Love Waits Someone Back To Health

FlowerMouth
Octavio Ocampo’s “Mouth of Flower” (repro in oil) by Andrada Radu

“Hon, I’m thinking about writing about Nina’s next dare: Me and My Big Mouth,” I said, pausing to get the courage to talk about how we fight.

Miscommunication, fights, verbal tirades, disagreements, whatever you want to call them, I hate them.

I take a deep breath to continue trying to get it all out before the need arises to take another breath, “It’s about how sometimes I may start a conflict through my words, my mouth; or rather, how I could have avoided a conflict by keeping my big yap shut.”

There. I said it.

“Yeah, you don’t do that. You don’t start fights like that.”

Exhaling, I continue to the harder reality. “I keep everything in, don’t I?”

In my family of origin, verbal hostility dominated our family culture. In fact, my freshman year in college, I used to have slur-slinging matches with some of the fellas in my co-ed dorm. I thought I was cool that I could–on occasion–out-sling a couple of them.

It’s how I survived, being tough.

As a result, I don’t always trust my emotions or the thoughts that initially volunteer themselves on the springboard of my tongue.

“Do I talk to you about problems or things that need to change or complaints that I have?”

Another question asked without intensive thought.

Nodding his head with a gentle expression, he said, “yeah…”

Knowing the accountant in him is thumbing the catalogs of conversations we’ve had that he’s stored in his mental database, I ask him, “How do I talk to you about those things?”

Another deep breath. As I try to think back through our conversations about trouble and hardship and unmet expectations, I begin to panic. I can’t remember.

Relational amnesia has set in.

“Well,” he started, and the anxiety started to settle through my eyes like black snowflakes. I’ve been holding my breath and not blinking.

“Well, you talk about things. You usually bring it up nicely. I get annoyed sometimes because it’s about stuff I have to do; it’s nothing about you or the way you said it.”

I slip in a breath and keep my eyes on his face, thinking and filtering through his memory of us and real talk. Whereas, I brace for the onslaught of hateful language I’ve internalized as a young girl, which is never coming out of my tenderhearted husband. It’s just not in him.

“It’s kind of like how you did Friday night. It just kinda comes out after you’ve been reading a book, doing Bible study, or doing something else. You just kinda…talk.”

Friday I was a mess, emotionally and physically.

Thursday’s mail brought my copy of Mary DeMuth’s “Not Marked,” and Friday I spent most of the day weeping and reading as I finished it.

By the time I got to talk to my husband, I crumbled under tears as I bore the raw, unprocessed thoughts of how the sexual abuse of my childhood  twists and thrashes and bludgeons within my thought life.

My mind is not a safe place.

Its natural byproducts–my unchecked thoughts–reek of rancor, aggression, insecurities, and self-hatred.

You can’t expect healing to happen magically to you, slipped under your pillow by the Healing Fairy. It has be to pursued. You cannot and will not heal in passivity,” (DeMuth Not Marked, 16).

In my marriage, I may not struggle with outwardly spewing venom upon him. I may not assault him with a barrage of complaints or of plot-less stories that exhaust already fatigued ears. Or nitpick him with a honey-do-who-hasn’t-done-what-needs-to-be-done list.

But. I struggle.

Me and my big mouth struggle to be friends.

I struggle to voice, choking on internalized lies: I’m not worthy to be heard; My needs aren’t valuable or worth mentioning; You’ve already brought that issue up and things haven’t changed, so get over it! 

Healing takes time and active pursuit.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12.2).

Renew in me and my mind an accurate awareness of who I am as a wife, a mother, a friend.

Teach me how to worship you, Father, by softening and separating my lips to speak my needs first to You, then to my gentle husband.

My gentle husband, who waits me back to health.

Today, I’m accepting the dare to worship the Lord and to honor my husband through voicing my heart, in real time, with my own lips.

What’s your next step?

All marriages are different and have different needs. As you think about your styles and patterns of communication, ask the Lord to show you one area in which you can improve. Our Father loves each of us back to fullness and health. It’s a promise He’s given us through His Son.

Not married? Think about the last conflict you had with a friend, family member, colleague. Consider how the Lord could be using those moments of friction to draw you to Him, to refine you, to love you to fullness and health. Love wastes not a thing.

 

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7 responses to “Love Waits Someone Back To Health

  1. I am so glad to have found your site. I rarely (like twice) leave comments on blogs. I am just now starting counseling to address sexual abuse by a relative from age 4ish to 12 or 13. I am now 42 and have never pieced together how my destructive behavior was related to this. Thank you for your openness and heart to share your truth.

  2. Krista, thank you so much for posting. I too struggle with past abuses. Abuses that I never spoke out loud until I was in my mid-twenties. Before I found Jesus, my defense was to cut others down and berate them so I felt superior. I appreciate your post and look forward to reading your journey in the future.

    • Thank you. I’m glad we can have a virtual community where we can practice voicing love and freedom and peace in a way that points others to Jesus. Welcome, dear sister. ❤ Krista

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  4. Oh gosh, can I relate to this. Recently married, a little over a year in, I am discovering just how much I keep my mouth shut and hold everything in, until it comes spilling out. Usually, not in anger or loudly said, but rarely at the best time. I’ve realized how much I try to keep the peace and in my growing up life that meant pretending like I didn’t feel anything and making sure that everyone around me was at peace. That sadly has resulted in a lack of voicing myself. I have found that I have stuffed for so long that I don’t even know what I am feeling, much-less how to express it. I am very thankful for my husband and how patient and gentle he is with me!! He is for sure waiting me back to health.

    • Nichole, thank you for sharing this part of your journey. It never ceases to amaze me how similarly we all seem to struggle with voicing and timing after abuse. I praise the Lord with you that you have found a gentle and patient husband, who is waiting you back to health. To God be the glory! ❤ Krista

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