Monday, October 1, 2012

The shift

There have been pivotal moments in my life.

Where I was going in one direction, and then, without warning, the route was altered.  There was a shift.  Sometimes it was caused by me. Other times it was unwanted, and I was dragged along kicking and screaming.

I can remember the first semester of college back in 1997.  I had fallen hopelessly in love with a guy.  I thought he liked me back.  It's your typical boy meets girl, girl falls in love, boy-shatters-girl's-hopes-and-dreams story.

I couldn't see it back then, but I love how God had a hand in things, even back then, when I was a stupid 18 year old girl!  My heart broken, I threw myself into ministry, telling God that I was done "looking" for a man.  I was going to focus on school and missions and if a guy came along that would love me for me, I would follow God's leading.

One evening, my husband-to-be and I were talking in the student lounge.  We both view this conversation as a defining moment in our relationship.  We had been casual friends, and got along well but up to this point in time, we hadn't spent a lot of time together outside of classes.  That night, we talked about "love".  I told him about my broken heart and being told that "You're everything I want in a wife, but I'm not attracted to you."

A little hint on ending a budding romance men.  First, if you're married, DON'T end it.  Try.  Word harder than you've ever worked before and FIGHT.  Second, if you're not married yet, never EVER tell a woman something like this.  You have no idea the depth of pain it will cause and the damage it will do to an already shattered self-esteem.

Kris, in turn, told me about a girl he had been pining after and how he was essentially "out of her league."  We connected that night.  Over wanting someone that we couldn't have.  And we talked.

About life.

About love.

About relationships.

About God.

And we both concluded that we would let God guide the steps in the area of our individual love lives.

Within two months of that conversation, God had definitely shown that it was possible that Kris could be "the one."  I stepped lightly, as my heart had just been trampled on.  Kris wasn't about to rush into anything and told me that he would not marry me unless he was 100% sure that it is what God wanted for him.  I can remember not understanding, and feeling hurt, when he told me that he was 99% sure that I was the woman God wanted him to marry.  I hoped and prayed that 1% wouldn't come along.  At this point in our relationship (8 months in), I was committed.  I wanted to marry him and to know that there was a 1% chance he would change his mind or decide I wasn't the girl for him was scary.

Another example of this shift in my life occurred recently.  I wrote not long ago about how God began to work in my heart and bring to me the foot of the Cross.  To where I could really understand how great His love for me was.  I wrote about how God redeemed me.  The night I truly surrendered is a night that I will never forget, and one that I will write about later this week.  But it was through this surrender and the weight that was lifted from my heart and shoulders, that I began to understand something.

Before, when burdened by living a life of lies and deceit, and hurt because my husband was bound up in addiction and I wasn't enough for him, I could barely breathe.  It was all I could do to get out of bed.  To put one foot in front of the other.  Survival was the goal.  If I could just survive another minute.  Another day.  Another week.  And for a very long time, I was content to do just this.  To just survive.



But after Good Friday, after I came to the Cross with all of my guilt and my shame, a spark was ignited in my heart.  No longer was it just about survival.  No.  I didn't want to just survive anymore.  I wanted to thrive.

I was like a plant, withered up and dead.  I hadn't been tended to and I was past the point of being salvaged.  Or so I thought.  Until my awesome God and Creator put His hands in the soil around my heart.  He tended to my heart.  He pulled the weeds out.  He pulled them all the way to their roots.

And some of it was painful, and I'm still dealing with some of those roots.

Healing always is painful.

But God's hands are loving and tender.  He held my heart in His skilled hands and He tended to it.  He watered my soul and not only did I live, I blossomed and became something beautiful.  A beauty that God has always seen in me, even when I didn't, arose.  And with it, came a desire deep within me that I didn't want to just survive anymore.  I wanted to thrive.  And because of God's loving care and mighty power in my life, I am doing that.  I am thriving!  And it feels amazing!

"I want to thrive, not just survive." - Switchfoot


Here are some Monday link-ups I am participating in.  You'll be seeing the first one every day, for 13 days.  I am proud to be a part of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association and am so encouraged by the other writers in this Association-what a blessing!



miscellany monday at lowercase letters
The Alabaster Jar



22 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks for linking up and sharing your story!

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  2. Thanks for sharing some snapshots from your marriage journey--especially the parts where you are so vulnerable, Jamie. I appreciate your heart in encouraging us to make Christ the center of our love. That's a day to day challenge for me, but one that I'm committed to in life and marriage. Great post!

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    1. It is a day to day challenge...sometimes minute to minute on the bad days! Thank you for your kind words!

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  3. Glad to be running the race with you! Marriage is hard work, but it is the best work!

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    1. I like that...that marriage is the best work. I would have never really thought about it that way! Good wording, concept. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I look forward to reading more of your Half Marathon entries. I'm sorry to hear you were tempted by an affair, but so GRATEFUL that God is so faithful to us. The work He has begun in us, He will continue and I can't wait to read how He is working in you!

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    1. Thanks for your support! I am daily grateful for how faithful and good God is to us.

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  5. Jamie, I'm so glad you shared this. The first guy I dated only wanted me for well... to be blunt... my body. He later admitted in front of the entire college during a chapel (2 years after we broke up) that he had struggled with homosexuality all through high school and thought "being with a woman" would cure him and make him a man. When we started dating, I was young and naive and liked feeling "wanted," but he hurt me deeply when he tried to take advantage of me without my consent, and then broke up with me because he thought it was my fault that we crossed boundaries and that I wasn't mature enough to handle a relationship (even though I was only 6 months younger than him).

    The second guy I dated was nine years older than me and he wouldn't touch me at all. He didn't want to hold my hand, put my arm around me, or even hug me. He thought my dreams were stupid, though he didn't say it quite that bluntly, and he couldn't understand why I wanted a career instead of a family (even though I was only 19). I thought God was punishing me for my problems with the first guy. I struggled with image issues and eating issues because he didn't think I was girly enough. I stayed because I didn't want to be alone, but the relationship ended really before it began.

    God worked in my heart over the next year, confirming my dreams were important and affirming my worth in Him.
    Guy #1 came back in my life and asked me if I believed in destiny and he felt he needed to make it up to me and that we were right for each other, but that I wasn't *Shock* his first choice. I was his third, and he had a fourth lined up. Some destiny!

    Of course, I told him no and that I was holding out for who God wanted for me. Holding out for someone better... guy #3 who happened to be right around the corner (literally, a friend of mine for all 3 years of college thus far). Guy #3 and I weren't exactly the closest of friends during that time, but I knew something was different with him. God brought my Adam into my life at that time to remind me that He was in control, and someone I wouldn't have initially picked out for myself was His choice... because Adam would and does treat me well, better than I could've ever imagined or thought I deserved. Adam loved me for me, and didn't try to change me, and he cherished me and protected me the way I needed. And the rest is history.

    To the guys out there, if you're reading this, I echo Jamie. Never, ever treat a woman like the way guys #1 or #2 treated me. It is so damaging to the precious heart God has given us to blame us for your sexual problems and try to take advantage of us, but it's just as damaging to neglect her physically and never give her any physical indication that you love/care for her.

    To the ladies out there, you are precious and a treasure. God created you to be loved unconditionally by a man who will put you before himself. Never settle for second best just because you can't handle being alone. You do deserve better!

    And healing is painful. The damages from relationship #1 affected relationship #2 and the beginning of my dating relationship with #3, Adam, the best of the three, God's choice for me. Even the beginning of our marriage was haunted by the remnants of both previous relationships. But I hung on with ferocity because I love my husband and he loves me no matter what.God knew that Adam would be the final puzzle piece to my healing, and what a wonderful gift! Like you said, Jamie, I was done with surviving when Adam came along... I wanted to thrive!

    P.S. I love Switchfoot!

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    1. Anyone who is a fellow Switchfoot lover is OK in my book!!! <3 Switchfoot!!!

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  6. Good post and we are glad to have you working with us. Looking forward to reading some more.

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  7. Happy to be in the challenge with you! I love "Until my awesome God and Creator put His hands in the soil around my heart " I love how you shared your heart:) I too have faced rejection and in my marriage too. When my husband rejected me, God let me know He will never leave me. I soaked up His love--can't get enough!!! :)) my husband saw me thrive and become beautiful in God's grace. I was kept by The Lord. That drew him back. The Lord's love is miraculous and immeasurable!

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    1. That is awesome about your husband. And God's love...words can describe it...

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  8. Excellent post, Jamie. You're vulnerability will help others in ways you can't imagine. Sometimes it's good just to know you're not the only one who has faced such struggles. Glad you're a part of the challenge!

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    1. I used to write about my issues (still do I guess) with depression for that very reason. I know what it is like to feel alone and if my story can bring hope to someone else in my shoes, then I want to be there.

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  9. Somehow I've missed your blog among the CMBAers, but I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. I so appreciate your willingness to share so openly.

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    1. I'm new to CMBA within the last week. So glad to be a part of it! Thanks for welcoming me! :)

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  10. Thank you for sharing - your statement, "Healing always is painful." summed it up so well. So glad you're thriving!

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  11. Hi jamie, this is beautiful, and just goes to show how God can bring you to blossom and thrive from pain and challenges. Blessings to you! Patsy from
    HeARTworks and
    papemelroti

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