Last week, I wrote about something very close to my heart.
This week, I’m doing the same thing.
So here goes–
In May 2015, I got married. It was a wonderful day. I loved it. I made so many memories, walked around in a beautiful dress, and (BEST OF ALL) finally got to be alone with my husband. A lovely and restful honeymoon followed and then….
All was quiet. Everything I had been planning for and looking forward to was done & over. I was incredibly happy, extremely relieved, and excited to settle down.
Then, eventually it got really quiet.
I spent the last few years of my life growing, dating, enduring chronic pain, getting engaged, planning a wedding, answering questions about said wedding, coordinating details, looking forward to married life, and doing everything I could to make a surgery happen. All my dreams were in front of me!
And then it was over.
I’ll say it again….it became so quiet.
I needed the silence, but at the time this silence made room for conflicting emotions. I could finally hear the condition of my heart and it wasn’t pretty.
I hadn’t processed everything that had just happened in my life. I hadn’t examined my heart in eons and so unexpectedly I fell very deep into a sort of discouragement and anxiety that I did not want to admit.
This takes me back 9 years ago when I was 12 and struggling with a whole load of shameful feelings. I worried about everything when I was 12. I worried about stealing. I worried about killing myself. I worried about cheating. I worried about doing everything perfect. I washed my hands all the time. I wanted to be clean and whole and perfect.
There was just so much darkness, and I wanted to be as perfect as possible. In the deepest parts of this darkness, I realized every second how perfection was unattainable. It bothered me so much. I came to Mom with tangled up thoughts and worries. She was just the Mom I needed. She wrote me 3×5 cards full of Scripture truths, gave me a book on how to overcome worry, and was patient with me when I came to her with my dark feelings.
I remember carrying my Bible with me when I was outside and stopping to read it when the dark thoughts were too great. In God’s truth & strength, I overcame the darkness. His grace & love is powerful!
A couple years later, I struggled through darkness again. And then at 17, I was battling through darkness and anxiety once more. As you can see, it’s a battle I have faced often and will face again!
However, God’s truth is powerful! His grace is full, and He’s never asked us to be whole on our own! In Him, I overcame the darkness again. I was free from the debilitating anxiety & discouragement. I grew a lot in the years between 17 and 20. By the time I got married, I hadn’t dealt with anxiety & discouragement for awhile.
I grew in Christ and His love for me, but by May 2015…I had become so busy and “self-sufficient”. I started to prefer approval by people, and I was transitioning into a stage of life I had never known. I had a lot of chronic pain things to work through, and though I was seeking God, there was quite a lot harbored in my heart.
So fast forward 3 months after our wedding, and I was deep in a kind of discouragement I just did not expect. I was married to a man better than my dreams. I had a wonderful wedding day and although not everything was perfect, I had moments and memories to treasure. I was making a home with my husband and moving forward in life.
I was the typical girl with a perfect life. Dreams came true, right? The white dress was worn, right? The honeymoon was fantastic, right?
But see, those are things. Those are circumstances. I made the wrong things become the life-giver of my heart. And I quickly found there was no life to be found there. I wanted perfection in every way. I spent hours squeezing my heart dry with all the things that didn’t matter….people’s praise, approval, and opinion.
So just like age 12, I was sunk very low & very deep in kind of place I’ve grown to hate. It’s the kind of place I’ve been multiple times and the kind of place I’m sure to be again. I knew what I needed to do. I knew that meditating on God’s truth was the light to my prison cell, but for awhile, I just didn’t feel as though I had the strength to move forward. I was so low that I wasn’t even convinced God’s truth would work. It worked before….but for this? I was just so tired.
The more I examined myself, the more confused I became. Voicing the tangled thoughts to my husband helped him gently give sight to my blindness.
I saw the sin I’d long since ignored, and found freedom in confession. I asked for forgiveness of God & several other people. It was then that I began to move forward in God’s grace. God’s truth is always the answer. God is HOPE and to know that hope, I must know God.
I was lifted from despair and self-inflicted heartache. I experienced victory in my thoughts. Wounds began to heal and vibrant life–dependent on God— began.
Why I am I sharing this?
Because so many of us need to be reminded that true LIFE doesn’t come from a wedding day, a marriage, a perfect Instagram account, a dream job, a beautiful house, or any other number of things that equal an earth’s yardstick of perfection.
When we let these things take over, we make way for confusion, heartache, and despair. You guys, I was 3 months married to a wonderful man, with a beautiful wedding & honeymoon behind me, and here I was struggling through dark confusion again.
I got so lost in myself that my whole heart came crashing down around me. I was back to a dark, deep hole. Although, it looked different than my 12-year old blackness, I was still just as lost, just as empty, and just as confused. So do you know what this tells me?
It tells me that married or not, we have got to make sure that God is the Life-Giver of our hearts!
Anything else is not enough.
And guys, God’s grace is mighty, it is all-encompassing. It comes around visibly as we begin to live life in freedom and joy.
You don’t need a wedding day to know joy.
You don’t need a husband to know love.
You don’t need all your dreams to come true to know life.
Married or not, you better run fully, purposefully, and relentlessly after God!
Anything less leaves you heartbroken.