Of a spiritual kind...
I don't normally like to wade into truly deeper waters on this blog, but I am impressed to share so I must. In the past I've hinted at the bleak wad of hurt, depression, confusion, and anger that has clung to my spirit since Mr Amazing Dude's deployment. God's gentle scraping at the layers of muck is painful and has taken time as healing occurs slowly with anything. Yesterday, He peeled the wad off my back and the invisible onion skins off my eyes that I've been seeing though the past three years. The world is a vividly beautiful place again--so much so it's nearly overwhelming. But it is good.
You see, I've been deceived. Duped. Like Eve of Eden.
One dark night after we knew Mr Amazing Dude was being deployed, but before he actually departed, a worm bored into my heart. A nasty, milky grub. It chewed on the leaves of hope and vines of love, leaving the tattered remains of my faith garden in its wake.
The worm whispered to me that I needed to be prepared to give up my new husband to God. The more I clung to my husband, the more the worm persuaded me that I had to be willing--had to be okay to let God take my husband home if He so choose. I didn't even want to think about this possibility, but it haunted me during our final weeks together before Uncle Sam took him to Iraq. The worm then grew fat chomping all the tender shoots of faith that tried to spring up during the deployment.
At the time, I hadn't known fully the name of the worm. I know it now--it was Fear. And I had let it grow so strong, I couldn't see straight--I had developed a crooked view of God. Knowing that I had to put God first in my heart, Fear said that in order to do this, I had to let my husband go. In fact, Fear said that God demanded it. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I believed that God wanted me to emotionally/spiritually sacrifice my husband to Him to show that I truly trusted Him to take care of me no matter what. Deep down, I must have known this was wrong, because I resisted it. But it had the veneer of truth--that God had to be first in my life--and so I struggled to swallow it and viewed my resistance as rebellion to God. To do so meant living by halves--one arm embracing my husband, the other pushing him away because the pain of losing him was too much to endure. In the end, it was God who I pushed away as much as my husband.
In turn, I expected God to come in and reassure me that I was indeed doing the right thing. To comfort me during my husband's absence.The perceived lack of response from God when I felt I was drowning caused a great deal of confusion which led to entrenched hurt against God that over time gave way to anger.
Nearly a year later, the safe return of Mr Amazing Dude only complicated things as the worm, stayed, forgotten in the celebrations of homecoming. My joyful embrace of my husband was restrained--tainted with a new fear that my failure to fully give my husband up to him might somehow anger God and He would suddenly require his life from me. Crazy thoughts, I know. But buried so far under the surface that at the time I could scarcely recognize them.
And then, yesterday, I discovered that God had not been asking me to be ready to give my husband up. Quite the opposite actually! He has brought us together in marriage for a purpose, and wants me to fully embrace and engage my husband and the life we have. Instead of sacrificing my attachment and love for Mr Amazing Dude to show my "trust" in Him, all along God has wanted me to trust in His goodness and live in hope, not fearful expectation of the death of my husband. He had wanted me to believe that He would bring him home.
I know someday, unless Jesus returns first, either me or Mr Amazing Dude will die, leaving the other one behind. Just like I could never be prepared fully for marriage or having children, I can't be prepared for the death of a love one. And God doesn't ask me to be. He doesn't want me to trudge about gloomily expecting what I most fear to happen. God asks me to trust in His goodness and live fully the life He has given me. His goodness is not some psychotic, twisted, Tim Burtonesque form of good--His goodness REALLY is good because extends directly from His love.
Once I realized this, I cannot describe the intense mixture of freedom, joy, shame, and relief I felt. It was amazing--jolted by seeing the love and goodness of God as if for the first time. I had no idea the half-life I'd been stumbling about in--that I'd only been half-loving my husband and God--unknowingly afraid to love lest it be snatched away all because I was seeing God through a filter of fear. And as horrible as this whole thing has been and as ashamed as I feel about my wrong thinking toward God, I don't think I'd know God's love quite so clearly without having experienced it.
I still feel sad when I think about the deployment, but the scorching pain is gone. God eradicated it yesterday with the worm. All this time, I've been reading my Bible and praying, but found that truth without love is weak. Truth by itself couldn't kill the fear. Love really does conquer all--really does cast out fear.