Waiting For Redemption

 

Waiting for Redemption

I’m not particularly looking forward to sharing what I’m about to share with you. In fact, I’ve been fighting it for some time, which, as you may have noticed, is why I haven’t written anything in a couple of months. But the Holy Spirit keeps pressing so, reluctantly (yeah, I don’t always obey cheerfully, shocker!) I am sharing an extremely difficult journey in hopes that someone else out there will make better choices as a result of reading this, and perhaps, save themselves and their loved ones unnecessary pain, heartache, and grief.

 

 
About four years ago my life was completely different than it is today. I was abusing prescription pain killers; I was also taking other mind-altering prescriptions that left me, as my husband later shared, in a state of what he considered the “crazies”. I was emotionally all over the place but mostly in a deep dark depression that left me suicidal on many occasions.

 

 
At the same time, I was struggling with my faith. I had only “come back” to God two years earlier, and was fumbling through the logistics of how to cope with being in an “unequally yoked” marriage. I harbored a great deal of bitterness and resentment towards my husband as well. But, rather than communicate with him about my struggles, I chose to talk about my problems in somewhat of a venting manner, within the confines of a twelve step program (even in the twelve step program, I continued to abuse the drugs). I had no idea how to cope with the things in my life, not just the present situation but my past choices.

 

 
I vented to anyone and everyone except my husband and received varying degrees of advice. I had some Christians advise me to divorce and start over; after all, God would want me to be happy (that’s a load of crap, by the way). I had a lot of voices whispering in my ear, but the one voice I wasn’t hearing or even looking for was God’s. I didn’t pray about it, I talked to people about it. In turn, I followed human reasoning.

 

 
So, one day I made my decision. I told my husband what I was doing, and that it was my body, I didn’t give a damn about his opinion (what a great Christian influence I was!). I refused to pray about this decision because I knew God’s answer wouldn’t be the same as what the people in my life were giving me. I liked their advice, it suited my purposes better. So, in somewhat of a selfish fit of anger, I stormed off and willingly made my choice.

 

 
This decision was made based on emotions and current circumstances, without any regard for the fact that God is all-powerful, and maybe, just maybe, He could and would change the circumstances, my husband’s heart, or my own heart (which was in desperate need of an overhaul!). I didn’t take any of that into consideration though, and by making the decision I did, I deeply wounded my husband in a way that very well could have ended our marriage.

 

 
Over the next two years I got sober, and discovered what a real relationship with Christ is like (as opposed to the legalistic way I was accustomed to). My heart was changing, and in that change, God gave me a glimpse of what I had done through His eyes. I’ll never forget that moment driving home from church in tears. I felt like Jesus was in the passenger seat with me, it was a presence I had never felt so clearly before. I looked in the rearview mirror and there it was, in an instant, my decision laid before me in all its awfulness. I saw my husband’s hurt for the first time. I have no words to describe it other than sheer mortification over what I had done.

 

 
Over the next year my husband and I talked about what happened for the first time, trying to work through it. Then last year the unexplained medical problems kept coming in waves. We went through thousands in medical bills only to never get a straight answer or diagnosis. During that time, my husband made a decision of his own. He started coming to church and told me he “prayed and something happened”. He had a change of heart and it was more than just a prayer. His whole attitude and demeanor changed. We began communicating with each other in absolute honesty for the first time. Ten years of anger and resentment over all the unspoken “issues” was laid out. Several weeks went by where my husband and I cried with each other and dealt with these things one by one until healing could take place in each area.

 

 
What’s happened in our marriage, in my heart, and now my husband’s heart, is nothing short of a miracle. Many have prayed for him and I over the years, and now these prayers are being answered. To hear my husband say, “I want to be the spiritual leader of this family” is, well, it’s a dream come true! Four years ago, I wouldn’t (and didn’t) believe I would see him change or hear those words spoken in sincerity. I could only see what my immediate surroundings were dishing out, and what my emotions were screaming at me. It’s a dangerous thing to make life-altering decisions in times like those.

 

 
A couple of months ago I finally received an answer to the medical problems that had caused me and my family so much heartache and stress over the past year. It could all be traced back to that choice I made four years ago. Yes, it was all because of that choice, the choice I made.

 

 
And friends, I can’t tell you how that feels in words. I can’t articulate the pain, guilt, and shame from realizing you’ve caused your own pain in such a way. And not just for me, but for my family. The stress and financial burden, the doctors, the prayer requests, and it all came back to that one choice. Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the words, “This is all your fault” hasn’t swept through my head a few million times over the past eight weeks.

 

 
So, where does that leave me now? I guess I am in a place of waiting. A place of mourning, a place of grief as I realize my child and husband have been irreparably damaged by a stupid choice I made four years ago. That our family is forever changed by it. That my day to day life is changed as I continue to suffer the physical symptoms that will not just magically go away.

 

 
During this time of grief and sorrow, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’ve read how God redeems things, and I’ve tried to take hope in that. But honestly, hope wanes most days because in my humanness I can’t fathom how God could redeem this situation nor do I expect Him to. The sad fact is, some of our choices won’t get “redeemed”. Just because we repent does not mean everything is magically fixed with a God sized band-aide.

 

 
So, I’m here to ask you, to plead with you, please please don’t make choices, big or small, in the heat of emotion or in the depths of desperate circumstances. You may think things (or people’s hearts) will never change, but they can.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but just in the last several months I’ve talked to several women who are making terrible choices based on current circumstances. Oh, I can’t tell you how it breaks my heart. One day I know they will grieve those same choices and gnash their teeth in frustration over playing god in their life, instead of stepping aside and trusting and fully surrendering to His perfect plan.

 

 
So, there’s been a lot of crying and wondering if, when, or how God will fix this, understanding He owes me nothing but taking comfort in the fact that He knows my heart. And despite this I am so thankful for the radical change that has come over my marriage. Wow, it’s more than I can comprehend. God is healing our hurts little by little and drawing us closer together every day.
I know I haven’t been specific about what I “did”, but at this point it’s just too painful to talk about. I only share this because I know some of you are feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, wondering when God will show up and just “fix” stuff or make life easier for a second. While you’re in that time of waiting and wondering, tune out the noise of the people around you and tune in to the Holy Spirit. As hard is it may seem to do what He’s asking, He knows the future, and whatever He leads you in will be for your greatest good. The heartache and grief of choosing to walk in your own way or listen to the advice of people who are content to tell you only what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear will never be worth it.

 

 
As I continue to grieve this loss, I am holding on, if only by the tips of my fingers, that hope is out there somewhere, and God will someday turn this pile of ashes into something meaningful, even if it seems impossible as to how that would come about.

 

 
This post isn’t filled with Scriptures or Christianese, just a simple message from my heart to yours. Choices matter, in our lives and the lives of those we love most. Our choices will affect others. Seek God’s counsel above all else, trust Him, and for crying out loud, listen to Him! Don’t turn back, friends, don’t even look back. Press on, follow Him, and don’t force your will upon His. He’s God, He actually knows what He’s doing. He wants what’s best for you. What I am experiencing now is something God wanted to protect me from. The pain my husband is experiencing is something God wanted to protect him from. The questions and confusion and hurt this has caused my little daughter, is something God wanted to protect her from. . He knew the second I made that choice the ramifications, even though years would pass in the interim. How I wish I had trusted Him!

 

 
And if you’re currently where I’m at, grieving the losses of your choices and watching those around you hurt because of what you’ve done, take heart, Hope is there, it’s just hard to see through the fog of shame and remorse. Eventually the fog lifts. No matter what, don’t give up on your faith making a bad situation even worse. The best thing you can do for your family now is to surrender to Christ 100%, learn from this, and trust Him to bring something good out of it, as He promises to all who love Him and surrender to Him (Romans 8:28).

 

 
Plugging this story into my website is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, it’s embarrassing to some degree, and painful to open up to others in such a deep and personal way, but I am learning, albeit slowly, to trust God in all things, even in something as mundane as a blog post. So, with that being said, I would love to hear your stories of redemption and hope, if nothing more than to encourage me in my sorrow (yes, it’s true, I don’t always have it all together!). Please share your experiences in the comments or email me @ RebeccaAarup@mail.com

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22 thoughts on “Waiting For Redemption

  1. Pingback: The Plank and the Speck–BE the Change: CHOICES {Part 3} | Rebecca Aarup

  2. Pingback: Hope in Disguise: How Four Simple Words Can Change Everything | Rebecca Aarup

  3. Rebecca,
    What a blessing to others your transparency is. I too reject the notion that we have to pretend that “all is well” in order to represent Christ. Even Jesus wept at times and the scripture says there is a time for everything under the sun…including a time to weep. I have no idea what the “choice” was nor do I need to. Just knowing whatever it was it dramatically altered your life and I pray God will restore what the years the enemy has stolen. I too made a “choice” about 16 years ago to abort a child believing God would not love me if I had the child unmarried. I am still grieving but the wounds are not as fresh. God has given me grace and I have started a pregnancy/infant loss ministry. I also work as a nurse with substance abuse patients and have seen first hand the devastating effects “choices” can make. IV drug use leading to Hep C, loss of children to the system, etc. You said it best when you said we aren’t always rescued from the effects of choices although forgiven. Thank you for this beautiful snippet from you heart. God’s blessings upon you and your family.
    Nycki

  4. I’m praying for you, Rebecca. Yes, God allows us to experience the consequence of poor choices, but He also promises, “If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up” (1 Pet. 5:6 TLB).

  5. Dearest Rebecca, I know how hard it is to keep believing when it looks hopeless. I endured my husband’s anger at God for several years. There were a lot of closet, face-in-the-carpet moments when I didn’t think I could go on. God IS a God of miracles, my husband has become the spiritual leader (also four years later!) and is growing in relationship with Him. It blows my mind. I’m so sorry for the grief you are experiencing from the choices back then. But there is grace, mercy, forgiveness and compassion for you! I know you know this, but I had to write it. Blessings, your Sister in Recovery (and music)

  6. Hi Rebecca,

    Upon first read, there is this need to cover up painful identification with some sort of pretentious message. I’m sure you know how they come in the name of accountability. “well, now, life is tough, but you just have to put a smile on your face and keep going”. Often times those are the same things I tell myself. And then I read your post. It was like cleaning a scab of all the debris. The wound is still open, but oh my God does it feel good to breathe. To keep from any heresy or pretentiousness, let me end just by saying “Thank you. Just thank you.”

    • I hate that message, Tim, the message that says plaster a smile on your face and pretend life is always awesome. I’ve had people say you just have to get over it and move on and deal with it, but that’s not easy. It helps just to get real about it and say it like it is. Maybe my attitude isn’t “right” but it’s where I’m at and God knows it. Fortunately He won’t give up on refining me!

      • Rebecca, are you available to provide some insight into some similar issues that I am struggling with? I would certainly appreciate any time you can spare. My email is rohkotsi@gmail.com.

      • Tim, you are welcome to email me whenever you have time. I’ll try to get back to you when I can!

  7. Wow! This has been such an encouragement to me. My story is very similar to yours, the non-Christian partner, the depression, the mind altering drugs, the over-use of medication, the continuing health concerns that no doctor can seem to figure out. The growing frustration, the long hard journey which has been so miraculous in some ways (I’m sober and off medication at the moment) but the frustration that it is not yet over, the guilt that haunts me as I see how it has affected my husband. Just to feel I am not alone in this is amazing for me. Your courage has given me courage. Thanks for being obedient to God.

    • I’m sorry you’ve had to go through the health issues. It really wears you out emotionally! If you ever want to chat, definitely email me! Or Facebook me! 🙂

  8. It was through Christ’s pain and suffering that many were able to rejoice and be redeemed. It is through your pain and suffering, that you will be able to set others free through your words and life that you freely give. Allow yourself to be used by God and remember that nothing about your life has been without God’s knowledge. His purposes even through our sin are higher than ours and His glory will be revealed in ways that we could never imagine. Just stay faithful to Him and allow Him to work in you and give you the peace that you need at this time. Will be praying for you and your family. ❤

  9. My dear friend, what courage you have to deal with all these issues over the last few years. Thank you for sharing with others in hopes of encouragement. You’ve shared some with me and my heart aches for you. I think of you and pray often even though our lives don’t always intersect. Please call me anytime for a “venting session”. You are awesome and I praise God for your husband and beautiful daughter who love you and will never leave your side! HUGS!

    • Thank you. I’d love to call you, but you’ll have to leave your name cause right now you’re “anonymous” 😉 I think I know who you are though. 🙂 we definitely need to chat again sometime!

  10. Similar thoughts Rebecca, it is a brave thing writing this and writing it will help you too. forgive yourself-God has. I am so happy for you that now your husband has accepted Jesus into his heart and he is standing by you and the family.
    There is a song out by George Jones about Choices and it is so true. We do make our choices and we must live through what we choose. I feel in time you and your family will be so much stronger for the choice that you have now made.

    God Bless You
    Paula O

    • Thank you Paula. I’ve made a lot of poor choices, especially during the eight years I lived as a “prodigal”. It’s ironic how those consequences, painful as they are, aren’t as painful as this situation. I’ll have some important lessons to share with my daughter when she’s older, that’s for sure.

  11. Oh Rebecca – what courage you’ve demonstrated not just in writing this post but in surrendering your hurt, disappointment, loss and heartache. Well done. Both of those are huge steps.

    Be assured that God is a God of 2nd chances. But He also wants you to give Rebecca a 2nd chance. Your husband is as is your daughter. As difficult as it is, forgive yourself.

    Grief takes many forms and unfortunately can hang around longer than we’d hoped or thought it would. Keep talking to the Lord about it and allow Him to close the wound.

    Be assured of my prayers for you, hubby and your little girl. And hallelujah for your husband finding the Lord. Amazing how the Lord used your situation to open his heart & eyes to Him.

    Grace and peace,

    Ian

    • Thank you so much Ian. Forgiving myself is a struggle. Everywhere everyday there are reminders of what I’ve done. Perhaps the hardest part is realizing that the outcome I want is, short of a miracle, never going to happen. I guess that’s the loss I’m grieving. Trying to move on and trust that God will bring about redemption in His way and His time.

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