He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
Psalm 10:8 NIV
There have been times in my life when it was difficult for me to let go. A great example of this is in relationships where I was actually doing the healthy thing to turn and walk away. I always felt the need to try and go back and fix what was broken even if I wasn’t the one who broke it. I always attributed any relational dysfunction to my own insecurities and not to the issues that the other party wasn’t willing to deal with. The farther I get from those relationships, however; the more clearly I see that my first instinct was the right instinct and what God had been trying to get me to see all along. There was always something in me that had to be sure that I couldn’t somehow change the heart of the one who intended to do me harm…and so, I let them take their best shot.
After much thought on the subject, I realized that this reluctance to heed God’s warnings signified in me a reluctance to have faith in Him in the area of relationships. When I got married fifteen years ago, I had stepped away from God. Neither of us were active in church though we had been during our youth. Even though we both knew that we should, neither of us felt the need to include Him in the decision to be married. And so, we built a marriage and family on a foundation of nothing. And about ten years later, that foundation crumbled and we divorced. Sadly, there was no coming back from it. Attempts at relationships since then have not been successful either. Not that there have been many actual “relationships,” but even dating has been a fairly futile endeavor. My first real attempt at a relationship was unsuccessful because I went back to someone from my past who hadn’t known how to be in a relationship then and after nearly twenty years, hadn’t learned a thing. My last attempt proved to be fruitless because of a number of challenges that I hadn’t anticipated. And so, as I sat in church today listening to a sermon about how relationships are supposed to be formed, I couldn’t help but feel the same pain, anger, and frustration that all of these attempts at finding something worth having had brought me over the years.
So, have my relationships failed because I haven’t known how to function in a relationship or have they failed because I have too often been willing to take responsibility for fixing things I haven’t actually broken? Years ago, I would have said that the fault was all mine and that it was up to me to make sure that my flaws didn’t make it difficult for someone to love me. Today, however; I would say that my flaws have taught me many things and one of those things is that sometimes seeing the smallest inkling of goodness in someone isn’t enough to warrant setting out on a crusade to heal the brokenness in them that only God can heal. After all, no one else could fix what was broken in me. Only God could put me back together after I’d been broken so many times. Without His love, I had nothing to offer. And if I wasn’t willing to accept Him into my heart, then there was no way that I could ever love anyone in a way that would bring about anything good.
Now that I have accepted Him and I know the peace that His love can bring, I’m no longer content to give someone chance after chance to hurt me. What I once thought of as my responsibility, I now see as a clear indicator that there is something that person needs that only God can provide. And there is no need for me to try and create a counterfeit version of the love that He needs to instill in that person. I can’t make someone love me anymore than I can make the sun shine each day. So, unless the man that God has been preparing for me shows up, there is really no reason for me to waste my time trying to make something out of nothing with anyone. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you would really like to have a “normal” family. Being married for ten years makes it difficult to be single, but when you consider the pain that comes from being in a hurtful situation or being unequally yoked to someone who has no faith, no hope and no capacity to love, then maybe being alone isn’t so bad.
I’ve been able to come to terms with a lot of things. I don’t blame myself for miscarrying five times. I know that wasn’t my fault and I know that there was nothing I could have done to fix that. And I’ve let go of any guilt I felt over those losses. I know that it wasn’t my fault that I was raped when I was 22. That also was not my fault and I no longer hold that as something that I need to fix. And now, I’m finally seeing that my divorce and subsequent relationship malfunctions were not necessarily things I could have fixed. And I’m not going to hold onto the idea that if I refuse to let them go, I’ll have a chance at some point in the future to make them right. As if I had the power to do so. It’s time to give this all to God and trust that He will let me know when and if I’m ready to try it again.
I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail.
Psalm 89:28 NIV