leaving. loving.


Photo By: Christa Kimble

I’m a leaver. It’s my M.O. When I get angry I need to think about why and processing emotions, reason and layers of motive often makes me withdraw to my bubble, which, to my confrontational husband, is hurtful not helpful.

And it doesn’t matter if I’m trying to save him the pain of the blathering I don’t even understand  … he still needs me to stay and I still want to run.

I think he has yet to learn how predictable I really am, but 99% of the time I want to be chased.  The leaving gives me time to breathe and think and then I want a savior. I want him to come after me, to hug me, to tell me it’s ok and then talk our hurt through until we’ve realized it’s not such a big mess.

But, that doesn’t happen 99 percent of the time, because I communicate with my mouth the exact opposite sentiment.  “Leave me alone! And don’t follow me!”  I actually mean that for about 5 minutes.  When the steam blows over and I’m sitting alone, realizing how blessed I am and how ridiculous we’re being I just want to be chased.

Granted, it’s not the most comfortable pursuit and the first moment you lock eyes after the meltdown are an exact misery of pain and love and heartache.  Who’s going to give in?   Who’s right?  Does it matter?

And in the end it’s usually about our expectations being shattered, appreciation lost because we’re putting ourselves first and our identities shaken because we’ve started to believe the lies we didn’t know were hiding in the closet.

It happened to us in our first year of marriage:

We were learning, beautifully, how to live in the same space, share a bathroom and sleep at night in the same bed.  But none of these things were challenging compared to the single most horrific obstacle in our marriage …  aesthetic dorm room ugliness.

In his bachelor days Grant had a system by which he organized socks, underwear and t-shirts using an old laundry basket with holes cut in the bottom. It was genius – in and out, no folding necessary.   It was also stored behind a tall wooden wall that was our temporary headboard and from the moment I saw it I knew I was in trouble.

“This HAS to go.”  I said it like it was fact.  The eyes that stared back at me said this was definitely not an option and I would not be changing this.  My heart dropped in my chest and I argued.  I presented my reasons and told Grant that his system was ugly.  Bad idea!

We battled for weeks.  I suggested options and Grant shot them down.  I was beginning to feel like I didn’t matter.  My opinions didn’t count and deep inside I was weary of trying … trying to fix this, trying to create a haven, a home, trying.  Truth was I didn’t know how to do this.  I desperately wanted it all to change and instead of hearing my heart for our home Grant felt attacked.  By wanting to change this, to remove this thing he felt so strongly about he somehow saw me saying he wasn’t enough.  He wasn’t good enough and because I had spoken clearly about the ugliness of the system I was stomping all over the man God had created him to be.

Instead of encouraging him and rejoicing with him in the system he’d created I was speaking words of condemnation.  Instead of loving one another and coming to a solution we were set deep against one another, our own desires taking precedence and everything that came out of our mouths issued our selfish tendencies.

It all came to a head one day and I caved, unable to take the weeks of pressure that had been mounting due to the presence of the system and my lack of understanding regarding how this was affecting Grant.  In a fitful rage I slammed as many doors as I could and left my husband at his desk, stunned into laughter at the sheer insanity of my actions.

I did return.  I always do.  And the talking began.  We understood the need for communication, but in that moment I still wanted to run.  I loved grant and did not want to fight.  I surrendered to the fact I had no solution to the issue at hand.  And, with no solution came no change.   We moved forward in love and I began a silent battle I should have begun long before.

I began to pray daily about Grant’s system and the wall that was up in our bedroom, asking God what His solution could be.   I’m not a visionary when it comes to building things.  I just saw the wall and it made me want to cry.

I then pulled in my accountability partner.  I told her about our fight and the struggle this had all been and she began to pray with me that God would present the solution and Grant’s heart would be open to receive it.  We were also praying that God would change my heart.

A few days later I stood in our bedroom staring at the wall.  In a split second, a vision appeared before me of a built in wall unit with drawers and doors.  In the middle was a place for Grant’s system to be built in beautiful wood and it would clearly be a space saver.  Upon first look it seemed to be covered in silver.   I was almost knocked off my feet.  What had just happened?

For the first time in weeks my heart felt full.  I was smiling, jumping up and down inside, knowing God had provided the solution.  Now all I had to do was deliver the message in the proper manner.

I prayed that God would go before me … that Grant would be receptive.  I walked confidently before him and shared with him God’s idea for the new system.  It honored his system.  It told him I loved and appreciated his talents and I knew he could build this.  This was going to be a new project for him (super attractive) and all of a sudden, we were in a place of unity.  Our distance and selfish goals faded and we embarked on God’s plan for HIS system.

It was here I learned to take it all to Jesus.  He is interested in the details.  He was interested in OUR best … in this case, a system that was beautiful and a marriage of unity!   And only He knew what to do and how to do it.  He revealed to me the damage I had done by verbally assaulting “the system.”  It was a thing, but it was important to the one I loved.  By assaulting it, I had assaulted him.

My identity was frail.  I’d believed the lie that beauty … a haven for my family, was more important than my family itself.  It wasn’t what I would have said I believed, but I was living it.  In the way I was walking and talking, I was stomping on the lives of the ones I loved most and believing that because I was right in this one thing I was justified.

Jesus wants to take our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.   He will do it.  Say YES!

I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them; I will remove from them their hearts of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 11:19

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