Question: “Why am I so scared to let God heal me, to let God heal us?”
I remember a conversation with one of my best friends during my separation. My then-husband and I had each been given a list of things to do to attempt to reconcile. His, basically, was to win my heart back. Mine, for the most part, was to be ready if and when he tried. This terrified me. Absolutely and completely terrified me. I did not want this. I did not want him to try to win my heart back and I did not want to have to live through the stops and starts of his efforts. I shared this fear with my friend and she said, “Help me understand why you wouldn’t want a repentant husband trying to court and pursue you. Because I think you might be wrong to not want that.” It was hard for her to say that to me; it was hard for me to hear it. But she was dead-on; I was wrong to not want that.
Admittedly, this meant my then-husband had his work cut out for him. And I believe he knew it. I believe he knew that I was done. I’m not justifying the lack of efforts, because winning me back was not impossible – not with God in it, but I was not making it any easier on him. He had an uphill battle with me, I’m afraid. In fact, I remember the afternoon he called to invite me and the kids out to dinner, per the recommendation of our team of counselors. I got off the phone and sobbed. I practically hyperventilated while calling my mentor. I was so scared. And I think I was fearful of two things.
First, what if we never healed? I was so tired of the ups and down. It’s not like our marriage had hit a rough patch for six months or something. We’re talking over fifteen years of hard road, of hidden things. I was being told to try one more time, after making myself try one more time for the previous fifteen years. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I had it in me to give it another shot. Even with begging Jesus to help me, even with tons of accountability, even with others praying for us. Could my heart handle one more time around the bend only to have it shattered once more? I honestly didn’t know. I was beyond broken, beyond frail, the closest I’d been to done ever.
But, ironically, my other fear, what if we did get healed? I didn’t want this. That’s my truth. I didn’t want us to be restored. I wanted out. I wanted out before I was supposed to want out. This wasn’t a secret. I was as honest as I knew to be with everyone we were working with.
Beth Moore puts it this way, “Often we’re scared to death that if we cooperate with God for healing, it is going to somehow hurt so badly that we will never survive it. That is a lie from the enemy.”
I knew that the work involved to get to a healed marriage would be the hardest work I’d ever done and I wasn’t sure I was mature enough to do it. I had never been more hurt in my life, more betrayed, more abandoned, more abused, more devastated. And though, yes, I was doing all I knew to do and then some to forgive the wrongs done to me, and I was doing all I knew to do to stop inflicting pain right back, I could not see to a place of restoration for us. I couldn’t picture a future together that didn’t involve just more of the same, in other words, more pain and brokenness. In part, I did us in. I see that. I owned that then and I own it now.
I realized that my refusal to let my heart budge was an agreement with the enemy. So I moved myself to a place where I told God simply this, “Okay. I surrender. If you want me to get to a place of being willing to stay married, even if it means I get my heart broken all over again, I trust that you’ll repair it once again just like you have all the other times. And if you want us to stay together even though I can’t bear the thought anymore, okay. I will. I don’t yet want your will more than my will…but I want to want your will more than my will. This is the best I can offer you.” And in those moments, I knew that a shift had occurred. I was so scared of not being healed. I was so scared of being healed. And then I wasn’t scared anymore.
He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. –Psalm 107:20-
If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.
Maybe the feeling of not wanting to try was not wrong but rather God telling you it was time to move on.
Sobbing, tears and snot everywhere. Again, God has met me today through this post. Thank you Elizabeth.
oh wow I am glad I am not the only one sitting in that position.
I have read in some of the abuse books that sometimes there is so much damage that we are beyond reconciliation but those are not Christian books and I have to factor in God as best I can.
I too don’t want my husband to “get better” at this point but have to be open to it in case that is what God wants.
It is such a limbo to live in but God knows.
Thanks so very very much for putting this in words for us.
I’ve read and re-read your post all day. I still come away with the feeling that the post should be titled “I Don’t Want to be Hurt” instead of “I Don’t Want to be Healed.”
It truly seems to me that you did want to be healed, and that is why you chose not to put yourself in a dangerous place again. Just my thoughts.
I appreciate your honestly and how you want to be accountable for your actions. You set a great example. It just seems you are being too hard on yourself here.
Yesterday, you spoke on quitting, and then called yourself a failure because you quit your marriage. But quitting does not equal failure. Sometimes quitting is the healthier option.
I am not speaking as one who has gone through a divorce. I have been married 24 years and have been in the ministry equally as long. Granted, I am neither a counselor nor a psychologist, but I have experienced situations where quitting would have been the better choice. All we can do is ask God to grant us the wisdom and discernment to know when to keep trying and when to quit.
I too was in a similar situation being counseled by my pastor to “hang in there” and allow the Lord to work in my husband’s life. Although I agreed to do so, I still kept the divorce petition on file with the court and moved through the divorce process.
After 2 1/2 years, our divorce was final and NEVER ONCE during those two years did my husband step up and do what the counselor suggested – win my heart, etc. In fact, he never made even ONE counseling appointment.
I felt that the Lord sustained me through the process and showed me that my husband was not committed to restoring our marriage and even to this day – 5 years later and my being newly remarried – my husband has never done any of the work, even on his own through counseling.
sometimes, if i’m honest, i’m pulling a Jonah: i really don’t want the Ninevites (husband) to repent and be forgiven. sometimes there’s a deep root in this area–and it hits several nerves. *i* don’t really want to forgive him, and i (if i’m totally, brutally, in the secret dark places of my heart honest) don’t really want God to forgive him, either. because “forgiven” means no more consequences. “forgiven” means we’re both equals again–he’s no longer the “bad guy” and I no longer get to be the “good guy.” seriously, read Jonah, and see how he acted in the end of the book when God forgave the Ninevites. i feel that way sometimes….just being brutally honest here. but i totally “get” Jonah……
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Oh wow. This is where I am now. I feel that we could be healed and that would be better but the pain of getting there and the lack of trust is more than I want to bear. By far the most painful thing I’ve ever dealt with.
WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for i want to