The thought to share with y’all some of the things I’ve seen in Tim since all this began is not a new one. This post has been simmering for a while and I think now is the time. Recently, Steven Furtick said in one of his sermons, “Don’t tell your story too soon.” (“What about the Worm?”) He was referring to Jonah and how different his story would have looked had he told it while it was happening. How true this is and I’ve found in my sharing of some of the most intimate details of our life that I cannot tell it right away. While I may want to it all just needs to seep into my soul and get reconciled with what Jesus says and how it all fits into this messy tapestry of our journey.
But in Tim…wow…
On Saturday morning, January 20th, 2018, we were having breakfast and doing our Saturday thing when Tim asked, “Do you remember anything about last night? I woke you up?”
Completely baffled and racking my brain, “No, I don’t think so…”
He said, “You had gone to sleep and I was watching you sleep and you said, ‘The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth seeking who is worthy.'”
“What? No, I don’t remember that at all. Are you kidding?” I asked, incredulous.
Tim answered, “I’m serious. I woke you up and was asking you for more but…”
I then had a foggy recollection of him waking me up and asking me what I meant “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth seeking who is worthy.” I remembered saying “No….that’s not it…it’s ‘The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth seeking those…'” and I couldn’t remember the rest of the verse and went back to sleep. Wow. I was floored. Jesus had spoken to my husband through me in my sleep. I hadn’t read that verse or thought about that verse for ages. My mouth is hanging open right now retelling it! Unbelievable. This is the verse that I was trying to remember when he woke me up:
“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a
There are others but 2 Chronicles 16:9a matches best and is the one I thought of when he asked me, here are a few: 1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 34:15. There are likely more, my search wasn’t too extensive.
God was saying this to my husband? This was too good to be true. But surely if God was going to speak like this He would quote scripture verbatim? Could this have been me in my sleep? “Worthy” implies a works based faith which triggered me back to when I operated as if Jesus were a zapping God who repaid my every transgression with pain. God wouldn’t say worthy, would He? He knows we are unworthy! I was really struggling to believe that God would speak to Tim like this through me. I kept asking Tim, “Are you certain I said worthy?” Y’all know what I was doing? I was being the devil in the parable of the sower coming up and stealing God’s word to my husband from him. The Lord spent the next two weeks showing me that if He wanted to tell Tim that He was searching for men who are worthy of His strong support then who was I to doubt it? Tim received this as a word from the Lord, with reverence. Jesus knows exactly what He needs to say to Tim to get his attention and on that night it was “worthy”. It is also funny and loving and wonderful that Jesus had me watch like three sermons from different men where they said, “The Lord is looking for those worthy…”
“Sherry, Sherry, let Me speak to My son as I choose. Please don’t undo this.” Jesus
Paraphrasing again because it was messy to understand that I could have devalued this for Tim. There were tears and Jesus lovingly forgave me as He always does. How much of the enemy’s work have we done in our unbelief? Lord forgive us.
When you consider the shame involved in addiction, “worthy” is likely balm to the soul of an addict. I also saw that in my shame I was having a hard time believing God would speak to my husband through me in such a unique way. I’ve struggled with feeling worthy myself. No, I struggle, present tense. We have chosen to make our struggle a very public one so that we can help others not to do what we have done. I struggle almost every time I post because I’m re-reading my words through the eyes of others and imagining some might be enjoying our pain, somehow feeling better about themselves because we walk this road. We forget momentarily those for whom we write, those who are also encountering this, who long for someone who has already come out on the other side in victory. Who long for someone to show them the way out of this very dark and very deep and very deceptive forest.
It is shame that was experienced the first time after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. They were naked and ashamed and that is how I feel sometimes after I share. Every time my Jesus has to walk me through it again. “Remember that you’ve received great healing, great healing that others long for. Didn’t you long for that? You must share what you’ve learned.” I’m paraphrasing because it usually takes much time in His word and many sermons for Him to get all that back in it’s rightful place. The enemy would rather we go back to hiding and pretending to have it all together. The enemy would have us forget that because of the BLOOD OF OUR SAVIOR, JESUS THE CHRIST we can stand NAKED AND UNASHAMED! JUST THE WAY HE INTENDED IT!!!
Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed.
By sin they became covered and ashamed.
We were born naked and ashamed in our sin.
THE BLOOD OF JESUS COVERS OUR SIN AND RESTORES US TO RIGHTEOUSNESS SO THAT WE CAN AGAIN BE NAKED AND UNASHAMED!
So…if I’m experiencing this, Tim must be experiencing this as well even though he insists we stay public. That is courage. I believe he feels there are those who judge him, who look down on him, who say he is not qualified to serve our Savior. I’ve sensed it at times, too. It was one of the themes God had us in for a part of a week. “There will be opposition.” For Tim to experience that and still encourage me to write here isn’t just courage it is SUPER COURAGE and I have so much love and respect and gratefulness for him and all he is allowing Jesus to do in him.
The very next morning, Sunday, we were watching Steven Furtick before getting ready to go to church. Sitting side by side I kept feeling like I needed to share with Tim what I’d felt the Lord had been leading me to do this week and see what he said. The thought didn’t leave and when the message was finished I told him that I’d been feeling like we were supposed to sort of gather a team of people who would be willing to pray for us as we are trying to do what we believe to be God’s will. Would it be cool with him to post about it on the blog and Facebook? He didn’t respond and I looked over at him to see that tears were flowing down his face.
“I’ve been thinking the same thing! Like we should write a letter to send out to pastors to ask for prayer!” he told me, overwhelmed at how the Holy Spirit acted to unify us in His purpose. It was a holy moment, I was so blessed at Tim being so blessed!
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling out of sorts, just off. Our son was getting ready to deploy and although I didn’t know it yet, Tim had begun to wall off a little and that had me uneasy. I wasn’t certain what I was feeling and I mentioned that all these little things look like a mountain to climb before we get to market, wondering out loud why I was feeling off. He was standing at the sink as he listened to me muse over what was going on. When I stopped my husband opened his mouth and gave me a mini sermon about God’s hand moving in our lives and how far we have come and I don’t even know what else he said but it was like balm to my soul. God is growing me my own personal preacher!!! I was floored. Literally, my mouth was hanging open and I was so encouraged! By his words and by his action. I told him I wanted more of that! If those are the things he wants to say but doesn’t he needs to start speaking!!!
In recovery there is an ebb and flow I think. Instant better is not something you should really have confidence in because it takes work. In our case we have our lifetimes of wrong thinking to undo. Lifetimes of broken patterns of behavior so slipping back is not uncommon, especially when things get stressful. It’s not fun but if you tackle it as another part of the problem to be handled and not the end of the world it is better. In this case, there were things Tim was upset about that he wasn’t sharing with me. He was keeping it all in a box inside and I knew something was bothering him and though I asked him daily he kept saying everything was fine. I was very triggered because this is the beginning of the pattern of failure and now I recognize it and my brain was switching into survival mode big time. Finally, thankfully, it blew up. I have had to learn to turn to Tim first, after Jesus, when I have something bothering me and he has been very trustworthy with it. He has become a safe place to take my heart most of the time. Now, I need to become that safe place for Tim to bring his heart. Not that I’m not trustworthy, I got like a 98% on the safe person assessment on the How We Love website. It’s that for so many years in his soul we were adversary’s. In addition, he doesn’t want to do anything to upset me and what usually happens is it gets way worse in the cover up in the effort not to upset me with a tiny thing. He knows this is wrong but habitual patterns of hiding your feelings are troublesome to break but they can be broken with due diligence and much grace and understanding where this comes from. He has to learn to believe “I can trust my wife with this. She loves me, she hasn’t left me, I can trust her with my heart.”
The next few nights looked like a class was going down in the living room. The way we handle our emotions affects our behavior eventually so even though it was a communication issue and not an infidelity we both dove eagerly into James MacDonalds “Getting Unstuck From Sexual Sin” Parts 1 and 2 on YouTube, one per night. It is the way of thinking leading up to acting out that must be re-formed to stop the deterioration in the behavior. We were both frantically taking notes, pausing so we’d get it all, it was amazing! Here we were passionately seeking knowledge together in our living room! The YouTube version was much harder than the one I’d watched on TV but Tim took it and just drank in all the information, writing like crazy.
Just last Thursday the Lord ran us both through this lesson and I think we passed with flying colors, well a B anyway! We were working here in the house and butting heads a bit about how something should be done. It was a little of a flashback to shadow times, but this time without too much violence we both explained our point and proceeded but I could tell Tim was irritated and I said, “I think you are irritated with me.”
He said tersely, “No, I’m not irritated with you.”
It was dripping everywhere, in his tone, in his body language and after much debate he finally admitted he was irritated with me. I did a little cheer and rejoiced and the argument was over because Tim told me he was irritated with me!!! LOL! He trusted me to tell me his true feelings in the heat of the battle! I don’t know what he was expecting but in my book it was a major victory and I rejoiced in it. He has gotten really good about telling me his feelings about everything else but this was the first time he admitted negative feelings about me and that is huge and I received it in a way that says, “There is nothing you can’t tell me. I get it.” Don’t you know I tell him when he’s irritating me!
So there are hiccups in recovery, sometimes a full blown mountain will land in your path, just remember who is the Author of it, remember Who sustains you, Who your Teacher and Physician is. With every one there is a lesson to be gleaned. Depending on where you are in your healing it can seemingly set you back but you must know that our Father has a very deliberate and detailed plan for your personal recovery. He loves you intimately, He knows everything about you and He loves you anyway and He is in hot pursuit of His sons and daughters. I can see His fingerprints all over my husband and family and I’m so excited about whatever He has for us. Sunday night we attended Worship Night at New Life in La Plata and it was so good to stand with my husband and my girls to worship our God. I got so excited I wanted to shout “Jesus!!! I’m so excited!!! Please lets go do some exploits!!!” out to the world! I didn’t but I just may yet! Oh to do exploits with Jesus, side by side with my husband, Lord, let it be so and let it come quick!