Today is an anniversary.
It is so, so hard to watch him struggle. “Breaks my heart” is not a good description. It overwhelms my heart. It shatters it and crushes each sliver. It devastates me.
To know that he is hurting so much, to know that I don’t even begin to know the pain and anger he holds inside. To know that Jesus is the answer for him, and to know that he knows that too, but that there is a block somewhere and he just isn’t ready to surrender yet. To know that it takes everything out of him just to exist from day to day. To know that God has a destiny for him, a call on his life, and that Satan is terrified of him because he is a mighty warrior in the making. To know that God is going to redeem everything, things that truly seem beyond redemption. To know that God is going to save the day, change everything, but that I have to wait for it.
The waiting is the most difficult part.
Don’t get me wrong – I am at peace. I am content to wait on God, because I believe him, and I want his plan, not mine. (Mine is beyond shortsighted and childish. His is redemptive and beautiful and glorious.) But it is also really painful. It has been painful for different reasons; oftentimes because I haven’t been surrendered and I try to get my hands in the middle of things.
Today, it is painful because I am reminded of the horror my husband has endured. Things I cannot relate to, things I have never had to face. Yes, many people go through worse things, but that doesn’t make what he’s endured any less awful or his pain any less valid. He has gone on, made a life, has a job, has a wife, but he hasn’t healed. He is strong, so strong, yet at the same time, he is so broken. And I know he doesn’t think it can be any other way, and maybe that it shouldn’t, that he doesn’t deserve healing or happiness or hope. And maybe he doesn’t even want it to be different, because he feels like it would be betrayal in some way.
I heard this song today – “New Man,” by the band All Things New. (God uses music with me a lot.) I am familiar with it, though I usually don’t hear it from the beginning, so I didn’t know at first what it was.
As soon as I realized, I literally started crying. (In my car. Driving down the road. Couldn’t see much.)
Because I feel like my husband could have written this first verse. I feel like he is living in the first verse, though the circumstance is very different. And the chorus is all I want for him. The absolute desire of my heart is that he can honestly say the words of this chorus. That he would live those words.
And whenever I hear this song, I feel like God is promising, again, that he will. That this will be his truth, his life, his song. That it is coming. And that I need to keep my eyes open, and not give up, because help is surely on its way, and the dark is about to break into day.
“I can remember when he left; it’s still pounding in my chest –
the pain I felt when he said goodbye.
All those nights I tried to call, ‘cause I needed a father’s love
to cheer me on, to lift me up, to be my guide.
I tried to find my worth in things that didn’t work.
My confidence was broken, I was hopeless
But God, you have made me new;
you’ve restored my heart and turned these ashes into life.
Oh God, you have pulled me through,
and everything I was is gone and washed away for good.
I’m a new man in you.”
Kind of as a post-script:
I believe Satan is especially set on taking out the men in this world, breaking them down, emasculating them, imprisoning them (physically and spiritually). Maybe your husband is living that chorus already; if so, that is awesome. Pray that he will stay focused on pursuing and knowing Jesus. Because you can bet your life on the fact that if your husband is trying to live for God, Satan has him in his cross-hairs. Don’t think he is untouchable. He is not.
If your husband, like mine, is struggling, is beaten down and weary, first off, don’t pray that God would change him. Ask God to change YOU. To make YOU who you need to be, who you really are. And then ask God how he’d like you to pray for your husband. And then do it.