In my brokenness and selfishness, in my desperation and gasping for a breath of air, droplets of water, crumbs to feed my love-started soul, I betrayed a friend….a sister…someone I deeply loved, respected, admired, and envied. I betrayed myself, my family, my faith, and I tested everything I believed to be truth.
I became a master of self-deception…..someone I never imagined I could become, especially as a born again follower of Jesus. I failed to draw on the fountain of Living Water for life and love – I failed to go to the only One who could really meet my needs and satisfy my soul and instead, I fell for the lie (once again) that I could get my needs met apart from relationship with the Living God.
I got tired of waiting, of hurting, and of fighting for the kind of marriage and family I wanted. I took my eyes off of Jesus and began looking around, comparing myself to those around me (bad idea!).
Over time, I became so self-deceived (living a religious life, doing the works and going through the motions) that without even realizing it, I turned my back on my first Love – the Lover and Creator of my soul….the only Answer to my pain and brokenness. I believed the lies of the enemy that I was doomed….destined for a lifetime to a hopeless unequally yoked marriage. I believed that I would never truly be seen, understood or loved for who I really was. I believed the lie that my dreams of partnership and ministry in marriage were just a fairy tale. I was desperate to experience real love, but I became so desperate and frustrated with my circumstances, that I lost faith and hope for a moment.
Its Christianity 101 really… We were all created by God for the purpose of living in constant communion, dependence, and relationship with Him (John 15) — abundant, fulfilling, exciting, loving relationship – out of which all of our other relationships should flow.
We were all created with a God spot in our souls that only He is meant and able to fill. When we look to Him to meet our needs (physical, material and emotional), and when we find our security and purpose in Him, we are free to have healthy relationships with others.
When sin entered the world, however, everything got confused and muddy. We were ashamed and began hiding from God (Genesis 3) rather than going to Him openly for everything, and we began looking to all kinds of other things to fill that void created by sin and separation from God. For me, it was approval and acceptance.
You see, I was raised in an alcoholic home (more to come). By nature, I am driven, determined, passionate, funny, fun-loving, perfectionistic, loyal, discerning, caring, and committed. Firstborn, beloved and wanted daughter, it wasn’t until I was 17 that I realized the brokenness in my own family. Eldest sister to three younger siblings, it was in my latter high school years that I realized my father was a functional alcoholic. Hard-working, faithful and committed husband and father, he was also addicted…present physically, but not emotionally, and for me, it left huge voids.
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was five years old and then made a more mature commitment in junior high to really give my life to the Lord and walk in His ways. In high school, I was serious about my relationship with God and passionate about ministry. I was a leader in my youth group as well as a couple of Christian clubs at school. I went on summer mission trips and was on a ministry team that traveled and did special ministry in churches as well as street evangelism.
While my faith in God kept me pure and from the temptation to party, etc., I still dated and had a tendency to look for fulfillment in relationships. I had a deep desire to be married at a young age – to be free to create my own life and home – one that would be different…
Before I knew it, I found myself 19 years old, freshman in college, cheerleader, living at home – and getting swept off my feet by a boy….a young determined boy that fell for my looks, passion, and naivety. He was a hunky football player, who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He said the right things and did the right things to make me believe he was worth the risk. So, despite the red flags, we got engaged within a few months and were married the following summer.
More detail to come, but the years that followed were filled with loneliness, pain, turmoil, betrayal, and agonizing frustration.
Unless you have experienced it for yourself, I’m not sure I can describe the depth of anguish and frustration I felt to be ONE with someone who did not share the same passion for our Creator. Someone who did not know how to love a wife as Jesus loved the church….someone who did not choose forgiveness and mutual submission, but instead was emotionally neglectful and often emotionally abusive. Someone who regularly shamed me and held a double standard. I am definitely guilty of allowing it, but regardless, it caused great damage to my soul.
He was also unfaithful over and over again….to varying degrees, but unfaithful nonetheless. The first time was just a little over a year into our marriage.
Stay tuned for Part 2! But for now, I’ll leave you with this….whatever you are facing today, whatever voids you are trying to fill – as excruciatingly painful as they may be and as unbearable as they may seem, God is BIGGER and God is ABLE. It may not happen overnight, but when you call out to Him, truly surrender your will to Him, and ask Him to fill your voids and meet your needs, He will.
Trust Him. He is the only One who will never leave you and never fail you. His way is BETTER…believe me!!