Sunday, February 14, 2016
When We Belong to Jesus
"For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected,' says your God." Isaiah 54:5-6 (NIV)
We had what felt like a storybook Christian romance. Mike was tall, dark and handsome. He had a successful business and he loved Jesus. But to top it all off, instead of asking me for a date, Mike asked if we could "court."
Our lives were connected on so many levels. We lived on the same floor of the same apartment complex. We attended the same church. And we had several mutual friends. We loved when people told us we made a great couple, in life and in ministry.
Eventually we started praying about marriage and talked to our pastor. Not long after, Mike proposed.
But two weeks into our engagement he looked into my eyes and said: "I've made a horrible mistake. You are not the one God wants me to marry."
I was devastated and wondered what I'd done to make God change His mind.
After counseling and walking through a painful process of forgiveness, I eventually recovered. Much to my surprise, Mike showed back up in my life and asked me to consider rebuilding our friendship.
I was shocked and hesitant. But I also wondered if God wanted to redeem our story. Eventually I gave Mike a second chance. We spent time with friends and took things slowly. But in time, the topic of marriage came up. He proposed again. And he dumped me again!
That time I got smart and kept the ring, holding it as collateral to get Mike to counseling with me. In our first session, the counselor explained that Mike had a fear of commitment. Having a name for it helped me feel better, but Mike felt embarrassed and ashamed.
One night I woke up with a deep sense of concern for him, so I drove to his apartment. Sitting in the parking lot, I felt compelled to get in his van and pray for him. Afterwards I opened my eyes and noticed his journal sitting on the console.
Though I shouldn't have opened it, I turned to the entries he had written when he called off our engagement. I came face-to-face with why he didn't want to marry. There were many things about me he wished were different.
After reading Mike's journal, every time I stood in front of a mirror, doubt whispered: No man will ever want you. You'll never be good enough.
Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Our greatest fears can become reality. Maybe your father abandoned you, or your husband betrayed you. Maybe your best friend broke your trust, or your teenager has shut you out.
The deep pain from broken relationships can make us doubt our value. We begin to see ourselves as disposable. Easily replaced. Not good enough.
One morning, I woke up and felt the heavy weight of rejection. Opening my Bible, I read through the book of Isaiah and landed in chapter 54. There, God showed me He is my Maker, Husband and Redeemer - the One who bestows the honor and acceptance I long for.
As devastating as it was, I learned two life-changing lessons from the pain:
• I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man's decision to want me or not.
• I have to hold others' words and preferences up to God's Word and choose which one I will rely on.
Although people's preferences will change, God's desire for us won't. Others might not think we're good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don't desire us anymore, God most certainly does!
The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!
Lord, I want to know and rely on the love You have for me and live in Your love. Remind me each day that Your goodness makes me good enough! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Good News From Renee's Profile:
Although Renee wears a lot of hats, her favorite and most important are the ones she wears at home. She and her husband JJ have been married for over twenty-one years and have three children: Joshua (19), Andrew (17) and Aster (6) who their family adopted from Ethiopia in 2009.