I remember the day back in 1991 when David told me I didn’t respect him. His eyes revealed his pain. I knew he was right. It pained me to admit it, yet I knew I had to in order to move forward. To be honest, I didn’t have a clue what respecting my husband looked like. I had been killing my marriage.
I had been a controlling, woman for so long I didn’t know how to be anything else. Control had become part of my self-protective armor. It’s what you do when you’re afraid, you try to control your world by controlling those around you. Behind the facade of the competent woman was a scared little girl who wondered if she’d ever be enough to be wanted.
I was ready for a change. I was desperate. I couldn’t live like this any longer. So much of how I had lived was wrong. Though it felt overwhelming I later learned that not being able to fix myself was the best place I could be. I couldn’t possibly change this mess I had made.
God brought along an older woman to mentor me. There’s something about having a woman who’s a bit farther down the road involved in your life, especially when your personalities are similar.
I began to learn how to see God from a different view. He invited me to enter a new road, one where I would begin to see things through His eyes. It would take some time to get there. There were many destinations to be visited along the way.
I read a book titled “Hinds Feet on High Places.” I saw myself in the character, Much Afraid. She too wanted to find love. I prayed that God would plant a seed of love inside me to nurture and grow I didn’t realize it was already there.
God began to rescue this damsel in distress, one layer at a time from myself. I can look back now and see how relentlessly He has continued to pursue me. As He began to teach me, my grasp on my tightly controlled life began to loosen. God began to woo my heart to trust.
Learning to trust has been the longest, hardest road I’ve walked. So much of who He was had been distorted to the point that I really didn’t know His heart at all.
Gradually He began to wash away my preconceived ideas. It was slow going at first, much like a patient lover with a woman who had been betrayed. He waited for me to be ready for each and every step of His pursuit and then He came. Like an onion being peeled layer by layer, He has taken me to greater levels of freedom one step at a time.
Special times stand out as mile-markers in my mind. In 1992 I had found a house that I wanted to rent. It was more than we could afford. The owners were discussing whether they could rent it for less. As the clock ticked by I found myself at a pivotal place. Would God love me enough to give me the house? I had always gauged His love based on how He responded to my requests.
The next day at church during communion I sat thanking Jesus for the cross. Out of nowhere words stopped me dead in my tracks. I wasn’t used to hearing His voice so clearly, yet I knew it was Him. “Whether you get the house or not, is not about my loving you.” “The cross proves my love for you.”
It was my first encounter with the deep love behind the crucifixion. It would not be my last.
He continued to speak to me at random times. Each time I would recognize His voice more easily.
One night I was walking towards our bedroom when out of nowhere words interrupted my thoughts. “I loved you first”. A few days later I sat down to look at my Bible study homework. The verse for that week was “We love because He first loved us.”
I knew then and there that He was breaking through my “Cinderella syndrome”. It was one of those defining moments in my life. He was telling me that He loved me before I could ever think of loving Him. I wasn’t the daughter He had to take because I wanted Him. I was the one He loved first. It would be the beginning of the rest of my life.
©copyrighted 2010; Julie L. Todd
Next up: Part Five: My Deliverer Is Coming
Part One: In the beginning:
Part Two: My Fig Leaves:
Part Three: Lost in Translation: