Reactions are just that: reactions. Sometimes we react without thinking…and it doesn’t turn out so well. When those reactions are more intense than the situation warrants, pay attention. Chances are, a deep, long-hidden wound is festering within.
A Light Bulb Moment
by Shellie Arnold
We’d just bought our new home, a strategic decision to make our lives easier and give us more family time.
Our gas bill would drop, as would Stephen’s commuting time, by about 90%. And, I’d finally get to attend the church where my husband worked. Hooray!
I hadn’t actually been inside the home. Stephen had, but I hadn’t. I’d looked in windows and glass-sliding doors, and assured our two young boys Dad had picked a good one.
I loved the back porch, the large lot, and the four bedroom split plan. Privacy anyone?
That first night we all slept in the family room, an indoor camp out. I promised the boys the next day we’d unpack their toys and fix their bedrooms.
That first morning I walked into a bedroom and flicked the light switch. Nothing happened. Because there were no ceiling fixtures in the bedrooms. The 1980s building style meant occupants were expected to plug a lamp into the outlet wired to the switch.
Not one bedroom had a light. Not one.
Something inside me snapped. How could my husband have missed this important detail? How could he have picked this home for us? He didn’t love me, didn’t care about me.
I lost it, completely lost it, in a meltdown of epic, volcanic proportions. Not one of my better moments.
By the time I’d finished fussing and letting Stephen know exactly how hurt I was, I not only knew I’d screwed up in a big way, I knew God was uncovering a serious issue in me.
A missing light fixture should not provoke the reaction you had the Holy Spirit said. In my head and heart I knew that. But my response had been so instinctive, so knee-jerk, I also knew it was automatic.
I hadn’t thought about what I felt, what I said, or what I did. I had simply reacted. To a childhood moment when walking into a room without light had meant rejection and pain. A moment I’d learned my feelings weren’t important. I didn’t have a place, or a real home, and I had no right to expect any different. I simply had to adjust to how life was now, take it or leave it.
Over the next few weeks, I prayed over why I’d behaved so badly, and I fought not to continue behaving that way. The battle was tough. My response came from such a deep, wounded place, the feelings were as powerful as any I’d ever felt. At times I thought I’d never get past what I saw as a defect in our home and our marriage, even though we bought ceiling fans with lights and Stephen installed them in each bedroom.
Then, as God began healing the pain of those childhood events, He showed me the truth behind Romans 12:2. Yes, God could heal my hurt, but I also needed to change how I thought about certain experiences. Only then, could I react out of righteousness rather than pain, or wounds, or trauma. Only then would I truly be transformed.
Only then would my marriage benefit from God’s work in me.
If like most of us, you brought childhood wounds to your marriage, I challenge you. Ask God if you live reacting to those hurts, rather than what’s really taking place today. If you let Him, God will heal those wounds. But don’t stop there—let Him change how you think and how you behave. In the end, it will all be for His glory.
What happens when the miracle God gives you threatens to destroy your marriage?
Laurie Crane is happily married. And she is usually to overlook her husband’s moments of quiet sadness. If only God would give them a child…
Pierce wants a child as badly as Laurie and has spent years praying alongside her. But he has no idea that a “yes” from God will unearth long-buried memories and bring their marriage to the brink of disaster.
The Spindle Chair – book one of The Barn Church trilogy
Shellie Arnold writes and speaks on marriage and family. She truly believes that despite baggage, neglect, or mistakes, when husbands and wives listen to God, they can live happily even after. Her passion is sharing how God has helped her do exactly that. She maintains a blog at www.shelliearnold.com, and is the founder of YOUR MARRIAGE resources. Shellie is a mother of three and has home-schooled for over twenty years. She lives in Ohio with her husband of twenty-nine years.
Let’s talk about this: Shellie shared her heart today about how her reactions were hurting her marriage, and how God was gracious to show her what caused her reactions and what she needed to change. Have you had a similar experience? How did God change your heart? What Scripture verses encouraged you throughout your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook. We can all learn from one another.
This has been a quiet week for me as I prepare to teach a class at the Wordsowers Christian Writer’s Conference this Saturday. I’d love to have you join me!
Yesterday I had the privilege of joining Angela Meyer on her blog, talking about perceptions in marriage can either create a bond or fracture it. Read the post HERE.
And this past Monday, I wrote a parenting post on a very needed topic: giving yourself a time out. Read it HERE and join in the conversation.