November 22, 2015

Love Came Down

I woke up this morning, and this Kari Jobe song was in my head. I heard these words over and over again, and I thought about them. Yes, it is truth.

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
Lord I'm forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours
I am forever Yours


I am Free

I started thinking about my life (don't I always?), and I started to remember the old days, you know, all those days before I ended up single and set on this solitary journey of faith. I think it was prompted by the fact that my former in-laws are having birthdays this week, and the fact that Thanksgiving is also right around the corner. My life, the former life, was ruled and regulated by my in-laws and their plans.

In fact, this week, this entire week and then on through Christmas, my life was rarely my own. Everything I did or "we did" (as in my immediate family) was predicated on approval by my ex-husband's family. Even my family, my parents, had to fall into line and agree on how we would spend our holidays "together." It was a challenge most years, and in truth, I don't recall one single happy memory of a Thanksgiving or a Christmas beginning from 1982 to 2009 (27 years). I don't mean to say there weren't some memories that were sweet because there were of course. Mostly, they were the sweet memories I made for my son, the special Christmas mornings where I enjoyed seeing his little face be so excited and filled with joy. My son, now 22, was the delight of my life, and while he is almost grown, he still brings me such joy, such sweet and wonderful joy.


It is a weird experience to think that people can rule or control other people. We see it in the news all the time, but we don't really like to discuss it when it concerns "family matters." The need to control and manipulate family is a serious dysfunction, but in so many interpersonal relationships, there exists one or more persons who must control their life to such an extent that they seek to control everything in it and everyone near them. It is a sad fact that many families are this way, and it is even more sad to know that this type of behavior and interpersonal dysfunction occurs within Christ's family, within Christian communities, and within Christ-filled families. It shouldn't be the case, but often it is, and unless family members (the whole body of Christ) understands how dangerous and how debilitating this type of behavior is to the union and harmony of the body, nothing will change, relationships will not improve, and Christ will not be honored. It is vital for families to see the damage they are doing to one another, and to stop acting like queens or kings. There is only one King, and He sits on heaven's throne. Christ should be exalted in the home, and His way should pre-empt ever other way. His word should be taught and lived out so that everyone in the family clearly understands who is the head and who is the tail. There can be no other Head but Jesus Christ. Families that do not put Christ first often suffer horrible relationships, and even will succumb to greater threats such as habitual sin.

I am not sure why I am feeling this way today, but I think it was something I saw on Facebook this morning. I was going through my usual morning routine, checking email and social media, when I was reminded that yesterday was my former mother-in-law's birthday. I had forgot to write on her timeline and wish her a happy birthday. She is an elderly woman now, older than my own mother, so I know that my feelings on the past do neither of us a favor, unless I forgive and forget (as best I can) and let bygones-be-bygones. I decided to send her a belated wish, and before I did, I took a few moments to scroll through the other well-wishers. Most were family, but a number were from friends, people I knew and was intimate with for many years. Most of these people probably do not even know that I am divorced or if they do, they just don't mention it. My in-laws never mention it either, in any type of correspondence (letters, emails, etc.) It is as if the "deed" never happened. Sigh.

So as I was looking through the sentiments, I felt myself thinking about the people who posted, the comments they were leaving, and I wondered how it was possible that my experience was so different from theirs. I mean, these comments were heartfelt and genuine regarding years of ministry affiliation and service, and spoke of happy times from the past. I shook my head because I thought this is not possible. How can it be so for these folks but not for me or for my family?

I decided to forgo sending a wish, thinking "what does it really matter?" but before I clicked away, I saw a post from my ex-husband's girlfriend. I wish I could say that her words didn't matter, but that would be a lie. I don't have hard feelings toward this woman. In fact, I have never met her in person. I see her weekly at my church, but I have never spoken to her once. I have never been introduced either. Her words caught me by surprise. She said something to the fact that "perhaps she and my ex could come up to see his parents someday soon." I thought about those words, and for a moment, they stung me, they bit me hard. You see, it isn't that I want to travel to see my former in-laws or do I want to go back to those days of family dysfunction, no not at all. It was just so hard seeing them, reading them in black and white. It was the hard cold truth staring me in the face. The family, this family, in particular has moved on. They have left me behind, choosing to never acknowledge what my ex-husband did, how he asked for the divorce, how he chose to leave the marriage. They walked away from me because I committed the unpardonable sin in their view -- I relented and I consented -- to his request for divorce. In their eyes, I am the one who walked away. They wanted me to stay my ground, even if that meant living as a "married, but single"person for the rest of my life. They wanted me to choose to love their son/brother unconditionally despite his behavior, despite his choices, despite his sin. This was how their family dealt with sin issues. They covered them up, they hid them from view, and they pretended they didn't exist. It is truth -- all the family scandal was treated this way -- there was never any discussion, any mention, any reminders of anything that brought uncomfortable and unpleasant light on their family, their relationships, and their ministry.

I have struggled the past couple weeks with going to church. I know, this is an "aside," but it relates to what I shared above. I have struggled to make it over to church, to Scottsdale Bible Church, these past 4-5 weeks. Partly I have been busy with school or grading, and partly I haven't felt 100% well (mostly my CFS and feeling generally exhausted). But there has been another part of the problem, and that is the constant reminder that my life is no longer what it once was, the way it was I should say. You see, every Sunday, I go to church and I sit across (in another section) from my ex-husband and his girlfriend. Every Sunday. I worship the Lord, I try not to see them, but I do. I try not to focus on them, but I cannot help it. I try so very hard to turn my gaze toward the stage, to think about Christ, about what is going on -- preaching, teaching, worshipping -- just so that I don't think about the two of them sitting there, hand in hand or arm in arm. It is very difficult for me, and some Sunday's it is just too much for me to bear.

It is not as if I want to go back to that way of life because I don't. I mean, just thinking about my holidays when I was part of his family brings back such sad memories. No, there is no way I would ever agree to going back, to living that lie again. It is just that I see this closure in my life, but it is not 100% closed. I am not free from it so long as he and she are there, so long as she is trying to be a part of his family. I wish her well, really I do. I wish them both well, and I truthfully do not have hard feelings about their relationship or whatever plans they may have for a life together. So be it. It is just that for me, there is this sting of regret, this sting of sorrow, and at times, it becomes so heavy, so hard for me to deal with and to move past.

Today is a blessed Sunday, and I am sitting here thinking about this, and I am wondering if I will have the fortitude, the grace, really, to get myself dressed and out the door to church. I need church, mind you. I mean, I really need it. I need to worship the Lord corporately, and I need to be with other believers in communion and fellowship. I miss it when I am not there. But, it is so hard for me to move past this one thing, to move past the fact that my ex and his family have moved on, they have moved on and left me and my son, by extension, behind.


How do you move on, how do you let go of past hurts?

I have tried very hard to let go of the past hurt, to not allow it to control my thoughts or my feelings. Yet, I still struggle (not always), especially at times like these, times tied to holidays or family events. I want so much to be free from the sorrow, to be free from all the sadness, and to start creating new memories, happy memories. I look at my life, all around, and I see loneliness, sadness, and regret. I don't want to feel this way, not today anyway, but yet I do. I don't understand why I feel the way I do, and why I struggle so much with just walking away from it all.

I guess, and really this is just a guess, it stems from the fact that I feel like I am a victim, a helpless victim, and that my ex has been the one who triumphed, who got his way, and who for all intents and purposes is living out his dream. He has a new person in his life, a new person -- not me -- and that new person is his choice. He told me once that he never loved me. He said he never wanted to marry me, but he felt obligated to do it. He said that while I was a good friend, a nice person, and a good Mom -- I simply wasn't the one he wanted to spend his life with -- well his entire life, I should say. Of course, I wanted to say "I wish you would have told me this before I said I would marry you!" Oh my goodness! Let's save 30 years of pain and suffering, 30 years of hardship, 30 years of tears and trials. Yes, my life would have been vastly different had he simply been honest with me way back in 1983. My entire life, every bit of it could have been different, so very different.

Hereclitus said once,

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”

Yes, I cannot go back because the river is not the same, the water has passed by, and to step into the water now will never make things like they were previously. The water is not the same; I am not the same. I guess the truth is that whether or not I like it, I have to accept the fact that I have moved on too. I have moved on. Sigh.

My thoughts are jumbled this morning, and I am struggling to figure out what to do. Do I go or do I stay? Do I do the "right thing" or do I do the thing that "feels best" to me? It is a challenge, and of course, I will do the right thing. Why? Well, I always try to do the right thing, Lord willing, whenever I can. He is good, He is God, and He has a good plan for my life.

You see, there are so many options now, so many possibilities. I have open doors all around me, and I have plans, ideas, thoughts, and for the first time in my life, opportunities that can shape the outcome of my life. For the first time in my life, I am in control (under the Lord's leadership), and in that way, I do have choices, lots and lots of choices. I can go here. I can stay put. I can do this thing or that thing. I can be whomever I think the Lord wants me to be, and I can take hold of His mighty hand and walk wherever He leads me. I am truly free -- free to be me -- free to go, to be, and to enjoy the life that God has ransomed for me. He is good, so very good to me.

Thus, in closing, I am thinking today of how much my life has changed, and perhaps that is why I blog so much about reflecting and thinking about the past events, and how my days have altered since that awful day, that most difficult day, that most (in many ways) liberating day back in January 2010.

Love Came Down
by Kari Jobe

If my heart is overwhelmed
And I cannot hear Your voice
I hold on to what is true
Though I cannot see

If the storms of life they come
And the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe

I'll remind myself
Of all that You've done
And the life I have
Because of Your son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
Lord I'm forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours
I am forever Yours

When my heart is filled with hope
Every promise comes my way
When I feel Your hands of grace
Rest upon me

Staying desperate for You, God
Staying humble at Your feet
I will lift these hands in praise
I will believe

I'll remind myself
Of all that You've done
And the life I have
Because of Your son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
I am forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours
I am forever Yours

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