Posted by: Lisa Guyer | April 2, 2013

While I’m Waiting : A Testimony of Forgiveness

Here is another testimony of a woman who has waited for years for her husband to lead their home. She has personally learned how to step down from leading their home, and also how to forgive continually. I believe many of you will be able to identify with so many of the emotions and thoughts that she describes going through, as I know I did.

My husband and I have been married for eight years. During that time we have gone through many trials including moving ten times, a prison sentence, affairs (both emotional and physical), addictions, death of close family members, poverty, lies, sleepless nights, children with ‘issues’… etc. Looking back on our time together the Lord saw fit to enlighten me to see a ‘bigger picture’ view of what has been happening through this time.

I was raised to be a man when I needed to be a man and a woman when it would get me further in life. I was raised to believe that men were stupid and incompetent. I didn’t ‘need’ a man; I only had one because I wanted one. I had no sense of the biblical idea of how a marriage should operate. With that being said, I was a nasty woman. Looking back I can tell you I was so stinking mean to my husband it makes me sick. I yelled, cussed, told my husband he was stupid, hit him at times and repeatedly told him we weren’t doing things his idiotic way. I beat him down physically, emotionally, and mentally. I belittled him until I was on top and he was so low he couldn’t go much further. Utterly controlling and proud to be, that was my way.

And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

James 3:6

Then we met Christ. At the same time, Christ called us to Him. We found Him and little by little I started reading God’s word and understanding my place as a wife. With the help of books, friends, and older women who encouraged me, I understood what I needed to be doing: not leading. And so, the waiting began. Who was going to lead? I wasn’t. My husband didn’t know how, nor did he know I gave up my second job of being in command. I read once “it’s better to be done poorly by him, than well by you” – “Really??!?” I would think to myself. I did it though. I didn’t lead, I didn’t decide, I didn’t take over… I waited (not always patiently I should probably add).

Oh, during this timeframe I got angry and so frustrated because there was no leader. Things like the money being spent foolishly, or the electricity being shut off, or that we would need to move again were always happening; over and over again life would fall apart. God saw fit to feed, clothe and shelter us, His promises to us. 1 Timothy 6:8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. I prayed and begged God for my husband to become the leader I wanted him to be… the leader God was calling him to be… right? Over and over again I would feel let down, discouraged and hopeless. I would hold in bitterness and contempt. Frustrations over my husband not leading were a daily occurrence. Until one day God laid on my heart that He was at work in my husband and that, if I wanted peace about our life, I needed to forgive my husband for any and all of my disappointments that I blamed him for… I would have to do this daily! Did my husband deserve it? No. But then, do I deserve to spend eternity in heaven with our creator? No. Jesus’ words (Matthew 6:14) reminded me that, if I want to be forgiven, I must forgive, not because he deserved the forgiveness, but because I didn’t. How many times should I forgive my husband? How many times do I want the Lord to forgive me? I surely don’t want to put a number on that one.

My forgiveness hasn’t always been true forgiveness. For the longest time my surface-level forgiveness looked like this: “I understand you didn’t mean to hurt me. I love you, and we will work through this”… on the inside it looked like this: “If I don’t forgive you, God won’t forgive me. Whatever; you are going to do whatever you want, and I have to just sit here and take it, no matter how much I hate it and you. I guess I have no choice; this is what God wants for me – to be with a stupid jerk”… As true as any of that may be, I don’t think God saw that as forgiveness… it is too self-centered. Nothing that was in my heart was forgiveness. It took time for me to realize that forgiveness takes effort and humility. It isn’t easy to forgive people sometimes, especially if they haven’t said they were sorry or even acknowledged the hurt. Sometimes my husband doesn’t even know he hurts me. It isn’t my job to tell him he hurt me and expect him to be sorry; it is my job to forgive him. Through this, my heart has (and is being) softened and over the years I have learned this: most of the time forgiveness comes in layers and cycles. Bitterness will come up and rear its ugly head anytime it wants, good times and bad times, but especially times I am not close to God. It’s how we choose to handle the hurt and pain when it surfaces that I think can lead us closer to God. I can either recognize that I will have to forgive this man every day for the rest of my life, and I will make a conscious effort to do so; or I can be prideful and think I deserve something when I don’t. I will turn to God, or I won’t. I have a choice in this. I have to humbly remember that my husband is probably in the process of forgiving me for my wrongs, just as I am him. Please, do not be so prideful to think you do not need to be forgiven. When the pain comes up inside from being hurt, I will pray to the Lord of all creation to help me not hold it over my husband’s head, belittle him and make him feel like anything less than God created him to be. I will turn to Father and ask for forgiveness both for my own unhappiness at the moment and for the fact that I wasn’t humble enough to realize that I don’t deserve anything.

It has taken years, not months or weeks like I thought it would, for my husband to start leading in some areas of our life. Others, I am still waiting. God has surely seen me through this process and continues to do so. I have had to wait on the Lord, serve my husband, submit to his authority and put all my trust in Jesus in order for my husband to start leading. I am not promised he will lead me well. I am not promised he will lead me today or tomorrow. I am promised that the One who created me will never leave or forsake me. So, I will continue to wait, continue to serve, continue to submit, continue to love, continue to forgive and continue to put my trust wholly in the One who created me.

Cari has just recently started her own blog about her journey through marriage, how she’s failed, and what she’s learned. She has an incredible story of perseverance through various trials. I would definitely encourage you to take a moment and read what she has written and then follow her blog to continue to get her updates as she adds more. 

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