This week I took my kids to get ice cream for an after school treat. I wanted to shop for some new workout clothes, so I bribed them with ice cream. Yeah, I know, not the best idea.
Well you can tell by this photo just how messy it was, but the coolest part of this picture is that I have one just like it from 4 years ago. I mean, I even had them sit on the exact park bench and told Adam to “look off into the distance”. Haha! Oh, what we will make our kids do for a photo op. He’s so sweet, he just happily cooperated… probably because of the ice cream.I just love seeing how much these two munchkins have grown!
What I didn’t tell you in Instagram stories, and what I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about it until now was what was happening when that first picture was taken. The date was October 13, 2015 and just weeks earlier I had found out that my husband was seeing another woman. To say I was just embarking on a very long, exhausting journey would be a massive understatement. In fact, I am still on that journey four years later.
I made a lot of mistakes in my desperate attempts to save our marriage. I had moments where I was so full of grace and moments where the rage inside of me made me unsafe to be around. However, on that particular day, I was just sick. Sick to my stomach with this new reality. Sarah was 15 months old and Adam was almost 3. I was a stay-at-home mom and I still swear that’s the loneliest place to be when you’re marriage is crumbling. I had to get out of the house. I had to DO something with myself and so I tried to take the kids for ice cream in the cute town square. What I did next still makes me so sad….I bought my husband a pint of his favorite ice cream.
It was the beginning of so many futile and countless attempts to make him love me again. I’ve told you before that I read every marriage book on the planet in those following months. I tried to pursue him, his love languages, his desires, his needs. I knew I must have failed him somewhere, so here I was with all my might, trying to make up for it all. Being far enough removed from it now I can have sympathy and compassion for myself, but for a long time I resented my efforts. Mostly because they got me absolutely nowhere. If anything, it pushed him further away.
There’s usually an unspoken narrative that plays in our heads about life and love, and if we don’t pull it out and inspect it, it can run like a record in our subconscious and dictate the decisions we make. Here was my narrative: Love is conditional.
I always felt like love was to be earned, and even before this disaster in my marriage, I treated love like that. I tried very hard to be perfect for him. I wanted his life to be as comfortable as possible. I wanted to be everything he ever needed. I wanted to meet all of his needs because then, for sure, he would love me (and never leave me) and THAT would make me feel safe. But here’s the truth, the only one that can make me feel safe by His unwavering promise to love me and NEVER leave me is God. And the best part? It doesn’t matter what I do. I don’t need to throw any efforts His way. They don’t make Him love me more and my short comings don’t make Him love me less. What could ever make me feel more safe than that?!
If you followed along on my IG stories then you heard about Blythe. Blythe was an angel (ok, she’s actually a real person) that I met at the So Bell & Co Fall Marketplace. She stopped by my booth and when we met she asked if she could pray for me. In her prayers she said “God is with you, Susie. He knows how wounded you are, but He will never leave you because that is His covenant to you,” and in my heart I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “It is my marriage vow to you.” I sobbed.
Having had a marriage vow broken, to hear my Heavenly Father say that He won’t break His marriage vow to me… oh, it still makes me weep. We are His bride and He will never leave. I hope you know that with your entire being! He. Will. Not. Leave.
Romantic love should be the closest reflection we have to Christ’s love for us, but we are broken people. We can’t possibly love each other the way God loves us. I want to model that love as best I can to my children and hopefully someday to a spouse. Not in the hopes that they will love me in return for my efforts, but because it will be an overflowing of the love I’ve found within myself. I’ll know that my security will rest in the covenant I have with my Savior. If we can get to that place in our hearts, then the kind of love we are offering is a GIFT.
Hope you weren’t looking for an ice cream recipe in this blog post! 😉 I love you guys!