Sunday, December 30, 2007

repentance

re·pent·ance –noun
1. deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like.
2. regret for any past action.

hu·mil·i·ty –noun
the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.

hum·ble adj.
Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
Showing deferential or submissive respect: a humble apology.
Low in rank, quality, or station; unpretentious or lowly: a humble cottage.

Humility
a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquillity (Ps. 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22). Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6-8). We should be led thereto by a remembrance of our sins (Lam. 3:39), and by the thought that it is the way to honour (Prov. 16:18), and that the greatest promises are made to the humble (Ps. 147:6; Isa. 57:15; 66:2; 1 Pet. 5:5). It is a "great paradox in Christianity that it makes humility the avenue to glory."
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

For the past few weeks I have been asking God to show me how I have sinned against George. It is hard for George to communicate to me how I have hurt him...it always ends up sounding like he's accusing me and blaming me and then I get angry and defensive. And then we're both extra angry. My heart has been heavy and in my journey to become the woman that God created me to be, I have desired humility. I have written about my old desire to change George to be more of what I wanted him to be. Even though there are certain changes that would need to take place in order for our marriage to be healed, I have worked very hard at treating him with grace and acceptance. But I felt like I was missing something. I felt like my apologies were not enough for George.

Yesterday George and I had an argument and I was feeling really frustrated. I felt like all of the ways in which I have changed and grown have not been recognized by George. So after my phone died mid-conversation, I sat down to write out my thoughts and feelings. When I reread what I wrote, one paragraph really convicted me. I wrote:

Our marriage could have been saved. You know that I made a 180 degree turn when you finally talked to me about how you were feeling. Unfortunately, that change was not respected. You just continued to hurt me. Even when I was pregnant and carrying our child, you did not respect me. You will never know the depth of the hurt that I endured. I cry every time I think about it. You can try to compare my chiding you for being rude while we were married but I never abandoned you. Being abandoned is the absolute worst feeling in the world.

At the moment I read those words, God showed me that George has also felt abandoned. That when I withheld my love from him and became emotionally distant, he felt abandoned. He tried to tell me what he needed from me but I wouldn't give it to him without him giving me what I needed. Tears flooded my face when I realized the depth of George's pain. Being abandoned IS the worst feeling in the world. And we've both felt that way.

I talked to George this morning and repented. My sorrow was deep. I felt a cloud lift off of our relationship. I don't know if my repentance changes anything, but I made certain before I talked to George that I was repenting for the right reason. I didn't expect anything in return, I just wanted him to know how sorry I am for the hurt I caused him.

9 comments:

Michelle (wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman) said...

Erin...WOW...that is convicting. I am in awe at the depth you've gone both in terms of your feelings and in understanding George. Regardless of what happens, or what doesn't happen, God will honor your repentance.
I need to heed your words, as there are so many times I withhold true respect and honor for my beloved husband as I nurse my own hurt. But if I would give him what he needs (without expecting anything in return), it has the opportunity to open his heart to give me what I need. That doesn't mean it will happen...but it also opens the door for God to continue to work in me.
Blessings to you, Erin, as you continue to seek God and trust in Him to see you through this. You are a strong woman...
Michelle

loving my life said...

See I feel like you have the right to be angry at George. More than that you have the right to lash out at him. He detroyed all your dreams of a "normal" life with one selfish decision. Maybe that's wrong of me to say but I really feel in my heart that it's true.

Pastor Linda said...

In response to "loving my life" a marriage does not end because of just one choice and decision. Many, many choices affect the "big" choice that appears to be the final one. Erin seems to be saying she recognizes how some of her choices played a part in the choices George made.

Erin, what a joy to see how God is teaching you to be more like Him. It's so hard . . . but so worth it.

loving my life said...

Pastor Linda,
When I said "one" decision I meant the "one" decision was to end the marriage. Of course I know all to well that many,many choices are involved in that "one" decision.
And yes, I agree God is teaching Erin to become nore like him in showing her her faults however I still stand that God gave us all our emotions and anger is one of them and I still stand that she has right to feel angry at times.
Erin, sorry if we are making your comments section a discussion. I never usually respond to comments from others in a blog unless I go to their site so it's weird for me to have someone "talk" to me thru another's blog. Again sorry if we're intruding>)

Erin said...

I don't mind the discussion at all. I do feel anger. But God teaches us to be humble, give grace and forgiveness, and to repent. I don't want to cling to the anger because that does not allow me to forgive. And sometimes forgiveness IS about the other person, but it is ALWAYS about the one doing the forgiving.
Pastor Linda is a woman of God who has been married a long time...I'd guess it's about 32 years. Her husband is a great man of God and they have been through many, many trials together. We have a lot to learn from her!
I encourage conversation, as long as each person is willing to listen, the outcome is usually better than if there had been no conversation at all. :-)
Love you all!!

weavermom said...

I'm so glad for you that God is working in your life and that your heart is open to his work, and that you are brave enough to do the work (actually going and apologizing) that goes along with God's conviction. Wow, that must have been hard.

And, although, I have never been in this situation, I think that it will be a blessing to you in the years to come. You are able to walk into the next stage of life (whatever that may be) having dealt with this piece, this process, this step in the manner in which you have.

It is a beautiful thing to see, and very convicting in my own life as well.

I prayed for you this morning, for George, and for Jackson. I prayed for a miracle of healing. I have no idea what that looks like for you, but I wanted to let you know that I prayed. :)

pastor linda said...

I agree that anger is a God-given emotion - and we are most healthy when we allow ourselves to feel the emotions we're experiencing. I often try harder,though, to prove I'm right than attempting to love and understand the other person. I don't want to be that way - I want to be aware of my emotions, allow myself to feel them . . . but be careful to take the next step of attempting to love and understand as I look at the other person through God's eyes.

Thank you Erin for your complimentary words about Mick and me. Thank you for encouraging discussion which leads toward greater understanding.

nancygrayce said...

I have been in your situation and I made so many mistakes. My husband was very hard to communicate with, but I was relentless in trying to make him talk! In turn my insistence turned him to anger which actually sometimes because physical. I don't excuse that in him......I just see my own sin and part in the problems. I don't want to go back there, and God has forgiven me, and taken a bad situation and turned it good....and given me the gift of a wonderful husband. But, I say, if there is any possiblity of making it work, work to do that. The consequences of divorce are lifelong! I am still suffering them!

weavermom said...

Thought of you this week as you mentioned things were to be finalized.... hope you are doing well. I'm praying!