He looks identical to Christ.

23 Mar

Nineteen months ago, I saw myself in my marriage in a new light.  I saw how I was disrespecting my husband, how I was full of pride, how I had unrealistic expectations, how many idols I was obsessed with serving, how unforgiving and resentful I was, and how much better I thought I was than the man I married… all while thinking I was a better Christian than he was too.

It was humbling.  I shed some tears. I apologized to my husband.  And I spent a good solid month doing nothing but studying my behaviors, and setting up ways to break all these terrible habits.

It’s a life long process, I didn’t conquer anything in a month, I’m still learning and changing every single day.

I thought at that time, I saw my marriage for what it was.

I was wrong.

Thursday night, my husband and I had a long talk about who I once was and what I did in and to our marriage over the course of that first 10 years. We had already done this two years ago so this wasn’t some shocking or earth shaking conversation.

And yet, I broke.

I spent almost all of the next 24 hours sobbing uncontrollably or secretly fighting and wiping tears in front of my kids.  I’ve never cried that much before in one day, ever.

All the sudden, through some deep reflection and conversation, I saw everything differently than I ever really had before.

I was a horrible wife.  HORRIBLE.

I must have hurt my husband in ways he couldn’t even describe if he wanted to try.  I put other things above him, I have lied to him, I have belittled him publicly, I have put expectations on him that no person could live up to, I have reacted in haste and wrath to his mistakes with intensely hurtful remarks and shame, I have dabbled in the game of an emotional affair, I have carried around a list of his wrongs and dwelled on them bitterly, I have had conversations in my mind premeditating how to hurt him when I felt hurt instead of offering mercy and forgiveness….

I was wretched.  To me, completely unforgivable.  I have no idea why he stayed married to me.  I wouldn’t have stayed married to me.

I have never fallen apart like I did on Friday.  While I kept desperately trying to speak truth to myself, and let my husband and my best friend speak truth to me… I could not accept it.

I didn’t want his forgiveness.  I didn’t want his grace or mercy.  I didn’t want his unconditional love.

I wanted him to get mad at me.  I wanted him to yell and cuss and tell me how awful I was and how much I’d hurt him.  I wanted him to treat me how I deserved to be treated.

Every time I presented a reason to him why he should hate me, he offered back a loving gesture… and I got so angry at him.  Angry because I felt like he was being so stupid. I thought, you deserve better you idiot. There is no forgiving what I’ve done!!

Who loves someone like that?  Who forgives someone so completely?  Who looks at someone and says “That’s all in the past.  You’re not that person anymore.  I love you more now than I ever have.  You’re my girl.” after everything I put him through?

I know he’s sinned against me.  He isn’t perfect.  But for the first time, his sins seemed like no big deal.  And my sins seemed catastrophic.

I kept trying to compare our mistakes and his were minor and mine were major. I have always seen this the other way around.  Even after I started to understand unconditional respect and how big my sins were, I didn’t see his sins as minor. I felt like we were more even-keeled.

I know people say, a sin is a sin is a sin.  But I don’t agree with that.

Yes, a sin is a sin in the regard that all sin separates us from God.  But I believe there is a difference between sins and I think Paul makes that point in Scripture too. (For another post if an explanation is needed here.) We can be quickly tempted and make a wrong choice, or we can willfully make premeditated sinful and or even habitual decisions on purpose and I don’t think that’s the same thing either.

While I sat there sobbing to the point I could barely breathe, I kept reflecting on the purpose of marriage.

My husband had never seemed more like Christ, ever.

I represented the church – sinful: proud, lost in idolatry, unforgiving, lustful, bitter and self-pleasing.

And he stood before me as Christ – LOVE: unconditionally holding me in the palm of his hand, merciful, gracious, forgiving every sin fully/completely as far as the east is from the west.

My husband knew I was broken.  Somehow, he knew it was bad.  That I wasn’t how I’d ever been before.

Because Thursday night started this down-ward spiral, he text me during the day to check on me.  I was mad he text me.  I hurt him, why would he want to see if I was OK?

I bounced back and forth between feeling like he was literally Jesus in the flesh… loving me and giving me what I could never afford and ….not wanting to talk to him at all because how dare I cry and be the one hurt when I’m the one who did the hurting?  I was NOT interested in playing the victim or martyr in this situation.  And I knew if I opened my mouth, it would spur that “I’ll make this better for you” instinct that all men have… and I didn’t want better.  I wanted what I deserved.

He walked in the door from work, locked us in our bedroom, turned our wedding song on his phone, and made me dance with him. I didn’t want to at all.  I tried to resist him and beg him to just give me some space for a while.  But he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I melted in his arms. I forgot how perfect the words of our wedding song were… especially today more than ever before.

Through gut-wrenching sobs and blurred vision, I expressed what was happening in my heart and mind – and he remained the perfect picture of love and forgiveness.

I wasn’t all better after that 45 minute unraveling in his arms.  But, I was on the road to facing this new reality.  I was either going to end up bitter or better.

I think I needed to be broken in this way.  It changed me.  In a way I’ll never be the same again.  Of course I’ll still sin against my husband – I will never be perfect.  But, it gave me a perspective on marriage I needed to literally feel to fully understand.

My husband decided we were one, and that means, we are one.  When I’m broken, he’s broken.  When I’m sinful, he’s forgiving.  In my weakness, his love in and through me makes me strong again.

He’s going to sin against me.  It probably won’t be too many days from now when it happens. I’ll be different.  I might be hurt.  We might need to talk about it.  But I will never stand myself on a throne again after seeing our marriage and who I was and what I truly had to be forgiven of in the light I saw it on Friday.

Practical Application:

I’d never accuse anyone of being as horrible of a wife as I was…. but have you truly seen your sin, as SIN, and not as justifiable mistakes?

Do you know what it cost to send Jesus to the cross?

Do you  know what your husband has had to forgive you of to love you like Christ loves the church…. even when you don’t deserve it?  Even when you’re rebelling?  Even when you’re selfish? Even when you’re serving idols?  Even when you’ve created an existence of unrealistic expectations? Even when your hormones get to control your mood?  Even when you’ve given your heart to things in priority above him? Maybe even someone else (another man, a friend, the kids?) Even when you’re wagging your finger at him because he doesn’t behave how he’s suppose to in your book?

The cross looks different again to me this Easter.  I see my husband on it.  Laying down his life for mine. Taking on my sin and saying it’s no more.  Telling me I am new.  And I am eternally loved. And it’s too overwhelming for words.

 

 

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31 Responses to “He looks identical to Christ.”

  1. momocular March 23, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Stephanie March 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    And I’m crying… Tears of happiness only for you.

    What a testimony!

  3. Elizabeth March 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Kayla,

    What honesty. Nineteen months ago you knew intellectually that you needed to change, but sometimes the full impact of our sins doesn’t hit us full force until much later, when the time is right for the realization to make us more mature and much more empathetic. I made what seemed like huge mistakes in my former life, too, and didn’t forgive myself for years. My heart goes out to you, for I’m sure you must be feeling the same way. . . . It’s important to LET someone else love and forgive you. None of us deserve forgiveness, Kayla, yet we must LET Christ and our husbands love us unconditionally and completely. We can consciously choose to live in the light NOW, and let our past be the price we paid for our present wisdom, love, and empathy toward others. Your husband does love you with the love of Christ, and I am so happy that this experience cemented the bond of love between you like very few other things could. You too, have a willing, loving heart to have wanted to make needed changes, Kayla, and I am very, very proud of you. Your honest writing is refreshing and your posts an enrichment to all who read them. Much love to you!

    • Kayla Gulick March 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

      Thank you so much Elizabeth. I love how you said “you must LET”… you’re SO right!! Your words have really touched my heart tonight. I’m so glad you took the time to share them. Never under estimate what a comment can do!

  4. prayingwife79 March 23, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    This is an amazing testimony. And I shamefully see myself in this post. How horrible and sinful I have been! What a terrible wife I was! (Some days still can be!) thank you for your honesty and rawness of your sin and failings. Thank God literally that we are forgiven !! It is amazing that your husband is such a loving forgiving soul!

    I too feel blessed God gave me such a wonderful man to walk this life with. I love growing in Christ !! I am thankful for your blog and other Christian blogs like this one!

    • Kayla Gulick March 24, 2014 at 7:04 am #

      I’m so sorry you can see yourself in this… but blessed beyond measure that you’d share that anyway. It is so reassuring to my heart to know I’m not the only one who has blown it in this way and have a husband I feel is greater than I deserve.

      It truly is amazing that he is such a loving and forgiving soul!!

      I’m thankful to have you reading along and sharing your heart here. Every comment makes such a huge impact on my soul!

  5. peacefulwife March 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    WOW!!!!!!!!!! Kayla… I am so excited about what God is doing in you! THIS is what I experienced the day God showed me my sin in December of 2008. I finally saw just what a completely wretched sinner I was and for the first time ever, I saw my sins as outweighing Greg’s by tons and tons and tons.

    I cried and cried for 3 days – I begged Greg for forgiveness for my pride, self-righteousness, disrespect, control and for being such a horrible wife (I had dabbled in an emotional affair too, years earlier). Greg forgave me in 2 seconds.

    I knew I could NEVER have forgiven him for anything in 2 seconds. I was shocked. For the first time, I saw that he offered me the love and grace of Christ and that I had not offered that to him.

    I mourned and mourned DEEPLY over my sin. I didn’t accept Greg’s forgiveness. How could he forgive me after ALL I have done to purposely try to hurt him???? I see myself so much in what you are describing of yourself here. That was totally me.

    I wanted to go live in a cave for the rest of my life. I suddenly realized that almost every word out of my mouth and motive of my heart had been sinful for our entire marriage. 😦 I didn’t want to be around ANYONE. I realized I was SUCH a sinner in ways I had never seen before.

    What an incredible real life picture of Jesus’ love for your husband to continue to hold out grace and to lock you in your bedroom with him and play your wedding song and make you dance with him!

    WOW!!!!!!!

    I am crying just thinking about the Christlike love your husband offered to you and how much Jesus loves us just like that! What an incredible man of God your husband is.

    I am SO SO SO SO SO excited about this turning point! WOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! This is HUGE!

    THANK YOU for sharing this!!!!!!!

    Things are about to get really, really good. 🙂

    SMILING and crying at the same time with you, my friend! This made my day!

  6. Alicia March 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Kayla
    I have to thank you for this post. It made me cry. Because I FELT a hint of what you were feeling. It made me remember all of the terrible things I have done as a wife. In other words, it was convicting and I am thankful for it. This is especially true because I have been struggling with forgiving one particular hurt from my husband and this reminded me how much I have been forgiven for. I just want to shut my eyes and cringe in remembrance of some of the terrible things I have done to my husband. I needed this so much. Please keep sharing these valuable lessons with us!

    Love,
    Alicia

    • Kayla Gulick March 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

      Alicia–

      I think it is SO easy for women to hold onto hurts. We expect to be forgiven when we’re sorry… but we somehow want to punish someone over and over again when they hurt us.

      I’m so thankful that my sharing this helped bring to light a hurt you need to let go of. What a beautiful recognition. And I pray you will be able to lay it down completely!

      Thanks for being here and for sharing your story too!!

  7. peacefulwife March 24, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Reblogged this on Peacefulwife's Blog and commented:
    Ladies,
    This is a total MUST read, in my book. God has done something very powerful in Kayla’s heart this past week. I’m so excited she is sharing it with us. Please remember, she has been on this journey now for 19 months. Every wife’s journey is unique. Every wife sees things and learns things at her own pace and in her own time. God makes each wife’s life beautiful in a special way that is not like any other wife’s experience. Each husband is unique. No two husbands react the exact same way. Please guard against jealousy here – and focus primarily on what God has opened Kayla’s eyes to and pray about what He may want to open your eyes to, as well. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for Kayla and her husband!

  8. jinny March 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    I think it is totally great to be broken and grieved over our sin and to repent and ask for forgiveness from our husbands.. however, it is totally appropriate to accept our husbands forgiveness and God’s immediately. Although we may still be grieving personally in our hearts, it’s not the best thing to continue to wallow in our sins when we’ve been forgiven by God himself.. God already suffered and paid the price and we don’t need to try to punish ourselves. We certainly don’t need to push our husbands away who have forgiven us!

    • Kayla Gulick March 25, 2014 at 6:50 am #

      I couldn’t agree more. We can’t stay in wallowing. This post is an intimate picture at the brokenness. If you stick around, hopefully I’ll be able to paint a picture of a new marriage. One that started nineteen months ago, and received an even deeper level of intimacy after this past weekend.

      I’m so thankful you brought light to that point.

  9. Amy March 25, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Hi Kayla!

    I’m new here. I came over from the peaceful wife blog. Thank you so much for sharing your story, what an awesome, beautiful testimony what God has done and is doing. It touched my heart! 🙂 I got down on my knees this morning seeking God crying over my sins. There’s things I have said in thought, word and deed in the past week that when I’ve sinned, I feel horrible! Feel convicted!! Feel grieved!! So much that I do NOT like those sins anymore!!! That I can say to the point that I hate them. My prayer has been that I would hate sin in my life, my sin of control, disrespecting my husband, pride, my mouth, idolatry, e.t.c. I need God, let him have his way, let him be number 1 and everything else after. I pray to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and love my neighbor as myself. Let God be God 🙂 anyways, Kayla I’m so Glad the beautiful work God is doing in your heart, your husband has gotta be mighty Glad 🙂 bless you dear sister

    • Kayla Gulick March 25, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      Hey Amy! Glad to have you here 🙂 What an awesome prayer. That we might all HATE sin so much so that any power of temptation is dissolved before it even tempts us. I’m with you. Joining you in prayer over my marriage and yours.

      I love the comments here! What a beautiful way to do life with other Christians. Feel free to share anytime!!

  10. David J. March 25, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Kayla: This is part of a comment I posted at Peaceful Wife and The Respected Husband, which both re-blogged your post:

    God bless Mr. Gulick. And God bless Kayla. I so wanted to be where they are in my marriage, and almost was once or twice. In those instances, my wife couldn’t believe that I meant it when I said that I forgave her, despite the intensity of the pain and the fighting that had preceded her (rare) apology. But she never had the awakening to her pervasive and soul-killing rebellion and disrespect that Kayla did. There’s no doubt in my mind that if she ever had, I would have forgiven her. (She eventually left, and remains very angry at me all the time.) Greg [at The Respected Husband], I think you’re on the right track with your musings about why men seem to find it easier to forgive, but I’m inclined to put a little more positive spin on it. I think it’s because, as you indicate, men are quite aware of their own sin, and are therefore more able to forgive sin in others. But I think most men can have that accurate perception of their own and others’ fallenness without going so far as to feel undeserving of respect. If we thought everyone else or at least some others were sinless, maybe we’d feel undeserving of respect from other people, but since we know we’re all messed up, we realize that it’s still fair to expect respect from other people. (Different situation with God, of course; we know He is perfect and that we’re so far from it that we don’t deserve anything good from Him.) But that’s just anecdotal/my experience, so I may be wrong. Either way, excellent post. If I give you her email address, would you please send it directly to my ex-wife? :o)

    • Kayla Gulick March 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Oh David… if only it worked that way right?!

      Women seem to be so much more tempted to expect grace but cling tightly to bitterness and unforgiveness toward others (not just their husbands.)

      I don’t know why God choose to open my eyes nineteen months ago, and in further detail last weekend… but I can only hope it was to bring even more intimacy in my marriage and serve as a help for other wives.

      Thanks for adding your perspective about how/why men can forgive so quickly and completely. I think it will further help women understand the heart of their husband.

    • Catherine March 27, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      I can only pray that my husband will be as forgiving as you would be David J. I have finally realized after a lot of pain and anger in my marriage, it’s my fault. After a round of infidelity and what I thought was a repaired marriage eight years ago, I changed into a live by fear, control, anger, resentment, etc. person I never was before. I had forgiven the “acts” but not the remaining fears. I had to prove I was strong, independent, organized, etc. to prove to myself that when (not if) he strayed again, I could be the leader and hero my children would need. I had to take control of our marriage and our family because after the betrayal, I felt I couldn’t trust him with that responsibility again.

      We have three beautiful girls that I cherish. I focused all of my attention on them, and trying to control my husband so this never happened again. Well, two and a half months ago, I learned he was entertaining an emotional relationship with a co-worker. I was devastated and went into the “you have no boundaries, you are a hypocrite, a liar, and I defended you, stuck up for you and always had your back, but I knew you’d do it again”…. blah blah blah. I’ve had about three months now to pray and repent, and ask God to help me heal this broken marriage.

      Then suddenly two days ago, it hit me. It hit me harder than the shocks of infidelity. I DID THIS. I AM COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS BREAKDOWN IN OUR MARRIAGE. Ugh. I have prayed on my knees for forgiveness and begged for God’s mercy and strength. Now I’m prepared to confess all of my sins to my husband and ask for his forgiveness, but I’m deathly afraid of his response. He keeps telling me “we’ll talk at some point” and has been completely emotionally detached. We’ve been physically separated about a month or so. I don’t know how to approach this. I’m taking any and all advice, and would love to hear from the man’s side. I am fully prepared for his response, regardless of what it is. He is a non believer. I was raised in the church and my girls and I have remained in faith, attending service, prayer and youth groups, etc. He supports us, but does not have the faith base we do. I’ve been trying to stand in that gap and pray for him, and pray for myself and children at the same time. Help.

      • Catherine March 27, 2014 at 9:56 am #

        Moderator: both ‘afraid of his response’ and ‘prepared for his response’ appear in this post. I meant to say I am prepared for what his reaction may be, but I’m deathly afraid of the approach/delivery of this, not his response.

  11. Sally March 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    Thank you so much for this inspiring post. I started my journey late last fall & have had many ups & downs (sin is so pervasive & sticky!). I really appreciate how you spent a month studying your behaviors & setting up ways to break all these terrible habits. Purposeful. Deliberate. This is where I need to place my energy. Because, I, too, have an opportunity to be face down before God seeing the extent of my depravity. I am grateful you shared your raw story. It gives me hope. Nineteen months of making choices every day (& I’m guessing sometimes hourly) have led you to this moment. I am convicted of so much sin & am grateful to hear your story. You give me hope while in a bleak moment. Thank you for your realness. 🙂 May God continue to bless you as you become the wife He created you to be for your amazing husband.

    • Kayla Gulick March 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      Purposeful, deliberate, intentional — all wonderful words to describe this journey.

      I’m glad to have you here walking this journey with me. Some days it is really hard. And it’s great to have a network of women as accountability to keep encouraging us and sharing their hearts!

  12. jack March 26, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I think it is helpful to look at root causes here:

    I think that the next step is that the women need to take this message to the Church, in the larger sense. The Church, regrettably, was not immune from the man-bashing “all men are pigs” sensibilities ushered in by the rise of feminist thinking.

    The social conditioning to disrespect men is everywhere. The big lie that the devil tells is that to show respect to a man is “disempowering” to a woman. The steady focus on the possession and exercise of power has poisoned the cultural messages to women.

    And being fallen creatures, we tend to more readily adopt these temptations when they are packaged correctly by the devil.

    I don’t want to be seen as downplaying anyone’s personal responsibility, but there is a larger force in effect here. Women may be being disrespectful to their men, but it is crucial to realize how much our culture trains them to do so.

    • Kayla Gulick March 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      I absolutely agree that our culture is teaching this behavior. It doesn’t seem wrong at all. In fact, it seems right and as if men should just be forth coming and say women are superior to men.

      I think it’s crucial for women in the church to teach against this. And be more vocal about God’s commands for marriage and how to properly reflect the relationship of Christ and the Church.

      Thank you for bringing up that point!! It’s an uphill battle for the male pastors of the world to address this by themselves!

    • Kit January 4, 2015 at 12:14 am #

      Did I misread the article title? Are you exalting your husband. No man is equal to Christ.

      • Kayla Gulick January 4, 2015 at 7:39 am #

        No Kat, I am not exalting my husband as equal to Christ. my husband cannot reconcile me to God in any way and He is not my savior. however scripture makes it very clear that husbands should resemble Christ and wives should resemble the church and I was giving praise to my husband for working so hard to follow Christ’s model of provision, protection and forgiveness. we are all called to be God’s hands and feet and I was sharing intimate details of how I have seen glimpses of the love and forgiveness God has for me through the actions of my husband. If we aren’t trying to model Christ, we’re not on mission. There is a big difference between worshipping a human as Christ and acknowledging that another human has resembles the characteristics of Christ to you. I hope that clears things up better here.

  13. keijo June 13, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    Yes and amen for Christ in us and change to be as he is today by the Holy Spirit with us to help us in QUARD US WITH THE WORD OF GOD TO IN BLESSING AND IN GROWING WITH THE POWER AND KNOWLEDGE IN WISDOM AND IN JOY,THANKS AND BLESS,KEIJO SWEDN

  14. Best Contents Insurance June 26, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the
    same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

    • Kayla Gulick July 5, 2014 at 8:09 am #

      HAHA… thanks 🙂 Great minds think alike!

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  1. Little Reminders. | Lessons Of Mercy - March 27, 2014

    […] I’ve been doing pretty well since my total broken melt down last Friday. […]

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