“I was really angry with you last night,” I said to my husband on our way home from church. “This may not be the right time to talk to you about this, but I’ve got to get it off my chest.”
Clearing his throat, my husband responds, while keeping his eyes on the road, “Okay, so how did I make you so angry?”
“After you went to bed last night, I stayed up to work on our Intimate Marriage homework from church. One of the questions made me think about what you shared last night on our date with the server,” I said.
While on our date, we got into a rather lengthy conversation with our server about my time doing missions work overseas. That lead to my husband sharing his passion about discipleship and manhood.
My husband followed up on my opener with, “What was it that I said that you were thinking about?”
“Remember when you said, ‘there needs to be more men who are willing to be men of valor, men of honor, and men of courage, who are willing to stand up for what is right and true for their wives and families everyday?'”
“Yeah…” Hesitation covered his reply. He tipped his head, pulling away from me.
“Well I got angry because I don’t see that in you in how you take care of things at home. Like the other day when I asked you to bring wood into the house, and you didn’t. I had to get wood myself in order to keep the house warm, ” I began.
We live in a bi-level that has no substantial heat source other than the wood burning stove. With the recent unusual temperatures of -15, I wasn’t about to stay home with my little children in a cold home.
Continuing, I said, “Then there was clearing the driveway. I don’t mind shoveling the snow, but I resent being the one who usually gets stuck clearing away the snow. I want you not only be a man who stands up for the gospel but also one who takes care of his chores at home.”
Holding the the wheel with one hand, he ran his other hand through his hair, letting out a long, loud sigh.
“Well, babe, I don’t know what to say.”
Last year–to the date–I wrote about how love waits someone back to health. I wrote about how timid, reluctant, and fearful I was about asking my husband how I talked about difficult issues. I asked him if I approached the issues in a combative or aggressive way that infused anger to the point of a fight.
Here I was exactly a year later talking about similar content.
This time, however, I spoke with confidence, boldness, love, and compassion. Last year, I felt unworthy to express my raw emotions, my discontent with unmet expectations, and my need to feel loved by my husband through his taking care of our home. Of me.
With an sexually abusive past, speaking up has been a challenge.
The pattern developed in such a way that I believed I am unworthy of speaking my true thoughts and feelings. Fear took up residence. As a child growing up and even into adulthood, I internalized silence.
Throughout the last year, fear loosened it’s gripe on my heart.
Fighting fear has been painful. There has been opposition. I’ve stumbled numerous times and thought I’d never make any progress in healing.
Yet, today, through a difficult conversation with the love of my life, the Lord graciously showed me how He’s healed another wound.
It’s true. True love is patient. It doesn’t look for a quick-fix, a cure-all tonic, or a healing fairy’s magic wand. True love endures the agonizing burden of waiting.
At the same time, love is never passive. It’s never complacent. It’s bold. And it’s always actively pursuing truth, belief, hope, and endurance.
As sexual abuse survivors, our understanding of love, oftentimes, is skewed by our past. Jesus, on the other hand, is love. He expressed this through His death and resurrection on the cross for the payment of our sins.
He is patient in our healing journey. He will not fix our pain, grief, or flashbacks in one moment; although, He could. Our Lord is patiently, gently pursuing us to trust in Him one step at a time.
Why? Because He desires that we experience an unadulterated relationship with Him in the most intimate manner possible: as a member of His holy body.
Trust like that takes time. And work. And faith
His Holy Spirit yearns to guide each step as we’re ready.
Bold steps toward healing can feel painful. At times, those steps require unexpected work that looks overwhelming and unbearable, producing fear.
That’s just the thing.
Embracing Christ’s bold love for us, one step at a time, makes fear cower.
“26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the [j]saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” (Rom. 8.26-8).
What’s your next step?
What bold step is God leading you to take on the next leg of this journey? How might the Lord be drawing your closer to Himself? Are you willing to bare all and trust Him and His timing? If God is leading to talk about what’s trapped inside, will you take the bold step to voice? Seek out a safe person who can encourage you to take that next step.
***My husband encouraged me to share this story with you.***
Join me on the healing journey.
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