While at work today, I slipped away to my car during lunch. We have a wonderful Christian radio ministry in this area and I needed encouragement. As today is Sunday, I was certain I would be able to listen to a church service, if possibly not my own pastor. I did. I heard a wonderful sermon of which I could not tell you the subject. I can tell you of a commercial they broadcast. A woman, close to my age, called in and shared her faith. She has 5 children. She learned she was pregnant with the 5th while her lower-back was broken. I instantly judged her (God forgive me). 30 years old with 5 children! Things like that just don't happen on their own! She said the day she found out she was pregnant, her Bible was laid out and worship music filled her room as tears flowed down her cheeks. She was pleading for God for faith. A plea I knew well.
My mind is a battlefield. Let me obsess about any one thing and I can create WWIII. I know this. There were two catalyst this weekend for the events. A jealous fit being the first and the second: a boastful comment made in a moment when encouragement was necessary.
Valentine's Day was this week. Hervey, who is struggling to find a job in our struggling economy, went to play a one night show with his brother in Arizona. Everything in me screams: lies. This entry, however, is not to defend his integrity or to profess his guilt. It is to record what I have been taught about love through grace.
Before I continue, I must elaborate on the second catalyst. One of my closest friend's and a very strong women of the Lord was telling me recently how she'd felt tempted sexually. She is not married and has committed to celibacy. Rather than listen to her, I stopped her and told her how I'd recently felt free from the temptation to smoke and drink and have sex. I remarked how it felt odd to somehow be free of something that burdened me for so long. Like I'd somehow conquered it. Needless to say, she quickly finished telling me about her struggles and changed the topic.
As the hours changed into days after the boastful comment and the eventful Valentine's day, I began to have a very strong sexual urge and wanted to smoke cigarettes. These two things are my default actions for coping with stress and anxiety. In the past, I would quickly succumb to these desires because doing so made it far easier to deal with the thoughts such as these stemming from this insecure jealousy. I wanted to continue to lay these things down in worship for God. I cried in my kitchen. Desperate for relief, I kept praying, the desires continued and got stronger.
Friday was a long day. During the day, the Holy Spirit brought 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
to my heart. My heart was convicted with the thought, "Was I really loving him the way I was called to while being consumed with this jealousy?" My flesh then answer, "But what if he is cheating, then I have a right to know and the jealousy is justified." To which the Holy Spirit responded, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3:17 which I had read the other day while reading about my fierce tongue.) If the knowledge of him cheating was something God wanted me to know why wasn't it any of these things? That verse brought my first moment of peace in two days. The lessons I needed to learn weren't over. I bought a six pack that night and got drunk. I had the strongest desires and the weakest will that I'd known in months.
The next afternoon, I found myself in front of Him. Asking for forgiveness like so many times before. He called to my heart Corinthians again. This time 2 Cor 12:9 where He says to Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. I go to my Bible because I know that verse well. Paul talks in detail about boasting. He talks about a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him (me)-to keep me from exalting himself (myself) 2 Cor 12:7. He called to my heart my boasting to my friend.
You'll see in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
that not only is love not jealous but it is also not boastful.
I asked for my friends forgiveness.
I do not know what God has planned for Hervey and I. I did make a commitment to him that I would not break up with him nor ever talk about divorce. Just like I judged the 30 year old mother of 5, I'm judging myself. After all, have I not been here before? Loving a man who doesn't seem to be able to demonstrate his love the way I expect.
Thou wilt pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me; For thou are my strength. Psalm 31:4
But until that time, He has given me the Great Commandment.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (35) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35