Monday, May 16, 2011
Heartbreak and Forgiveness
It’s been almost 10 years since my husband and I parted ways. It was a hard relationship to endure, but even harder to let go of. He was the first man that I gave myself over to physically, although I never gave myself over to him emotionally. In that respect, I suppose I never gave myself over to him completely. Sometimes I wonder if he ever really knew, or for that matter, if he ever really cared. He was never the communicative type, and neither was I. Even so, he seemed perfectly fine with this. We both had walls built up. Emotional intimacy was not something that defined our relationship, and I suppose there was a denial there on both of our parts. One thing I do know is that we hurt one another deeply, and parted on very bad terms.
Looking back on the years that we spent together, and the things we involved ourselves in, I realize that many of those things (especially in our sex life) were merely things we tried to use to compensate for the things we lacked, such as intimacy and communication. Even sadder, looking back, I recall the lovelessness that was there. The truth is, we shut ourselves off from each other years before the divorce. Our distant and decaying marriage took an abusive turn. Our involvement in porn together was the sad result.
I have spent the past 5 years seeking the Lord and allowing Him to heal me. This includes giving Him all of my past hurts, my present weaknesses, and all of me – body, soul, and spirit. I know that He has brought me far, but I also know there is still much work to be done. Even so, I rest in His promise that He will finish the good work that He has begun in me (Phil. 1:6), and that NOTHING can separate me from His love (Rom. 8:35) – not even tribulation or heartbreak. Indeed, this verse has taken on a deeper reality. When we are going through trials, we tend to become fixated on the heartache, and lose sight of Jesus’ promises, and His love. It is during these times that we NEED this re-assurance, that Christ is still in the midst, working things out for good.....and He does so because He loves us. NOTHING can change that. Up until a few months ago, I thought I was doing pretty well in looking to Christ, but changes in my life have reminded me of how far I am from wholeness, and how desperately I need Him.
I love Psalm 139:23:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
This verse has sort of become my mantra. Truth be told, only God knows the true condition of our hearts...for the most part, we don’t even know ourselves. In the matter regarding my husband, I felt certain that I was completely over him, and that nothing he could do or say could ever stir any feelings in me whatsoever....but what we may be certain of one day may be in question the next, and as both of us have moved on, my feelings have shifted from anger to sadness to loneliness, and even longing. Indeed, the only thing that I can rely on is Jesus.
Surely the Lord knows us better than ourselves, and I know that the Lord is still working forgiveness in me. Part of forgiveness is letting go of the past. Perhaps I have not fully let go of the past, or perhaps I am just carrying around old hurts. I don’t feel any animosity towards him, just remorse for the situation – for what transpired between us. While I’m certainly not living every day in the past, it is apparent that my past still affects me. One thing that the Lord has shown me through all of this is that forgiveness does not necessarily mean that you no longer carry feelings. You can forgive a person, but still feel hurt by their actions towards you. Healing takes time. You can will to forgive, but you can’t will to heal. I guess forgiveness is the first step in the process of healing.
I know that I am still healing, and I know that in order to heal, I NEED to keep my eyes on Jesus. If I don’t, I will just dwell on the old hurts, and I cannot do that, or I know they will consume me. Healing isn’t about forgetting, but about overcoming. I can never forget my past, but I know that with God’s help, I can be at peace with it. It’s my relationship with Jesus, and nothing else, that has brought me this far. I love how He promises never to leave us nor forsake us. Knowing that Jesus is by my side is literally what keeps me centered, and moving forward.
I mentioned that I never gave myself over to my husband emotionally. Looking back, I realize that it was out of fear that I held myself back – fear of rejection and lack of trust. Truth be told, I was scared to make myself vulnerable to anyone. For 34 years, I hid myself. I think for everyone, there is a part that remains hidden deep within. No one is completely transparent, although that is what is expected. Everyone wants honesty, yet no one wants to be completely honest. We may be able to hide from one another, but we can never hide from God.
Christ is the first person whom I have ever given myself over to completely...I guess because He was the first one who made me comfortable enough to do so.The Psalmist, in Ps. 139, says that God knows everything about us – those secret parts that are hidden from everyone else. Indeed, He knows my heart even better than I do, and still He loves me. There was always that place of insecurity and sadness that I never shared with anyone. Learning to trust God has brought me to this place of complete freedom, where I can give myself over completely to Him. I have NEVER experienced that before.
I guess I say all of that to say this: God knows that my heart is still broken. I wish it were not. I wish I were completely healed from this whole thing, and that I could move forward undaunted...but if I were to do that, I may lose sight of how much I really need the Lord, and begin trusting in my own strength. I guess that heartbreak is God’s way of keeping me dependent upon Him, and fostering continual forgiveness in me. When things are going well, it is easy to forgive....but when the pain still lingers, and the repercussions continue to punch you right in the face, it is too easy to build up resentment. Even so, I know that if I continue to keep my eyes on Jesus, and remember that He is still working all things together for good – FOR ME – I know that I can carry on, and be at peace with it all.
I am so glad that I am a child of God!!!!