Pain can be a beautiful thing.
During my quiet time, I couldn’t find my Jon Courson’s Application Commentary. The kids like to use it, relocate it, or simply misplace this precious book in their effort to tidy sometimes. However, come 5:30 in morning, I’m scrambling about the house (quietly, of course…don’t want to wake anyone and disturb that first hour of solitude I so cherish) in search for my book.
Unable to find it, I picked up Rick Warren’s the Purpose Driven Life for inspiration. With coffee in hand, deep in early-morning fog, I read:
“Pain is the fuel of passion—it energizes us with an intensity to change that we don’t normally possess. C.S. Lewis said, ‘Pain is God’s Megaphone.’ It is God’s way of arousing us from spiritual lethargy. Your problems are not punishment; they are wake-up calls from a loving God. God is not mad at you; he’s mad about you, and he will do whatever it takes to bring you back into fellowship with him.”
Pain forces me to search my heart.
I know this.
Not that I should associate pain with marriage, but let’s face it, some days—marriage can be brutal. Of course, this typically happens when I self-talk my way into a pity party of why he isn’t listening or responding with overflowing compassion when I share my deepest insecurities.
He’s a man. Praise God for that, right? Yet, at times, I want him to possess a little estrogen and be that concerned sister who pats my hand while saying, “You poor thing. Come here and let me give you a hug.”
Really. Is that what I want?
He typically puts on his Mr. Fix-everything hat and provides a three-point lecture on how to overcome such shenanigans.
I attend the lecture in body, all the while my mind fills with unworthy thoughts towards the man God gave me. So I pick him apart while he’s talking. I stopped listen as soon as he said, “Well…” and entered speech mode.
See, that’s pain. Mainly in my heart—because I allow selfishness to get the best of me, but it’s still painful. Not as agonizing as a dreadful disease or losing a loved one, but it’s a sort of heart-ripping discomfort when certain needs aren’t met, and I unfairly blame him for his inability to read my mind.
So the other day, I decided to spell out what he was doing wrong. (I think I just heard chuckles around the globe.) This conversation didn’t go as planned.
In essence, I told him he was a bad husband. Not exactly my words…but that’s how the talk was summarized. Jason likes to repeat my important presentations in bullet-point format—which is helpful for a visual person like me.
Bad husband was bullet point number one.
Now, I’m the bad wife. I sifted through all his good qualities in search of that small imperfection and honed in with magnifying force.
Pain is good. I think I learn best that way, because through my self-centeredness, I saw of glimpse of pain in his eye. Ouch.
The purpose-driven life: what on earth am I here for? [Book]The next morning I returned to The Purpose Driven Life. “You are as close to God as you choose to be.”
I paused, put the book down and thought, You know. I’m also as close to my husband as I choose to be, too.
Love when God helps me make those connections.
Today I’ve decided to make my own bullet-point list of why, in fact, Jason is an exceptional husband.
Jason is:

  • Clooney-sexy.
  • crazy about his kids. Even when exhausted from work, he carves out time just for them.
  • Macgyver, Maverick, and Martin (Steve, that is) all rolled into one.
  • sensitive (he tears-up during Little House episodes—adorable).
  • diligent, driven, detailed
  • sweet-smelling. (I know. A weird admission, but I love the smell of his skin.)
  • my best friend, confidant.

Guess marriage isn’t as painful after all. And I’m super-glad he doesn’t posses my estrogen problem. Can’t imagine two of us in the trenches, wallowing together.
Mr. Fix-it can stay–as long as he continues with those misty eyes during sappy shows. 🙂
Thanks, Babe, for being you. And for loving me just the way I am. You really are the best husband.
How about you? What pain have you learned from? What qualities do you love about your spouse?

  1. Brenda says:

    Ah my man NEVER sheds a tear! (Well maybe once when he said God told him to marry me ending his bachelor days) There is no other man capable of handling my impulsive ways (God knew this before I wallowed in the womb)! Imagine working in the warehouse, hot, sweaty, deep in thought of how to get an object from point A to resting place point B when an announcement something like this comes flying out of no where “I am leaving in a couple of hours to visit the grand kids. If you can be ready you can come along” Not very considerate of HIS agenda but quite effective for getting that desirous effect of a driver due to missing HIS grand kids. Yes estrogen is a blessing for senior ladies and a curse for the aging man still trying to figure out when will it end?

  2. I was honored to see you two married, and am delighted to see God woven throughout your lives. Yes, the ability to count our blessings in the man God gives us can offset those times when our differences disturb us. Those very differences can make us a stronger family when we focus on being the family God sees in us.
    May His best continue to be yours!

  3. Sandra Holahan says:

    Thank you for your honesty Dabney…I thought I was the only one that had days like that!!! I have been really trying to “change” my dear husband of 18 years as of late, because quite frankly sometimes it seems easier then to let God “change & mold” me. I love my Pete because he is
    * strong & confident but yet so humble
    * wise and slow to respond~allowing his emotions to settle
    * a great family man <3
    * patient when it counts the most
    * great with tools~he can fix almost anything!
    * incredible daddy and grandfather
    * hardworking
    * so caring and tender hearted~He loves bunnies!!!
    * All MINE
    Just thinking if I spend time diligently praying for him instead of trying to change him…God will bless our marriage in awesome ways! I think I will try it 😉
    Thanks again Dabney!

  4. Nancy Cleland says:

    I’m just thrilled to know there are still people who, despite the hard times, still stay married and are happy to be there. I unfortunately ahve never experienced that. If it wasn’t for Jesus in my heart and my family, I’d be a very sad loney person. Thanks Dabney!

    • dabneyland says:

      Marriage is hard. I’m not going to lie. Actually, before I got sick Jason and I both had a conversation where we admitted that if anything ever happened to one of us, we wouldn’t remarry. It was just too difficult. My sickness drew us closer together. I realize now it could have gone either way. Thank you for sharing your heart. You are so loved by your friends and family. I know one person in particular who cares deeply for you. 🙂

  5. Poppy says:

    I just read the article in The Good News, and do not agree with it. The paper and Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale has no patience with depression that comes from anything emotional. I was shunned by the church because I did not have a miraculous healing of a changed life over night. As a sex trafficking victim from age 6-12(21 people), I have been praying and working with a counselor to overcome this. My up and down moods come with dealing with the trauma of severe abuse with no family or church support. Where do I go when the church exiles you because of your moods? Do I deny Christ, and live in the world because they are more supportive and accepting of me? I am working out my salvation, but I have relational problems, and a hard time trusting people, especially since some of the most trusted people abused me and the people I trusted at church lied to my face about their friendship. You say their is no condemnation, but Calvary Chapel told me to go back to my abusing family, and not come to them. If there is no condemnation, and it is taking me time to heal, what is God’s place for me? They do not want me to serve at all. Is God punishing me for my not quick recovery? I am a Christian. I love God. it is just taking time to heal, and noone is letting God take the time to heal me.

    • dabneyland says:

      Dear Poppy,
      It’s responses like this that break my heart. I’m so very saddened to read the trauma you’ve experienced. No one ever should have to go through that. No one. I’m so very sorry to hear of your abuse. And–just so you know–this article was written by me from my personal point of view. The Good News is not owned by Calvary Fort Lauderdale. I don’t live in that area. And, The Good News may not share my views, but agreed to print my personal experience with depression. I don’t think anyone can get over depression in one night. I believe it takes time–and I’m glad to hear you are working with a counselor. That’s is important. You say you have trust issue–and I have to say anyone who had experienced those horrific events would have trust issues. I don’t blame you. I think that is completely normal. I can’t answer for what anyone else has done–I only know that I make mistakes. And, praise God, I serve a Savior who forgives me when I act very human and say or do things that are unloving. I pray you find healing. Sometimes healing takes time. Will live in a messed-up fallen world.
      Poppy, thank you for writing and expresses your thoughts, and thank you for being candid. I think God will guide you in the way you should go. You’ll know when you seek Him what you’re supposed to do. And if your family was abusive, I think you know that is a place you should never go. I’ll pray for you, if that’s okay. And no one is punishing you for not recovering. I truly believe that in Christ there is no condemnation. I think my mind can tell me things that are untrue. I also think that’s part of the Enemy’s tactics, too. I love that you’re a Christian, and I believe with my whole heart that God uses our brokenness to help others who are broken. I think the important thing is what you mentioned. It takes time to heal. That’s okay. Our confidence should always be in Christ. Not in the church. Or our family or friends. Christ is the only one who will never let us down. Humans, on the other hand, will.
      God bless you, Poppy. Thanks again for sharing your heart.
      In His hands,

      • Poppy says:

        Thank you for your kind words. Please pray that God shows me he is there. I was married for 12 years. I stayed with him through all his dark and very hurtful days, standing on my marriage with Christ. At the end of 10 years, he asked for a divorce. My health had been going down, and I was not doing emotionally well. Why does God let a man who gets his life togther leave his wife who stayed through all the worse to help him in his career only to leave his wife for another during her hard season? Did God see my faithfulness to him and my marriage? He was not a Christian, and now God has let him become a Christian, and remarry the same woman he was seeing. She is a Christian, and all the pain I endured was for her. I endured it , and now me and my children are suffering from divorce, and all those painful years mean nothing. Where and how do you move on when it seems like God is against you? I know we have an enemy, but why is God not protecting me, and why did he choose to bless a man whos Christian wife stood in the gap and prayed for him, and stood by during DUI, warrants, abuse, and now is the one by herself without a legacy for my children for doing what was right. I don’t understand.

        • dabneyland says:

          Poppy, I can tell you one thing for certain: God is never against you. God says he is the closest to the brokenhearted, and in Hebrews 13:5 he says, “Never will I leave you or forsake you.” The enemy loves to repeat lies and play back all of the pain we’ve endured just to get us worked up. He whispers all the sins we’ve committed, all of our insecurities, and all of the human mistakes others have made. He wants us mad and loves when we question God. I wish I had an answer for all of your pain. It’s not fair. None of it. I had many questions myself when I went through cancer once, then again a second time. Then went on to endure disease after disease. I was a Christian following God. Maybe not as closely as I am now, but I was always a pretty good person. But during that time in my life when I face death many times, the only thing I could do was cling to God. And I can tell you that now, looking back, it was through the pain that I grew the most. Would I want to go through that again. No–I don’t think anyone would. But I have a deeper relationship with him than I ever have. Life really stinks. If you get a chance I wrote a little about who owns the Title Deed to this world in the post “Life is Not Fair.” We all were put here for a God-given purpose that the enemy does not want us to fulfill. God takes our misery and, if we allow Him, will use it for ministry. You have been through more than most should endure in a life time. When you were in that scared place, would you have wanted someone to come along side you and let you know that you can overcome this? One day I believe you will be that comforter–because only you will know what to say and how to say it. Others who have never been through it will flub up. Does that make a little sense?
          Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Every single struggle we have is never against flesh and blood (humans: our boss, parents, abusers, husbands), but against the world forces of this darkness: Satan. I believe this with my whole heart. I think we blame the wrong being.
          I will continue to pray for you, Poppy. But will you do something for me? If you have a copy of the Purpose Driven Life, or if you can get a copy at the library, will you try to read a page of that a day? Or, better yet, my all time favorite set of books that have changed my life and really given me a different perspective of this world are Jon Courson’s Commentary Bibles. Ah-maz-ing. My eyes have been open to the bigger picture in life.
          Again, I’m so sorry for all of your pain. I wish I had the perfect words to say. All I know is God uses ever bit of junk we go through. It’s just hard to see it in the midst of it all.
          My prayers are with you.

          • Poppy says:

            Thank you for your prayers. I will. Please continue to pray that God leads me in a direction of my purpose. I cannot imagine how hard it was for you also in your pain, and then the unknowing. It is good to see that God has had you come through to encourage others.

          • dabneyland says:

            Like everyone else, when you go through tough situations, all we can do is take it one day at a time.
            I am praying for you. Thank you for opening your heart. I feel blessed to have gotten to know you a little better.
            You’re new cyber friend,

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