I have a hard time rereading my journals sometimes. Even before I started blogging, I was journaling often. Many of the entries are full of despair.
The following is an entry from exactly a year ago. It isn’t refined or edited (except for spelling and grammar – I couldn’t help myself). But this is an honest picture of my thoughts at the time.
I have a whole lot of thoughts going through my head today. I’ve been struggling with my prayer life and a lot of discontentment with where I am and the progress that I’m making. I find myself struggling to pray because I was fully invested in my prayers for my marriage to be restored, and being told ‘no’ is a pain that I feel greatly. I really want to believe that ‘no’ was the absolute best answer for me. But I’m having a hard time understanding it right now, and it is affecting my prayer life. I’ve been reading and studying and trying to pray, and have come to the conclusion that I spend too much time looking at what other people say about God in His Word and not enough time getting to know God through His Word myself. So I’ve started trying to study through Ephesians to really get to know God better and understand my purpose and His plan better. I’ve gotten through the first 14 verses of Ephesians and have had a lot of encouragement and the little disappointment as well. The disappointment comes because I really want the Bible to say that I am guaranteed a better life for having suffered. And I want that guarantee to be right now. And the fact is, there is no guarantee for immediate comfort or immediate satisfaction after suffering. Whether you are suffering from your own sin or the sins of others, there is no timeline for what it looks like to be healed and whole again. And that kind of sucks. I want a timeline because I want to know when this season will end. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. I’ve got to thinking about why the idea of hard work is so disconcerting. Part of it isn’t complicated; we like easy things and we don’t like hard things. Pretty simple. Part of it is the culture. We like things to be instantaneous, and that creates an attitude of not working for things. There’s always something readily available that I don’t have to work to achieve. A lot of it is fear of failure in general. If I don’t work really hard for something, I’m not going to be as disappointed by the outcome. I worked really really hard to try to have my marriage restored and my hard work did not pay off in the way that I wanted it to. People keep telling me that one day I will see all that hard work was for and that it wasn’t for nothing and that the reward for the hard work is going to come. I really hope they’re right, but right now I don’t feel that way and I can’t see that end. What I see is I worked really really hard for something, what I worked really really hard for didn’t work out, which in my mind equals all of my hard work is insufficient. I get that that might not be the best way to look at the situation, I can even admit that that might not be God’s perspective situation. In fact, it’s probably not. But, that is my perspective of the situation and that is why it is so difficult to bounce back from.
I want to practice an exercise that Beth Moore discusses and her book on insecurities. She says that one thing that helped her overcome fear was playing her worst fears out to their absolute end and seeing where that left her, most importantly where that left her with God. Let me think about that. My worst fear right now is that I will never get remarried, never have a loving caring relationship again, and that I will be alone for the rest of my life. That’s my worst fear. A lot of people fully embrace a life of singleness and they are completely happy and satisfied with it, but right now I don’t see myself being one of those people and so if my worst fear comes true that also means that I have a longing that is never fulfilled.
But is being alone and being single right now any worse than having a husband that I can’t trust? Nope. Definitely not any worse. Is being alone right now, being single, never having a loving relationship again, better than thinking I have a loving relationship and not truly knowing the man that I married to? Nope, not better.
I think what I’m really fighting against is my current reality versus my perception of the past. My perception of my marriage was that it was a good marriage. And I believe that that was the reality for a while, but I don’t think it was real as long as I thought it was. I think he stopped being the man that I married long before I realized that he had changed. So the question is not whether the marriage I had is better than not having a marriage. That’s an obvious question answer. But, I can’t have that marriage back because he’s gone and it’s gone. My real battle right now is fighting what I wish were true, what I honestly desire to be true, and what is actually true. And if I’m looking at what is actually true, then I am better off right now than I was a year and a half or two years ago. Because based on the reality around me, it is better to be single than to be with a cheating, lying husband. There’s no way to argue around that.
Lord, my thoughts have been all over the place as I was writing this, but I want to end by talking with you and being real with you about where I am. How I feel and about what I’m struggling with and what I desire. Lord, I didn’t want a divorce. I didn’t want my husband to be a cheater and I didn’t want my husband to reject me. I didn’t want to be betrayed by him and I didn’t want to end up alone. I didn’t want those things and I didn’t ask for those things, but that is reality. You did not cause him to sin; the Bible is pretty clear on the fact that you don’t cause people to sin. You also don’t force people to have a relationship with you, and so it is not anything that you have done or haven’t done or any offense on your part that contributed to my divorce. I have to believe you are as upset about my divorce as I am, but you give free will. That is where the struggle is. I do not want to keep battling false realities and false perceptions that are contrary to the truth of your word or the truth of my situation. I don’t want to spend my time wishing my life were different; I want to enjoy the life that you have given me right here and right now. I ask that you would continue to work in my life, working my heart in such a way as to allow me to know you more to draw closer to you and to experience you in a way that I’ve never experienced before. I believe that you can. I believe that you desire to and I ask that you would work in those ways in my heart today to free me and to establish me in you, in your plan in, your will, and your goodness for my life amen.
When I read those words, I am so thankful for the difference a year makes. I also see places that I am still working on. I am still working on reviving a healthy prayer life. I still struggle to make studying Scripture a high priority. I had to chose to believe that God is who He says He is, despite what my immediate reality seemed to indicate, and He never failed me. Not even once.
To anyone struggling to make sense of senseless struggles, be encouraged: you don’t know what difference a year will make.