My Sweet Matthew

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I am reading "Restless" by Jennie Allen and loved this quote she shared by Brennan Manning,

"In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others... Hope knows that if great trials are avoided great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted."

My words here are deeply personal. As I have felt these feelings shared below I have also wrestled with a lot of fear and shame. But I share them today because this is my reality, the truth of my past and even my present and I no longer want to hide the "inner darkness." My hope in sharing is both that exposing this darkness of mine... this sin... will help me find freedom and that, possibly, you might too.

My Sweet Matthew,

I long to release you from a burden I have unknowingly placed upon your shoulders for our six years of marriage.

The need of my heart, the need for love, was and is real and purposefully placed deep inside of me. God made me to love me and for me to love him. He desired relationship with me. These are all truths I have "known" but I am learning that my heart hasn't truly known them.

I have been unknowingly bound by the wounds this broken world has given me. I believe family was designed to point us to the deep love of our God. But my family was broken. I learned a lot about who God was but realize that far too much of it was based on my works and worthiness.

When I reflect on our relationship I see so much of God and so much of his grace. I see his grace when I look back on how desperate I was for love and how he graciously placed me in a place where I was not able to be in any kind of romantic relationship. I see his grace on how he introduced us in a season of protected friendship and when that season was over, he surrounded us with friends and mentors who directed us to keep our relationship focused on Christ. I see our wedding day and how we longed deeply for that day to be a reflection of Christ's love and carefully chose the elements of our wedding to point to that.

But I recently realized that even in all of that there was still so much of me that was longing for love, and you were giving it, so I chose you. It breaks my heart to write those words. I have felt shame and sorrow as I process them.

Gracious words from a couple of dear friends and my sweet sister have allowed me to both sit in that reality a bit and be okay with the sorrow I feel over it. But then to look it over and realize that my story, while sad and dark in moments, is beautifully painted with the grace of my precious Jesus.

It doesn't take much imagination to realize how easily a different road could have been walked in my quest for love. I see so clearly now the beautiful grace of God that he gave me you. That in my need for love you were the one that was there to love me. For that I feel deeply blessed and grateful.

I am also realizing that I have continued to burden you with my need for love. I have demanded that you be my source, a role you were never designed to fill. I have placed an impossibly high expectation on you and when you have (understandably) failed to meet it I have become hurt and angry at you. I have created a tension in our marriage. I have locked you into a corner where you can't win. Even when you try you fail because what I want you are not able, nor were you made, to give me.

I even wonder if I have taught you not to always try. I wonder if there are times that to love me, how I expect, seems so impossible that it isn't worth trying. I wonder if this expectation is laid down if it will give our love room to grow. If you will be freed to love me in the way that I know in your heart of hearts you desire too. I wonder if that removing this burden will be a fresh breath in our marriage. I wonder if it will allow me to see more clearly how much you actually do love me and how blessed I can be by you when my expectation of you is healthy.

Release. I want to release you Matthew. I want to lift the weighty burden I have placed on your shoulders. And I want to release others. I feel like those nearest to me have been trapped by me. I have held them tight fisted because I needed them.

But I am learning that I don't need them. I am learning that my source of love is Jesus. I am learning that he is near and gracious and gentle. He is still big and mighty and powerful but additionally I am seeing how truly close he is, which really just makes it all more amazing. So big but so near. So mighty but so tender.

There is freedom in this for them and freedom for you, and there is also freedom for me. Freedom to love being loved by those God has gifted me with. To thankfully and joyfully receive the acts of love that my precious people send my way. But to not be desperate for it and demanding of it because of the realization that I am receiving a constant flow of love straight from the source of love.

So today, my dear husband, I release you. You are my husband- my kind, sweet, and blessing of a husband. But you are not my God. I do not need you. I want you. I choose you but I do not need you. I hope you feel the freedom in that.

My tendencies and triggers are still there. Even today unexpected things take me back to this place. But the truth is permeating my circumstances and I am remembering I am loved. I have a place where I don't have to search for and demand love but I just get to rest in it. There is peace and hope and freedom there.

So  Matthew, I don't need you. You are not my breath. You are not my water. I want you. You are my chocolate cake.

And you know how much I love chocolate cake.

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