Tag Archives: pride

Don’t wrong us.

14 May

Oh friends — I’m so, so busy this time of year.

BASEBALL season is upon us.  And this year, I have TWO boys playing in SEPARATE leagues.  We are running to practice and games 5 or 6 days a week.  We eat supper either at 4:30, or have a snack at 4:30 and munch at the games and eat again at 8:30 -9:00 when we roll back in the house.  It’s chaos most nights… but we’re all making the most of it and adjusting the best we can.

Every year something happens to me when I watch my son(s) play baseball.  I feel like that gentle and quiet spirit I try so hard to cultivate all year long… it leaves me.

Not only do I get excited about the game and love cheering for my boys, I somehow start to take the game personally.

I feel frustrated when our boys mess up, only because I know their talent and I feel their own frustration when their bodies seem to fail them in the moment.

But more than that, I get incredibly worked up when the coaches of my boys’ teams and the coaches of the other teams behave in a manner that degrades the children, the lessons being taught, or the game.

This week, my son (in the 7 & 8 year old league) played a team who beat them 19-0 in 4 innings.

Mind you, in our town… they go from t-ball to 7 & 8 league so this is their very first year of playing the game with real rules.  They are learning that there are three outs, the difference between forced outs and tagged outs, how to make good throws and catch the ball, and how to run the bases. Everything is new!

This other team decided that if our team dropped the ball or had a bad throw, instead of taking advantage of one extra base, they ran 2 or 3 extra bases every time – including sending kids home to run up the score.

When our 7 year olds were batting, they had their infielders move all the way in so they were almost all playing around the pitcher’s mound so if our kids did hit the ball, there was no way they could actually get on base.

And it’s coach pitch, but their coach would pitch but then stand in the middle of the field so our kids had to try to see and play around him, instead of running out of the way once the ball was hit and let the kids play the game.

I won’t even mention the foul ball that they called fair, the kid they let score while their coach was holding the ball, or the way their fans cheered like this was all appropriate and spectacular.

I was mumbling under my breath, texting a friend, and biting a hole in my tongue.

I wanted so much to say something.  How dare they?  Don’t they see how wrong they are?  Don’t they care that they are degrading and hurting our kids?  Don’t they feel any sense of moral responsibility to teach all kids to play the game when they are 7 & 8 years old?  Do they really think they deserve cheers and a pat on the back for their behavior?

And then I thought long and hard the whole next day about my personal anger.

A huge part of me wants to call it righteous anger and justify anything I do with that anger.

And yet… I’m thinking about some other applications.

Am I this moved over true righteous anger?  Do I defend Christ like I defend my son’s baseball team?

 

Or …. more than that…..

 

Am I this angry over my own sins?

Do I ask myself the tough questions? ….  Am I as mad at myself when I let pride lead my actions as I am at others?

What would I answer if I repeated this same confrontation to myself:  “How dare I?  Don’t I see how wrong I am?  Don’t I care that I am degrading and hurting our kids?  Don’t I feel any sense of moral responsibility to teach all kids? Do I really think I deserve cheers and a pat on the back for my behavior?”

Practical Application:

What really do I have to say for myself?

Say Something….

30 Apr

Hey guys –

So, where have I been?  Well… I’ve been no where really.

I can say that I went from having a part-time babysitting job for the last two years, to having FOUR part-time jobs in two weeks time.  They are all jobs I can handle, but it’s taking some adjusting to get use to.

And baseball is in full swing so with two boys playing on two different teams and two other kids to watch and a husband who coaches…. it’s sink or swim and we do everything we can to stay afloat.

But… that’s all kinda a mask for the fact,

I don’t have anything to say.

Nothing is jumping out of my Bible at me.  In fact, it hasn’t for weeks. I’m still reading every day, always, but I don’t always remember what I read.  That’s how dry it is right now.

My prayer life is weak.  I pray with the kids every morning on the way to school, and some days… that’s as far as I get.

My natural instincts to be selfish and want to do everything I want to do when I want to do it and feel totally inconvenienced by my youngest two kids during the day is extremely high. I’ve said twice in the last week – I cannot WAIT until all of these kids are in school so I can have my days to myself.  Am I going to miss this someday?  It’s hard to believe that will be the case, but I can tell you that if that is true… it won’t just be miss, it’ll be regret.  Because I was warned to make the most of this… and yet, here I am – wishing it away.

Twice in the last week I treated my husband terribly with my actions and words.  I apologized very sincerely and quickly… but the suppression of my sinful nature is losing it’s grip.  And it scared me how wretched I was and how quick it happened.

I’ve avoided the computer, which means I haven’t read any of your blogs.  I’ve missed them so much, but I replaced all that computer time with work.  I’m throwing myself into my jobs right now in hopes to help my husband provide for this family.

I’m not depressed.  I’m not in a valley.  I’m not even lost in sadness.

It’s just very matter of fact.  I have nothing to say.

And the truth is… it’s time to say something before I give up.

We’ve all been there right?

When we avoid something or someone until they disappear.

Or, when we’re ignored to the point that we give up on someone or something else.

 

I’ll successfully hit 500 words, which is about half of a normal post for me.  I didn’t even think I’d get that far.

I’ll leave you with this….. I just appreciate the beauty of this song so much.

 

 

 

 

 

When it never comes….

12 Apr

So I told you at the end of my last post, I had some life-giving words to give.

I did it.

It was not easy.  Well, it was easy but …oh, just let me explain.

It took me a long, REALLY LONG, time to speak these words.

I knew years ago, they needed spoke.  But as I’ve talked before about how to give a real apology, I knew I wasn’t ready yet to not try to justify myself… or include “you hurt me too.”

In my opinion, one of the biggest hindrances to forgiveness is when we try to tackle both people’s issues at the exact same time.  Often what happens is, neither feels their issue was addressed properly and nothing truly gets resolved.

There is a time to tell someone, “you really hurt me when….”  but it’s not the exact same time you’re saying “I’m sorry that I….”

And I wanted to say that first part really badly.

Normally, I’m all about face to face apologies.  There are exceptions.  And in my case for this one situation, it was a letter kind of apology.

It was easy to write.  I did have a lot to ask forgiveness for, and I knew it! God had convicted me a long time ago, and I had repented and asked forgiveness years back.  So, there wasn’t any doubt about what I had done or why I should be sorry about it.

However, what came next was hard.

The waiting.  Knowing the letter had been read, but waiting for some kind of a response.

You never know *if* you will get a response, what it will say, or what it won’t say.  But you have to wait anyway.  We all do.

Best case scenario, you get a quick response, total forgiveness and an apology for what they may have done in or because of the situation.

That doesn’t always happen though.  And then we have to control our emotions and lead our hearts with what we’ll do next.

This might seem silly to some, but I waited 48 hours for a reply, and it felt like eternity.  In that time, I felt very vulnerable and exposed.  It seemed like my raw honesty was being ignored.  Or minimized.  Or maybe even mocked?

I wrestled being hurt or offended. But I was preaching and preaching and preaching to myself… DON’T pick anything up.  This wasn’t about me.  This was about them.  Entirely about them!  I owed an apology.  And I gave a sincere, genuine apology.  If I didn’t hear anything back, that was OK.  I didn’t have to.

The response was very nice.  I was forgiven in full.

Praise Jesus!

Yet, that one last thing was missing… “I know I hurt you too.”

…….

 

Guess what?  It’s OK.  That’s not news to my heart.  I knew that YEARS ago too.  And Jesus is the power to forgive… not simply by the receipt of an apology.

Sure — I believe in apologies.  That’s why I gave one.  But… Jesus’ paid the debt for everyone’s sins.  Mine, theirs, yours… all of us.

I don’t need to require payment to forgive.

I can forgive quickly and fully because Jesus’ has forgiven me of much worse.  He paid my sentence.  He paid their sentence.  IT IS FINISHED.

 

If you’re still waiting for that response, forgiveness, or admission of guilt from someone else….. can you look to the cross this Easter and say:

IT IS FINISHED!

Practical Application:

Am I still being a debt collector? Am I requiring payment that Jesus’ already paid?

Only heinous people tell lies.

3 Apr

 

For the longest time, I thought I was the worst person in the whole world because I struggled with lying.

Only really terrible people do something so heinous as to make up a lie. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and unforgivable.
“What is WRONG with you that you wouldn’t be honest and you’d hide behind made up stories to fit in, or have something to talk about that anyone would want to listen to. You’re a fake and a total disgust of a human” are just a few of the thoughts that paralyzed me for a long time.

My husband has reassured me over and over again that EVERYONE lies. Yes, some people struggle in a more in-depth way than others if it happens to be an addictive behavior that Satan wraps them up in, but that doesn’t mean others have the authority to put themselves in a position of superiority like they are above such ugliness.

The problem is often that they classify “lying” as a definition that only includes what they “don’t do” and then conveniently exclude the ways that they lie.

There are a number of ways that we are tempted to, and even give into lying, that we rarely talk about in-depth. I’m not going to cover them all. I’m going to tackle three and hopefully I’ll start the ball rolling for you to make your own list.

1.) Lying by omission.

This is simply “not” saying all the details. I’m not describing keeping someone’s secrets, secret. It’s ok not to share everything we know about everyone with everyone. That is being a trusted friend.

Lying by omission is when we’re leaving out information, details, words, ANYTHING about ourselves that is giving someone an impression or story that isn’t entirely accurate. We might feel like we didn’t “say” anything that was a lie or that we can’t be responsible for what other people assume, however, if we are willingly painting a picture by NOT painting it, we’re lying.

Telling our spouse that we went to lunch today with a co-worker, while leaving out that it was a male co-worker, is lying by omission.

2.) Lying by repeating something with a different tone, inflection or attitude.

This happens in marriage A LOT! But that statistic in marriage might be beat out by how often this happens between women who have problems with each other.

The story changes, and the likelihood for hurt feelings and offenses greatly increases when tone of voice is misrepresented.
Picture this:
In a soft, calm voice with a smile Gina says to Penny, “Sally looked so pretty today. I bet she spent a lot of money on that dress. It was really worth it. It worked well for her.”

Penny doesn’t like Gina and always reads offenses into everything she says, so….
With a harsh, sarcastic tone she says to Sally, “Penny said you looked SSSOOO pretty today. I BET she spent A LOT of money on that dress. It was REEEAAAALLY worth it. It worked well for HER.” Flips her hair as if Gina was rudely gossiping about Sally and says “you should have seen her face.”

Sally leaves hurt and confused and now has an offense against Gina.

It’s not uncommon for spouses to say the phrase to each other “I didn’t say it like that.  I didn’t use that tone.  You’re making me sound like such a jerk!”

What if a husband says, “I’d rather you not tell me how to handle this situation. I’m struggling with the best decision and your emotions are so high right now that you’re speaking from a place of hurt.”

And the wife repeats it like this, “I’d rather YOU not tell ME how to handle this situation. (Pounds on chest) I’m struggling with the best decision and YOUR emotions are SO HIGH right now that YOU’RE speaking from a place of hurt.” (As if I’m the problem here and am messing up your life.)

In both of those situations, the words were repeated correctly…. but the heart was misrepresented and that constitutes as lying.

3.) We lie through our actions.

As a believer in Christ, this one really stings because if we have Christ, and we walk in sin…. we’re lying with our bodies.

Am I saying we can’t make mistakes?  Of course not.  We all sin.  And will all sin until we die!

But committing a sin and repenting is not the same as walking in sin continually and habitually.

We can’t claim to have Christ and yet walk a constant contradiction without lying with our bodies.

This happens often with couples who have sex before marriage.  They are telling a lie with their bodies that they are indeed one flesh when they have not truly become one flesh through permanent commitment and marriage.

This also happens when we have a habitual gossip, anger, addiction, porn, lust, pride, selfish, idolatry, money, love, forgiveness, bitterness, mercy problem(s).   We’re claiming to be a child of the living God, but constantly maligning His testimony through us.

We praise our Father, but then curse with our bodies by allowing them to follow the ways of Satan.

 

Sometimes we get so judgmental of other who struggle in ways WE never would, all the while, missing how we maybe aren’t that far from them.

That’s why Jesus likens hate to murder and lust to adultery. We may not be letting others see it on the outside, but in our hearts, we’ve already sinned.

 

Practical Application:

Are you trapped right now by Satan because of something you struggle with that you are believing no one else struggles with or is as horrible as you?

(Comment below or shoot me an email… I’ll help you uncover why that’s a lie too!!!)

Are you judging someone else for being so much worse than you are because you’d never do what they do?

Have you ever told a lie in any of these ways? Does this change how you feel?

 

Let it go.

26 Mar

Right, right… the title reminds you of the Disney song from the movie Frozen.  I wasn’t a fan of that movie. I have a whole list of reasons – but since everyone seems to LOVE it, I better not blog about it.  I’ll be down to zero followers.

I’m not talking about the movie Frozen today – however, I’m talking about a Frozen Heart.

There are some of you that used to be Lessons of Mercy followers WAY back when I use to blog on BlogSpot, and walked through life with me while I faced broken relationships and unforgiveness.  I spent a few months in counseling (I think EVERYONE should go to counseling at least once in their life!!) and getting to the bottom of all my bitterness.

It was through that time that God really unveiled the spiritual gift of Mercy in my life (hence the name change, blog location, and fresh start.)

My relationships with some people in my life were a mess.

It had reached the point of never communicating again.  It was broken.  It was over. It was NEVER, EVER able to be fixed again. (Oh, how little I knew of the power of God at that moment in my life.)

I had a list of hurts that were brutal. Unacceptable. Unforgivable. Inconceivable.

And, they were never going to change anyway, so what did it matter if I liked them or not?!

Sure, I hurt them too… but by golly, I had a right to at this point.

Do you see the problem yet?

I couldn’t be fully 100% focused on myself, and extend mercy, grace, forgiveness and understanding at the same time.

I was selfish.

I wanted my wounds tended to and then I’d take complete ownership and offer a sincere apology for what I’d done too.

I was sorry…. I never didn’t acknowledge that I played a part, but I couldn’t take my eyes off myself and my wounds long enough to care long term.  I wouldn’t let myself scar.  I kept letting the wounds be ripped open again and again and again, and then I had to tend to my own hurts and diminish the hurts of the others.

This was a common cycle in ALL of my relationships.

I was guilty of the same behavior with my husband. And some other much older friends too.

God was doing some things in the hearts of the other people at the same time that He was doing an overhaul in mine.

But it wasn’t until I took my eyes off myself, and looked at everything, EVERYTHING from their point of view that I saw a different story.

What had I really done?  Did I have the permission to tell them what really hurt them and what didn’t?  Did I have the right to expect the things I’d done to be quickly overlooked and forgiven while not extending the same grace?

HAD I ASKED GOD TO FORGIVE ME OF SOMETHING FAR WORSE THAN ANYTHING THEY HAD DONE TO ME, BUT WAS THEN REFUSING TO FORGIVE THEIR SINS???

Had I really become the man from the parable in the Bible? (Matthew 18:23-35)

I had.

I felt compassion.  I felt an understanding.  I felt remorse. I saw my sin.  I saw my failures.  I saw the hurt I caused.

(That DOESN’T MEAN I was giving justification to their choices, but it means, I was repenting of mine!)

Then came a real, (A REAL!) apology.

I’m sorry I did……..(this and this and this and this, in my case)………. please forgive me…… I’ve changed so much and I no longer have any desire to repeat those same mistakes again.

I also received sincere apologies and healing started to truly take place.  (I know you can’t control how others respond. I have apologized to some whose heart was too hard to receive it. But I will say, 9 times out of 10, if you truly apologize and love the person deeply, it’s hard to stay mad when someone is being so humble and honest.)

The immoveable mountain, moved.

Without God breaking my heart for His beloved children, I would have remained frozen forever.

What thawed the freeze in that silly movie?  LOVE.

Bingo.

When you LOVE God with all your heart, you LOVE who HE LOVES.  And He loves His children.  Even the mean ones. 🙂

Would you believe after 10 years of total brokenness, and 2 years of healing… I recently had a visit with this friend and we let our kids spend the night together?

No anxiety.  No bitterness.  No past tension.

Biblical forgiveness is miraculous.  It is unlike anything the world can teach.  It’s complete, lacking nothing.  It’s freedom.  It’s beautiful.

Practical Application:

Who do you still have on the hook to pay you back something they can never pay back?

Who do you still want to get what’s coming to them?

Who do you still get bitter feelings about when their name is mentioned?

Who do you still feel the desire to warn others about or share your side of the story first about?

If we’re about to celebrate Jesus walking that road, carrying that cross, being nailed to it, and taking on your sins….. is it time to let Him be the payment for their sins too?

Is it time to let it go???

 

 

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.

 

 

An emotional affair

21 Mar

Today, I’m sharing a post by a blogger who wishes to remain anonymous for the sake of her husband.  I can TOTALLY respect that, especially given the subject matter.

Before I share, let me first say that I believe more women have emotional affairs than even know that they have.  For many of us, we see the word “affair” and assume, it was OBVIOUS.  I mean, a physical affair is obvious right?  There is no “hmmm, I wonder if we accidentally just slept together and if that means we did something we shouldn’t have?”  Emotional affairs aren’t always shining in the spotlight, but the damage is equally terrible!

~~~~~

I don’t know what to do with my story other than to share it.  I hate it, and yet, I want others to learn from it.  To see themselves in the mess, and to prevent emotional affairs from gaining the hearts of women everywhere!

I grew up in a home where girls were encouraged to get a good education and be the best they could be in life.  Along with that, I don’t remember any warnings or teachings to unconditionally respect your husband, lead your heart, or protect your marriage from predators.  I carried that “I’m smart and driven” attitude in life right with me into my marriage.

I felt like my wisdom was always better than my husbands.  He seemed to sin often and in worse ways than I did, I seemed to be the only one who could make the house run (I remember thinking often that if I died, he would die or have to hire a maid because he was incapable of doing anything) and I felt like the decisions he wanted to make were childish or lacking long-term thought.

He didn’t have the same priorities as I did, nor did he seem to value everything I was capable of doing.  He seemed to “expect it.”

I was a shining tower of disrespect.  I had pride wrapped around me and intertwined in everything I did in my marriage.  I felt like at one point I messed up so bad by marrying this man because he didn’t live up to my standards.  He wasn’t perfect.  And I started resenting so many things about him.

I wasn’t even sure I loved him.  Or if I ever did for that matter.

I could only see his faults.

While my marriage seemed to be unraveling (well in my mind at least, I don’t think my husband knew I felt this way at all… or the rest of the world either) I started to be obviously upset at work.

I never had any problems being friends with guys.  Some of my best friends growing up were guys. Girls were mean and full of drama.  I saw nothing wrong with having male friends, even if you were married.

So, I started sharing intimate details about my marriage with one of my guy friends.  At first, I found this really helpful FOR my marriage.  He seemed to offer a perspective in favor of  my husband so I could see things from his point of view.  While I felt torn that I had better communication with this guy than I did my husband, I felt a little compassion for my husband by thinking some things through with some male insight.

THIS WAS THE BAIT.

As time went on, the male friend relationship started meeting SO MANY NEEDS that I wasn’t getting at home.  From compliments on my work and appreciation for what I contributed to the office to eventually reflect how pretty I was and how desirable I was as a woman.

We seemed to click emotionally – we thought the same things were funny and we laughed all the time.  Work was fun.  Home was miserable.

We seemed to click intellectually – we understood each others work problems and could help each other out equally.  At work I had a partner.  At home I had a lazy bum.

We seemed to click relationally – we had similar interests.  We could easily talk about things that would be fun to do some day, and they lined up well.  At work I had someone who thought my ideas were fun.  At home I had someone I could never agree with on anything.

I don’t remember all the specifics, because this was a long time ago, but it was a few months of casual flirting.  Phrases like “You’re seriously the best at your job.  You make it look easy.  And you’re so pretty while doing it too.”

THIS WAS THE HOOK.

There came a point when things took a more obvious turn for the worse.  Conversations written over instant messenger and text that immediately had to be deleted.

I remember staring at my computer while I read the words “I would pin you up against the car and bite your lip.”

I was telling this story to a female co-worker of ours and she said something I will never, ever forget.

I don’t know whether to root for him or your husband.

WWHHHAAATTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Bells, whistles, panic set in big time.

Up until this point, everything was so subtle, so simple, so easy, so uncomplicated.  I didn’t feel like I was having an emotional affair at all.  I felt like I had a male best friend.  I mean, don’t you talk about your marriage and spouse to your best friend?  And don’t you talk about “if only” situations?!

I wasn’t attracted to him.  Nor did I think about doing anything physical with him.  But all the sudden, he was thinking and talking physical about me…. and I felt shocked.

Uh oh.

Now what???

The battle got intense.  More intense than I feel like I can even explain.

One day I was saying things like “as much as we seem alike, you’re not even a Christian, we could never work together anyway” in an attempt to let him down easy and make the conversation stop.

And the next, I’d come in from an unpleasant night at home and feeling so much contempt for the man I was married to, that I didn’t care how it “appeared”.  I wanted to feel good about myself, and he made me feel good.  Besides, it wasn’t going to go any farther. I was dead sure of it.

THIS WAS THE LINE.

The next step was attaching that sinker to my feet and going to a place of no return.  I was on the edge of throwing away my marriage and giving into lust over the way someone made me feel.  It wasn’t even ever about the other guy being a “perfect guy”. It was always about how he made me feel.

Thank the good Lord, He stepped in and seemed to take the control out of my hands.

The guy ended up starting a relationship with someone else, and not long after, left our place of employment. And six months later, I ended up being a stay at home mom.

For a long time, I wanted to blame my husband.  He WAS neglecting his roles in the marriage.  He WASN’T walking with the Lord like he should have been.  And he WAS leaving me open to Satan.

BUT — the more I laid this sin before God, the more obvious it became to me that if I could so easily give my heart to someone else because of the way they made me feel…. I would never be married to a man who was good enough.

I was the one with the problem.

And if marriage is a direct reflection of Christ and the Church… I saw my sin of serving any god that met MY needs in the moment of heinous idolatry spewed all over every move I made.

I do think that when a husband neglects to fulfill his roles in the marriage, he’s standing at the gate allowing Satan to walk in freely.

Just as I feel that a woman who neglects her roles in marriage (ESPECIALLY disrespect, and sexual refusal) she is also standing at the gate allowing Satan to walk in freely.

However, even if our spouse neglects to protect us, we always have free will to take the bait of Satan or reject his temptations with Christ’s power.

It only takes one moment of letting your guard down to set off a string of bad choices. The more you sin, the easier it becomes. And the less you feel the guilt and warnings of the Holy Spirit to confess and repent.

~~~~~

From Kayla:

Such a big topic.  I’m so glad to be addressing this on my blog.

Practical Application:

If you found yourself in this post… and need someone to talk to- email me privately and we’ll talk.  gulickfamily@hotmail.com

If you saw your friend in this post, pray right now!  You might be thinking you want to talk to her, but you might offend her.  I rarely say this, but in this situation – take the risk of offending her! Your approach will be crucial, but if you don’t know what to say… give her the link to this post.

Whatever you do, don’t do nothing.  She needs your help! Especially if her husband doesn’t know — she needs someone to help her fight.