Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our Story: From Despair to Unspeakable JOY

Our Story: From Despair to Unspeakable JOY
Dedicated to the husband of my youth, my one true love, Vince. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Written by Mrs. Kim Hawkins

I started to pray for my future husband when I was 14 after the advice given me by my sister-in-law, Carol. I confidently prayed with great expectation with child-like faith for the man I would one day marry. As I prayed for him, a love was seeded in my heart for this man I had envisioned and a growing endearment began.
After meeting on a blind date, we formed a friendship. Within months, we were engaged. In less than a year, we were married. It all happened very natural and so effortless. I wasn’t nervous at all and even ate half of a BBQ sandwich that my dad gave me before heading to the church.

After the wedding, we bought a sweet house on a corner lot.  I immediately started thinking about trading out my job and sports car for a minivan FULL of babies. “This will be wedded bliss,” my very na├»ve and young mind confidently believed. A year quickly passed and I found myself decorating the Christmas tree all alone on our first anniversary while my husband hung out with his buddies (Me: I’m not ready to think something might be wrong; Him: “Huh? What’s wrong?”)

As time went on, I very selfishly focused all my attention on becoming pregnant, preparing for baby, and nursing my babies for over 18 months (with not one supplemented bottle), over-planned birthday parties, matching Christmas pajamas, perfect Easter baskets, smocked John-John’s and smocked dresses with ruffled socks and leather Mary-Jane shoes, sponge rollers, a custom bow to match every single outfit. This was my job; my calling. I was good at it.

My Husband had his calling too, his work, he was also very good at it. Working long hours, traveling on weekly business trips, and golf on the weekends to reward himself for all the long hours he’d put in.
Are you starting to see the breakdown here?? It’s making me sad just to see it here in print.
Here is where I started allowing bitterness to slowly creep in. It’s such a slow fade that you don’t even notice that the person you were who was full of hope, joy, and unconditional love steps outside, then onto the porch. One day, she’s gone! I can’t remember who I once was or how I became so angry.

This is shamefully where I began to passive-aggressively take out my frustrations, loneliness, and hurt on my oh-so-precious groom. I began to make slight jabs and jokes at my husbands expense in front of our friends, his co-workers, our families…It really didn’t matter. I spoke ill of him to whoever would listen. Those slight jabs progressively worsened as the years passed by too.
This behavior very clearly DID NOT draw him near to me, only causing more loneliness, hurt, rejection, and frustration. We did try many different counselors over the years, but things were so strained. Life sure won't stop and there’s work to get done.

Two things my husband and I undoubtedly have in common: we are both very passionate and are very strong-minded. We are NOT quitters (why do you think we have made it 20+ years). So our arguments were often and heated, both having valid points.
After years of hurt and disappointment, I once cried out to God saying, “Why did you let me marry the wrong man?” I specifically heard in my heart The Lord tell me, “He’s becoming the man you prayed for.” This divine affirmation kept me going when nothing else could.
Recently, I was knocked off my feet-flattened really-by a very hard blow. It has been the worst heart ache in my life. Brokenness that I never knew was possible quickly followed. It’s taken months of professional counseling and prayer to overcome. The counseling I've been receiving is so great and it has opened my eyes. I had withheld love, respect, laughter, and joy, because I was holding onto so much hurt instead of offering forgiveness, love, and grace UNCONDITIONALLY, as God does for us.

God so graciously revealed my faults and nasty self-protective habits that kills any chance of a good relationship. I now allow myself to be vulnerable and to love with no expectations. We now have an amazing bond and tenderness that otherwise would not have come.  We take every chance to be alone together and make our marriage the priority it should have always been. We now laugh together and delight in each other, just like we are newlyweds again.

Thank God, I finally see-REALLY SEE-the true gift of my husband. In the past, I would focus on what was wrong, not being able to see much good. If I’m pointing a finger now, it’s usually at me. “Where am I in the wrong, Lord?” Guarding my beloved husband, I now choose to look at only the good, and there is SO very much.

I am forever grateful that our lives are changed forever and we are finally able to be what we were brought together to be! He is most definitely the man I prayed for and only God could pick such a perfect fit for me!

Challenge: My negative reaction to my hurts (the symptoms) could have been a red flag for those around us that are older and wiser to step in and offer seasoned advice, to recommend help, make a suggestion, and pray. Please take the time to sincerely ask about and lovingly encourage couples in your circle about any areas of concern you may witness.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

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