Time for us moms and dads to take our eyes off our children and place them on our marriage. It's Marriage Monday again here at Hope at Home! Being intentional about our covenant relationship with our spouse will always bear fruit, for us and for our children. Kate (an adoptive mom) from One Flesh Marriage (a wonderful marriage blog--you should hop over there and get to know Brad and Kate Aldrich!) is sharing with us today.
We all have a tendency to look back on the past and remember horrible things, the ashes of our past; events that turn your stomach and just make you want to cry all over again. For some those memories are so strong that they conjure up the exact emotions you felt as it was happening, even after a significant amount of time.
As I look back on my own past, I know that I have a relatively blessed life. The painful experiences that I went through could easily be chalked up to normal growing pains and life with peers. None the less, those events have shaped and develop insecurities within me. There were times I was made fun of, left out of things, called names, etc.
We all Have Ashes
Perhaps for you, your parents got divorced leaving a void in your family; or maybe you were bullied and felt like you never fit in. Perhaps you lost a parent while growing up, or lost a sibling. Perhaps you were abused emotionally, spiritually, physically or sexually by someone you didn’t know, or worse by someone you knew and trusted!
Maybe your ashes were not about things that were done to you, but choices you made that bring back painful memories. All of these things will shape how you view yourself, how you view life, how you view God and how you view your spouse and your marriage.
These situations, the choices we made or the wrongs done to us are all ashes in our life. They are all garbage, yet we allow them to have life in us.
Beauty from the Ash
No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what has been done to you, no matter what you have done to others, God wants your ashes. He wants you to know that your ashes can be made into beauty by the One who loves you more than His own life. Jesus can make beauty from any and all ashes. And we can dance upon the ruins.
I know you may be thinking that the pain is too hard, that forgiveness for yourself or others just isn’t that easy. You are right, it’s not! If you are trying to do it alone. Jesus can help you to forgive and move on. It may not be easy, but you have to make steps towards healing and forgiveness. No matter what that looks like for your life and past hurts. He wants to create the most beautiful masterpiece with your life and your marriage. You only need to let Him!
Ashes in Marriage
I know this transformation to be true in my marriage. Brad and I had some really rocky times during the first five years of our marriage. We allowed our pasts to influence our one flesh union. Instead of giving our past over to God, we stayed stuck in the yuck that they created. There were times I was not sure what would become of us. I didn’t foresee divorce in our marriage (because we went into marriage believing that divorce was NOT an option), but I also did not foresee being able to connect with Brad on a true one flesh journey! I just figured we would keep on going on and keep on going on for all of our years together. It seemed very bleak and dismal.
Change Can Happen
But God has truly taken our ashes and made beauty from them. We opened our hearts to His will for our marriage, to His healing power, to His grace! He has taken our junk, our yuck and is creating a beautiful masterpiece.
So how do we get to this place of openness in our lives and marriages? How can we leave our junk at the foot of the cross and receive healing? How can we embark on a journey with our spouse to One Flesh?
The journey to hope and healing is not always the same for everyone. But it starts with taking steps. Acknowledge that the past is still alive in your life and keeping you from moving forward. Surrender your past, the hurts and the pain, to Jesus. Surrender and know that you are forgiven! Lay down the offensives that were done to you. Although this may be so difficult, NO hurt is too deep that Jesus can’t heal it.
Step Into the Future
I will be honest with you, after you lay it all at Jesus’ feet, you may need some help afterwards. Don’t see this as sign of weakness, or that God did not heal you completely. It is just reality that the past will keep trying to become reality again and rear its ugly head. So get some support and help. Meet with a pastor, trusted friend or find a professional Christian counselor. You have to break free from allowing these past hurts to have a hold on YOU! My past used to affect how I looked at myself, it affected the confidence I had as a woman and as a wife. Because it affected me and my marriage, it therefore affected everything else in my life. Your love for Jesus, love for yourself and love for your spouse are the pivotal foundation for all else in your life!
Take the steps today towards healing and away from the past. Step into the future with Jesus and your spouse by your side. Becoming a person of great strength, courage and confidence is a journey! Talk with God, ask for His help. Talk with your spouse, sharing your past hurts and allowing him/her to be a part of the healing process. We are one with our spouse, therefore we cannot separate ourselves. God intended for it to be that way. God wants to create a masterpiece with all the broken, jagged pieces of your past.
Will you let Him?
...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3)