Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 49, Part 2 - Haiti Mission - Conditional love no more

Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover.
I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.
So I got up, went out and roved the city,
hunting through streets and down alleys.
I wanted my lover in the worst way!
I looked high and low, and didn't find him.
And then the night watchmen found me
as they patrolled the darkened city.
"Have you seen my dear lost love?" I asked.
No sooner had I left them than I found him,
found my dear lost love.
I threw my arms around him and held him tight,
wouldn't let him go until I had him home again,
safe at home beside the fire.
~ Song of Solomon 3:1-4 (The Message)

After a tiring, yet extremely positive day yesterday I seem to have had an emotional breakdown brought on by my own insecurity. These used to happen often, but have become fewer and farther between in the past 3 years or so. However, last night was a breakdown so intense that I thought I may get sick or hyperventilate. A panic attack of an extreme level, which I have rarely experienced, so the event was scary on a number of levels. The worst part? I took it out on my husband.

Now, my husband is no stranger to this kind of reaction from me as he's dealt with it numerous times in the past, but over the past 7 weeks, I thought I had reached a level of safety and security in our marriage. Apparently, I still have holes in that armor of security that the enemy is able to squeeze in at times and shatter my emotions, my trust, and completely twist and tangle the truth. Last night was one of those times.

The pastor of my old church used to say, "When you're walking with God the way you should be, Satan will jump on you with 2 feet." I have found this to be extremely true and know for a fact that I had let my guard down last night. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Not that this isn't something I should be doing all the time, but I know from experience that when I'm feeling confident that I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do that I need to be particularly watchful of my own feelings and emotions, because I have a sneaking suspiscion that this is where Satan has his sights set on me. On top of that, when my pain level is considerably increased, I have a tendency to let my emotions direct my thoughts, which can lead to a pretty destructive circle of doubt and despair.

Tonight, in my quiet time with the Lord, He asked me "What would it look like if He demanded I show my love for Him the way I demand that Chris show his love for me?"

Wow. And as I burst into tears, I got it. I saw myself from a different perspective......

If God demanded that I show how much I love him often and in specific terms, I would fall short. "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ~Romans 3:23 I could never meet the demands of my Lord, for his ways are greater than my ways. So, who am I to demand that Chris show his love for me in any specific way? Who am I to demand that Chris show me his love at all? God tells me to love unconditionally. Not, love....but only if, etc. Not only am I to love without strings, but also I have no right to put myself on a pedestal where I believe I can demand the way a person expresses their love for me. I don't have the right to make love "conditional".

So, I now, too have a love unconditionally, beginning with my husband. I know that God is faithful and that with prayer and petition, that this area of bondage will begin to disappear. I used to think that I already loved Chris unconditionally, but I haven't. I was demanding to feel love back from him, and I shouldn't. If he could no longer speak, would I love him any less because he couldn't say the things I thought I needed to hear? If he were to become paralyzed, would I love him any less because he couldn't touch me or hug me when I thought I needed to be comforted? If he no longer had the strength he has now, would I love him any less because he couldn't help me in the areas that I needed a servant? No, no, and no. I would still love him, because of his heart and his love for the Lord. I love the man that God created him to be.

I no longer want to burden him with emotional responses, I want to love him. I no longer want to cry that I'm not loved, I want to love. I no longer want to worry, but rather surrender my emotional responses to the authority of Christ and let His peace wash over me in every situation. With Chris coming home in less than 48 hours (YES!) I will not let the enemy get in between my husband and I and overshadow my love. Tonight, I'm making the decision to begin loving without demand and giving my love freely. I am making the decision to start treating my husband like the gift from God that he is to me. I won't be perfect at it, but I will be persistent at redevoting myself to the process of breaking the ties that bind me. As it says in Songs of Solomon 3:4 "when I found the one my heart loves, I held him and would not let him go". I have 8 days to hold on to my husband until he returns to Haiti to complete his mission/project.

In those 8 days, I will love him unconditionally. I will love him unconditionally beginning today.

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