I began studying God. Maybe if I did enough Bible studies I would learn enough about Him to find that place in His heart. The desire was good, but twisted in the mix was this need. Maybe if I did enough I could be loved.
I took a break from men. The dating scene had done it’s damage on me. I wanted the next man I gave my heart to to be the one I married. A year and a half later I met my husband. We married 9 months after that first meeting.
I waited for the other shoe to drop. I wondered when he would wake up and realize the mistake he had made. Even though I had been chosen, I couldn’t grasp that he could really want me.
When David got me, he got my brokenness and my striving. Not only was I going to be the best for God I was going to take my husband with me. We’d be spiritual together. I became a dominant, controlling, manipulative, aggressive woman. What I wasn’t receiving from God I began to demand from my husband.
Four years into the marriage we began to have children. I poured most of what I had into them. They were after all ready to love me. In fact they thought I hung the moon. I began to forward the expectations I felt for myself onto them. I wanted to make them the best they can be too. After all, what mother doesn’t want her children to be successful?
My studies of God increased. I believed that the more you knew the more mature you became. Knowledge became my friend. It became another covering. After all, knowledge accompanied by performance and striving looked good on the spiritual resume.
Eight years into our marriage the foundation fell apart. In the process, I was exposed for who I was, an unsubmissive, controlling, woman who didn’t have a clue how to honor or respect. I began to pour my efforts into learning to be a better wife. If I could just be better maybe things would change. Something had to change.
No matter how much I studied, strived, performed, I found myself living Romans 7: “the things I don’t want to do I still do.” “The things I want to do I don’t do.” The more I tried the more it became apparent I would never do enough to free myself.
Performance based acceptance and conditional love were the only things I knew. For you see I had entered into the doorway of salvation by grace, but once in, grace became lost.
Grace is about receiving something you don’t deserve freely. I had lost the ability to receive. LIfe had become more about me giving and doing. Truth is I was more comfortable there. It made me feel better. What I didn't know was that you can't really give until you receive.
This went on for years. No one in the “church” knew how to free me. In fact, the answer was often “do more” which wasn’t an answer for me. I’d tried that.
I had a friend tell me once, “you are dead in Christ.” My answer to her was, “and I’m going to be the best dead in Christ I can be.” I’ll never forget her response, “Julie, there’s something wrong with that.” What? What could be wrong with wanting to be the best dead in Christ? I had no clue.
But God did.
©copyrighted: 2009; Julie L. Todd
Next up: Part Four: Let Freedom Ring:
Part One: In the Beginning:
Part Two: My Fig Leaves: