"There, when you stand firm in the Home of Glory,
And all life's path lies open to your gaze,
Your eyes will SEE the hand you're now trusting,
And magnify His love through endless days."
"God Meant it unto Good" - Freda Hanbury Allen
I began this morning with my iced coffee and my 4 different books, along with my Bible, I am currently reading. Yes, I said 4...because, when you come out of one of the driest times of your life thus far, you need to dive back in.
No matter how far away you feel, no matter how numb, bitter, hurt, shamed, you feel,
...you need to run back home.
Back into the arms of the One who will ALWAYS take you back.
In March, I posted about how I felt I was "Forever Changed" and had an experience that fueled my desire for change in my heart. And, it was true. However, after about a month, I ended up slowly failing at that. I wasn't actively working at my relationship with God and I slowly began to decline. But, instead of realizing it was my fault, I began to blame God and accuse Him of not "helping"me. This began to cause my way of thinking to shift and I lost sight of my goals...
- - -
Have you ever sat before someone and had to tell them something painful? A mistake you made.
Have you ever found yourself so lost in lies, rebellion, and deceit that you felt like you had no other choice but to continue down that road because you couldn't face yourself in the mirror, or anyone else for that matter?
Have you ever felt so passionless and without vision that you didn't care what choices you made next?
Well, this has been me.
When I got back from vacation, after spending a week in the desert and mountains with Andrew, I can honestly say, though I had fun, I had no joy and peace in my heart. My heart was so numb and burdened by who I had to look at in the mirror everyday, that I felt hopeless.
I was suppose to open up the shop right when I got back, but I couldn't. My heart needed more time and I am just not the kind of person who likes to pretend and paint a fake picture before people....Or, I should say, even if I try to paint a different picture, I can not do it for long.
So - I took more time, a few extra days and I spent them forcing myself to pick up my Bible, read and look inside my own heart. Look into the darkness and ugliness that had been welling up inside me for several months. It took hours and hours of forcing my heart and my mind to focus on the task at hand... because I was so ashamed of choices I was making and I felt alone in them. Though I tried reaching for help from a few people, it never seemed to actually help. I had once again, pushed God away so that I wouldn't have to open up.
But, on Friday night after a week of pursuing and pushing myself beyond my emotions, feelings, and the lies that were in my head, and as I lay wide eyed in bed, with my husband beside me... I felt a pull. An ache in my soul and I knew that in order for Andrew and I to rekindle our marriage and get back to a place of beauty between us, that I needed to confess some of the ugliness of my heart to him.
I went into the living room and prayed and then, I woke Andrew...
Tears. Heartache. Pain.
Grace. Forgiveness. Love.
I married a man of great strength. A man with self-control. A man with love in his heart.
A man who shows me the grace of God.
And best of all, I married a man, who could bring me closer to God.
Though the things that I needed to bring to light were painful for me to share and reveal... He held me close and gave me hope. He gave me grace. He gave me love.
He gave me God.
- - -
Marriage. Oh, how much I have learned in 2 years. I angrily wrote to a friend last week as I battled with myself, "Why didn't anyone tell me how difficult marriage was before I got married!!" And, why doesn't anyone talk about the difficulties of marriage. We all paint a picture before the world that we are happy, that nothing goes wrong, that we don't argue and and we don't act like children. And because of this, we find ourselves alone, because we are too scared to tell people that we are failing at the commitment that we made on our wedding day. The commitment that before hundreds of people, we promised FOR BETTER OR WORSE, GOOD TIMES AND BAD, SICKNESS AND HEALTH.
But when the WORSE comes, and the BAD, and the SICKNESS... we crumble. We think..."this isn't the life I expected!" and "this isn't what I signed up for" and "Well, because of HIM or because of HER it is this way and if they don't CHANGE then this just isn't going to work."
One of the books I began reading is called, "What's it like to be married to me?".
And have been slammed in the face with conviction and I am only about 20 pages in. One of the biggest things that has hit me is when I was asked me to consider my funeral someday...and the speaker, would be my husband.
What would I like my husband to say about me?
What character qualities would I like him to have seen in me?
What kind of love relationship would I want him to describe?
What kind of love would I have wanted him to have received from me during all those years?
And as I considered these questions, I was also encouraged NOT to compare with what HE does... but only what I have done and what I am responsible for. Because, really, when I got married and said my vows, I did not say, "for better or worse (AS LONG AS HE LOVES ME), in good times and bad (AS LONG AS HE TREATS ME RIGHT AND TREATS ME LIKE A PRINCESS), in sickness and health (AS LONG AS HE ISN'T SICK FOR TOO LONG OR AT INCONVENIENT TIMES).
NO!!! I said... NO MATTER WHAT, I commit to LOVE you. Forever. No IF, ANDS...OR BUTS!
And for the past several months, I found myself saying, "Well, this isn't what I signed up for and you weren't like this before we got married." and I was again, slammed in the face with a quote in the book that said, "So, are you saying that he is like this because he's been married to you then?"
Proverbs 14:1, "A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands".
I have a responsibility.
I have a calling.
I am a wife.
And because I have made the commitment to be a wife. I need to wake up each day and consider...
how am I actually doing as a wife?
Am I loving enough?
Am I giving enough?
Am I spending daily time with God so that he can strengthen me to be able to love this man every day to the best of my ability?
And, above all else, will I love, give, and serve my husband, even if I am not getting anything in return?
These are hard questions.
And these are the VERY questions that caused my soul to dry up.
I felt I deserved more.
I felt I wasn't being filled up and loved enough.
I started to compare what I had to what I didn't have.
I let lies creep in and the world tell me that I could be happier.
And I was NEVER more wrong.
My name is Alysha Rene' Nickerson.
I am the wife of Andrew Paul Nickerson.
We were married on April 3rd, 2011.
We aren't perfect.
We have our struggles.
We lack the ability to love some days.
We are selfish.
We get angry.
We loose sight of our calling.
But it is an HONOR to be committed forever to this man.
And I pray that I can hold tighter to this truth that I have been as of late.
I pray that all of us who are married can hold tight to this truth.
It is an honor that we have committed ourselves to another.
That we decided we found the one our hearts loved.
and that we would forever promise to make that love work... no matter what.
So, as I leave behind year 23 of my life and press on to year 24 next Monday (MY BIRTHDAY!). I pray that this year be a year full of love. A year filled with Christ as the center and a servants heart towards my husband.
This year...I am going to take back all the enemy has stolen from me last year.
I ask that you hold me to that. and join me.