A husband shares how God has empowered him to face his greatest fears in the strength of Christ. This post is a bit lengthy – but WORTH IT! If you are feeling discouraged or afraid to trust God with your situation, I know you will be greatly blessed to read this believing husband’s story. Seven months ago, he described that the things he trusted in (himself, his marriage, his wife, etc..) felt like a sinking iceberg. He knew God was calling him to step off of the iceberg into the boat Jesus offered to him. Things have gotten much worse – they are not getting better – but HE is no longer the same fear-filled man that he was. THIS is the kind of faith and intimacy with Christ I want to see each of us live in every single day. 🙂 I’m so thankful he allowed me to share:
SEVEN MONTHS AGO
I went to the outback for a couple of weeks for work. I strongly suspected that when I got back my wife would be gone – so it was a hard, hard time. I could see the truth in the thought that a life of faith would be a life of peace but I couldn’t “get” there. I just couldn’t. But I knew my iceberg was melting and soon I would be drowning.
I took along the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray (link contains a free download) and read it through and through. I read Scripture over and over. I took a notepad and wrote down everything that came to my mind and I realised that I was a massive people pleaser, full of pride, and unbelief.
I knew I was a Christian but I was not living in the power of Christ.
It was NOT easy to accept these things about myself but they were true. Hebrews 3-4 talks about how the same message can be given to two people but one will benefit from it because they believe it but another will not benefit because they do not believe it. I could see that rest (the rest God gives us when we trust Him) just sitting there but I could NOT make myself peaceful.
I came to a point on that last trip where I knew absolutely that my iceberg was going down and I made a conscious decision to step into the boat of Jesus. I wrote out a prayer of surrender and prayed it. I meant it with my whole heart but I was a broken, hurting mess. I took a “selfie” after I had prayed which was a picture of a broken man with a tear stained face. This may sound weird but I wanted to remember the sincerity of the commitment.
I truly put my idols on the altar that trip and told God that He could have my wife for His will. In truth I was still scared of what He would ask from me, but I was willing to give it. I was probably like the man who cried “Lord I believe, please help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
And, God took me at my word. He knew I meant it. And I did mean it. She left. And it hurt. Lots.
I was in the boat with Jesus at the helm but I was sitting cowering on the floor, shaking with fear and not sure if the boat was going to sink.
I’m going to put something else into the illustration this time… a shark! The enemy was a shark to me, circling around the boat, rubbing his sharp skin against it. I lay in the boat, knowing that I had truly given everything to God but listening to the sound and taunts of the enemy with great fear, still. I could feel the pain of his teeth in my mind. I could hear the storm raging and already feel the pain of the waters of an affair or divorce. But, I was committed to trusting God in a conscious decision.
LEARNING TO GIVE MY FEAR TO GOD
Time passed. I had moments of great peace mixed with moments of great fear. I had stopped trying to control things because I knew I couldn’t sail my boat, but I was terrified of where it was going. I listened to the shark and the storm as much as I listened to God. Many things happened that I cannot write up here in the interests of protecting reputations. The enemy was out to get me in the biggest way I have ever known before. He did NOT want me to live a life of joy and contentment. I have NEVER known so many attacks. But, I saw God’s hand through so many situations and slowly I began to realise that I was not sinking.
I remember one situation that I was overwhelmed with fear, I knelt down and cried out to God and said “God, the Israelites were facing giants and those giants were real! Two of the spies chose to trust your word and ten didn’t. Maybe those two were still scared but they chose to trust you! My giants are real Lord but I am choosing to trust you even though I am scared”… instantly I felt God’s presence and peace and praised Him for that. God is compassionate with our fear ???? He doesn’t look down on us for being scared, He understands our fear.
MY ROOT FEAR
This last trip, I wanted to study boundaries. I had come to a point in my journey where I wanted to be able to create boundaries out of love and strength, not fear. I started reading the gospels studying boundaries and writing down how Jesus dealt with people. I started noticing that all of his dealings with people were done out of a place of great strength and peace, not out of fear. There were times that He let people take advantage of Him and times He did not let them. But it was always done with a purpose and from a place of strength.
I knew I was still operating out of fear sometimes and I knew this was limiting my peace.
I started reading another book. The Scriptures that were used were (not coincidentally) Scriptures that God had laid on my heart over the past few months, (In so many ways I see God’s hand at work setting me free). I took my notepad again and started writing. I realised that my biggest, biggest fear was ABANDONMENT.
I was still scared of being alone and this was limiting me from being truly free. One of my best friends was talking to me a couple of days before I left and he said “You know I will never leave you right”? And whilst this sounds very weak I just burst into tears and said “No, I DON’T know that”. I still subconsciously felt I had to earn his friendship to be ok.
I have had many, many experiences of abandonment in my life. One example is that my best man rang me a few days after my wedding and said “I don’t want to be your friend anymore. I am jealous of your marriage, home and job and I can’t deal with our friendship”. I had been friends with him since I was 4 years old and that really, really hurt.
I realised in the last couple of weeks that I was still scared of being abandoned and this was limiting me setting healthy boundaries and stopping me really enjoying my freedom in Christ. I realised that this fear was at the root cause of my people pleasing behaviour. And I realised that even in my little boat I was scared that Jesus would jump out it I didn’t sit in the boat the right way. I hope that makes sense?
So, whilst away this time I surrendered this fear as well. I held up my closed fist to heaven and prayed to God and opened my fist in a picture of letting go of something I was clinging to.
I trusted the words of God that He would never abandon me. I trusted, consciously, that if He was willing to give His Son for my salvation then I would trust Him for everything. And OH, the peace that has come!! God is GOOD!! I took another selfie this trip, only this one was of a man with a peaceful, smiling, radiant face. I want to remember this surrender also ????
I started work the next day and I CONSCIOUSLY said to God, “I am working for you today. Even if no one else notices what I am doing I am working for you and you are well pleased with that.” I made known to my work team that I wanted to do the cooking for the trip and I got up early to do bacon and eggs and then made curries, cooked steaks and lasagna for dinners, etc… BUT I did it with joyful sacrifice not in an effort to please or earn favour. I did it for God! And OH, I was so happy and peaceful. And a strange thing happened, I started enjoying my workmates company so much more.
I was released from the fear of pleasing them and being abandoned and in a weird, strange way they actually opened up to me so much more. We had a GREAT time ???? I think they could sense that I just wanted to give with no expectation of a return. And, I knew that if I got back home and never was married to my wife again I would be more than ok as I had Jesus. He would never abandon me. Ever.
THE STORMS INTENSIFIED
Then, something happened. My wife tracked down where I was staying and rang me. I cannot tell you what was said. I told my work team that I was going to take that day off and they took one look at me and said “Mate, life comes before work. You do what you need to do and we have got you covered”……..and you know what, they worked a MASSIVE longer day than normal in intense heat to ensure we could go back home with our work requirements met and I could take the day off. Blown away. Thanks team.
Anyway, in God’s gracious timing I had let go of all my fear just before a storm of intensity hit that I have never had before. I got back to the biggest thing I have ever faced in my life.
Waves are crashing, the wind is howling, sharks are trying to leap into the boat now BUT I am sitting in the front of the boat with salt spray on my face surfing down the waves fully trusting Jesus at the helm. I am enjoying the ride!
God has brought me so, so far and how shall He who spared not His own son also not freely give us all things!? And, OH, He is working in ways that I would not have anticipated possible. In ways that I would never have dreamed of, ways that I would never have asked for but He is working and His name is gonna get so much glory! ???? And He is sovereign and allowed me to come to this point of releasing that fear before the next storm hit.
God is GOOD!!! In ways we do not realise. Please trust Him!
I am just loving walking with Him. ???? Walking without fear is so, so, so, so good. I am waking up in the morning happy, with a smile on my heart. I meet my Savior in prayer and worship each morning. His mercies are renewed every day. I wish I could grab this peace and put it into all of your hearts!!
THE STORMS RAGE LIKE CRAZY BUT MY JESUS IS MUCH GREATER!
The storms feel so small in the light of His power. How have I not seen this before? Why do we doubt the infinite power of God when we see His power displayed all around us through creation? My friends are commenting on how peaceful I am…….God is good. HIS light is shining, not mine. Rest is good. I am no longer driven to achieve to earn any favour from Him or from people. I steadily work at the task in front of me for His glory and know that I am secure regardless. I am enjoying my friendships with people so much more.
The storms that have hit since I got home have continued to grow. The impact of them is spreading, rippling all around me. The clouds are dark and the wind is strong. But, I have this calm certainty that the storms in MY HEART are over. They just aren’t there anymore. My heart is ‘different’ for want of a better word. I can’t explain it properly. I have a peace that is just awesome. And it isn’t leaving.
A situation rises and I feel that old fear begin to move and I CONSCIOUSLY look to Christ and the fear just melts away in the light of the cross. That, is where everything centers. It is awesome! ???? It is addictive. I wanna walk with God forever.
I don’t have to know tomorrow because I know my God. These idols are gone and I don’t want them back.
And, as these storms are rolling in my wife has commented on how calm I am through them. She has said that several times since I came back. The way the Lord has enabled me to respond to these storms is an absolute testimony to His grace. And, I feel it is having some fruit. She is reaching out through these storms….
…….in fact, we had dinner together Friday night for the first time in 7 months. And talked a couple hours after. Then tonight, she rang again to talk and asked me over. We watched a movie together and talked for a few hours. She was so open and honest. Things she said would have filled me with fear in the past, but I had zero fear and God’s peace just flowed through me. There is no need for fear because my heart is not held in her hands, it is held in God’s. And He will never let it go.
In our conversation I saw her heart, exposed and raw, vulnerable, facing some of her sin, sharing some of her fear and I loved her heart. I accepted exactly who she was and where she was at with no expectations and she knew it. God is GOOD. In Christ all our needs are met and we can truly love with agape love. Christ frees us to minister because He makes us whole.
ENCOURAGEMENT TO ALL
Friends, trust the Savior. You have seen me on this blog walk through fear, pain, rejection and a separation. You have shared some of my struggles through what I wrote. Through it all, even when I couldn’t see it, God was working to bring good. Not the good of a reunion (yet) or a perfect marriage (yet) but the good of a heart that has a peace not possible without God’s strength. That, is the treasure worth having.
In my view my wife and I are light years away from any sort of reconciliation or romantic love on her part. DW is consistent and clear that we will not ever be in a marriage relationship again and this whole storm is not about her running back to me. I have literally zero expectations from her and have told her so. And, I mean it too. I am there for her but expect nothing from her, and yet it is not in a doormat way. I cannot really explain it better than that. I just know that I am working from a place of strength and love. I am there for her but expect nothing from her, and yet it is not in a doormat way.
What I have written is purely a testament to the truth that when we wait on the Lord we truly soar as an eagle. It is a testament of truly, from the heart letting go of all control and the freedom that truly results from being sustained by God’s love and presence. Honestly, if I was relying on her in any way shape or form I would have been crushed this last week, and still would be. But, God’s strength is just SO strong. We underestimate it so much.
God can fill you with a peace that your husbands simply can….not….give….you. Trust Him.
I married as a controlling man, enmeshed and dependent on an insecure woman. I became a weak and insecure man dependent on a hard woman. Now, I am a strong, secure man, full of the love of Christ and able to give from that heart. God….is….good! ????
POST SCRIPT 6-19-2017 FROM THIS HUSBAND:
In Christ ALL things can be overcome ???? I remember when my ex-wife first left me and someone said to me “Your heart will live again”. I almost laughed and thought no way! But, it is, and far more than it ever has before. Not because of the split, no, but because of Jesus Christ ???? Last night I was reading through a prayer of surrender that I wrote in March 2016. I surrendered EVERYTHING to God and accepted come what may. I had not an inkling of what would come and how terrible it would be, but in that prayer I fully opened my heart to the treasures that God had for me in these trials. And WHAT treasures! I found Jesus in SUCH a new and living and powerful and liberating and freeing and amazing way! I laughed out loud last night when I read that prayer, remembering the pain and fear that was in me when I made it and contrasting that with the sheer joy that bubbles up in me now!
The Worst Year of My Life… But Then God! – Quinn’s Story
A Divorce and Reconciliation Story – by The Restored Wife