She graciously agreed to write about her journey here. Her discipline, intention, and commitment are such an inspiration.
I think you will find Robyn’s story a wonderful example of how much a woman can change when she lets God guide her growth.
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Chris over at Forgiven Wife invited me to share a little deeper regarding a comment in which I had spoken of a 365 Day Journey. Today’s post is that amplification. In her email she wrote something I want to share: “The process of change can seem an insurmountable hurdle […]”
This is where I want to jump off from to start.
Indeed it was insurmountable. Although I knew what God had showed me to do, I had no idea how He was going to change me or what I was going to be like at the end of the journey; this was flying blind for sure. I only knew for sure where I was: It was time for something to change. Our marriage had been ravaged; beaten up and bleeding… dying; a barely recognizable corpse. A sorry sight for representation of Christ and His church. Anais Nin captured my day when she wrote, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Did you catch that? “… the risk to remain tight … MORE PAINFUL … than the risk to blossom.”
Either way I risked: Risk is the key. The Lord told me that by remaining “tight in a bud” I was entering dangerous territory. Faith in myself was too great a risk and my efforts had now proved failure. He wanted me to risk it all … on Him. This then, was the first step. The knowledge that it wasn’t really about me and Darrell or our marriage; but about my trust in my heavenly Father. It was about faith; God and me. All of the elements and conditions that comprise a marriage are merely tools in God’s loving hands to shape my heart.
I remember the day, it was July 17th. And I had to tell Darrell; yup, didn’t like that part too much. I was afraid that by telling what was going to happen it would be an admittance of guilt that all of the problems in our sex life were my fault. And God said, “It’s not about ‘the’ problem or who’s at fault. You think with a divided heart; you should be One Flesh … where there is no division. Focus 100% on being the wife I want you to be. Not on what kind of husband I want Darrell to be. Daughter that is none of your business.”
In my original comment I stated, “My first step was to actively initiate sex every day for 1 year.”
I now see that the proactiveness of my initiating sex worked hand in hand with the internal work God was doing with my heart. In his book The Go-Giver, Bob Burg captures this Biblical precept in the fictional character, Joe. Each day Joe learns a different precept about giving but the most powerful part of each lesson is not the hearing of the information but rather the morphing of that information into personal knowledge; this happens through the doing of the lesson.
At first it went along well, but then we ran into a road block. Darrell became suspicious that it was only an act; and as such, began to reject my advances. I shared with him on a deeper level that I understood how it could seem as an act; and it would be only acting if there wasn’t the desire in me to adapt to him. I showed him some of my journal notes and what God had been teaching me on two of the verses from my list; Ephesians 5:22 & 33b.
Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.
[…] let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].
I’m proud of Darrell for stepping out in faith and trusting my relationship with our Father. I know it was hard for him to go against the past memories of rejection that were so imbedded in his flesh. Without his faith this process would have taken me much longer and been more difficult. But to his credit he trusted God.
As I stated in my original comment, there were 11 groupings of core verses. They were given in a specific order. I’ve omitted the specific verses as they were given directly to me and for me. We are all individuals and God would chose different parts of His Word for a different sister and perhaps even for me if it had been a different time in my maturity. I wouldn’t want anyone to think my list of verses as a “prescription” of any kind.
I will say that none of the core list had any of the standard verses on marriage, wives or submission or even sex; weird, I know. It was with these core verses that I always began the study; but the further into the journey I got, the more we springboarded to different verses.
I think it’s important to note that God only gave me three parameters regarding His Word:
- Study with Me first thing in the morning.
- I’ve given you specific verses, use them.
- Keep on a continual loop and don’t deviate unless I show you where and when.
Sometimes I moved through the list twice in one week; other times I struggled and was ‘stuck’ on a single verse for 3 weeks. Within each group there was always a section to read and meditate on and specific verses to memorize.
I realize that sticking to a mere few verses goes against many devotionals that promise to take you through the Bible in one year. Not to mention how much of a grind it sounds like. But I think that’s part of it. It’s work to change and you have to be willing to wrestle with God as He holds you in place while you learn what He knows is best for you.
The most exciting prospect I received from God was how serious He was about actually really changing me. It was when He compared my study with Him to attending university for a degree that I understood the gravity of what He was doing in me. University is focused learning; it’s drilling down on what you are going to need in order to finish out the rest of your life to support yourself. Learning this was going to give me the undergirding of knowledge and necessary tools to support our marriage … for the duration of our time on earth.
Every day started the same. A fresh page in my journal book with the heading of the date followed by the day count of 365, then the verse(s) I would be reading and writing. Sometimes I wrote in prayer style, sometimes study style or point form. Other times, it was just writing out a particular verse – over and over and over again. And to be honest there were pages that only had the day count out of 365 and were covered in tears. Having your brain and heart rewired to God’s specifications hurts and it’s not easy. When we decide to take a-hold of Paul’s prayer for us in Romans 12:2, it’s important to make a plan and count the cost to help keep you on track. By staying on track with a plan I was able to build into perseverance in faith.
Image credits: Robyn Gibson