Forgive me for my silence, ladies. It has been a week of getting my house in order and caring for my kids. A good week, but a quiet one here. Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement and prayer on my last post. I am blessed to be in community with you ladies, and I treasure it. I realized after I had written that blog that I had missed my supplements for a few days. Now that I have been faithfully taking them again, I am much more myself and have more energy. So I am thankful for that, and seeing His faithful hand in all things.
This morning I am tucked away into one of my favorite cafe’s in town, sipping on some soup and trying to fight back tears. One of the reasons I have been silent this week is because I have found myself so annoyed with my husband. Little things just seem to set me off – and I mean really little things. I have found myself again and again over the past few weeks snapping at him, making mountains out of mole hills, and generally getting frustrated at most everything he does. Last night it came to (another) head as I got really angry with him for simply being himself. I got all high and mighty and we went to bed silently. This morning as I walked into the living room and he said “Good morning” – I simply did not answer. The rest of the morning passed in relative silence before he headed off to work. And the worst? As he left he said, “I love you”…my response? A barely audible “mmhmm”. As I drove to the cafe this morning I asked God to reveal to me what is wrong. I began to realize that what is wrong is me. My heart full of sin and pride.
You see, my husband has hurt me so many times over our marriage. And those wounds have run deep. He has repented, and we are in a much better place than we have ever been. I have chosen to forgive him, but I am not “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt 3:8). This morning, the Holy Spirit began to gently but firmly help me to see myself. And here is the ugly truth – even though I have forgiven my husband, I want him to suffer. I want him to feel small, and shamed. I want him to pay.
My heart is broken at my own sickening pride. I have been forgiven of so much – and God pours out continual grace on this impatient, petty heart. He doesn’t “cold-shoulder” me on the days I am grouchy. He doesn’t decide I am not worthy of His grace because I am unkind to my kids. He is consistently faithful. So why do I think it’s okay, in any way, to punish my husband? What gives me that right?
This morning I could hear God gently saying, “Annabel, give him grace – over and over and over.” And I argued with Him. “Over and over, God? Really? But he needs to change. He needs to be (more spiritual, more trusting, more sexual, more patient, less bothersome…) – how will he know he needs to change unless he is feeling the effects of his ways?” Truly, that was my conversation with God. Refusing to give grace. Or, more accurately, refusing to give it more than once. Refusing to pour it out on my husband’s heart over and over. Refusing to trust God to take care of the changing. Refusing to give grace if I am not seeing the changing.
I want to be a woman who bears good fruit. I want to be gracious, kind, compassionate. I want to be a good example to my children. But selflessly loving the person closest to me has to be one of the most challenging things to do.
Today, because God is loving and good, I was able to see the deceptive pride in my own heart, and repent.
What about you, dear sister? Do you need to repent to someone? Are you harboring self-righteous indignation against your husband for the sins he has committed against you? I urge you to not only forgive in words, but ask God to remind you of His grace towards you – and that out of it you would be willing to pour grace upon grace on your spouse.
I am praying for you today. Praying that you would remember the depth of your depravity without Christ, and the unending patience He shows towards you daily. I am praying you would choose not to punish your husband for who he is or what he does, but to show him grace. Pray for me too. Pray that I would stand on guard against the wiles of the enemy – he is crafty, and my heart without Christ is weak.
P.S. Please hear my heart on this post. I completely believe that there are times in a marriage that healthy boundaries need to be set in order to help a marriage heal. I am definitely not talking about that situation, at all. I am talking about being frustrated that my husband didn’t have as much quiet time as I think he should, and so I ignore the kiss he gives me on the cheek. I am talking about sin, not about loving choices.