I should warn you, this post looks back at a difficult time. This was the life that motivated me to look for something better. It’s not pretty…
It first began to dawn on me that life was not as it should be about 5 years ago. Nothing monumental happened, I was just in a very familiar place of being stuck – again. Maybe it was because the frequency was increasing and certainly the intensity caught my attention. Let me back up a little and fill you in.
I’m in a good marriage, and am blessed to be married to a really good man. I live in a house that’s nicer than I ever imagined I would get to live in. My 3 children would have been in their pre to mid teens at that point, and they are really good kids. We talk lots, laugh lots, and really enjoy each other’s company. Our eldest daughter had just come through a year of thyroid cancer which included 3 surgeries and a radiation treatment. God’s faithfulness and strength saw us through that year. We came out the other side amazed by His faithfulness, and humbled by His goodness to us every step of the way. Everything in life was good – except on the inside of me.
I spent much of my time frustrated and angry; I was often depressed for no reason that I could put my finger on. It caught my attention the night I was on my bed again, completely overwhelmed with life. I figured my family would be much better off without me, and it dawned on me that if I had an affair, Tim could divorce me and not lose face in the church or community – it would be entirely my fault, and then he too, could be free of me. The frequency and intensity of these thoughts had been increasing over the years, and at this point it dawned on me that I was in a really bad place.
It all sounds so melodramatic to write it out, but inside of me I remember I was shriveling up, pressed in, and struggling with so many aspects of my day. If I had been an addict as a teen or young adult, I would have been right back at it. I often wanted something to just make it all go away. Life was too hard. I knew God was my only hope, and I prayed for His help. There would be good days, but I really struggled. I struggled with spending time in His Word everyday, and I knew if I could just be consistent with reading God’s word and praying daily, life would be better. I had experienced that before. But I couldn’t be consistent – sometimes it was my own laziness, sometimes it was the obligations of marriage or parenting. And so I struggled on – glad for the good days, enduring the bad days, wishing it could all be over already.
I knew God never intended His child to live this way – this was barely life, let alone “abundant life.” I had long before dealt with all the baggage that goes with being molested for years as a child – acknowledging the wrong done and forgiving the man, and yet I wondered if some of my struggle with life now may be connected somehow to all the brokenness that resulted from that. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to do Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” Bible study. I was leading another of her studies at that time with the women’s Bible study group at my church, “Jesus the One and Only,” and I had also signed up to be a participant in the Navigator’s Discipleship Bible study. I really wanted to be able to share the gospel with people, and knew I needed help with that.
So there I was, lots of Bible study, lots of scripture memory (Navigator’s is big on that!), struggling with life and wishing Jesus would come back today or just take me to heaven so it could all be over.
Looking back now, my heart breaks at the captivity. Looking back I can see my Heavenly Father trying to help me hear His voice of love. These were just a few of the Navigator’s memory verses I was learning at that time:
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6, 7
I am so thankful God kept after me and helped me to hear Him.