My writings are inspired by many different things in my life. A devotional. A life circumstance of my own. A life circumstance of a friend or Mentee. This journal entry is the product of pretty much all of these things.
Lynn and I have our “date nights” on Thursdays. We drive the 30 minutes to the grocery stores, do our weekly grocery shopping and then she buys me dinner. That’s that deal. I drive. We shop. She feeds me. It works for us. Notice the quotes around date night. It’s not very romantic but it turns a mundane, necessary chore into a great time with my Beloved. We get out of the house (a big deal for me since I work from my home office), Lynn gets to sit for a while after her physically demanding day, we often try a new eating establishment since we’re relatively new to Oregon Coast life and we get to eat for another week. It’s not the only date we do but this works for us.
Last Thursday, shopping done, as we were sitting in a newly opened restaurant, I asked Lynn this question: “What do you think is the major contributing factor to my living in freedom and us being where we are tonight?” I hardly had the question out on the table and she had an answer. Amazing. But not surprising. She said, “I was just thinking about that.” That right there is a God-thing.
“We are where we are because you recognized immediately, that in order to win me back, you had to give me whatever I thought I needed, whatever I thought I wanted. Not what you thought I wanted/needed. You didn’t do it perfectly. There were “lapses.” But from the beginning you were broken and contrite by what you did. I asked you the night you were found out, “Do you love me?” You said, “Yes.” I said, “No. You don’t. You don’t DO this to someone you love.” Your “me first” attitude was broken and for the first time in our marriage, you began to put me first. After almost six years, you have kept me first. If there were even a hint of that other man, I’d be gone.”
Odd how God brings the pieces together. I’d just read a devotional where the writer asked one of his clients, “How much do you love your wife?” The answer was, “I love her a lot.” In the context of the devotional, I understood his point and all was well. However, what I heard in my heart, was outside his devotional: Love, Agape love, cannot be quantified; there isn’t a little bit or a lot. It’s a “Yes” or “No” answer. It’s all or nothing. It’s every minute of every day. “You DON’T DO THIS to someone you love.”
Addiction, in my opinion(!), is the second most selfish thing a human being can indulge; nowhere is there even a hint of love for, or consideration of, someone else. Argue all you want: “I’ve been able to go months without porn, adultery, cocaine, booze, gambling; that proves I love my wife and my family.”
Nope. It doesn’t. It means you had some kind of startling, momentary realization that touched YOU, scared YOU, and YOU white knuckled it for a while until the fear receded. I rarely get all up in your face in my blogs but remember who’s talking here. I lived this for more years than some of my Mentees have been alive. I literally spent a lifetime there. You white knuckled it for yourself. For a brief moment you wanted freedom but you didn’t want it to cost you anything. You didn’t want to work for it or give anything up for it.
With tears streaming down my face, I think I finally get it. Freedom comes through Love. Selfless, sacrificial Love. Blood-shedding Love. Self-denying Love. Sold-out Love. Forever Love. God, Jesus and Holy Spirit did it for their Beloved – you. Now do it for your Beloved Wife. It will cost you everything. It will be more than worth it.
“You don’t do this to someone you love.”
Freedom is a gift from God. It is also His Promise; and He ALWAYS keeps His Promises.