Let me share with you two recent evening and morning scenarios that played out in our home.
One recent evening, I fell asleep in the arms of the man I love after he prayed for me, and the next morning I woke up next to the man I love, grateful through and through.
(Hang with me…I’m not trying to make you sick with envy.)
Also, one recent evening, I practically cried myself to sleep filled to the brim with worry and fear and stress and swirly panic, and the next morning I woke up after fitful sleep and tears began flowing within moments out of a sense of overwhelming helplessness.
Here’s the thing: these were both the same evening and the same next morning.
My point, sweet ones? My marriage is wonderful and it’s a better gift than I ever hoped or prayed for – a gift that God did not owe us but we are both so grateful for – but life is still so very hard sometimes. Though Richard totally did sweep me off my feet, he did not swoop in as my hero and make all of our ex-spouse-related issues, all of our children-related issues, all of our work- and logistics- issues disappear. There is light between us but dark clouds still hover off in the distance, ever so slightly encroaching in on our little world. There are battles that were in our lives before we got married that are still battles now, tears I cried before that still linger post-wedding day. He and I are good – so very good – and it is a gift to be together and we are partners, standing side by side, but life is still very much…well…life.
I feel like you need to hear this. Just like having a boyfriend didn’t make my life perfection, having a husband – even a good, good, kind, tenderhearted, loving, praying-over-me husband – has not eradicated my problems and though my hope and prayer is simply to make that man’s life better and sweeter, I cannot eradicate his problems either.
And I need you to know this – you who are in a very, very painful marriage, and you who are healing up from divorce, and you who are desperately wishing for a man – because I need you to know that the goal for you should not be to get out of your marriage and find yourself a new man, or to heal up and find yourself a new man, or to date as hard as you can and find yourself a new man.
It’s not about a new man.
And here’s why: because life will always be hard and you will always be your very human, sinful, struggling self, even at your best (and, by the way, that’s okay…it’s what Jesus came for).
I feel like culture has set out this equation before us that many of us women – Christians included – subconsciously take on as truth:
lonely girl + good man = needs met and happily ever after
But that’s not the right equation. The equation should be:
woman (in any circumstance) + Jesus = on the path to wholeness and beauty and meaning and joy and peace
So the goal, as I’ve said before, is to ask God to help you become the most whole, beautiful, strong and yet tender version of you, and then lean into it, and embrace it, and simply become who God wants you to become, even in your mess. And follow him, even in your pain. And serve him, even in your loneliness. And worship him, even in your failures. And be a friend, even in your sadness. And take care of your children, even in your waiting. And shine, because this is your life, now.
No matter your hard or lonely current circumstance, you can become – right now – who God wants you to become. And no matter your pain or your failures, you can be – right now – a light. You don’t need a good man by your side to do these things.
And before you roll your eyes or slam your laptop shut or say it’s easy for me to say all this, I’ve been all of you. I said all of these things when I was in my hard marriage and when I was going through my horrible divorce and while I was single and not knowing what my future held and now I’m saying them while I’m happily remarried. My circumstances may have changed but my tune sure hasn’t…what I believe about the human spirit has not changed.
Abusive man or no man or good man, sweet girl: God crazy-loves you, down to your core and all the way through and his love will never end.
Hard marriage or no marriage or good marriage, sweet girl: God can heal you and restore you and make you whole.
Pain or no pain or circumstantially peaceful, sweet girl: God wants to and will use you – if you let him – and it will be beautiful. Even now.
If this post encouraged you, consider partnering with Elisabeth as she reaches out to help hurting women by bringing them hope.