Wow, I have learned so much this past week. Who I am as a Christian, a wife, and a mother. This past weekend we traveled to a marriage retreat (you can read about it here). I did not go to it expecting anything more then hanging out with some friends. I am so thankful God had more planned for me and my marriage.
I went to the marriage retreat honestly believing I had a perfect marriage and I was an excellent wife with no flaws. I didn't need help, but I'm sure I could give everyone else good tips. After this weekend, I was humbled beyond anything I could ever imagine. God is faithful to humble the proud.
After writing my last blog post, my husband read it and then told me he had a confession. He had a 'secret' that he had not ever told me. The secret wasn't the hard part to take. My husband did something I never knew he was capable of. He lied to me. The night before at the marriage retreat I asked my husband if he had any secret sins that Pastor Mark Driscoll preached about. My husband told me No. When the Holy Spirit was telling him Yes, convicting him of something he had done 5 years ago. I was mad at him for lying to me. How could he do that to me?! A flat out lie.
Jonathan was fighting against the Holy Spirit. Not because he wanted to lie to me or to sin against God. He was fearful for hurting me. Do I lie and keep my secret because I don't want to hurt her with the truth? If I tell her then I hurt her. Jonathan was trying to be perfect for me, a perfect husband. But by being so worried about my feelings he sinned against God and he lied to me.
Jonathan and I fooled ourselves. We had our struggles the first 3 years of marriage from the baggage I brought. We figured out how to move past them and we have been really, really happy. But something we didn't realize was we had starting worshipping and idolizing one another. We put our marriage above God and he was not centered in our marriage. That's a tough thing to admit as a Christian and as a pastor's family. I thought we had it all together. Wrong! If you would've asked me at any point in the past 5 years if I put God above my family, I would've answered with an I don't know. I know I'm supposed to, but I couldn't honestly say I did.
Ask me today. ... YES!!! God comes first in my life. I will no longer worship my marriage or my children. I am and will always be a FOLLOWER of Christ first. Then a wife and then mother. I love my husband and children more then anything else in the world besides my God.
I can not be mad at Jonathan for lying to me. In the past we have promised perfection and expected perfection. The only perfect thing in this life is Jesus Christ. We are to strive for perfection because we are to strive to be like Christ, but will never reach it. We are not above sin and mistakes.
Sunday I deactivated my Facebook account (I'm not sure of the length I will spend away from it). I spent the day focusing on my relationship with God the Father and worked on my marriage. The past 3 days have not been easy, but they have been needed and blessed. I can honestly say I forgave my husband. Instantly for the secret, but it took some time to forgive the lie.
We are letting go the desire to be perfect, to be perfect people and to have a perfect marriage. But we are putting on our new selves, to be Godly and humble. Our desire is to focus on our relationship with God. Let Him be every part of who we are. I am getting rid of the wasteful distractions that don't bring any good into my life. I am making it a goal to be a reader. The past 3 days I have bought 5 new books and checked out 2 from the library, but more then that I am diving into the Word. That's where I should've been all along. This is a desire of mine. To make it a top priority in my daily life!
I have to be honest. I have not prayed over my marriage. I have not prayed for my husband. How can I leave my marriage and husband to chance? How can I leave them unprotected like that? The most important thing in my life and I don't even pray for them?! Oh my! I am changing who I am. No, No! Jesus is changing who I am. I am using the best tool I can have which is the Holy Spirit and the Bible. I'm also reading a couple of the Stormie O'Martian books, "The Power of the Praying..." (wife and parent)
Ephesians 4:22-27 "Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God - truly righteous and holy. Stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And don't sin by letting anger control you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."
I have clung to these versus this week. Throw off your sinful nature. Put on your new nature! One that I took to heart literally is: Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."
Jonathan told me his secret at 12:30 am!!! I was not going to go to bed angry. We talked. We talked. We talked. We prayed. We cried. And we forgave. I was determined to put into practice the things I had learned at the retreat. This is the first time I have not stonewalled. (A big) Part of me wanted to send Jonathan to the couch and not talk to him for lying to me. But I let God change us and come into our lives and our marriage. After 2 hours of talking, I curled up into my husband's lap. I will always LOVE my husband.
The next 2 days have not been easy. There has been ups and downs. I have been angry. I have been sad. I have cried, but I have also smiled. I have grown (Not only with the cookies and ice cream I ate) but with letting Christ come into my life.
I have asked for forgiveness myself. I have been selfish. I have been prideful. I have had other idols.
Sometimes being honest is scary. Scratch that. Being honest is always scary. But I am not upset that this situation has happened. My husband and I are going to be better, Godly people because of it. And our marriage will be founded on our ROCK, not on each other.
We can not be perfect, but we can be honest.
I don't share all of this to let you know our business, but to hopefully encourage and inspire other people to be honest in their marriages, like we have been forced to this week. Do not put your spouse's feelings over sin. Don't strive to be perfect, but strive to be as Christ-like as we can be. Do not be a fool like me and be selfish and prideful. I thought my marriage was bulletproof. And I thought it was like that because how awesome we are. Our marriage can be bulletproof - because we will cover it with prayer and will never give up on it. Our marriage will not be perfect. I have learned I am not a perfect person, my husband is not perfect. We are NOT above temptation or sin.
I like the changes that have come into our lives. I like spending time in the Word. I like being a person of prayer. I like evaluating myself and realizing that I am a SINNER. In need of a Savior. It all leads back to the cross. Jesus died for MY sins.
Just because I no longer have sexual sin or a drug problem does not mean I do not have sin. Some sin is more obvious to our eyes. Other sin is hidden and I think that can be more dangerous. I went through the past 5 years in sin not even knowing I was sinning. So 9 years ago when I said YES to Jesus and asked for forgiveness and for a Savior, my story did not end there. I am still a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus is still writing my story. I still need to confess my sin and ask for forgiveness. I must strive to be like Christ. I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who forgives and saves. He has given this as a gift. All we have to do is receive.
I pray that anyone reading this blog will do like I have done and stop judging the specks in others' eyes and start to look at the log in your own. Ask God to reveal the sin in your life. Be honest with yourself, with your spouse, and with God. Ask for forgiveness. And forgive! Because HE has forgiven us!
I am happy. Jonathan and I are happy. But I see now that we do have flaws. We will never give up on our marriage.