This is the third post (First & Second Posts here) in a series of posts that I am writing about how the Lord has not only used my marriage to bring my own personal healing and growth in Christ, but how He actually led me to seeing what was at the root of all the conflict and struggles in my marriage and life!
In the last two posts, I talked about how the Lord allowed me to experience all the very opposite of what HE IS, that He might gain all the Glory in creating in me the opposite of what I once was by His Spirit! I talked about how being married has forced me to take a look in the mirror at my own sin and heart, and how the Lord used it for the opportunity to draw me in to Him, and to prepare me for revealing the vileness of my own heart in comparison to His Son, that I may all the more die to myself and depend on CHRIST JESUS for ALL things!
LETTING GO OF FEAR & CONTROL
Really, the vessel the Lord used to open my eyes to the fear/control issue was reading this post by April. And when I read it I realized that I had not trusted God at all, and I had tried to stay safe by trying to control everything out of fear, and I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t trust anyone, especially not men.
The Lord opened my eyes to so many fears that I had as I dug deep in my heart to what I truly believed about God.
SOME FEARS I HAD ABOUT GOD & MY HUSBAND, SON & MYSELF:
- God will not protect me
- God will not love me or accept me
- God will not protect my son if I let him out of my sight
- My son would not become saved if I didn’t teach him the bible and eliminate all worldly influences
- My husband will leave me
- My husband will make wrong choices and get our family in trouble and debt
- If we are irresponsible with $ then God will take everything away from us
- God will allow horrible thing or my worst fears to happen just to prove He is God
- If I don’t pray right, He won’t work on my behalf
- Anything I desire must be wrong if it doesn’t work out for me
- I will be punished if I sin
- I need to be perfect and never sin to come into the presence of God
Do you see how in all of those fears, how all the responsibility was put on MY shoulders?
I was afraid that if I didn’t do everything right, it wouldn’t come about—therefore I felt the strong need to CONTROL everything!
I had a lot of misbeliefs going on and I didn’t even realize it until I stopped to think about what I think about. And when I had it on paper, it became clear to me how unbelieving I had been towards God.
Have you ever noticed that usually right before a NEW REVELATION of Christ, something terrible happens in your life?
ROCK ROCK BOTTOM
Things were going good for a little while as the Lord was opening my eyes and cleansing me from this sin, and filling my heart with His rest and Joy and Spirit. But then, the fires came for me. It was time for a true testing.
A few months after repenting, my husband brought home the flu. The Lord enabled me to take care of him for that week and the day he got better, I got the flu. Now the heat was rising. He was working out of state, and I had no one to help me with my son. I couldn’t even stand up. Thing after thing after thing happened that week. I got the worst period of my life that week. I was bed-ridden, yet I had no choice but to still some how function in my home and life. It was a nightmare.
All of my fears were coming true!!!!
And after a major fight with my husband the Lord showed me once again where my heart was so wrong. I saw that I had taken my eyes off of Him and all it led to was self-induced misery! I had so many ungodly thoughts about God, being sick, having the worst period ever, towards my husband, son, myself. I was bitter against my husband because he couldn’t be there to take care of me. I was self-loathing over all the pain and misery I had and I got very disrespectful towards everyone. I questioned God’s love again because I didn’t understand why I had to go through that nightmare. I didn’t obey Him or His Spirit in my own pride and anger. I realized I had based all of my happiness and contentment in my health and circumstances. I couldn’t be content while having the flu and the worst period and no one to take care of me.
- What was going on here, was the Lord was CRUSHING ME! He was hammering away at my self and getting me to truly see that IN ME IS NO GOOD THING!!!!!!
- I realized that I COULD NOT ATONE FOR MY OWN SIN!
- I realized I got EXTREMELY angry if I didn’t get my way and if I had NO control over myself, others, life, etc. I was so mad because I couldn’t make my period stop and I couldn’t make my body whole again. I was brought to the END of myself!
I realized for the first time that anytime things didn’t go my way, I immediately would start to question God’s love, wisdom, and power!
I saw that the Lord allowed me to hit that rock rock bottom and be that sick in order to show me death & resurrection! It was as if I was dying when I was sick, I was weak and unable to do anything! And I didn’t like that! I didn’t like that because I wanted to do and be what I thought I needed to do and be, and when I couldn’t control that, I was found out. My heart was exposed! I saw how much I desired to be holy in myself and how I had kept striving to be justified by my own righteousness.
And then the chains started falling off!!!!
A RENEWED MIND
After I hit that bottom, and I was truly crushed, and realized that in me really dwells no good thing, I saw how God is TRULY in control, and how foolish it would be to think I could ever count on being able to control anything in life.
I realized that when my mind was focused on the fact that He is sovereign and that He is most important, then I didn’t need anything else and I didn’t need anything to go my own way because it is not about me!
See, the Lord was breaking me of my own will in and through all of this. He was emptying me of MYSELF, so that through accepting His death as my death, I would move forward in newness of HIS LIFE alone!
The Cross was being applied to my life and heart, and the result was a renewed mind and a total surrender to the Lord! I saw that the only way to go was to the cross, and to surrender all to Christ as Lord! I let go of everything I was trying to control and hold onto, and I surrendered it to the Lord.
And then that surrender was repeatedly tested over the past months, and continues to be tested.
Some of my fears actually came true in the past 6 months. That tested my faith in God down to the very core. I had to wrestle that all out with God and decide that no matter what happens, He is still in control!
And every time things spiraled out of control, I was forced to let go, and accept that GOD IS IN CONTROL and I am not. And through each trial and experience, the Lord emptied me of myself more and more. He is still doing this. This is a life long process. And it is the only way to make room for the increase of Christ in us!
HEALING IN & THROUGH IT ALL
But you know what? I wouldn’t take back any of the things I’ve gone through so far in my marriage. They have all forced me to seek the Lord, and they have all been used by the Lord to not only reveal what is in my heart, but also to reveal Himself in a new way. He is growing my faith and He is healing my wounded heart. Each time something happens that is out of my control, I have two choices—– I can think I have control and try to control everything, or I can trust that GOD IS IN CONTROL, and rest in His love.
His love really does cast out all my fears!!!!
- My fear or being alone or rejected by my husband is cast out by GOD’S LOVE FOR MY IN CHRIST!
- My fear or messing up my son in different ways is cast out by GOD’S LOVE FOR ME IN CHRIST!
- My fear of not being in control is cast out by GOD’S LOVE FOR ME IN CHRIST!
- My fear of bad things happening is cast out BY GOD’S LOVE FOR ME IN CHRIST!
I had to see that GOD is NOT like my dad or my husband. God is ALTOGETHER OTHER, and HE IS LOVE. I had a lot of wrong beliefs based on how earthly men have treated me. But I can’t place my hope in any man in this earth. My only hope is in CHRIST. And until I realize this, I will continue to allow things to hurt me when they have no place.
When I realize that the LORD JESUS IS REIGNING OVER ALL THE HEAVENS AND EARTH, and that I belong to HIM—– and that HE LOVES ME—- and that His purpose and plan has all to do with creating HIS NATURE in me, and that all suffering is for GLORY—then I have a new vision and a new strength to move forward, believing Him.
By God’s grace, I am able to face certain things now in His Peace and rest that I was not able to only a short time ago. It is all about our having a renewed mind and seeing things from His point of view!
He is doing something in all of this–namely, conforming us to the image of CHRIST!
TO SUM IT ALL UP
Where I am at right now, I see how the Lord has used my marriage as a major tool in leading me to healing and to growth in Christ because being married has forced me to see in me what NEEDS TO GO of my old man! He is showing me in my marriage what needs to be put off! And He is faithfully revealing HIMSELF as the answer and need to all that is in me. He has used my husband to reveal His love, grace and mercy. He has used my husband to speak the truth to me in many ways. He has used my husband to stand up to all of my disrespect and neediness that is really unnecessary when I am truly resting in God’s love.
When I am resting in His love, I don’t need to strive to make another person love me. I don’t have to need someone to be a certain way or act a certain way or do certain things in order to make me happy. My husband is not in my life to make me happy! I am not married to become happy! Happiness is a passing feeling. But true Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me!
God knew exactly what He was doing in bringing me and my husband together! It is truly amazing when I think about all the different ways that the Lord has used this marriage and my husband to bring about change in me and to conform me to Christ! God’s purposes govern EVERYTHING in the life of His child! He uses ALL THINGS for His purpose of conforming us to Christ! And I realize that all the difficulties and hard things and times were all in order to push me forward in creating Christ in me! It was all to rid me of myself and make me see that in me is no good thing and that my only hope is in CHRIST!
If we have the attitude that our husbands are a pain in our neck instead of that they are a tool the Lord uses in conforming us to the image of Christ, we will miss out on so much growth in Christ all because we are focusing on people, circumstances, and things, instead of on Christ and God’s purpose for our lives!
SOURCES FOR GROWTH:
Spiritual Maturity by T. Austin Sparks
Captivating: the unveiling of a woman’s soul by Staci and John Elderedge
The Peaceful Wife: Living in Submission to Christ As Lord by April Cassidy
The Peaceful Wife Blog by April Cassidy
Abide In Christ by Andrew Murray