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I had read the first chapter of Wild at Heart by John Eldrege and everything changed.  Of course, the rest of the book is fantastic but I learned so much from that book about God’s design for men and how they are wired.  Literally after that first chapter I began to change everything.  I tried my best to respect my husband, not my version of respect but a man’s version of respect.  I could also see a man’s need to challenge himself and push himself just to see if he could do it.  I tried to give him more opportunities to do so.  As this whole new insight began to unfold for me I realized that emasculation was a very big part of my world.  I could start to see how my need for control was emasculating and smothering my husband.  If that was true, then what was I doing to my 3 boys?

I was able to stand back and look over not just the last few years but over my whole life.  I was raised by controlling women….wonderful women…..but controlling and emasculating women.  I am sorry but if there is a woman who is out there who thinks she has never or doesn’t battle with some form of this, I hate to break it to you.  It just isn’t true.  This is our battle from Eve on through our present day and age.  It is in our fallen nature.  God said it in the garden, Genesis 3

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

I used to think that this was a curse that God spoke into/over us.  But the more I understand His heart for us the more I realize that He was just stating what we chose when we fell.  Like He was saying,

“Well, now it’s going to be severe pain and painful labor.  Because of what you chose I can not protect you from that anymore.  Now you will have the perception of your husband ruling over you instead of the feeling of being cherished, treasured and adored that I had planned for you.  Because you chose to open your eyes to this other option and way of looking at things, this is what you have placed at the forefront of your sight.  You will now have to fight for what I had in store for you instead of taking it as it was handed freely to you.”

I did not understand that way of thinking before.  I was sexually abused by a non-family member when I was 5.  I have been raped (more than once), flashed and stalked.  I have been in a domestic violent relationship.  I have survived many things.  I was a single parent after all that and tried to walk away from the detriment of all the things I had overcome.  You can imagine that when I got married I had just a little baggage.  I remember a time when I wanted to drive somewhere out of town right after we got married.  It was getting dark and it wasn’t the greatest weather outside.  My husband said that he would rather me not go.  I could feel my eyebrow raise on the left side.  I could feel my neck start to stiffen and cock slightly to the right.  I was getting so angry but couldn’t quite place it.  I just looked at him and he was serious.   I remember walking into the bathroom and shutting and locking the door.  I felt so much panic.  OH NO!  Did I marry the wrong guy?  The question kept blaring in my mind.  Then I just asked,

God what happened?  How could you let me marry the wrong guy?  I asked you and you said, yes.  Now he is trying to control me!

God spoke simply to me and said,

Jennifer, all these years you have been praying and asking me to send you real man.  A man who would protect you, a man who would provide, and a man who wouldn’t leave.  You told me you wanted to be treasured, cherished and valued.  I gave you a husband who is offering you protection and you choose to view it as control.  Why is that?

Years later my husband and I were hiking.  We went to this place that was so beautiful but toward the end, (hours later) we were on our way back.  I had gotten too tired and hadn’t eaten.  I was feeling really shakey.  We had to cross this really marshy area that had tall dune grasses growing everywhere.  You could see where the elk had come through.  It was bumpy and unstable.  It was super easy to twist an ankle or a foot and even fall.  I kept getting impatient and trying to lead out ahead of him.  After twisting my foot a couple times he said,

Why don’t you let me lead?  That way I will be the one to twist my ankle so that you don’t have to.  I want it to be me who gets hurt and not you.

There is was again.  If I will allow it, I have a man who wants to cherish, treasure and protect me.  It was super sweet of him.  His tone was only filled with concern and caring, not sarcasm or irritation.   It made me stop and wonder how much of our life has been spent with me trying to lead out ahead.  How many times have I not been paying attention while my husband tries to cherish, treasure and protect me.  Needless to say I practically cried all the way back.  Not because I was hurt but because I was so greatful and regretful at the same time.  I really hoped never to forget this view of my husband’s heart for me.

To remember this is to choose it everyday.  This perspective of how my husband loves me is closer to what God had in mind for me from the day He gave Adam his Eve gift than I have ever experienced in my own understanding.  It is definitely not an understanding that I am capable of on my own.

God you know me better than anyone.  I am still Jennifer with all my wounds and misunderstandings.  Please continue to share with me Your heart and desire for me as a woman and how to encourage, inspire and fit together perfectly with the men in my life.  I want to fight for the understanding and viewpoint of the Garden.  Thank you for sharing/giving me wisdom beyond my nature.

 

 

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