Obedience > Sacrifice

 o·be·di·ence
noun
  1. compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.
sac·ri·fice
noun
  1. an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

I wanted to start this blog off with the definitions of obedience and sacrifice in order to tell y’all a little story about my life. Currently, I am exactly 2 years and 6 months to date into this whole divorce thing. You may even be wondering why I am still blogging about this, huh? Well…lessons, that’s why.

This blog is dedicated to my healing journey. It has been my refuge and way to make sense of what exactly happened in my marriage and help encourage you or even save your marriage. I am no marriage expert, but I do know now, what it takes to have a healthy marriage.

Initially, I named my blog “Marriage à la Carte” because I was married to a chef. I thought it was cute, and I wanted to talk about all the things you have to bring into the marriage to make it successful – you know? À la carte!

Marriage is like preparing for a 3 course meal. You have this idea in your mind of what it will be like, a vision. You’ve got to bring things to the table. You make a meal plan, you get the ingredients and you give it a whirl!

I’ve learned that marriage is made up of many parts. We don’t always get what we put in, but we still have to pour something into the pot. Love, respect, honor, patience, trust, humility, forgiveness, honesty and faithfulness are all things you need in marriage, but it doesn’t always come with it. You have to bring that into the marriage.

Marriage is an empty pot. An excellent meal doesn’t just come together because you have all the ingredients. You have to add the ingredients to the dish you are preparing, at the right time, at the right temperatures, in a specific order so that the dish you have in mind, comes together tastefully. The same is true in marriage.

Love doesn’t automatically make your marriage successful. Neither does respect, honor, patience, trust, humility, forgiveness, honesty and faithfulness. What makes your marriage successful is knowing when to show your partner love, learning what it means to respect their boundaries and their person. Honoring them when they don’t even necessarily deserve it. Learning to be patient with them and trusting they will do the same with you. Humbling yourself before them and most importantly before God. Forgiving them 70 times 7. Being honest and faithful to your partner at all times and combining all these things together, is what makes the perfect recipe for a successful marriage.

How does obedience and sacrifice tie into all this? Well, lemme esplain!

It took me divorcing Obed to learn about “Obedience”. It still makes me chuckle! God has a sense of humor. It may be the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my divorce. Obedience to God and obedience to my husband. It becomes greater than sacrifice, because it proves that we are able to be submissive to God’s calling on our lives, and submissive to the authority that God gave man over his wife.

Obedience is the highest form of flattery and worship to the Lord.

Sacrifice is great and important too, but when it goes up against obedience, it loses it’s power. Another important lesson for my own life. I think about how much I prayed for my marriage to be saved and how strongly I believed that God would save it. When He didn’t, I was angry and thought about the sacrifices I was making to “gain” that which I really wanted in my life: my marriage.

All the while, God revealed to me that the sacrifice I actually needed to make was giving up my marriage in order to pursue Him. Was my relationship with God not more important than my relationship with my husband? So I let it go. I gave it up. I even stopped praying for it entirely.

Now, I am actively pursuing God’s will for my life. Obed is no longer an active part of my life. He is a friend, someone I still love and admire for many reasons, but he isn’t my focus. For a long time, I wanted so badly to preserve my relationship with him in hopes of us reconciling, but now I only want to reconcile myself to God, every single day.

The rest lies in His hands and I am willing to wait upon the Lord, whatever that looks like for my life.

 

 

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A Reflection of My Heart

Today, I have been divorced for 2 years, 3 months and 11 days…

I cannot even begin to tell y’all what a blessing my divorce has been to my life. It is the single, most tragic, yet absolutely beautiful, life-changing thing that could have ever wrecked my life. It is amazing how things that are meant to break us and shake up our lives, can still allow for so much growth and beauty in our lives.

Perspective – that is what my divorce has given me. It has helped make and mold me into the woman that I am today.  I can’t stress to you enough, how going through this experience was the best-worst thing that could have ever happened to me.

When Obed and I divorced, I thought we were in a fairly decent place. I was excelling in my career, as was he. We were struggling, but I was determined to make things work. We started counseling and it was going great. Then suddenly, a major shift happened and it was not a good one. I was so frustrated and focused on all the things wrong in our marriage instead of focusing on the good. Despite the progress we were making, in my mind, it was not happening fast enough. I wanted Obed to realize his faults and flaws but I never for a moment considered my own. I just thought he was wrong and that he was the problem in our marriage.

Control. That is what I wanted and what I kinda always intended in my marriage. Obed was sweet. He was very patient with me. He hardly ever went up against anything I wanted. I was spoiled. He treated me so kind and always did everything in his power to make sure I felt good. He was selfless in our marriage. I wasn’t.

Now, I was good to him too, but I was not patient at all. I admired and adored him for so many reasons, but I was also very selfish. I loved getting my way and enjoyed our marriage when Obed was doing the things I wanted him to. Some would say I was probably a bitch to him. My family actually always brought things to my attention about my participation in my marriage. They saw the way I didn’t always honor Obed in our marriage. I never listened though. I knew what I was doing, and I knew Obed would never leave me…until he did.

Looking back now…man (sigh), it hurts my heart sometimes. It is a tough pill to swallow. As much as I like to think I was such a good wife to Obed, in reality, I wasn’t. There were so many things he needed from me that I never gave to him. There were definitely a lot of things I needed from him too, but when we accept responsibility for ourselves and our actions, it helps make sense of why certain things transpired in our marriage.

Whatever was in my cup (my heart) was what I was pouring out into my marriage. When it was good, it was amazing! But when it was bad…it was ugly! I did and said things to Obed that were just awful. Instead of lifting my husband up and acknowledging all the goodness in him, I chose to magnify all his faults and flaws. I pointed out everything that was wrong in him, without thinking twice about myself and how I was affecting my own marriage. Instead of magnifying my God in my marriage, I magnified our problems. I didn’t know how to fight fair. All I thought about was myself and how I wasn’t happy in our marriage.

As time has gone on and I have taken my divorce one day at a time, I can recognize how I contributed to the demise of my marriage. I understand now how I never listened to the things that Obed asked of me. I realize, that marriage is not only about “you” and what you get out of it. It is more about what you put into it. It is about loving your spouse where ever they are, in good times and in bad.

Marriage is about choosing to love your spouse, even when they are unlovable.

Marriage is hard work, no doubt. However, if you take a look at yourself first before you point out all the ways your spouse is failing you in your marriage, you might find that they are not the problem. You may discover that you have your own issues that you need to work through. Your husband or your wife is not responsible for your happiness. You are. They are just there to support you. They are your picker upper, when things aren’t quite right. Your spouse should be the person you confide in the most to help you be the best version of yourself possible. & if they aren’t healthy and happy, pray for them. Think about how you can show them grace, the way that God shows us grace every single day.

How can you love your spouse more like Christ loves us? Are you magnifying your problems instead of magnifying your God? Are you creating more problems in your marriage instead of creating a solution? Or have you even considered for a moment, that there is something you could be doing differently in your marriage?

Love your spouse. React to them in love, instead of lashing out. Honor them and check yourself first, before you start pointing fingers. Don’t think for one second that you are not responsible for where you are in your marriage – whether it is good or bad. Check the condition of your heart and it will change the condition of your marriage.

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In Waiting: We Find Peace

Eight (8) years – that is how long Obed and I would have been together this month, had we not gotten divorced. Our dating anniversary was July 23, 2009. Before, dates like this affected me so much. It made me so angry and upset. My heart would feel so heavy and sometimes it would bring me to tears. I’d allow an entire day be ruined by my double-mindedness. I would claim to have faith in God and trust in His plan for my life and my marriage, then I would contemplate over and over why or how we ended up divorced. A marriage I felt so strongly about and believed would be forever – now dissolved. It was heart-wrenching to go through, but looking back, I would not change my heartbreak or pruning for a “happily ever after”. I know God has that in my future.

One year and seven months later – I am stronger, wiser and more confident in who I am without Obed. As I have stated before, I don’t have anything negative to speak on in regards to my marriage or Obed as a human being. I will always regard him as a very special, unique and sweet person in my life. This does not mean that there were not any negative things about him – in fact, there were many. I just choose not to degrade him because regardless of my circumstance, I learned from him.

My short-lived 4 years of marriage helped make me into the person I am today. I learned so much about myself during my marriage and even more so after my divorce. I became a different person. I’ve learned to be a better listener, to be more compassionate, less judgmental and even how to fight fair. I understand now, that marriage is not about me. A husband is not responsible for making me feel happy or complete. Marriage is about honoring God. It is a covenant between two people to put Him first, while being selfless, drawing closer to God in unity with the person you have chosen to love, every. single. day. 

Love is a choice; it is not a feeling. Actually, it is more than just a choice, it is the intentional and unwavering decision to continue to love someone, despite their flaws. You know – like God loves us? Unconditionally.

That is how I tried to love Obed and sometimes I failed at it but I love and respect him enough to keep his flaws to myself. My mother always told me that a marriage is between 3 people: you, your partner and God. Everything else is not anyone else’s business.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I will share with you some of the lessons and not so glamorous moments in my marriage, because if it were all just rainbows and butterflies, I wouldn’t be blogging about my divorce. Obed wronged me. He betrayed me and hurt me. He absolutely was not a perfect mate, but neither was I. I was selfish. I didn’t always love him unconditionally. There are so many times that I can remember when I tore him down, instead of lifting him up. I was snide, disrespectful and I didn’t always honor him as my husband. He is guilty of the same. It’s bound to happen, when you get two imperfect people together. Regardless, however, I am grateful for my marriage and my divorce.

Y’all may or may not remember, but I posted a blog about blocking Obed, a while back. I felt like I needed to in order to sort things out within myself and “get over” him. However, that has since changed. He is unblocked, and we are now friends. It still kinda bothers me to regard him as such, because he was so much more than that to me, but it is what it is. We are friends.

I spent a lot of time, thinking of all the reasons why I should not be his friend. In fact, I’ve never been friends with an ex. I mean I don’t hate any of my exes. I would smile or say hi if I ever happened to run into them in public but with O, it is different. He was my husband. He was ONE with me and he is a scar on my heart that will remain there forever. Now if you are wondering why, I would keep in touch with him at this point, it is simply to share God’s love. One of the things that I remember so vividly about the demise of our marriage, is something Obed said about me to our marriage counselor. He told our counselor that because of me, he knows that God exists!

I don’t know about you, but that to me is pretty powerful. It means that I somehow impacted his life in a major way. It means that regardless of my imperfections, Obed saw God in me. Since my divorce, I have prayed and pleaded for God to show me if I need to let Obed go and this is what He has shown me:

I need to let go of the things over which I have no control. I need to let go of my feelings of fear, anger, resentment, uneasiness and judgment. It is not my place to understand God’s plan for my life, it is my place to trust Him. He has shown me that I can still love someone even when that love is not well received or reciprocated. He has replaced all those negative feelings with confidence, serenity, excitement, peace and acceptance. I know now, that I can be Obed’s friend and still love him from afar. It is ok for me to share God’s love with him and continue to be a light in his life. I don’t have to be constant, but I can be present. I can continue to pray for him and be a friend if he needs one.

I’ve let Obed go as my husband, but I have held on to hope that God will bring a new love into my life, when He is ready. One that will have many of the same qualities that I admired so much about Obed and even better ones, that I cannot even begin to imagine. Enough time has passed now, that I have let go of the idea of only loving Obed for the rest of my life. I have given myself permission to love someone else, and not feel like a failure because my marriage didn’t prosper. I understand now, that nothing I plan for my future will ever be prosperous, if God is not in it.

His plan will always prevail over mine, and that is where I want to lie down to rest and wait on God to fulfill His will for my life, whatever that may be.

 

 

 

 

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