have more time to paint and write.”
“No – I mean why do YOU want me to go part-time? What do you get out of it – what’s your real motive?”
He set aside the strainer for the pasta that was nearly done. Moved towards me and gently put his hands on my waist, “Baby, I think you are truly gifted in writing and painting and you love doing those things. Your work seems to stress you out and take away from the time that you could spend doing things that you love and that God has gifted you to do. I Love You – and I love seeing you do the things that you love. That’s it.”
I started to silently cry because I believed him. I had no idea how to interpret this. I had no frame of reference for this. I just couldn’t believe that someone, a man, loved me this much and was truly looking for my best interest. He wanted what was best for me, he wanted what was going to make me happy and feel fulfilled. He wanted to see me enjoying life and my gifts and loving the way I spend my time. I had never personally experienced such a selfless unconditional act of love. I was overwhelmed.
My relationship with Jonathan was unlike any other, yet I still had a hard time fully trusting. Way in the back of my heart I kept waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop. The tell tale sign that indeed he was a heart-breaking, selfish betrayer just like the rest of them. But day by day, week in and week out it never happened. Over and over again I was surprised with honesty, predictability, dependability. Don’t get me wrong – he isn’t perfect – of course, there were times I was disappointed or times when I expected one thing and got another.
Regardless, Jonathan showed me that even though he wasn’t perfect that he could be trusted. This isn’t a praise session for my husband (although he is amazing) but rather a statement about me. I had come through life protecting the lie that no one is going to take care of me except me. I thought, “You have to look out for number one. If you don’t take care of yourself no one will. Right?” I never thought anyone else would ever care for me enough to truly want what’s best for me. But he did (and still does.) It’s amazing!
Experiences and hurts from our past can hinder the intimacy in our current relationships. The hurt I carried kept me from trusting. Lack of trust kept me from sharing my heart with Jonathan. I dealt with the past experiences that caused the hurt and forgave those who hurt me but I hadn’t faced the core beliefs that kept me from trusting. Once I believed that Jonathan sincerely cared for me I began to open up and give him more of myself. Not all people are trustworthy of sharing your heart. It’s healthy to have boundaries to protect yourself from unsafe people.
However, it’s very important to note that God is not unsafe. I’ve written before that it is easy for us to ascribe to God attributes of our parents or other authority figures but unless they were Godly attributes they are not true of Him. God is not a man. He IS perfect! He is always honest, always faithful, always loving; He never fails. I had to learn to be honest first with myself and then with God. I came to Him with willingness and He provided the clarity I needed to begin to see myself and Him properly. I cannot express how wonderful it is to experience True Love. He wants what’s best for me, He wants what’s going to make me happy and feel fulfilled. He wants to see me enjoying life and the gifts He gave me and loving the way I spend my time. God’s love is Perfect.
Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud
A must see short Q&A video on Building Trust by “Loving On Purpose”