Wednesday, August 12, 2009 answer

A few posts back, God asked, "Will you love him for me? I could not answer Him then. And honestly, I was hoping God will just forget about it and let me move on. Well, God did not forget, but I sure acted like He did. Days, weeks and months passed.

During this avoidance period, I hid behind the excuses that my flesh gave me: You can't because you're sick, you're tired. He's a jerk. Oh, and let's not forget Pride. Pride certainly got in the way. It got in collusion with Flesh and they both told me what I wanted to hear: Why should you bother to try? He doesn't even pay attention. He doesn't care. It's so nice when he's not here, you don't have to worry about cooking dinner every night. So peaceful! And here's the kicker: He's a selfish man and he doesn't deserve you!!!

Oh, they were convenient excuses, justifiable ones even and pleasant to the ears. But, I did not realize Pride was slowly but methodically destroying my marriage. And I almost let it.

But God...

Yesterday morning, He put it in my heart that the time has come. God wants His answer.

Last night, I was doing the dishes, and helping my younger son* memorize his verses for the upcoming BibleBee competition.

*Disclaimer: His motives for memorizing the verses are less than holy - he was doing it so he could reclaim the videogame I have been holding hostage for such a time as this. (Yes, I had to resort to our very own Verses for Videogames program. Oh, it was so frustrating! I have been on him for the last five months to get started and he wouldn't listen to me! Uh-oh. as I typed that it came to me - I was doing the same thing to God!)

I was only half paying attention to the memorization because the impending "talk" was foremost in my thoughts. My son came to me with the sixth verse:
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
It stopped me in my tracks. While I listened to my son's teeny, sweet 9 year-old voice recite that verse, I know I'm hearing from the Lord. Those sure sounded like marching orders to me. Suddenly I knew what to do: I need to humble myself and apologize to my husband. I could not avoid it any longer.
So, after much prayer and anxiety and more, "Son-can-you-repeat-Joshua-1:9-for-me,-please?", I finally talked to my husband. It wasn't easy. He was watching the World Series of Poker. He had that glazed expression in his eyes that is achingly familiar to me. I have seen that expression many times before. It made it easier to build my defenses, my wall. Pride reminded me, "Can you really go through with this? You already know what he's going to say. And you're going to feel slighted because he won't react the way you pictured it in your head."

But God also had something to say, "It's not about you, is it? It's about him. Look at him, you know deep down he's hurting. You know he's searching. He is my prodigal son and I want him back. Will you help me?"
It's about time I listened to God.

I told him: "(Deep breath) I have to apologize to you. Uhm, God put it in my heart that I have not been loving you the right way. I apologize for not loving you unconditionally. I use being tired as an excuse to not even try. I am sorry to say that I almost gave up on our marriage. So, uhm, I'm really sorry." Or something along those semi-coherent lines.

He nodded then turned up the volume. I don't even know if what I said will make a difference. But I choose to trust God who urged me to go forward. I pray that the bumbling words that left my lips were sifted and blessed by the Lord - that it went through His prodigal's ears, all the way to his heart.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On Divine Connections

When I was in high school I hung around a bunch of girls whom I considered to be my BFFs. There were eight of us from the same elementary school and we quickly became the "in" group. Ha, this high school thing was going to be a breeze after all.

Oftentimes I would hear my friends talk about this girl named "Pilar," whom they didn't like very much. Actually, they hated her with a passion. They made fun of her manners and appearance (she "developed" early). I often wondered who she was and when asked, they said she was someone they met somewhere. Oh, okay.

Well, a year later, I finally met Pilar. Turned out she was me.

To say that I was crushed and hurt would be an understatement. They apologized. I forgave them. We moved on. But that betrayal affected me the rest of my high school years and maybe even college. Even now when I talk to my high school classmates, I still feel a twinge of hurt. It's not very discernable but it's there. As I see it, the only thing good that came out of high school was I met my husband there. (And there are days when I feel differently. LOL!)

Later on in life, I formed connections but not deep friendships. Who wants all that cattiness?

My loose-friendship phase continued through my marriage. Most of my friends were wives of DH's co-workers. However, their lifestyle is far different from mine - they love going to Vegas, gambling, drinking, fancy jewelry and designer purses. Okay, the purses I can sort of relate to but one can't have deep, enduring, abiding friendships based on Louis Vuitton-envy alone. So for years, I resigned myself that as far as friends are concerned: this is as good as it will ever get.

When I became a Christian, I prayed for divine connections.

God answered that prayer in April 2008. I was looking for a new bible study group and found one closer to home and met on weeknights. The fact that it was an all women's group was also a plus.

Was I in for a surprise. I walked in and met seven women of different backgrounds and nationalities: a real estate agent, an actress, a security agent, a county worker, an admin for the police deparment, a government worker who quit her job to adopt a son from Ethiopia, and a kind hearted stay at home mom who takes in every stray -mostly of the human variety.

I love them! They are open with their struggles and challenges. They are equally lavish with their encouragement and praise. They have prayed for me, with me and over me. They have cried with me and laughed with me. They continue to walk with me and lift me especially on those days when I feel alone. Every Thursday night I come home with joy and a full heart.

Seven women who replaced the seven girls who hurt me deeply those many years before. Each of them handpicked by God because I never would have picked them for myself. (Well, we all know how my picks turned out, don't we?)

But God was not done yet. He gave me more than I asked.

I was encouraged by this post to start a blog. When I did, it opened up a whole new world for me. I found like-minded Christian women who also struggle with their marriages, with child rearing, with their Christian walk, with illnesses - and are not afraid to write about it. Every morning I visit them and walk away learning a little more about them - and myself. I continue to be encouraged - and humbled. I learn from her, and her, and her, and the many others whom God sends my way daily. I don't know if I will ever meet these ladies this side of eternity but I consider them my morning blessings.

And I thank God for each and every one of them.