Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Old Memories

"Look at your ring and know that I love you."

 Those are the words Kris chatted to me this evening while I was at work.

Words.

I need words.

Words of affection.

Words of affirmation.

Words of REASSURANCE.

I have not struggled with this in a year.  At least, not the need for reassurance.
Kris and I reached our one year anniversary a week ago, as I wrote about in my last post.  Since then, it seems that both Kris and I have been under heavy attack.  The enemy is pressing hard against us, trying to derail us.  It leaves me wondering if it is because something "big" is on the horizon, or if it is because we hit that one year mark and now Satan wants us to just get lazy, which we have no intention of doing.

But the attacks haven't stopped.  And I find myself, for the first time since my marriage has been restored, needing to be reassured of Kris' love, of his affection for me.  That I matter to him, and that I am more important to him than anything, especially his job.

Selfish.

I know that makes me selfish.

But it doesn't change that I was feeling that way.  I've been feeling alone.  And feeling alone isn't wrong.  No feeling we have is wrong.  It's just a feeling.  Feelings are neither right nor wrong.  It's all about how we react to those feelings, and what we choose to do with them.

I hated that I was having this feeling of "alone."  That I needed Kris to reassure me that we were great, our marriage was great, he thought I was great.  It is too much of a reminder of my old life.  Of my past.  Of the old mindset I used to have.



And I've learned that I can't change my past.  I can't forget about it.  I can't make it "go away" like I so often want to.  This week in particular, the memories from my past have been assaulting my mind.  Not just random thoughts here and there.  Very specific thoughts or memories, or fears of someday running into the man I had the affair with.

I think that there are many different factors, but I believe that the devil has his hands in this.  I can feel his claws digging at my mind, trying to find a place to land and clamp down.  As I was driving home from our women's support group tonight, I decided to listen to JoyFM.  It seemed that I hadn't just listened and worshiped through music in a while, and I felt like I needed to.  I've gotten back into the habit of listening to books while I work to pass the time, and tonight I knew I needed the music.  It wasn't until I started listening that I realized how much I had been missing it.  And since that is a huge source of strength, encouragement, and prayer for me, it's no wonder I've been feeling alone!

As I was listening, I found myself driving on the on ramp to the interstate, and this crazy thought goes through my head.  I wear two rings now.  One on each hand.  And while I was thinking about these rings, the irrational thought went through my head that "What if I was out and he was there and he saw my rings?  What would he think?"

First of all, I'm praying that God continues to keep our paths from crossing.  I don't feel ready for that now.  Or ever.  I have no idea what I would think, feel, do.  I'm not ready to cross that bridge.

Second, why would I care if he noticed my rings?

Third, why would I think he would care to begin with?

I am not sure I can fully explain it, but I know I have to write and I have to get this out.

I was trying to find where I wrote about WHY I took my wedding ring and engagement ring off, but I couldn't.  I know I wrote about it on Intentionally Yours, but here's the short version.

Before Christmas last year, the other man gave me a beautiful ring.  I loved it.  I told Kris I won it online.  A plausible lie, in the sense that I had been winning other products from blog giveaways.  I think deep down, he didn't believe me fully, but he wanted to.  So he accepted it. I wore it on my right hand, ring finger.  And I wore my wedding band (which I never took off, even when with the other man) and engagement ring on my left.

The night that Kris found out about the affair, we were in bed talking.  He looked down at the ring that I still hadn't removed from my hand (not wanting it to be glaringly obvious that it was from him) and said, "That's from him, isn't it?"  I remember nodding, maybe I cried a little.  More than likely, it was at the loss I felt, knowing I would have to return the ring to the man.  I was pretty messed up at the time.  The look of hurt on his face was difficult for me to see, as my shame and guilt was covering my eyes, and kept me from really seeing how badly I had hurt him.  The ring was like twisting the knife that I had already used to carve up his heart.

That night, I removed the ring from my right hand, then my wedding and engagement rings and put them all in my jewelry box.  I have not put my rings back on since, and a week later, I put the other ring back into the hands of the man who gave it to me.  It was not easy to return it.  It had meant something to me.  To us.  To what we had built over 7 1/2 years.  I was still very attached to this man, and giving him the ring back was painful.  But necessary.

So, I don't know if it is because I took them all off on that awful night, or if it is because I never took my rings off during the affair.  But there is something that leaves me feeling uneasy about putting my gold wedding band and 1/4 carat engagement ring back on my finger.  I've tried, several times over the last year.  I finally decided that maybe I should melt them down and have something done with it.  Or lately, I've thought about trying to wear them around my neck.  But the reality is, I feel extremely uneasy.  As if that is not a place I am ready to be at.  It's still too painful.  The memories are still too strong and too fresh.  I can't think about my wedding rings without seeing in my mind removing all three rings that horrible night.

In August, we found rings that meant something to us at a vendor fair.  Inexpensive rings that we loved.  We bought them and while they were great, I got a size too big, not taking into account that my fingers were swollen on that hot summer day.  So, I had to wear the ring on my middle finger, and my ring finger was still empty.  But I adore the ring Kris got me that day in August.  Each time I look down and see the word "HOPE" staring back up at me, I smile and remember everything that God has done for us.


At the airport, waiting for our flight back to St. Louis last week, we were passing by a Swarovski store.  Kris said, "Do you want to go in?"

At this point, I was exhausted.  I knew we would go in there and look around at expensive crystal and then leave.  I'm not a big shopper, really.  Maybe if we had money to shop with...but in general, I do not enjoy shopping.  I really just wanted to get back to our gate.  But I saw a ring on display in the window.  And I thought (or maybe said aloud), "I didn't know they sold rings."  I'm pretty ignorant about some things.  I will readily admit that.  Someone gave us a Swarovski crystal vase for our wedding and all I know is it is heavy and it was expensive.  When I make jewelry, and I want to use Swarovski crystals, they are the most expensive of the different crystals out there.  So, when the price tag said 115, Kris asked if that was the price.  I said sarcastically, "Yeah, with three zeros after it!"

But at this point, I was intrigued.  Could that really be the price for the gorgeous ring that was on display in the window?  There was NO way.  We went inside and started glancing around.  It didn't take long for a sales associate to help us and I just went ahead and asked about their pricing.  She told us that if it said 75, it was $75.  OK.  So the ring in the window was $115.  So I asked the next natural question.  "Is the ring in the window cubic zirconium?  Surely it isn't all crystal."  She looked at it and assured me that the glittering pieces were all crystals.  I was astounded.  I asked my next question, thinking that for sure the answer would be no.  "Do you have any sizes bigger than a 7?  Most places only carry 7's."  She opened a drawer and had several of that same ring in a size 8.  I tried it on.  It looked beautiful on my ring finger!  Still stunned by the price and the beauty of the ring, I heard my amazing husband say, "Do you want it?"

Hmm...let's think about this...

Um...YES!

And so, without me putting up too much of a fight beyond "I don't really need it," he bought it.  On the one year anniversary of me coming home to him and our marriage, he bought me a beautiful ring that means so much more than any of the other rings I have ever received.  I look at that ring and I think about that night, and I think about the year of miracles that God worked; I think about a future living my life and marriage the way God intended.  And I smile.  I look at my ring, the beauty of it, and everything it signifies and I grin.

That bring us back to the present.  Where I found myself feeling alone, assaulted by memories I didn't want to have, but seemingly had no control over.  They come and go when they please.  I can't control them.  I can't predict when they will come.  I can't change the fact that they happened!  I can't change my past.  As I was driving home and the thought about my rings and my hands and the other man went tumbling through my mind, I shook my head, as if trying to shake it all away.  I cried out to God, meekly...wanting Him to make it go away.

And do you know what His response was?

Josh Wilson's song "Carry Me" started playing.  And the fourth line brought the tears.

So I pray God, would you make this stop?
Father please hold on to me
You're all I've got

I am not unfamiliar with this song, but that line "Would you make this stop?" hit home.  I was begging God to make the memories stop.

The next two songs that came on left me with a heart open to worshiping God.  As I pulled into my driveway, I heard the familiar beginning of a song I have loved from the first time I heard it.  The second line had me sobbing, filled with wonder and joy and thankfulness over everything that God has done in my life.

Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past

Isn't that what I have been experiencing?  The memories are the ghosts of my past.  The thoughts I've had, my mind wandering through the "what ifs" are ghosts.

But the greatest news, proclaimed in "Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave?
I am redeemed
You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain
Now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed

So, I complete the evening by sharing all of this with Kris, smiling at the chat he sent me earlier in the night telling me to look at my finger and know that he loves me.  This gorgeous ring is my reassurance.  It's a gift, from my lover, and it signifies so much more than an engagement ring ever could.  I had no idea a ring filled with crystals could be as beautiful and I told Kris he can buy me crystals over diamonds ANY day.  And I meant it!


4 comments:

  1. It is a struggle that alone feeling. I remind myself as best I can in the moment to "take every thought captive" from 2 Cor. 10:5
    Your ring is lovely, your marriage is growing more and more lovely by the hour. Remember that. :)
    BTW my anniversary is also June 5.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah June 5! I was reminded that I need to remember that I am indeed redeemed!!! I keep the thought captive verse on my wall at work.

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  2. Your ring is very nice... You have faced a lot of difficulties in your life. But it is said that after struggles you have got enough. You marriage is growing more and in your life, may you have got so much happiness. Your ring is pretty and beautiful. This ring looks very beautiful in your hand. Thanks for sharing...

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  3. Very interesting blog, looking forward to more wonderful! Swarovski Outlet

    ReplyDelete