Confession time! I love my babies! But I do not love what pregnancy has done to my body. I just had baby #6 three months ago… and I reached the biggest I have ever been! Slowly the pounds are coming off, but that means I am now in the awkward in between stage… You know the one where your maternity clothes are baggy, but your pre-pregnancy clothes leave you looking like there’s a flat tire floating on top… yeah… that in between stage… and I am way too cheap to go out and buy clothes that I hopefully won’t need much longer.
So, what’s a girl to do? I started thinking, `Man I wish my B-band wouldn’t have ripped… you know I don’t think those are actually supposed to last six pregnancies… Why not go get some controlled-top underwear.’ So, that’s exactly what I did.
What do you know! They worked. My pre-pregnancy pants went on with no problem… but the real problem was still there… the fat just got pushed up to the middle of my stomach…
Instead of fixing the problem, I just covered it up, moved it around, and pretended like it was not there.
It seems like this is an easy thing to do in our culture. Instead of taking the time needed to fix the problem, we look for an easy fix. But that easy fix does nothing but push the real problem off to the side for a moment. It’s like putting a band aide on a broken bone and just pretending like everything is ok.
There was a time in our marriage that we were broken. I mean like, the world would have justified a divorce- broken.
Both of us pointed the finger at the other person. I definitely was not willing to take responsibility for my shortcomings and couldn’t see beyond his. Every argument ended the same way, but never with a resolve.
By the grace of God, we were pointed to a Christian counselor. My husband and I went into the counselor determined to work on our relationship and tell the complete truth… except one little detail… that one we couldn’t share.
We saw improvement. We did. We began to communicate better and fight less. But there were still issues. Issues that we didn’t talk about. We just put those “controlled-top underwear” on and worked on the issues people could see, not the issues that were really affecting us.
Well, luckily for me, the counselor was able to see I had issues below the surface that needed to be dealt with, and she began to see me as an individual. So much growth it was amazing.
As the weeds were being pruned out, I was more and more willing to open my heart to fully accepting Christ. The seed was falling, just not quite on fertile soil yet.
There was still a thorn, a weed, in the path. We still didn’t talk about that one little thing…
Then it happened. The night that our counselor released us from her care. We had the biggest, most epic fight.
We went into her office the next morning. In my anger, I spewed all the details. I thought for sure she was going to tell us we needed to get divorced.
Instead, the most amazing thing happened. When the truth came out, God was able to move. The Holy Spirit got a hold of my husband and in tears he was convicted and filled with the Spirit.
Noticing what was taking place, our counselor invited God into the situation, prayed with us, and for us. And then sent us on our way. I’m telling you it was an instant change. We had been married for almost three years, and now God was finally part of the marriage. I knew things were going to be radically different.
As we left the office, I looked at my husband in a completely different light. This man had every right to leave me, but he chose to stay. He chose to fight for me, to fight for us. For the first time in my life I understood what unconditional love meant. And in that moment, I cannot even explain the emotions I felt. I had a desire burning in my heart to become a real Christian wife and love him as best as I humanly could. But I didn’t have a clue how to do that. This was the very beginning of my walk with Christ. I was still uncomfortable opening my Bible. It would take a lot of mentoring, many blogs to follow, books to read, people to watch, people to grow with, and open communication with my husband.
But that growth couldn’t happen while I was pretending like the problem didn’t exist. It had to be confronted, so that we could overcome it together. We learned a very important (not-so-secret) secret during this whole thing. Marriage takes three. Until we could fully admit our brokenness, we could not surrender to God. Without surrender, God was unable to move.
God is a good God. And He’s always with us. However, when we try to control our own lives, our image, and surroundings we are putting God in a box restricting His room to move. So many times, we want things to go our way. We want God to be our “controlled top underwear.” Our prayers quickly turn into wish list and expecting God to do our will. When we are the one blessed to be part of His will.
Please! Don’t try to live life your way. Live it His way. Surrender. Just like those control top underwear only hide the problem for only so long before the fat rolls over the top. Don’t try to hide your problems; they will surface. Surrender those problem at the foot of the cross. God already knows they are there. He’s just waiting for you to let Him out of that box giving Him room to radically change your life.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
James 5:16 (ESV)