The Crazy-Ex

If anyone was a crazy ex-wife, it was me.

You know how you meet those people who have wild stories about how their ex-spouse turned into this crazy person…they went off the deep end and became someone they hadn’t been before.

They started being super aggressive, maybe making the custody battle near impossible  or making unreasonable demands. Or maybe they started acting out, partying, sleeping around. They just became CRAZY!

You don’t know how many times I heard that I was being called the Crazy Ex-Wife. Or that so-and-so saw our failed marriage coming from a mile away. Or that you-know-who hated me with a vengeance because of my behaviour.

I was that wild wife that left a lovely husband and became something she never had been before. I was self-absorbed, I was aggressive, I was demanding, I started swearing like a trucker and drinking like a fish…I turned into this wild, worldly girl that couldn’t give two hoots about what others thought of me. And I liked it. I liked that I swore and partied. I liked that I just slept around and didn’t feel remorse. I liked who I had become.

But when God grabbed me back, I realized that all of this had been a cover. It was all behaviour that Satan had tricked me with, making me burn perfectly good bridges in order to ruin me. I realized that I had been sick, fatally ill with spiritual blindness.

I believe that the world has created the title, The Crazy Ex, in order to shirk their responsibility to this person. It’s a way to remove ourselves from their lives, separate us from dealing with their issues. It’s a way for us to pretend that we don’t need to feel a connection to that person any longer. It’s a way to justify giving up on them.

But I know from experience, both being The Crazy Ex and then the returned prodigal aching for forgiveness, that we can’t ignore this individual. We can’t let them leave our lives and pretend they never existed.

It’s exhausting having to deal with them, I know. But reaching out every now and then and letting them know you’re still there, doesn’t take too much. They might not respond, but that quick text or call will be a moment for them.

This Crazy Ex is sick and we have an obligation to them, as a friend of the marriage, as a Christian, as a believer in the power of prayer. We are obligated to hold this person up to God. To remind the heavens of the marriage vows. And to stand firmly for the For Better or Worse, In Sickness and In Health, even when the spouses don’t have the strength or will to.

When we go to a wedding, we’re not just there to see pretty flowers and a beautiful dress. We’re not present to witness the tears. We’re there to bear witness to the vows being said before God and to help support that marriage when the partners aren’t capable.

If you know of a Crazy Ex, don’t give up on them. Do battle for them. Refuse to gossip. Stand against bitterness or damaging opinions.

I like to ask the question “If this person returned to who they once were, the person you originally married, would you be saying this about them? Would you welcome them back?” Often, the answer is No. But I wonder what the true answer is…not the answer that is being protective or worried, but the answer that would come out of a moment of thoughtfulness. I’m positive the answer would be a heartfelt Yes.

This return is possible. This person, this wild runner, needs our help to return to their old, true self. They will return. I personally know how truly, completely, dramatically, they can return…and we can’t be shutting the door in their face when it happens. We need to be an open door and a save haven for their broken heart to come rest when that heart-change happens.

 

 

For Better & For Worse

Vegas is always a fun place to go, especially when you’re at your wits end in your marriage and just wanting to let off steam. I didn’t party though, I had gone there on a business training trip. On the last night one of the girls and I went out to see the sights.

A quick gander of the Cowboy Ugly saloon in New York New York lead to meeting a few random people and we explored with them for the rest of the night. One pub here, a restaurant there…little to no drinking on my part, but it was fun! Flirting, laughing, exploring…one of the guys in the group and I hit it off by the end of the night and he had asked me up to his room. As far as I remember, there was no physical contact between us, but that doesn’t mean the desire wasn’t there. In a setting like that, when your marriage is struggling, of course the desire is there. I said no to his offer even though I wanted to. I just knew that I couldn’t realistically act on that urge.

This was another sign to me that I needed to leave my marriage. If the temptation to cheat was so strong, eventually I would give in to it, and I couldn’t do that to my husband. I needed to leave before I hurt him like that. He needed someone to love him more than I did.

It’s so interesting to me that feelings like this and others I had felt in the past, were signs to me that I needed to leave my marriage. If I was struggling with these thoughts, I assumed that I didn’t love my husband enough and I shouldn’t be in my marriage…when in actuality, they were signs of the dysfunction of my own heart, and red flags of correction that I, personally, needed to make. They shouldn’t have been reasons for me to leave my husband, they should have been reasons I needed to be honest with myself and my husband and seek help.

These struggles weren’t abnormal, they were ones that many individuals go through. They aren’t a reason to divorce, they’re a reason to assess the situation. Maybe love isn’t being given and / or received so the individual is looking else where. Maybe connection isn’t being felt. Maybe there’s a spiritual imbalance which has lead to an unhealthy thought life.

None of these issues are impossible! They’re all able to be corrected with counseling, intentional changes within the marriage, corrections to thought processes…But of course, that would mean admitting to my own faults, humbly asking for help and working at applying the steps it would take to make a change.

Doing this is so difficult, admitting unhealthy behaviour or thoughts is a blow to the pride and ego. But leaving a marriage because of these issues doesn’t mean they stop. You still carry these issues into whatever life situation comes next.

Dealing with your own issues before ruining a marriage because of them is the healthier, albeit harder option. It saves a severing that takes years to recover from, if at all. It prevents a situation that God has said he hates. It allows two people to work on themselves and become better individuals and a healthier team. You’ll grow, you’ll learn and God will bless the efforts he sees you making to heal yourself and your covenant.

I truly believe that a bigger blessing is waiting for you on the other side of this struggle. The covenant we make in front of God on our wedding day is sacred, it’s an earthly and obvious reflection of God’s relationship with us. He will back the efforts we put into it and will show us his presence in ways we thought were impossible. We need to stubbornly push through the For Worse to reach the For Better.

Single-For-Now

Being called to a single-for-now life has it’s struggles. Obviously. Have you ever tried living against the flow of culture?? Everywhere you go, there are messages telling you that where you’re at isn’t good enough.

You need him.

You need her.

You should feel like that.

You should do this.

Dress like that.

Flirt like this.

Sex. It. Up.

There’s magazine covers, posters, TV shows, movies, social media…even taxes tell you that if you are with someone, they’ll go easier on you. The world shouts that there is more benefits to being attached than there are to being an individual.

The world, and unfortunately a lot of the Christian community, tells the single person that they won’t be happy until they’re with someone (“we need to find you someone”). And then when they’re finally dating, they need to get married (“has he proposssssed yet?!”). And then when they’re married, they need to have kids (“so like, are you guys trying??”).

We’re told as singles that we will be more fulfilled when we have a partner.

But what about those that God is calling to be single, even if it is just for a season?

I am convinced that this is a stage I am in. I have my reasons, God breathed reasons (I’d change them if I could, trust me), but still, when I tell people this they have a worried look in their eyes. They still subtly hint at matching me with one of their friends. Or tell me that “*shrug* maybe you just need to heal”. Girl, it’s been seven years of working through healing, I’m pretty sure there’s more to this season than getting over past hurt.

I do believe that this is a stage. A, God willing, temporary stage. But if God continued to lead me to be single for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Often I wonder who would be the right fit to stand beside me in this journey God has given me.

What sort of man would be willing to accept that so much of my ministry revolves around my previous marriage?

No, it’s not fear of this that keeps me away from a relationship. But it’s a question that I often think about.

If the human life is created to have relationship with the Lord and to bring Glory to His name and an individual is doing this well without a romantic partner, why isn’t that our focus as a Church, instead of making sure they meet someone special?

Our focus as the Church body should be centered on relationship with our Saviour, not relationship between the sexes.

Are we living on fire for God’s word, striving towards obedience, communicating with Him and keeping our eyes on His prize?

Or are we frustrated with our relationship status, trying to rush a stage that isn’t there yet, or maybe forcing a single guy on a single girl because they both ‘need’ someone?

Singleness is a blessing! It’s a frustration in some ways, I understand that. Man, do I understand that!! It’s not easy when the entire world is telling you that your single status makes you incomplete. But it’s a blessing.

You are free to make choices for yourself. You have quiet time when you need it. Your issues are your issues. Life as a single person is simple. Your finances are your own, your time is your own, your body is your own, your bed is your own.

That’s not to say that I want it to stay this way for me my whole life, but if God lead me into that, I know that not only would He sustain me, but blessings would wait for me in that season too.

As a Christian community, let’s learn to support our singles where they are, not where we think they should be.

Let’s wrap our arms around them, encourage them, build them up, provide for their love languages, pray for them, pray with them, feed them, change the oil in their car, let them babysit (ok, seriously, are my friends getting these hints?!).

Let’s love on the singles in our community and encourage them in whatever stage they’re in. God has so much blessing in singleness, let’s not encourage them to rush through this part of the process. Their singleness may be where their breakthrough happens.