By Susan Burkepile, Contributing Writer
Eli was on a quest.
He found an imaginary snake, snake skins, and dinosoar bones in our backyard. And so, when he tracked dirt in my kitchen to report another discovery, my patience was wearing a little thin. But I let him drag me outside one last time.
And there was a baby bunny.
After such a charade of fake treasures, a real find was completely unexpected.
But in my walk of faith, God often works in unexpected ways too.
I considered myself in control. Stable. Reliable.
Yes, I knew that anxiety had always been a stumbling block. But recently, my stability unexpectedly tumbled. My emotions unraveled – my anxiety spiraled out of control.
I quickly retreated into isolation and depression. But even before my climactic unraveling, it was silently eroding my relationships. And my marriage proved to be no exception.
Honestly, my husband never complained. Mike has gently accommodated my limitations and loved me despite them.
While none of these issues were crippling to our marriage, they revealed a weakness in our relationship. I was dependent on him. And marriage is not a one-way street. My dependency on him deprived him of blessings that I was unable to bestow on him.
I definitely have some regrets.
I have missed opportunities to appropriately affirm him in front of others or reach out to create common friendships. With my discomfort or silence, I have unintentionally implied dislike to people important to him. My lack of transparency has created communication barriers and negated the opportunity for us to pray together. I have interrupted his days when I needed him to drive me, asked him to leave activities early, and froze under pressure. I have ruined the pleasure of previously shared activities as my anxiety enacted frustration, tears, and anger.
But changing, in my own strength, was impossible. Unfortunately, the more I tried to move out of my comfort zone, the worse my heart raced. The less I slept. And the more anxious I became.And so, we waited on God. In time, He revealed my avid distrust in His love. And it broke my heart. But in that brokenness, God’s gracious love transformed my heart. And I became consumed in His gentle, but powerful, hold on my heart.
And the unexpected happened.
God’s power broke the grip anxiety had on my life. My physical symptoms faded. And consequently, our marriage began a new season.
We communicate. And not about the kids – about our affections, disappointments, and needs. If we leave an activity early, it’s not because I am miserable. We have engaged in deep friendships with other couples and enjoyed common encouragement, prayer, and support. And finally, we can differentiate between activities that will encourage us and activities that simply discourage and tear down the progress that God has graciously given us.
In each moment, God supplies His power and strength to continue releasing me. I no longer depend on my husband to compensate for my inadequacy. Instead, God’s power and love becomes my confidence.
And that has abundantly blessed our marriage.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” ~ Ephesians 3:20