Time of Reflection
"To err is human, to love is divine." I think I found the meaning in this. As humans we are imperfect beings, acting w/o thinking, reacting w/o 1st understanding, making stupid mistakes we later regret, the list goes on. But to truly have the ability to love a person despite their shortcomings, to truly be able to forgive because you know they too are only human, to love them enough to NOT turn your back on them or even hold a grudge despite hurts they caused, THAT my friends, is DIVINE!! Romance is fleeting, feelings are deceiving, and "happily ever after" is only fantasy. Love is not butterflies in the tummy, or nice dates spent together, it's not flowers and chocolates on all the right holidays. Love is being able to accept a person for whom and how they are, no judgment or criticism, no unreasonable expectations of living in perfection or at a standard you yourself couldn’t meet. Love is being able to be there through even the worse most painful times, not turn and run just because they offended you. I could go on and on, but the point is.......not a person on this earth is perfect, not a person is without sin and without fault, yet so many homes and relationships are broken, because there is the one who screwed up royally, and the one who prefers to hang on to the hurts and focus on the mistakes rather than let them go, work them out and move forward. I choose to live my life swimming UP that stream instead of flowing with it, I choose to live my life loving and forgiving as my Lord shows me He does. I choose to follow His example and be the best I can be, because after all, I am the only thing I can control, and even that gets hard at times. If I too am so imperfect and infallible, WHO am I to hold a grudge against another?? "To err is human, to love is divine." such few words, yet, in my heart they hold so much meaning and significance.
Thoughts on Love
Thinking about "Love" right now, as I am talking to a few people in troubled marriages. Reflecting on my own marriage and all I have been thru, thinking about how I have felt over the years and how many marriages fall apart because one or both of the spouses don't truly feel they are loved or appreciated. That thinking made me think of the Love Languages and is now taking me down a different trial along those lines. What does "love" look like to you? Is it romance? Is it being best friends and "never" fighting? Is it a replica of your parents’ marriage that you are striving for, or some other example you believe yours should be like? Is it only love when you are always happy with that feel good feeling? Or is it all of what 1 Corinthians 13 says and then some? Here are my thoughts of this morning: the example Jesus set for us. "No greater love has he, than when a man lays down his own life for another" (greatly paraphrased, I know). What does that mean to you?? Here's what it means to me:
It doesn't mean dying on purpose just to save another by donating your organs or whatever. It doesn't mean a Romeo and Juliet suicide. It doesn't mean your actual physical life at all. It means your preferences and lifestyle.
Someone who grew up in a cold/non affectionate environment going out of their comfort zone to always be sure and give you the affection you so need and desire.
The lazy person who would rather be home on the couch watching T.V. or sleeping going out and working 10+ hours a day to give you all they can.
The smoker who gives up smoking, just so that you can enjoy white curtains and walls without film and smell everywhere.
The alcoholic who goes to AA and other places to learn a whole different lifestyle and ways to cope with things, just so that they can be healthier and (hopefully) live longer and grow old with you.
The drug addict who changes their choice of drug from a powerful/hard to overcome drug to their choice "drug" being YOU!!
The person who enjoyed promiscuity/sexual addiction for how "fun" it was, choosing to dedicate themselves only to you and be faithful for the rest of their life.
The introvert, who doesn’t care much for talking and hanging out with anybody, choosing to find things to talk about with you and spend time in heart to heart talks.
Someone who by choice leaves where they came from, family, lifestyle and all they have ever known, to learn new ways to fit into your world.
The "slob" who could care less where things are, taking special care to pick up after themselves and keep things neater, because they understand it pleases you.
Men- putting the toilet seat back down after being careful not to miss the toilet. That right there is the ultimate display of respect for you and your efforts of keeping a clean house/bathroom!!
When without being told or asked, they jump up and do a chore, bathe a little one, cook a meal, or anything else that gives you a break. That is them showing appreciation without words.
I'm sure my list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Just because who we are with doesn't fit our ideal of what Mr. or Mrs. Right should look like in our minds, doesn't mean they aren’t trying their own best. Sometimes Love doesn't look like we think it should, and sometimes that rose that represents love is actually full of thorns, not so smooth and pretty as when we buy them in a store. It's all about perspective and being willing to see the world thru their eyes instead of your own. It's about not focusing so much on how you feel unloved, unappreciated, uncared for or whatever, and learning to communicate. Often times the other person feels they are bending over backwards to show you how much they care, literally denying themselves and "laying down their own life" for you, not having a clue that you are still feeling the opposite. If they aren’t filling your love tanks, tell them in love and respect how they can. Help them to reach their goals of making you happy, and be willing to do the same for them. Relationships aren’t about take take take or what they can do for ME, but about what YOU can do for THEM and vice versa.
I am dedicating this time of reflection to my own hubby. I am guilty of also being one of those, who instead of focusing on all he DOES do; I have focused on all the time that goes by without any quality time or conversation between us, causing me to feel uncared about or unloved. A few things on this list were inspired by him, some are from other couples, but I want to recognize him for all he DOES. I want to apologize for my blindness and lack of understanding. I want to commit to pay more attention and appreciate him more. I also want to share some of our worst times, turned into some of our best testimonies, in hopes they will encourage others. “Love never fails” and “what God has joined together let no man separate” are two verses that can become very powerful tools when you have two believers who choose to trust in God to pull them thru the rough times, at least that has proven true for my marriage.
For the first 14 years of my marriage, I lived in the shadows of another woman, my husband’s ex-girlfriend that he had never gotten over. I have always held to the belief it was due to lack of closure, and still believe that to some extent, though it no longer matters. When I first met my husband, he was on the rebound. I had never really dated anybody on a serious level, or long term, so at that time I didn’t really understand the depths of that kind of turmoil that I was stepping into. Give or take about 6 months prior to meeting me, his girlfriend of 2 years or so broke up with him with no explanation or closure or anything, and he ended up never letting her go. About 2 months prior to us meeting, I had prayed to God to send me a man who was “worth a damn” (yes, those exact words were part of my prayer, I was young and stupid) and I would do things His way instead of just trying to get pregnant and be a single mom, which wasn’t happening, anyway. As soon as I laid eyes on him at a mutual friends house, I felt something inside of me, and just knew he was who I was to marry. We met on July 5th and were married on Sept 6th of that same year,1996. I know in my heart we were meant to be, but the thought has come to mind from time to time that things may have been better had I done things in God’s timing rather than my own. I let insecurities override my sense and my husband did the same in his own way as well, but that’s another story. Bonding with my husband felt almost impossible for the first few years. He shut me out emotionally and kept me at a safe distance. When I cried out to him that I only wanted his heart he snarled back that I would NEVER have his heart!! That he had given his heart to a girl once and she threw it on the ground and stomped it to pieces and he would never let another girl in again. Seeing how he felt, I offered him the way out, and he refused, choosing instead to stay with me. We had some nasty arguments those first years, and his sister and a few other family members didn’t make things any easier by any means. I used to storm out of the house and just walk and pray, crying out to God to let me divorce, repenting of my mistakes, repenting of not looking to Him first, asking Him to give me a sign of what I was to do. I would say things like “okay God, if I am free to go, I will reach my destination, but if it is Your will I stay with him, then he will come looking for me in the car. While I was walking and praying, he was usually gone to his sisters or somewhere else, not even home at the time I’d left, and that was back before cell phones, so he didn’t know I was gone. Well, wouldn’t you know, I never made it to the amen before my car would be pulling up alongside me? My husband would be telling me to get in, to either go home or at least allow him to give me a ride to where I was going. God are you serious?? Okay, back I went, until the next fit, only to be answered the same way each time. Right about the time I thought things were getting better, his brother gave him some pictures of his ex-girlfriend and emotions started up with a vengeance. I wanted to show him unconditional love, no judgment and no controlling, nagging wife, so I was kind enough to frame the 8x10 of her for him, putting his face shot in one corner and her face shot in another corner with a little “Love is…” clipping at the top, which he hung in our living room above the couch. It was just a given that she would always be his number one and I could accept that or not, he didn’t care. After a discussion with his other brother, who became my best friend, my husband got angry and tore the pictures up and threw them away, or so he said. The torn pieces or any trace of the pictures were not in the trash can and were never seen after that, so I don’t know what really happened to them, but they were gone. My husband continued trying his best to put himself into the married life he wasn’t completely sure he wanted, and I continued trying to make the best of things, hoping that if I was good enough I could erase her from his heart and memory. By our fourth year together, there seemed to be a gradual shifting taking place, and I felt things were changing. We lost his mother to cancer when we had just celebrated our fourth year, and his ex-girlfriend tracked him down through one of his sisters and called him to give her condolences. I felt hurt he wasn’t honest with me about where he had been when he had gone to take the call, yet I didn’t feel threatened or anything by her. The month after that, we finally succeeded in getting his permanent visa and came back to the U.S. after having lived in Mexico for the previous 10 months. We hadn’t been back a week, and I got pregnant with our first. We were both looking for jobs, and I was the one who got lucky first, getting hired at a diner. About 7 months later, we had moved to OKC, and roles were reversed. While at home and filing our old bills, I happened to notice a long distance number on our phone bill from our previous address. When I asked about it, come to find out it was his ex-girlfriends number!! While I was working, he was at home feeling “bored”, so he had been having conversations with her!! You better believe that opened up some conversations of our own! I ended up asking him flat out, why he doesn’t just go back to her? His answers back to me were: “what would your dad think of me, after all his help in getting me my green card?” “What will people think of me or say about me?” and my favorite one “Who is going to support you in the condition you’re in?” “How will you manage, since it’s not like anyone is going to hire you 8 months pregnant?” Not a single word about loving me, or his first child, not a single word about me being who he wanted to be with, it was all about how things “looked.” He did stop talking to her for a while, and we moved away from his family and to Nebraska so I could be closer to mine and where I felt safe. When our oldest was 6 months old, we found out that I was pregnant again. Shortly after he was calling her again, and even had me send her a picture of him and our son when he was about 8 months old! I asked her to please stop things and cut him off, so she did out of respect for me, or that’s what she said later on down the road. For the next 7 years or so she was rarely mentioned, yet she was always an invisible presence between us. We learned to be functionally dysfunctional, as most would call it. After some other issues and glitches that we had gone through, some of which will be mentioned later, we renewed our vows with the church wedding we had always wanted, and I thought things would be different from then on. Then, I became pregnant again. This time she wasn’t called, but she was talked about on a Spanish t.v. show we were on called “Sabado Gigante.” When we got back home from that show, we found out that we had lost the baby; it had passed away while on that trip. Three months later, despite taking precautions, I got pregnant again. This happened after a hard couple of years with our oldest son. We had been always fighting and dealing with problems and CPS and school and meetings and
negativity at home and a lot of other things, we ended up not being very close or even getting along. So, after dealing with so many issues that caused quite a bit of division, towards end of my pregnancy he was bored and tinkering on his laptop and seeing if he could find old friends from Mexico and what not and just for the heck of it looked up her name and found her.
They had started chatting, then texting, and then friending each other on Facebook. My husband was all the while seeing things as an innocent friendship, and that is how he had presented it to me. So much so, that me and her ended up friending each other on Facebook as well! When my husband had looked her up, he had told me he was just curious how she was, how life was treating her, how things were going and stuff like that. I didn’t see any harm in that, and since I have often wondered those same kinds of things about people I had known in the past, it was easy to see and understand where he was coming from. Well she quickly turned it to reminiscing about old times, guilt tripping about how she regrets dumping him because since then she has suffered none stop at the hands of every guy she has been with. Telling him how much he was the best thing that ever happened to her and she shouldn’t have let him go and yadda yadda. He has always lived based on feelings and emotions, and is also easily influenced and swayed. Her bringing the past up, and reminding him of all his old feelings, especially during a hard time at home, really knocked him for a loop and was being lured by all of it. I had a good heart to heart with him, as did our pastor, and it was the end of November 2010. For some reason, in Feb. 2011, it all came about AGAIN! I told him ENOUGH! I will NO LONGER live in her shadow; no longer compete with her, no longer fight like hell to be good enough and #1 in his life. The time had come that he needed to choose once and for all. He told me he couldn’t lie or fake it any more; he did still have feelings for her. FINE, then TELL her!!! Pack your stuff and go find her, but let ME have peace!! So he called her and told her he still loved her and wanted to know if she would take him back. Now up until this point, she and I had also had our chats on Facebook. The way I saw it, either I was going to help them find closure and peace and we could all move on, or if my husband left me for her after all, then my kids would have her as a step-mother. Either way, being kind, and handling things as adults seemed to be the best choice, at the time. When all this was coming to a head, she was chatting with me on Facebook, and told me she would LOVE to take him back, but wanted it to be his choice not because of something her or I say. She asked me to leave him alone to think and she was going do the same thing, so I did. So he called her again, asking if she would take him in and help him, because of having a felony he might not get a job right away and he didn’t want to show up and her say no once he was there and he'd be with no place to stay or anything to eat. She got offended as if he was insinuating that she wanted him to support her and said she doesn’t need a man to support her, that she works for a living and can support herself. I then explained to her what he was asking, and the answer he was looking for. She refused to give him a straight answer so he got miffed, and he told her: “You know what??? You never fought for me back then. You’ve always just treated me like a yoyo, dumping me and coming back as you pleased, and you're not willing to give me a straight answer or fight for me now, so I am going to do what I should have done a long time ago and say goodbye and fight for my wife back and for my marriage!”
“So you're dumping ME this time? You're letting ME go?? Once and for all??”
“Yea, I think that’s for the best.”
After that call had ended, I handed him his binder from an encounter he had gone to at church, which had a prayer for breaking soul ties in it. I just told him I wasn’t making him do anything, but that it might help, and went to my room. He sat in the living room and struggled with it all inside himself for a bit, but then he did say the prayer. I felt her presence leave that night and she hasn’t been here since. However, I was so hurt by the fact that after 14 years and 3 kids he was so easily capable of leaving me for someone he didn’t even know anymore. Something inside of me snapped and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I just couldn’t care, feel, love, or anything. I just shut down, feeling completely numb and neutral inside. Only my baby could get through, only he could have my affection, smiles, loves and sincere thoughts and feelings. My husband had worked his butt off to win me back, but I couldn’t get myself to surrender. After all I had endured from both my oldest son and my husband, all I could see or feel was the wanting to be free from both of them because of all the hell they were putting me through. I went and got hired at Safeway so I could move out and be just me and baby and maybe my daughter, if she chose me, but then I repented and quit the job right after completing the orientation. A lot of growing in God started happening then, and a lot of Him bringing me back to who I was years ago. And then I got contact with my brother in law again, my best friend. Nobody knows me like he does, nobody brings the real most inner self of me to surface the way he does, and the process of healing and coming back to myself began. I saw changes in my husband and home life, but I didn’t want to accept them. I saw what I was doing, and how I wasn’t helping matters or making things easy, but couldn’t change or stop myself. Then one night the ex-girlfriend began chatting with me when she was half drunk. She told me that she would still love to know how he is doing and what he’s up to but doesn’t want any more problems or drama and that I am the only one that could cause it, because she has only told me things that she has told nobody else. She told me that I should enjoy my husband, because if she is given the chance, she would take him from me. She said that when the day comes that I don’t want him anymore, she would gladly take my leftovers. But by then I had come to understand it was all a game to her, it was all about control and boosting her ego. She had told him that it should be HER by his side not me and it should be HER raising his kids not me. She had gotten upset at him when he had told her he was happy for her that she had dates and a guy that took her out and made her life more enjoyable when she posted pictures on Facebook of her and a guy kissing, in hopes to make him jealous. She said she couldn’t understand what kind of love he had if he wasn’t feeling jealousy, because she feels an overwhelming jealousy and envy when it came to him. She told me that same night that I am lucky, if he is lying to me he tells me, as well as if he is being truthful, and that not everybody has that. She said our trust and confidence is sincere and good. Her words just keep repeating in my mind, and you know, I was ashamed. As a Christian, as a believer in God and KNOWING what forgiveness is. To make my hubby's life so hard for 2 years, always correcting him, chewing him out, not sleeping with him in any sense, being as he says, so untouchable and
unreachable, seeing all he has patiently put up, with believing he deserves it for all he has done, yet STAYING! Most men would leave, would look for love elsewhere, would give up, would cheat, and would do ANYTHING but by CHOICE remain in a love less marriage where the wife had already divorced in every way but on paper. That brought me to a realization and understanding. GOD put us together, GOD has brought us thru EVERY single attack and obstacle, and neither she nor anyone will break up what GOD is in!! A 3 corded rope cannot be easily frayed or broken. My husband, God and I, and all 3 in agreement, as our pastor taught us, that is a force to be reckoned with! He IS now MINE, he IS now free from her and all past strongholds and bondages, me and him are now finally bonding and coming together as one, as it was meant to be. I am sorry to be a witch and burst her bubble, but NO MORE!!!!! I am not going to continue making him pay for what she caused 2 years ago for the rest of his life! He deserves better than that!! I love him and it’s about time he feels the forgiveness I SAY he has. It’s time I trust, its time I let go, and so here I am. Hard as hell, but one day at a time and one step at a time, I am letting him back in and sharing my heart with him like never before. I am letting him see the REAL me, the me only his brother has ever seen, and he is responding!! We still have a long road ahead of us, but we are finally learning how to communicate, how to work things out and even parent together instead of always being at odds in everything.
As you can see, that chapter was finally closed for good emotionally a few years ago. It was tested once again, when while I was with my family during the process of losing my step-mother to cancer, she was chatting with him thru Facebook, and once again trying to manipulate him into declaring a love for her that he no longer felt. Once again trying to take him down memory lane, but it didn’t work. Instead when I returned home, he was overjoyed to share with me his realization that the stronghold she had once had on him was broken, that he sincerely no longer felt anything for her, and thanked me for standing by him and fighting for him and not letting him go. He told me he was right where he wanted to be and was meant to be, he was HOME.
We have both realized many times over that without God in our lives, we would have most likely split ways many years ago, but through our journeys, we have come to understand firsthand what some of the Bible verses mean. What God has put together, let no man put asunder,,,means His Will will always prevail. The victory to every battle and obstacle has already been won, it’s just our job to learn to come to that understanding. The two shall become one…that is not meaning that once you are declared husband and wife, it’s the happily ever after end. Actually, that is just the beginning, the becoming one is a lifelong process that requires constant learning, growing and changing until death do you part. We may have gotten off to a rough start, both lacking knowledge and understanding of things in different areas, both being immature and insecure in other areas, but by always being teachable and keeping our faith in God, we ended one of the hardest and most hurtful times of our marriage with making the right choices and decisions. God has taken our faith and obedience to Him and His Word, and turned things around in and thru us, blessing us with a healthier relationship with each other, a happier marriage, a stronger faith and
respect for Him, and a friendship full of open, honest and sincere communication. If either of us had gone off feelings alone, this chapter of our life could have ended in a completely different way, and our kids would be shuffled between two households, bearing the brunt of all of this. I praise God that wasn’t and isn’t the case, and they are instead witnessing first-hand how things can be turned around on a more positive note, in seeing the change in their parents and the whole environment at home.