Like many young ladies out there, I did not grow up with the stable and secure home environment my little heart so desperately needed. I grew up in a home with massive financial stress, domestic abuse, almost daily tension, and a constant uncertainty of what the day may bring.
I was an intensely anxious child. I recall having stomach aches often and though as a young child I could not pin point it, now I know all the physical symptoms I struggled with, the shakiness, the gnawing belly aches, the constant worry and depression, were tell tail signs of massive anxiety.
The only times I truly recall my anxiety fleeing like a thief in the night was when I was with my grandparents or at their home. The minute I walked in the door or climbed in their car, the anxiety fled. I have complete trust in them to protect me, love me and have fun with me. And when I stayed at their home, as grandma tucked me into her bed and tickled my back as I fell asleep, I knew without a doubt when I woke up the next morning, it would be exactly the same.
My childhood left me with some scars and also with a continual need for a home environment with stability, security and with little change.
These expectations, though somewhat justified, have wreaked much havoc in my marriage. As a child I never learned that struggles and challenges could be worked out calmly, faithfully and successfully, I learned that struggles, challenges and changes were cause for massive chaos, concern and often physical harm. Unfortunately, this lead me two different ways.... to either demand complete stability and consistency in my life or panic when I don't have it.
Once finding Christ, I began to slowly understand how unhealthy my needs were and where they came from. God began gently tugging at this painful place, by placing instability and changes in my life that caused me to either choose to trust Him or panic.
Over the years, I have gotten increasingly better at handling change and adversity. I began to experience less and less anxiety as God continued to prove Himself faithful and I continued to put my trust in Him, not my circumstances or in other humans.
However, one area that is been extremely difficult for me to let go of this need for stability and security, is in my marriage. For the most part, for the first 1-12 years of our marriage I never had to deal with it, as our marriage was rock solid and stable. Garrick was a healthy, strong, unshakable man, capable of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and smiling while he did it.
It was exactly what I needed.... but exactly what I should not have expected from my spouse. I never realized it at the time, but I put a majority of my trust and faith in my husband, rather than God. I found it easier to remain strong and faithful, as Garrick was perpetually optimistic and always saw the glass overflowing. I knew if he said it was going to be ok, it was going to be ok. He would make sure it was ok, no matter what it took.
All of this drastically changed the day he collapsed at work with a severe back injury that left him unable to even move his legs. Suddenly, everything was NOT ok. Suddenly, the glass was NOT overflowing and suddenly, that optimistic smile was gone and has never really returned to the way it once was.
This left me..... shattered. What do I do now? If Garrick is not ok.... then my world is not ok. If Garrick is not going to make sure it is ok... then who will? My faith was challenged like never before. This was the test beyond all tests. God was on a mission and I was not on board with this His journey... not for a minute.
All of sudden, the man that spent most of our life together, assuring me that everything was going to be ok, needed me to do this for him and I was lost.
So what did I do? Well, for a very long time I fought God on this one and eagerly waited for my husband's restoration so I could once again feel that security and stability I so desperately needed. Guess what?
That was not God's plan. He actually took my husband's injury and allowed it to evolve into a six year battle with not only chronic pain, but addiction and mental health struggles. To say I was panicky would be an understatement of enormous proportion.
Here is the shortened version of how God used this..... each day... each week.... each month... each year... and with each different scenario.... I learned how unstable all humans are and how very faithful God is. Oh, yes, I still struggle with his issue greatly, however, my rebound time has become much shorter. When I feel I have been let down by my husband's inability to provide the stability and security I so desperately long for, my initial response is often still to panic, but I am able to refocus and center myself with God and once again, place my trust in Him to provide that for me and He ALWAYS does.
The Lord goes BEFORE me in all things. Where ever He may lead me.... He is already there waiting for me. He is knows the outcome and He will gently guide me through if I allow Him to lead. Whatever happens in my life... does not take Him by surprise. He knew it would happen and He knows how it will end. Trusting Him is the smartest thing I can do, I just have to keep convincing my mind of this.
The scripture God lead me to this week, states God will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. NEVER. Never means.... NEVER. No matter what, no matter what happens, no matter what you do, where you go or how badly you mess up... God will NEVER leave you. You may not always feel Him near and very often, that is our own fault as we have misplaced or trust and removed it from Him to another person or thing. Put your focus back on Him and you will slowly begin to feel His presence returning in your life.
This scripture goes on to tell us not to be discouraged or afraid. Oh, let me tell you.... in these past years I have been both.... A LOT.... however.... that was due to me not taking my thoughts captive immediately and allowing them to run wild, jump to catastrophic thinking and consume me. Not let me make one thing clear, this can be very hard to stop when your heart is under extreme hurt and stress. I have learned to give myself a break here as God has always been faithful in pulling me back in... even when I am sinking by my own thoughts and actions.
In the end.... underneath all the pain, insecurity and hurt.... I do trust my God with all my heart. I am still at the faze of having to dig through some of those old emotions and strongholds to allow the light to shine and find that trust again, but I know it is always there.
This has helped me greatly in my marriage as I am continually reminded that Garrick is not to be my rock.... that is God's job. The struggle here is God has also given husband's the job to protect their wives, so this messes with my heart and mind at times. But what I know without doubt, is when my husband cannot provide this for me.... God is there to carry me through.... and that has been the greatest gift.....I have been given throughout these past few years.
I have learned.... that through the storms of life.... if you cling to God..... He'll make you stronger than the storm! Only God can take your greatest struggle and perhaps make it... your greatest strength!
Peace and Blessings