After my separation and divorce, even though I had a good paying job with good benefits I still struggled. I struggled to learn to handle finances alone and I struggled with feeling alone. I felt abandoned by the people who I felt by right should have been there for me and my girls, to check on us, to make sure we were okay, to ask me questions and listen for my answers. Instead they were listening to him. Talking to him. Hanging out with him, as if he were telling the truth, and I was lying.
I don't own the pic I used for this post, but it perfectly depicts what my heart felt like for so very long. The tears poured out of my heart and down my face so many days and nights. There was also a lot of anger and frustration with God. I would become so angry with Him and would often say to Him, "You took everybody else away from me and You are all I have left and this is all You have for me? It's like you're on his side too! You're all I have left and this is all I get? Is this all You have for me?" I felt like He should have been taking better care of me. He should have been there for me. Life was really hurting me and I felt like He wasn't there for me like I needed Him to be. I felt like He was allowing things that He should have been preventing. He should have been there to stop those bad things and hurtful things from happening to me. Even when I was faced with something that had potential to go sour, as I suppose all things do, I would be so afraid that He would drop the ball on me and allow the bottom to fall out from under me. So much had happened that was so painful, that I pretty much in my heart just waited for things to go wrong, and unfortunately I often got what I expected.
One day I was in my car and thinking about the things I was dealing with and He spoke to me and said, "You have a fear of abandonment. You think I'm going to leave you. You think I'm going to do to you what people have done to you." It was true. If I honestly summed up all of those feelings I was having, that's what it boiled down to. I saw every disappointment as being abandoned by God. I had no perception of Him walking through the fire with me, holding my hand, keeping me, covering and protecting me. My perception of Him was not based on His Word, and His promise to never leave me, but it was based on my experiences with the people who I felt had left me high and dry, just out there by myself. I thought I should be able to depend on them to at least check on me and the girls periodically to see if we were dead or alive, or if we had food, but up to that point, that had never happened and it actually was several years before anything like that did happen for me. I felt abandoned by the people who supposedly loved me and I transferred that hurt into a fear toward God. You see, until we form our own personal relationship with God, our perception of Him is formed by what we receive from human interaction. The enemy loves this because he uses it to his advantage to have many of us suffer all kinds of abuse as children even from infancy. He knows that this will distort our view of who God is, and cause us not to trust His love for us. When we finally establish a personal relationship with Him, we see Him for who He is and this reshapes our perception of not only Him, but also of imperfect humans. Although I had been saved quite a while, I was still young in my relationship with God so for a long time I was seeing Him the same way I saw people. I was always afraid that just when I needed Him most, He would go the other way. Unfortunately it seemed to play out like that quite a bit, which fueled my frustration with Him. It made me angry with Him, for things He had not even done and actually has promised in His Word that He would never do. He was and is completely incapable of treating me the way I felt He was treating me.
The Lord is the only one who can "tell you about yourself" and bring healing to you at the same time. He truly does chastise/correct those He loves. Hearing this truth made me look at my life and see clearly how I was making God guilty of what people had done. It revealed to me that I needed yet another mindset adjustment. I needed to trust His Word and the promises in His Word. It made me have to start paying attention to my thoughts and begin to learn to think differently. I had to begin to learn to turn my fear into faith. My words toward Him needed to change and quite frankly, I needed to humble myself. There's something about feeling abandoned that if you're not careful, can cause a sense of entitlement to rise up in you, where you might find yourself demanding answers or actions from God. Where instead of laying claim on the promises He has left on record in His Word, you instead place demands on Him about what you think He should be, ought to be, or is supposed to be doing for you. I had a terrible episode before He spoke. It was an excruciatingly painful experience that I'll never forget and I pray that no residue of that mindset is left inside of me.
You may wonder why this is a part of my Single Life Series. Well it's actually very simple. We will model our relationship with our spouse after our relationship with our God. If we don't trust Him to be there for us when we need Him most, we will worry a spouse half to death with that same kind of fear. We will see every time that they can't be there for us on our terms as being abandoned by them. If we never learn to trust that the Lord will never leave us and never forsake us, even when it seems and feels that He's far away, we will never trust that a spouse will honor "til death do us part", even in times of few words being spoken. If we aren't able to trust God's thoughts toward us, and His heart toward us, we will never really believe that our spouse has our best interest at heart even in times when they don't necessarily agree with or understand us. If we are unable to trust in the faithfulness of God, why should we trust that a man or woman can or will be faithful to us in marriage? If we get angry with God for not keeping all the bad and hurtful things away from us, we will be ready to file for divorce if that spouse can't make things happen for us keep trouble from hitting our household.
Listen to your own thoughts in times of crisis and challenge. What are you telling yourself about your God and how He will handle the situation for you. Are you afraid He won't come through for you? Are you afraid that He's going to drop the ball? Throw you under the bus? Leave you hanging? Do you compare Him to imperfect humans who have done those things to you? Or do you turn to Him with full assurance that He is there for you no matter what? Good questions to ask before you enter into a relationship and especially marriage, because your answers will help you to gauge how you will respond to a spouse who can't work miracles. Or you might even destroy a potential marriage by expecting too much from someone you’re dating or courting. The Lord wants us, His precious singles to know that He's got us. He's got our back. Not only is it true that He won't leave, but more than that, He can't leave, because He said He wouldn't and he can't lie.
Allow His promise to be the pillow on which you rest your head as He walks you through every trying situation. Allow His faithfulness to you to prepare your heart to rest in the faithfulness of one that He will trust with your heart and hand in marriage.