The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!
This Dare challenges us to encourage our husbands by giving them positive feedback about things they consistently do in our lives. I’m relieved to have a day where the Dare was a pleasure to do.
As I’ve shared in several of my Respect Dare posts, I’m struggling with this process. More often than not, I face something about myself that I don’t like. I’ve recognized things that continue to drag me down. I am seeing the walls I’ve built around me. I can’t seem to let go of my own sin and accept all that Christ offers me. This Respect Dare has shown me my sins, my baggage, my failures—and I’m not even halfway through.
I am very hard on myself. I know this. I even understand why I am like this. It’s on my list of things to work on in myself—but not just yet. At this point, it is good for me to be able to recognize my own failings. After so many years of convincing myself that I was right and justified in the ways I was hurting mymarriage, recognizing my own failure is a huge success. To me, this is a matter of losing a battle in order to win the war.
Writing my post for Dare 16 was very difficult. I didn’t expect to feel so broken by the time I got to the end of it, but I did. I considered not posting it at all. By the time I stepped away from the computer, I was raw and in pieces. Writing the post hadn’t blessed me, and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be blessing anyone else.
But over the next two hours, God gifted me with blessings. About fifteen minutes after I finished writing that post, my husband could see that I was distressed and asked me what was wrong. I sat and just poured my heart out to him. The very thing I had wanted for years was to feel free enough to share my real feelings with my husband and know that I would still be loved. A little while later, I got an email from Jennifer at Unbroken Woman; she is leading us in the Respect Dare. She sent an email to several of us bloggers who are sharing the Dare with her, to encourage us and to share some words, a prayer, and a song.
Yesterday’s post was incredibly difficult to write. The Dare had stripped away another layer that I’ve built around myself–a layer that keeps me from full communion with my husband and with God. It was hard to write because I was hurting. Then, my husband invited me to pour out my struggles to him; it was just the comfort I needed to feel whole again. Then I read Jennifer’s email and listened to the song, which was also healing. By the time I woke up this morning, I felt like a whole version of myself again. I was full of joy today. I am thankful for my husband and for Jennifer for reaching out, not knowing just what I needed but blessing me with it anyway.
Then, this morning, I came to see how the blessings God sends us transform into even more blessings.
I work with several Catholic sisters (nuns). This morning, I stopped in to visit with one of the sisters who had just returned from her annual retreat. She seemed agitated, which is quite unusual for her. She shared with me that she had been reading about the holocaust and was horrified at the darkness inside humans. She and I are both of German heritage; we both had close relatives who would have supported what happened under Hitler. It is a hard burden to carry at times, wondering if we would have had the courage and conviction to stand up for what was right. She stood and wept in my arms as she thought about all the darkness inside her as she questioned how someone with such darkness could even claim to do God’s work.
I found myself sharing with her about this process I am going through, about submitting to God, about spiritual warfare. I thought of what I have learned about myself over the past few years and especially over the past few weeks; God gave me words of ministry to this sister. It is only when we are aware of our dark places that we can know where to open ourselves to the light and let God do His mighty work on us. When we see darkness in ourselves, we can choose to hide it, thereby giving power to the enemy, or we can hold up a mirror and face our darkness head-on–and we never have to do it alone. We have God. We have the people God has placed in our lives.
As I’ve been working on myself and my marriage, I’ve been working on blessing my husband. I have seen his gratitude and know that he feels blessed. It never occurred to me that the blessings would be returned to me ten-fold to allow me to extend those blessings to other children of God, hurting and in need of healing. When we reach out to others in God’s name, we pay blessings forward–blessings that we may never ever see.
All this work I’ve been doing on myself, as hard as it has been, allowed me to minister to a sister this morning. Being so raw from writing last night made it easier for me to absorb those blessings from my husband and from Jennifer, and it allowed me to pass that blessing on to a woman who will pass it on to others.
How have you blessed someone today?
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)