Last night I washed my face, brushed my teeth, got in my jammies, took my well campaigned for Ambien and settled into my clean sheets. I grabbed my Bible off my nightstand and my journal which after a long hiatus I’m very happy to be back reading on a nightly basis and waited for the pill to take effect. I read Colossians 1:10, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work..” But I couldn’t finish because there was this sound of running water. A slow and steady trickle. I had just flushed the toilet so I figured it was just coming to a slow stop.
I picked up at, “growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might..” But the blasted thing would not stop trickling. How can I be reading of God’s glorious might and power when I had this incessant trickling going through my brain?
I jumped out of bed and proceeded to take the lid off the tank of the toilet and sure enough it was grungy, gross and smelled stale. Ugh. This was a job for a man. But there was no man. So I took my fresh clean fingers and plunged them into the tank to grasp hold of the slimey stopper thinking that if I rubbed off some of the slime there would be a better seal. Eureka! Maybe I was paying attention all those years watching my dad while I was a tomboy? It worked.
I thoroughly washed my hands and jumped back into bed and picked up again in Colossians at, “so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…” And instead of giving thanks, I was thinking about the two gates that won’t close to my backyard because they’ve swollen from the rain, the computer the kids use for school that took a dive last week, my pool heater that is rusted through and needs replacing, my shower that all of a sudden is not changing temperature despite my valiant effort to make adjustments, the tub in the kids bathroom that can’t be a bath only a shower and my bathroom downstairs that can’t be a shower, only a bath because the knobs froze and won’t budge. I thought about the sprinkler that doesn’t reach that one plant and how I need to fix it, my refrigerator door that doesn’t seal properly anymore, and well, you get the idea.
Part of our divorce settlement is that my husband is going to sign over the title of the house to me. But that seems like such a huge thing. We have a big house and a big yard and there are a lot of things that need upkeep. It is over 20 years old and it seems that every month something happens that needs fixing. And my husband was good at fixing things. We changed out every light fixture, faucet, door and door handle, every base board, and painted every wall. We even painted the family room three times (in one week because I didn’t like the color).
And I appreciated him for all of that. I truly did. He was good at it. I trusted him to do these jobs right no matter what he thought. Whenever he would ask me if something looked okay, I would always start with..”Hey, yeah it looks great.” But there was usually a but. A small but…but a but. “Should that line be there like that?”, “Is it okay if it’s a little crooked?”, “Is there any way to make it so we can’t see the brush strokes?” I didn’t mean to break his spirit but I guess I eventually did. I would even tell him how great it was…if we only fixed that one little thing. Typical woman. I couldn’t just say…”Great job honey!”
But I learned something in the break down of my marriage. And that is, I would have traded all the critiques and all the times I made a big deal or even a small deal about any issue to have him know in his heart that he was truly loved and truly appreciated. Because he was. But everything I said meant to him that I was not satisfied and that he was not good enough. And I regret that. I wish I could have been better at that.
But if you have to ask for the pat on the back it just doesn’t seem genuine. And no matter what I said after he finally let me know how unhappy he was…he couldn’t believe that I meant it. Even after a year of faithfully showing him over and over again and in every way I could think that he was appreciated. It just seemed to him that I was merely “trying to keep him from leaving.” I was. But only because I loved him.
I heard him. And I wanted to make it better. He had just lost faith in me that I was capable of doing anything different. And had moved on to someone else. That in and of itself made it difficult to see my actions as pure. They were. I really really wanted to make it work.
I looked at the clock and it was 12:00 AM. I had not written in my journal yet and I had not finished my reading. I sat up in bed and forced myself to pick up my Bible again to continue reading and picked up where I left off, “1…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,the forgiveness of sins.”
God is so good. Even with my inability to focus because of all my concerns about this life, He was able to cut through it and get at the heart of the issue. My husband chose not to forgive. He chose to leave. But God will never leave me. He has rescued me from darkness and has redeemed me through Jesus who has forgiven my sins. And I don’t have to pay for them anymore. Jesus already did.
And I realized something even bigger than I had imagined. God can fix anything. Even a broken heart. He is the master carpenter and He can take my life and rebuild it. All I have to do is trust Him and obey His Word. He loves me and that is enough.
I put my Bible down and snuggled into the covers with peace in my heart…finally able to THANK God for giving me the ability to see joy despite my circumstances and condition.