We are continuing to follow GraceAlone as she works through the first few steps of her journey. This is day 2 of our correspondence. (Post 1, Post 2 today’s is post 3, Post 4) If you want to see how she is growing and be more up to date, you can check out some comments she left on yesterday’s post. 🙂
GRACE ALONE’S EMAIL – Day 2
I started reading John 1 yesterday and John 2 today – Something you said triggered the idea to keep a journal of my journey- so I am keeping a journal every day of what my emotions are like and what I feel like God showed me that day. I think keeping this journal helps me better articulate things, and my prayer is that I will be able to look back years from now and that I can know beyond a shadow of doubt where I was/am and where God led me.
You gave me the assignment of 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
- I believe God is trying to show me that nothing I say or do can change my husband. I have said all that I can say, tried to get him to read books, seek counseling etc and nothing has changed as a result. If anything, I think things have gotten worse because of my constant talking about things.
After getting married and gaining a lot of weight – I don’t know what it feels like to be beautiful anymore. I cannot tell you the last time my husband gave me a compliment without me first prodding. I always felt so ugly on the outside. Well, it’s way worse to feel ugly on the outside and the inside. Reading this passage about letting your beauty come from the inside resonated with me. Maybe I won’t feel pretty again til I lose the weight, but maybe, just maybe, my husband will find me attractive again if I have a beautiful spirit. See, this is hard to separate for me – because, believe it or not, I feel like a lot of our problems are connected to my weight- my physical beauty.
I think what God is trying to say is, yes, while I do need to work on my health, what is more important is that I work on my spirit. I do want and desire to have a gentle and quiet spirit. I am terribly afraid of not getting there.
- Yesterday, I had a great time in the Word and prayer- better than I have had in a very long time.
- I chose to be happy when my husband came home.
- I did not say anything unpleasant to him the whole night.
But sure enough, as I woke up this morning, doubts were there:
- “What if my husband is right when he says, ‘I have seen this before and it lasted about three days.'”
- “What if this gets too hard when my husband does something to hurt my feelings – will I explode and lash out?”
It seems I can do alright when he is doing alright – but the first time he hurts me – it’s game-over for me.
I think something else I am afraid of is no change on his part at all. I realize that you said in one of your emails that change must take place in me because it pleases God, even if my husband does not change. This is very HARD.
It almost seems I cannot help my selfish motives of “If I am changing, he needs to change, too.”
I worry that if I do not see change in him, than I will give up – even knowing that is not the right attitude. I don’t know how to fix that. I secretly am still hoping that my husband will change and that one day he will want kids. As much as I want to let that go, it is very hard.
A journal is a great idea! I journaled the whole way through my process. But I threw away my journals from the first few years. I didn’t want to have Greg or our children discover them later and read all the sinful awful filth that was in my head in the beginning! Keep your journals somewhere safe! Sometimes, I would rip up what I wrote right after I wrote it. Sometimes the thoughts in my head were that evil. Of course, now I could have used those journals and quoted my struggles from back then word for word. Maybe I should have kept them!
You are correct – God is showing you that you cannot change your husband. In fact, the more you try to control him, the more you will repel him. Laura Doyle, “The Surrendered Wife” says
“You can have control or intimacy, but you can’t have both.”
Your words about God, the marriage, spiritual things or children are going to be like nails scratching a black board to your husband’s masculine soul right now. The more you try to control him and put your hands emotionally/spiritually around his throat, the more he will fight you and go the opposite direction just to prove to you that you cannot control him and that he is a grown man and can make his own decisions.
- You are going to have to accept him as he is right now – even if he never, ever changes. This is a very important step in this process. It is part of realizing you are not God’s Spirit. It is part of acknowledging that he is a grown adult to whom God has given free will to make his own choices. And it is part of godly, unconditional I Corinthians 13 love – accepting someone without making demands that he change for my benefit. It will take some time to process and hash through all of this. That is ok.
You have a number of idols that have to be torn out by the root. This is not a one time thing. It may take months or years to completely deal with your idols. It is exactly like dealing with an addiction – because it IS an addiction! The temptation to re-erect your idols will continue to be an issue for a long time. Your job is to tear them completely out of your soul and put your faith and trust totally in Christ alone. Ask God to show you just how ugly idolatry is to Him. Ask Him to show you just how much it grieves His heart and looks like “adultery” to Him. That makes it a lot easier to get rid of the “detestable” idols. You may have to tear them out every day or every hour for a long time. That is ok!
A few assignments (ladies at home, you may do these, too!): 🙂
1. Please list all of your idols in your journal Every single one you can identify. You may want to have a page reserved for this.
2. Please start a list of all the things you admire and respect about your husband. Leave several pages for this list! When you start to dwell on something negative about him, try to immediately recognize you are not focusing on Philippians 4:8 things and you are going to replace those thoughts with good thoughts and grateful thoughts about his strengths. You are going to starve your negative thoughts about him and feed your positive thoughts about him. Add positive things to the list every time you think of something.
3. Please start a list of all of the sin in your heart. Add to it every time you see another sin.
4. Please think of 2 things you can verbally admire about your husband about this week. Then, just briefly thank him or share with him a sentence or two once or twice in the next few days about what you admire about him.
5. Smile at him whenever you walk into the room. Just to bless him. Expect nothing in return.
Your health is an idol-related issue, I believe. As you get your heart right with God – I believe you will be able to get your health right, too. But if you don’t address the spiritual issues of seeking comfort from food instead of from God, you will continue to sabotage yourself, in my view. I want you to take GREAT care of this valuable life and body God has entrusted to your care and stewardship.
You will have TONS and TONS of selfish, sinful motives to hash through in the coming months and years – we all do! When your husband doesn’t change – which he probably won’t for a long time (that is normal) – you will have to refine and purify your motives over and over again – to be sure you are only doing this for God. It is actually sometimes a blessing that husbands are so skeptical and that they don’t trust us and the changes in us for so long many times- because as they continue not to change, it FORCES us to purify our motives in ways that we would not have to if they changed quickly.
- So, do not go into this expecting your husband to change. Pray for God to change YOU for His glory! Pray for God to make you faithful to His Word and to Himself, no matter what the cost, no matter what the earthly results, no matter what your husband does.
I cannot do the wrestling part for you. You will have to do a LOT of wrestling with God, His Word and yourself. Take all the time you need.
Dying to Self and giving up idols and learning to fully trust God is HARD! It is painful. It is terrifying at first. But it is so worth it!
Both GraceAlone and her husband have changed a lot. In God’s timing. They are both healing and doing SO much better! 🙂 PRAISE GOD!