by Amy Meyer Allen
Life certainly isn't fair. At least not from our perspective. Why can't it be easier? Why do so many people have to suffer? Why isn't life "fair"?
My Mom and I discussed some of these things as we curled up on opposite sides of the couch. The colored bulbs on the Christmas tree were our only source of light. The rest of the household slept silently in their beds. It was late but we didn't feel tired as we shared out hearts with each other. I'm always grateful for this special mother-daughter time, when I can visit from out of town.
"All I know is that I wouldn't have a close relationship with the Lord if it weren't for what happened in our marriage," I confessed to Mom. I have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, a lot of us do. It's not like God caused the near-demise of my husband's and my marriage - our own sin and selfishness did. But God used that trial to open our eyes to His plan for our lives. He was also there to catch us when we stumbled over our own misconceptions of who God is. Reality hurts sometimes, but I'm so glad God opened my eyes to His truth - that life isn't all about me and my own happiness, but about living for Jesus and sharing his love with others. I'm comforted when Jesus says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) It reminds me that life isn't fair, but I don't have to be afraid because Jesus has everything under control.
I've come to understand that trials, difficulties, "unfairness", all bring us closer to our Lord. If everything were perfect, we wouldn't need Jesus - and what a dark place that would be.
by Amy Meyer Allen
Here is an excerpt from chapter one of my book, "Snapshots of a Redeemed Marriage." Email me if you'd like to have a free copy emailed to you. firstname.lastname@example.org
I considered myself to be a pretty liberal woman. I accepted Tim’s interest in looking at Playboy magazines ever since his Naval Academy days; I even allowed them on our coffee table. I didn’t even think twice when he and a friend visiting from Omaha went to a strip club. But this was too much—a picture he had posted on the Internet from a camping trip we went on together for my birthday a year prior. He was tastefully posing naked in front of a waterfall. It was my picture of him. Now he had perverted it—barely attempting to blur out his face. I felt sick.
I never did have pity for women who had been cheated on by a spouse or boyfriend. I considered it a character flaw if a woman stayed with her man. “Dump the jerk as fast as you can, and move on” would have been my advice. Now, being confronted head-on with that very situation, I realized life isn’t so black and white. Mix in emotions, dreams, feelings of betrayal and love, and it is more a muddy brown. I journaled some of my feelings:
July 6, 1997
Tim is going through a tough time right now, and I don’t know how to help him. It seems like the more I try to get close to him and help him, the more he wants to run away. I think he sees me as his ball and chain. I’m tying him down. I hate that. I don’t want to be anyone’s ball and chain. I want him to be happy and fulfilled and in love with me. Maybe that’s the problem. I’m trying too hard. I can’t force anyone to love me. I’m just scared. I’m afraid that if I leave him alone he’ll find someone else. I’m confused. I don’t know what the right thing to do is. I do know that I’m feeling miserable and sick to my stomach and making myself get zits on my face. But I don’t think the right thing to do is avoidance. I feel like we need to talk, but it’s so hard. I’m afraid of what his answers will be. I don’t want him to leave me, but I don’t want him to stay just out of guilt. I have never felt so out of control. This is something he has to decide. Our future is up to him and what he decides. Maybe that’s why I’m so miserable. I can’t control how Tim feels about me. And if I try to, it just makes it worse. But this is my life, too – I need to know what’s going on. I need some answers. I haven’t felt this hurt and confused since Tim broke up with me in high school. I know I just need to leave it in God’s hands, but it’s hard. I’m afraid.
This month my heart has been hurting for some specific people who are struggling in their marriages. Some of them I know personally, others I have been made aware of through our website or friends. When my husband told me about one of our friends who is filing for divorce, the same feelings of betrayal and fear washed over me that I had felt when I found out about Tim’s infidelity.
To those of you who are hurting and in the midst of the betrayal and pain I want to encourage you. God is there with you. Even when all you can do is sob uncontrollably or are numb from the pain, the Lord sees you and He is your comfort. (Isaiah 49:13) Even if you can’t see or feel Him, He is there. (Deuteronomy 31:8) His promises in His Word are faithful and true and are there to comfort you. (Psalm 33:4) If you can’t find words to even form a prayer, if you have God’s Holy Spirit living inside you, He will pray to the Father for you. (Romans 8:26)
God used the demise of our marriage to bring both me, and my husband, to a true faith in Jesus. Prior to that we both thought we would have gone to heaven because we were baptized as babies, went to church most of our lives and were basically “good” people. None of those things would have saved us. Only a true relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ can save us. (Ephesians 2:8-9) He died on the cross for our sins so that we can live with Him forever. Nothing short of the blood of Jesus can save us because God is holy and that is His just requirement. (Hebrews 10:19-22) Jesus rose again from the dead to prove that He is God and that He has power even over death itself. (Romans 6:9, Romans 8:11)
I can honestly say now that I am grateful for what happened in our lives, because it brought me to my knees and I surrendered my life to Jesus. I didn’t realize that my hope and my strength had been in my husband. I had made him the rock and center of my life. But God says we shouldn’t have any other gods before Him. For each of us our “god” is different. For some it is money, for some another person, for some our own pleasure, and for others it could be drugs, alcohol, food or sex. God loves us too much to let us worship any false god; He knows it will only lead to destruction. (Exodus 20:2-4)
My hope and prayer is that others who are hurting in their marriages like we were, will come to a real and dynamic relationship with the only One who can heal a broken heart – Jesus. (Psalm 34:18) He can and is waiting to be your Everything. Whether or not your marriage is restored, Jesus can heal your heart and turn your life around and use this trial for good. (Romans 8:28) He promises. Trust Him, turn to Him, start living for Him. He has everything you need. Our redeemed lives and marriage is a witness to that truth.
I was thinking about how we are completely useless to God when we are operating in our own strength. That is why He needs to break us - to get us to the end of our own strength and pride in order for us to learn a completely new way of operating - out of His strength. It is so true that when we are weak, then we are strong in Him. The apostle Paul understood this so well because of what he went through. He was serving God, or so he thought, with all his strength and with all the knowledge he had gained growing up. It wasn't until Jesus confronted and blinded him that he was able to begin to "see" the truth. When he regained his physical sight, he started his new journey of seeing more clearly spiritually as well. As the songwriter of Amazing Grace penned so beautifully, "I once was blind, but now I see." Once God breaks us and opens our eyes to His truth, then we are able to learn to function as He always intended: out of His strength and by His Spirit.
'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. ~ Zechariah 4:6b NIV
I was born in 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I went to church all my life, I didn't make Jesus Lord of my life until I was 29 years old. My real relationship with Him began when my marriage fell apart.