encouragement · hope

Humility…and lots of tissues 

Reconciliation is about humbling yourself before someone else, especially when it’s difficult. True peace, the kind our souls desperately want, but our hearts and minds are afraid to work for, is found in sharing our innermost struggles with a loved one.  
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt responsible.  
Responsible for…

– my siblings’ safety and well-being.

– a “failed” marriage.

– every foolish decision I’ve made.  

– helping everyone get along, including parents, co-workers and friends.  

– preventing hardship when it seemed imminent.  

– providing every need my sons have.  

– resolving every disagreement in my home.  

– making sure the bills are paid.  

– the taxes being done.  

– figuring out where to live.

– our vehicles being maintained.

– home improvements getting done.

– protecting our church from conflict.

– disappointing people to the point I withdraw rather than let someone else down.

Over my 4 decades, I’ve struggled with blame, hurt, shame, guilt and self-inflicted exhaustion.  I’ve made peace with many things, and forgiven others much quicker than I can myself.   I’ve had many sleepless nights, and tear-stained pillows, replaying past scenarios I cannot rewind.  I’ve felt the deep despair that accompanies unforeseen loss and the sickening anger of unresolved heartache.
It is not easy for me to “drop my guard”. It is far more comfortable to keep things light, focus on the task at hand, use wit and banter to connect with someone, and sometimes put another brick in the wall around my “overly-sensitive” heart.
But last night, after praying for awhile on a few Ground One conflicts my husband and I have faced in this short period of adjusting to being married, I humbly asked for his forgiveness.  I thanked him for his patience, trust and loving me enough to work for a Godly marriage.  
As I did, painful things throughout the history of my life shed great light for us (ironically, perhaps more for me than Solomon!)  Hurts I needed to “get some old stuff out” on still form who I am.  Yet, they don’t have to define me.  

I should be aware of how events and people impacted my life, but that means I’m also aware of how I responded to them.  I can acknowledge feeling responsible for occurrences, yet I can recognize I wasn’t solely responsible for all of them, or their outcomes.    I can identify my previous patterns of reacting and do the work to respond better next time.  I can get out of the way so God can continue changing me in ways only He deserves the credit for. 

I can fully trust my husband.   I can believe him when he says he will do something.  I can release the burning responsibility that eats my spirit up, and spits my weary mind out.  I can give Solomon the opportunity to lead me, to walk alongside me, to be the man God made him to be.  
Is it easy?  No, it is not.   It is, in all honesty, probably the HARDEST thing for me to do.  The worldly experiences I’ve had taught me not to wholeheartedly trust again.  But I know God has never forsaken me, He has carried me through many valleys and lifted me higher than I ever knew possible.  He has given me the love of a husband I continuously feel I don’t deserve.  God has provided a new chapter in my life, and in being humble, being still, I can release the shackles of fiercely-guarded independence, to find freedom, joy and love I have not yet known.  
Moral of the story…
Life sure can stink at times.  Pain hurts, usually for much longer than we prefer. Everyone has inner struggles.  

But if you’re fortunate enough to have someone who truly cares about you (spouse, friend, parent, pastor, etc), it’s good to confide in them about where you’ve been, and ask for help with the baggage you need to unpack, make peace with and learn from.  
It’s not easy, and the past never wholly disappears, but it’s worth the intimacy a relationship can give and the release an unexpected cry can provide. 

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