My husband hurt my feelings. I felt as if my trust had been broken. And as I lay in bed angry and stewing two days later, I realize that my hurt feelings toward my husband had not only turned to anger towards him, but also toward God.
I’m so mad I could just yell. Or curse. Or something else I’m sure wouldn’t be appropriate for a Christian woman. But I don’t feel very Christian today. I’m hurt and angry.
And then my email dings on my phone. It’s a response I’ve been waiting for from Linda, one of the women who shared her testimony with me earlier this year for our book. We’re planning a devotional, asking some of the women who shared their stories to give us some practical advice. Linda was asked to tell us how to start to trust someone again who’s hurt you.
Great, I think. I don’t know if I really want to read what she has to say right now.
Why is there always this part of me that wants to stay angry?
This battle between giving up and lowering my defenses or holding onto my anger has always been a struggle for me.
I open her email.
She’s so kind and loving. Offering her honest encouragement and advice, wrapped up in the wisdom and understanding of having gone through it herself. I’m struck by her first step: Trust God. Wait, the first step isn’t about the other person? I think. The first step is about my relationship with God? She goes on to explain that the first step to building trust is to start by trusting fully in God alone. Only then do we move to the people around us.
I put down my phone and lay in the dark.
Do you trust me? I hear God whisper to my heart.
“Yes, I do. But I don’t really want to right now,” I reply.
“Because if I trust you, you’re going to tell me to trust my husband, forgive him. And I don’t know if I want to right now.”
And I’m reminded of how I spent part of the afternoon looking on the internet for jobs, something I do when I feel like I need some control in my life.
“I just want to feel in control,” I say.
And God responds, in a way only he can: You don’t have control. Not really. It’s spoken in love, this truth.
And I know he’s right.
I am not in charge. Sure, I can make plans; I can try. But the truth is life moves and changes whether I want it to or not, relationships ebb and flow, and I don’t have control over others’ words or deeds. Children grow without my permission, lives change. It’s just the truth.
And I’m brought back to Linda’s first step: Trust God.
I breathe in, let out a sigh, and offer a simple prayer of apology to God: Forgive me, Lord. For being angry with you. For not trusting you. For trying to do it on my own.
And although nothing is fixed overnight, I feel a gentle peace waft over my heart, a softening. A turning back toward God…and my husband.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23