My dad passed away suddenly a few months before my husband and I started courting. Twelve months later, I walked down the aisle and became Mrs Otiende.
I was well prepared for marriage by my mentors, as well as any single girl can be ready anyway. But I did know how much my life before marriage, specifically my upbringing, would affect my life after marriage. Because as far as I was concerned, I had dealt with the issues in my early adult years.
I grew up in the country; nine kids and two wonderful parents. But as the last born child, my dad and I spoke two completely different love languages. He was a traditional African dad – tough, disciplined and aloof. I was needy, always seeking his attention and favor, working tirelessly to earn his approval and acceptance.
As an adult looking back, I do realize I was accepted and loved back then. But as a little girl, all I felt was the tough discipline and the distance. I carried the wound of rejection and feeling like I was never enough through my teens and early adulthood.
When we go through rejection and hardships, we become experts at protecting our hearts.
God has a way of bringing relationships and situations that push back at our polished facades and masks.
My one-flesh journey began to pick at my scabs, the ones I thought were long healed.
And God showed these 4 things
1. You can’t get healed if you don’t quit fighting
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147: 3
Have you ever tried to pick up a wriggly piglet? (excuse my farm girl illustration) They are squirmy and feisty. And loud.
You have to allow God to pick you up and bind up your wounds.
At some point you have to lay it before God and say “I quit. I quit trying to control my world and pushing away people and situations that are meant to help me”
It takes God to lay down our weapons, because we’ve fought for so long we don’t know anything else. But at some point, our desire to be free from the past has to supersede our desire for the prison of the past.
2. Retrain yourself
Most people don’t understand how anyone can hold on to a something that is clearly so destructive. But we generally don’t understand that somebody can so broken and lost they don’t know what freedom looks like.
2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
God’s freedom, promised in His word, is not handed to us on a silver platter. We have to intentionally retrain our hearts to start responding differently when the old pressure buttons are pushed.
3. Remind yourself he wasn’t there
I remember one day looking at my husband after a particularly nasty fight and thinking “why, he’s just like my dad! What did I do?!”
But of course my husband wasn’t/isn’t like my dad. He is a guy yes, but a different guy. The problem was that I was holding a hammer (still-healing wounds) and every argument and conflict looked like a nail.
And I hit it hard.
Your husband and mine will not understand everything there is to understand about our upbringing and wounds. We have to stop with that expectation. And remember they were not there. We must make a conscious decision to stop punishing him for mistakes he didn’t do.
4. Just because it’s still tender doesn’t mean it’s not healed
There will be dull aches, some memories, maybe even wrestling. But just because you remember does not mean you are not healed. I had to learn how to stop allowing the accusations of the enemy to shout louder than the Word of God and see the scabs for what they truly were; marks of grace and victory.
Praying for your victory as you stand on His promise.