No more changes.
The bruises and scrapes my past had left brought me to a stalemate. If there was something different someone wanted then he would just have to go somewhere else. To paraphrase a semi-famous philosopher, “I was who I was and that’s all that I was.”
This is the person that my husband so graciously, and probably a little blindly, married. Despite our greatest intentions, it was not all smooth sailing in the beginning. Even clothes could become a major issue for us. My husband believed in hangers, while I figured clothes were made not to wrinkle for a reason. It’s already been stated that I was not going to change, so what could happen?
I had always had a one on one relationship with God, but I didn’t know Him as well as I should. After marriage, I began to delve into the word in a personal way. Hunger overtook me. If there was a bible study out there, I went through it. I wanted to know more.
The more I worked at a relationship with God, the more He gently prodded and guided me to change. Ever so slowly, my attitude began to chip away. The things that had seemed like important parts of my world became not so important. Hanging up a shirt would not cause me to crumble up and die.
Inflexibility had been hindering my spiritual growth. It is not possible to become the person God wants me to be if I’m not willing to leave the person I think I am. Focusing on others only compounded my hindrances. It wasn’t the people around me who needed to change, it was me. I just refused to see that big beam sticking out of my head. Matthew 7: 1-4, Luke 6:41
Over the next few years, I continued to struggle in my growth. The more I allowed God to mold my insides, the tougher things seemed to get. If I thought changing the way I did laundry was rough then I was in for some real shocks. God began to show me that it wasn’t just about my actions; it was about every aspect of my life including my thoughts and my words. Psalm 94:11, 1 James 1:14-15, Matthew 15:11
The more I learned, the less I wanted to know. Attempting to walk in the will of God made my flesh cry out. “What if . . .” What if someone takes advantage of my new attitude? What if someone runs me down? What if he refuses to change?
I continued to look to His Word. The answer is always in His Word. From out of nowhere, I stumbled into the teachings of submission. It was one thing to be nice to people, but quite another to not argue. Submission is just bowing down and letting everyone else have there way, and I wasn’t ready to give in that easily. With great hesitation, I found myself hearing sermons and teachings on nothing but submission (Which is way too closely related to obedience). Romans 5:19, Isaiah 1:19 I started to listen. It’s not about what others may or may not do; it’s about me.
Closing my eyes, I stepped out on the ledge with only my faith and I found myself falling into a deeper relationship with Christ than I had ever experienced. The peace was overwhelming and often all consuming. The joy of the Lord overflowed into every aspect of my life. My attitude improved. My habits improved. My very life skills seemed to improve and I became a better mother, wife, daughter, and friend.
Surprise doesn’t even begin to express my reaction when my husband said he had had enough and it was time that I changed. Even after all the growth God had led me through my immediate thought was, “me? Have you looked in the mirror?”
The scars of the past threatened to take over and the regrets began to attack every part of my being. The peace was still there. It had been pushed to the corner, but it was still there. I found it and held tight to it. Instead of pointing out his faults, I held my tongue. (It shocked me, too.) God softly reminded me that it wasn’t about my husband, or my mother, or my in-laws. It was about me and my relationship with Him. Matthew 7:1-2, John 21:21-22
God used this moment to call me into an even deeper relationship with Him. What could I do to better serve Him? I didn’t set out to make my husband happy, to do things the way he wanted, or to even one up him. Instead, I focused on the Word. The more time I spent in the Word, the more I found myself changing. It seems that you do become more like the people you spend time with. Luke 6:40, Proverbs 13:20, 1 Corinthians 15:33
As God has molded and changed me, He has impacted those around me. Things still aren’t perfect, but things are always growing and changing. God has used the bumps in my road of life to bring me up closer to Him. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun, but it is always worth the trip.