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Posts tagged ‘mistrust’

Marriage: Will You Fill the Holes in My Life?

SOURCE:  Alexandra Kuykendall/Today’s Christian Woman

Expecting a “You Complete Me” Kind of Marriage

I wanted my husband to do what I needed God to do

“I’m expecting” is a grand open-ended statement of two little words loaded with hope.

As a mom of four, I have lots of experience saying them, sometimes with excitement and sometimes with exhaustion. Each time I’ve been waiting for the baby, other expectations weren’t so obvious. The dream of fulfillment, or unconditional love, or a stronger connection to my husband. They were unique expectations based on my distinct mess of personality and life experiences. What I was “expecting” with my fourth pregnancy was much different than my first, because I knew more about motherhood and I’d grown as a woman.

Though we associate the phrase “I’m expecting” with pregnancy, we could just as easily use it for engagement. Because we all bring both spoken and unspoken expectations to the altar on our wedding days. I even brought plenty I wasn’t aware of. In the moment I couldn’t have articulated the expectations if I’d tried, because I didn’t know they were there until I was living in the context of a real marriage.

Having grown up with a single mother my entire childhood, my expectation for marriage felt pretty open. I didn’t have a good or bad marriage to use as my model. It was simply void, like white, the absence of color; I suffered from the absence of marriage. I did have a few fantasies—at the time I would have described them as hopes. That I would be happier, more fulfilled, with my husband. In a sense, that he would “complete me.”

And then real life happened. We lived on a shoestring budget with my paycheck from supporting migrant high school students for Catholic Charities. My husband was a full-time graduate student. Despite the fact that we lived in rainy Portland, Oregon, our apartment was beyond hot for six months of the year. Dinners didn’t magically appear and the dishes didn’t magically disappear. The reality of the “work” involved to maintain life, not to mention our relationship, was a letdown. Why was I still wanting more when I had what I wanted: a loving, stable, supportive husband?

It wasn’t until a year into my marriage that I had the epiphany. I was putting expectations on my husband that no human could fulfill. When I had dreamed of what marriage would offer, I had dreamed of emotional fulfillment, filling the empty places that existed in my heart. For so long I’d thought, “When I’m married … then I’ll be happy.” Because I thought marriage was the answer to my heartache.

Growing up without a father, my understanding of boys, and later men, was complicated. I didn’t trust them to stay around, I tested whether I could get their attention, and once I knew I could I moved on. They were mysterious and desired all at once. I met Derek knowing that what I desperately wanted was a husband who would not leave me. A force of security who would protect and provide for me and tell me I was worth protecting and providing for. During my epiphany moment I realized I’d expected my husband to fill the holes left by my father. Holes of insecurity and disappointment and mistrust. Holes resulting from life in a broken world.

So really, those holes could have been caused by any array of hurts. In my case they were specific to my father. I was expecting Derek to save me from my unique wounds of life that I brought with me to marriage. Save me. As in, be my Savior. I had misplaced all kinds of expectations onto him, requiring abilities and responsibilities that were humanly impossible. Only my Redeemer could redeem. And his name was not Derek, it was Jesus.

But just acknowledging my misplaced hope was not enough. Because I wanted my husband to fill those hurt places. Unlike our mysterious God, Derek was tangible. He could hug me and take care of my physical needs in a way I could see, touch, and feel. I wasn’t willing to change until I realized how unfair it was to set up my husband for my constant disappointment and recognized that I would never be satisfied with this arrangement of expectation. I had to change for Derek’s sake. For my sake.

I had to, actually still have to, do a few things to break the pattern of misplaced expectation of healing.

I had to …

  • recognize that this side of heaven I would never be “complete.”
  • release my husband from those expectations and consciously acknowledge my thought process when I felt unrealistic ideas pop up.
  • pray like nobody’s business that the Holy Spirit would prompt my desires toward God and allow him to fill those hurt places.
  • do the process all over again.

It is a practice, a repetitive action that feels more natural the more I do it. I am rewiring my expectations, my first responses, and as I do I can feel myself relaxing, becoming more confident in where I stand in my marriage, allowing for a more vulnerable and honest union. Has it totally gone away, this tendency toward fear? No, and it may never. But the more I proactively fight these messages, the more secure I feel, which helps me the next time those instinctive responses pop up. In the end, I’m free to accept my husband’s generous love.

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Alexandra Kuykendall shares her journey through childhood, marriage, and motherhood in The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir (Revell). She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their four daughters. She is on staff at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). Connect with her on Twitter @alex_kuykendall or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlexandraKuykendall.author.

A Prayer about Sexual Brokenness and the Impact of Pornography

   SOURCE:  Scotty Smith/The Gospel Coalition  

Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? . . . Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and deathRom. 7:21-248:1-2

Dear Lord Jesus, current events in our US news remind us just how current the ongoing issue of sexual brokenness really is. There’s no aspect of our humanity that more clearly reveals the ravaging effects of sin, and our desperate need for your grace, than our sexuality. Without casting stones, we lift our prayers.

For friends, spouses and families impacted by the destructive and enslaving grip of pornography, and other expressions of sexual sin, we cry for mercy, grace and deliverance. Only the gospel offers the wisdom and power requisite for the task. Thus, we run to you today with great hope for our grave concerns.

O Lord of resurrection and redemption, bring your mercy and might to bear in astonishing and transforming fashion. Things impossible for us are more than possible for you; things unimaginable to us are more than manageable for you. You have come to set captives free and to heal the brokenhearted; sexual sin and the pornography industry are creating an overabundance of both.

Lord Jesus, for friends somewhere in the pornography continuum of titillation to addiction, we ask you to reveal yourself in the deepest places of their hearts. We ask for the holy gifts of godly sorrow, gospel-repentance and a community for healing. Your non-condemning love has great power to deliver those who cry, “What a wretched man (or woman) I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Rom. 7:24).

Generate that cry by your great beauty and compelling love, Lord Jesus. Supplant embarrassment and fear, numbness and detachment, with contrition and hope. Where pornography has desensitized our friends, re-sensitize them so they can see and feel the horror of their entrapment and more so—much more so, so they can experience taste the reality of your welcome and the wonders of your love. Where sexual sin has sucked many into a deep tomb of shame and hiding, speak to them as you spoke to Lazarus. Bring life from death.

For friends who are married to someone in the talons of pornography or sexual addiction, dear Jesus, theirs may be the greater pain and struggle. No one but you can help with the anger, the disgust, the wounds, the shame, and the mistrust that goes with these stories. Help us walk with our friends who are right in the middle of this dark, hope-sucking vortex. Show us how to validate their feelings without confirming hurt-driven conclusions. Bring patience and perspective, forbearance and faith.

Only you can rebuild the trust. Only you, Jesus, can bring a willingness to hope again. Only you can heal the places in our hearts which have suffered the greatest violation and harm. Absolutely no one understands all this like you, Lord Jesus; and absolutely no one can redeem these messes but you.

So very Amen we pray, in your great and glorious name.

Will God Reinforce My Lack Of Trust?

Trust Your Father in Heaven!

SOURCE:  Charles Spurgeon

You have been unable to trust God to give you day by day your daily bread, and therefore you have been craving for what you call “some provision for the future.”

You want a more trusty provider than providence, a better security than God’s promise.

You are unable to trust your heavenly Father’s word, a few bonds of some half bankrupt foreign government you consider to be far more reliable; you can trust the Sultan of Turkey, or the Viceroy of Egypt, but not the God of the whole earth!

In a thousand ways we insult the Lord by imagining “the things which are seen” to be more substantial than his unseen omnipotence. We ask God to give us at once what we do not require at present, and may never need at all; at bottom the reason for such desires may be found in a disgraceful distrust of him which makes us imagine that great stores are needful to ensure our being provided for.

Brethren, are you not to blame here, and do you expect the Lord to aid and abet your folly? Shall God pander to your distrust? Shall he give you a heap of cankering gold and silver for thieves to steal, and chests of garments to feed moths? Would you have the Lord act as if he admitted the correctness of your suspicions and confessed to unfaithfulness?

God forbid!

Expect not, therefore, to be heard when your prayer is suggested by an unbelieving heart: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass.”

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “The Conditions of Power in Prayer,” delivered March 23, 1873. 

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