When my marriage fell apart and I found myself drowning in depression, I had 3 people to forgive for about a trillion unforgivable things, yet they weren’t the most difficult to forgive — It was everyone else, and me.
Everyone else, because of the stupid things they would say, and worse, the things they wouldn’t.
Friends, that threw Bible verses at me like I was Satan, in hopes the scriptural fairy dust they were sprinkling over my heartache would magically make all the lies and broken vows in my marriage disappear (It didn’t.) And others, who oversimplified marriage by giving idiotic advice like, ‘Yah know, staying happily married is all about ‘balance’ and ‘continuing to date each other.‘….all while I stood in the wreckage left of my marriage that had just obliterated for reasons much more severe than that.
Balance?!?! I mean, what does that even mean?!?! I realize balance is good, for instance, when decorating bookshelves or when trying to not eat too much sugar, and that dating each other is ideal if, say, you want to eat your way through all the sushi joints in town. But for me, having a happy marriage had nothing to do with either of those things at the time… I NEEDED MY HUSBAND TO STOP LOOKING AT PORN! (balance and dating each other, my @$$!)
But then there was me to forgive. Arguably, the most difficult person for me to stomach at the time…
To forgive myself, for being the person whose voice now always sounded pointed and cynical, and who viewed silverware and candle warmers on a registry, a far-cry from preparing a young couple for the reality of marriage.
I had to forgive myself for being the wife who couldn’t get over the past, the mom who never had enough energy, and the christian who said awkward things at bible studies…
Like the time I said point-blank, and I quote, “I get why people commit suicide…” all while the other bible study attendees physically leaned back in their seats, away from my transparency, as if the darkness in me and the heartache that caused it, were contagious.
Which brings me to why I’m writing today… (I’m all over the place today, bear with me.) Never will I forget how I felt leaving that bible study that night, how I sobbed in the shower that night because, it was clear, I was too much for people.
I was too much emotion, too much darkness. Too many questions, too much awkwardness. I could see it in their eyes. How I hated myself for that. (How I hated the people in that stupid bible study, too.)
But more than that, how I believed God was looking down on me that night, ashamed of the despicable person I was becoming, and the battle with depression I was, so obviously, losing.
It was then, that I heard God speak, and I’ll never forget the words He said. And its the same words, years later, I want to say to you; whomever is reading this that is struggling to stomach themselves, and the person that depression, the savagery of life, or the state of your broken heart, have made you become.
You wont believe it…
God said, “Do not recoil from these afflictions, they are among my most favored gifts” *
This heartache… a gift? This awkwardness… this darkness… a prized road I’ve been chosen for? A journey not to run away from, but to get expectant of? B.S…. I can imagine you thinking.
(I thought the same.)
But understand this, 2 1/2 years from the day that I made a bunch of conservative South Carolinians clutch their bibles and hide their children when during a bible study I revealed my true identity as the Queen of Darkness... I am stunned because, God was right.
I’ve not only withstood my darkest days, I’m grateful for them. And I believe one day you will be, too.
If the road your life has taken, has you in over your head and struggling to catch your breath, understand you have also been handselected by God to be let in on a secret few people know — not only about Him, but about yourself.
Deuteronomy 8:1-5, MSG, says this, “Remember every road God led you on in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that you could know what you were made of.”
I know what I’m made of these days. I have a backbone of steel, an inner strength that is just as much impenetrable as it is unstoppable (though many people have tried!) No longer am I piggy backing off my husband’s calling, or merely tagging along to help him fulfill his God-given purpose, because I have my own significance raging through my veins; words of purpose, I now know, that God spoke over me in my mother’s womb, declarations He made that I refuse to back down until I see come to fruition.
You do, as well…
Every road… no matter how chaotic or crushing, lonely or severe, is led by a God who knows what He’s doing. He has not left you, and in no way is He ashamed of you or of what you have become along the way. And today, God wants you to know that this journey you’re on – the same one that has you crying in the shower and struggling to forgive yourself for not being the most enjoyable person in the room – is among His most favored gifts! The gift of unlocking what you’re made of, and maybe for the first time in your life, to unveil what you were made for — and it wont be in spite of your darkest days, but because of them.
You might even be grateful for them one day.
One thing is certain: you sure as heck won’t sprinkle spiritual fairy dust on people’s heartache or give marriage advice that has some bogus word like balanced in it. And the world will be better for it.
* Jesus Calling