Christian Walk, Divorce, Marriage

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry entitled The Story of Us. If you missed it, you definitely want to read it before continuing, as this is a follow-up entry. The Story of Us is the true story of how Tommy and I met and the events leading up to our marriage, while this post focuses on the lies I told myself that lead to our separation and divorce.

IMG_0568

I had known for some time that my marriage was strained and attempted to do everything in my power to make things work. I kept our home a little more tidy and made sure our boys didn’t get out of line. I tried to be more encouraging and found subjects to talk about with Tommy that I knew he enjoyed. I dressed nice to impress him and planned outings for us, although they rarely turned out as I had hoped. Everything I did was an outward attempt to be a better wife, and a better mother.

It was fairly easy to keep up the “good behavior” for short periods of time. But, when I saw my actions weren’t resonating with Tommy, I veered in the opposite direction and my kindness turned into hostility. I would often avoid Tommy and even ignored him, showing disrespect by raising my voice or worse, rolling my eyes. My desire for wanting Tommy to change was not wrong in and of itself. But, when I didn’t get a loving response in return, I acted out in anger and allowed my emotions to rule my behavior. Placing value on my feelings over obedience, my heart grew further away from Tommy, as well as the Lord.

When I had exhausted all attempts to save my marriage, I convinced myself that God was not capable of changing Tommy’s heart so I began devising a plan to remove him from our home and from my life. After pleading with Tommy to leave, he agreed with the expectation of returning. Although I led him to believe this brief time apart was temporal, I had no intentions of ever letting him back into our home.

The story of us and all the beautiful memories we had shared together were now a part of our past. The further I moved out of God’s will for my life, the easier it became to believe the lies. The realization that our marriage had been a mistake from the very start quickly became reality. You see, I had never really been in love with Tommy. He was a convenient target of my affections, and had manipulated me into marrying him.

As I am writing these words, I am horrified to read them back, but I’m sharing in hopes that God will use our story to help save one marriage. That one wife or one husband will identify with these same lies and turn back from their march towards divorce. Now, backing up a bit to explain how God made a mistake (note the sarcasm)…

Keep in mind I had been serving in Egypt with very little contact with men due to cultural differences. I was not living in a foreign country as a tourist, I was fully immersed in the culture. I dressed and acted like an Egyptian–not making eye contact with men or conversing with the opposite sex and fully covering my body as to not attract unwanted attention. Up until the time Tommy arrived in Egypt, I had not talked to or interacted with any single men my age with the exception of a handful of interpreters.

Tommy had made no suggestions of desiring anything other than friendship prior to or during his trip. It’s also important to note that he was personally invited and encouraged by me to join the group that was visiting. Regardless of the clear facts, I concocted a story in my mind to believe he had used my circumstances to strategically work his way into my life. Somehow, he had masterminded a plan from a thousand miles away to take advantage of the fact that I desired male companionship. His sole purpose for visiting Egypt wasn’t to serve the Lord or experience the culture and the fare, it was to manipulate me into falling in love with him. (Stay with me… I know it sounds ridiculous!)

During our two weeks together in Egypt, Tommy had shown a different side of himself. He was funny, charming, kind, outgoing and someone I really enjoyed being around. Initially, I viewed this as God opening my eyes to see Tommy in a new light. The Holy Spirit was prompting my heart and cultivating a love for him I had never previously felt. But, that truth was quickly replaced with my truth, which equated to whatever lie was most believable or in this case, the most unbelievable. It was Tommy’s use of mind control and manipulative tactics that coerced me into a long distance relationship with him that eventually lead me to the altar. In my vulnerable state, Tommy had set a trap for me and I had taken the bait!

Upon returning to the States, I went through an extended weekend of debrief counseling. My counselors advised me to take the time to properly acclimate back into western society and warned me to wait at least a year before making any long-term commitments. I later used this to further justify my reasoning as to why Tommy and I should have never gotten married in the first place. It was crystal clear to me, God had made a mistake! Sadly, I voiced these lies to Tommy and deeply hurt him in my quest to end his stand for our marriage.

I was so blinded, living in darkness and completely deceived by the enemy. Paul warns us about the evil powers of darkness against that which we struggle (Eph. 6:12). It is in the darkness that we fall prey to Satan’s attacks. Paul also reminds us that we are not to be outwitted by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.‭‭ 2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭

The problem is, I had neglected to identify my enemy. It wasn’t Tommy; it was Satan all along. Like a lamb being led to the slaughter, I was heading straight into the den of the roaring lion.

Dear friend, don’t be outwitted! Heed the Word of the Lord and view Satan’s attacks for exactly what they are… detours on God’s perfect path for your life. If you are standing for your marriage, please know that you are not alone in your journey. There are others out there, holding onto hope that God will deliver their loved one from out of the mouth of the lion just like God delivered me.

In Christ,
Amy Larson

 

Christian Walk, Church

Gather Together

Gather Together

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬

By God’s design, we were created to be relational beings and were not meant to be alone. When God breathed life into Adam and Eve, He formed them to be in fellowship with Him and with each other. Scripture signifies the importance of relationships and weaves together a beautiful picture of oneness as depicted in the Trinity (1 John 5:7-8), amongst the church body (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), between husband and wife (Ephesians 5:31) and between Christ and His Bride (Ephesians 5:32). We were designed to live in companionship with one another, loving and encouraging our brothers and sisters as a unified body.

As we are growing together, we should be maturing in our relationships with the intent of becoming more like Christ in both our marriages and as a church. Our fellow believers are surrounding us to be the accountability partners and support team we need and vice versa. The church should be a sanctuary for those in troubled relationships, but more often than not, we disconnect from the very people that can offer us the most help. Whether we believe we are the only ones experiencing hardships, or we are just too prideful to ask for help, we forget our brothers and sisters are united with us in one body.

Like the body, there are many parts, each with differing roles to help make it function more efficiently. Knowing the purpose for unity in the body, why then do we forsake the assembling of ourselves together? There are a multitude of reasons ranging from church member hypocrisy, to worship style preferences but ultimately, in light of the charge to attend church, they are merely excuses. It speaks to a heart that is disinterested in close Biblical fellowship with the Lord if we don’t make it a priority to attend church. We focus on how the body can benefit us instead of how we can benefit the body, and the selfishness of our hearts causes us to lose sight of the true design of the body of Christ.

But, it’s not just enough to “go to church” we need to make sure the church we are attending is Bible believing, gospel-centered, and doctrinally sound. Many churches today have strayed from the Biblical path and have welcomed worldly and false doctrines into their preaching and teaching. We must be mindful and always seeking God’s truth so as to discern what type of yokes we form with other professing bodies of believers.

We shouldn’t gather as a body just out of a sense of duty or obligation, but to participate in the profound mystery any person or group could ever experience: a wholeness within the body and as the Bride united together with Christ. There is a presence of the Holy Spirit where two or more are gathered in His name and a fullness of joy reserved for the Bride. When we gather this Easter to celebrate the single greatest sacrifice in history, praising the name of our risen savior, let us unite in Christ’s name not just this Sunday, but every week, serving one another together so we can experience the fullness of God as He intended.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15-16‬

In Christ,
Tommy & Amy Larson