This morning during my quiet time God did exactly this:
He sent to me “one of those gentle eruptions of grace that the Lord sends so quietly, so nonchalantly, so impishly into our lives, but which have the power to explode our inhumanities in our faces and to set within us a clean, new heart.”
That is on page 19 from an amazing book I began reading last week and have not been able to make it past the first chapter. The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason. It is one of those books that you just begin underlining the crucial points that stand out to you and before you know it you’ve basically been underlining every sentence on the page : ) As I said I have not made it past the first chapter because I am continually re-reading and meditating on the amazing things he has to say about the mystery of marriage from God’s plan but I would already recommend this book for anyone who is married or who is engaged.
Anyways, what was this gentle eruption of grace? The realization of my fear of vulnerability. For about the last year God has been working on my attitude in my marriage. For this past year I had been thinking the root of our challenges and my inability to move forward in certain areas was solely dependent upon my pride. But what kept getting to me in the last year that I realized this morning is my setback always came when I began to open up to vulnerability and in one way or another whether intentional or not I was hurt. The moment the hurt came it set me right back to the heart of my struggles… bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, disappointment, etc. I had been thinking that I was continuing to be too prideful and that was why I was being set back. While I know pride is still a part of these issues, God showed me that my #1 set back is a fear of vulnerability.
I have a fear of opening myself up completely and laying myself completely bare with no armor to attack an onslaught from ocurring. A fear of being hurt by the person who is supposed to do the opposite for me … who is supposed to love me and cherish me and protect me from getting hurt and comfort me when I am hurt. There is great fear and hesitation in being hurt by this person and a complementary fear of unforgiveness. A fear of wondering how could I possibly forgive my husband if he hurts me when I am vulnerable? I am afraid of not being able to do that so my protective nature says then to just not be vulnerable. That’s the appropriate solution right?
I know all this to be true because it is this fear and the experience of my fear being a reality in the past that has brought me to the place I am at today. The place of feeling like I am at war with the one who is supposed to be standing beside me and in this war I wear my full armor… bitterness, anger, regret, arrows from my mouth of unkind words and sometimes even worse… silence. My armor that is supposed to protect me from feeling hurt but instead leaves me distant and empty.
What would have happened to God’s great plan of salvation if Jesus decided to close up because the words people shot at him and the whips he was beaten with just hurt him too much emotionally that He decided it was better to just walk away. If Jesus is our example and by God’s great grace He has given us an ability through the Holy Spirit to walk in the same light that Jesus walked in, then this is what He expects of me. And He is fully prepared to help me journey through this. He doesn’t sit in Heaven on His throne with a stern look on His face ready to slash me down if I fail or if I hesitate because I’m scared. No, no, no. God is compassionate. The youth pastor from Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs this past weekend gave a great example of God’s compassion. Instead of Jesus rolling his eyes at Thomas when he doubted Jesus’ resurrection He went straight up to Thomas and told him to do the exact thing he needed to do in order to believe… touch my hands and my feet Thomas, it is Me, the Great I Am. How compassionate is He?!?!?! We can have freedom to lay ourselves bare and admit how hard these things are and God will walk alongside us and help us through our fear.
I have to trust God to help me open up and be vulnerable again. I need to depend with all my being on God to heal my hurts that will inevitably occur with vulnerability and to tap into the grace He provides to forgive my husband when he hurts me … intentionally or not. It is not my husband who needs to be my comforter but God… who will never disappoint me or take advantage of my vulnerability.
And the wonderful thing is… my husband is a great example of where God wants me to be. Talk about iron sharpening iron. While he may sometimes be the cause of my pain. He is strong in the area of forgiveness and moving forward in vulnerability when he is hurt. Sometimes I think about him doing this and just wonder how he does it? How come he doesn’t respond the way I do? He must have super strength or be oblivious to the pain he should be experiencing. But that’s the beauty and they mystery of marriage that God designed… He partnered me with someone who can be my example and encourage me to become this woman God created me to be. Isn’t God good!