I

WHO AM I

Iím not denyiní the women are foolish:

God Almighty made Ďem to match the men.

By: George Eliot

Once upon a time, there was a three-year-old girl who fell in love with Jesus. Her parents were Christians who lived what they taught and she grew up with miracles. They went to Church regularly and enjoyed related activities.

Her mother taught her to watch for Godís hand in every-thing and expect good to come from all things. Most of the conversation in her home was about God and it became a habit for her to pepper her conversation with Jesus.

She lived in a small farm town that was mostly Christian. Christians did not associate with non-Christians. She befriended several non-Christians and brought them home with her. Her mother worried that she would become like the non-Christians. By the time she graduated from High School, her mother realized the non-Christians were becoming more like her daughter. Her daughter had not become like the non-Christians.

About the time she graduated from High School and started College, she became very proud of her Christianity and proud that she was not like other people.

After she started college, she slowly stopped going to church and spent more and more time with non-Christians doing worldly things. She stopped dating Christians and started dating non-Christians. She felt she was a strong enough Christian to handle the world (forgetting it was Godís strength and not hers that handled things).

She met and fell in love with a non-Christian. He was very moral. He wanted his children brought up in Church. He said, "even though there is no God, it will give them good morals and keep them out of trouble." She married him.

"Do not be unequally yoked."

At first their marriage was good. They loved each other very much? As the years past, she realized that she loved him; but love to him was possession. This revelation came about as she realized that the motivation behind his temper outbursts came from her having friends. He expected her to be home when he called (no busy signal accepted).

He expected her never to have company when he was home. If she went somewhere, he timed her. Long lines at the laundry mat or grocery store were unacceptable excuses for being late. She felt smothered - not loved.

When they tried to talk, they did not understand each other. They were trying to communicate on two different basis of logic (herís spiritual - his secular).

"What do light and darkness have in common?"

As the years passed, she became a bundle of nerves and very depressed. She felt like she was walking on eggs.

Eventually, she started to act more and more like her husband and started becoming selfish and resentful. She built a shell around herself so people could not hurt her. She quit giving of herself and gave money instead. Then later, she started to resent giving the money. It is not what she did that made her selfish - it is how she felt about what she did.

She went to church off and on but not regularly. After 13 years, she realized that she did not like herself anymore and started going to church regular and reading her Bible daily.

She had a lot of pain, anger, bitterness and selfishness to deal with and began to search the scriptures for a way to get her husband saved. Surely that was the answer to all her problems.

I was that girl who found "pride does come before the fall." I was part of the reason my husband had not yet been saved.

As the years passed, desiring to please my husband was important to me. At first, becoming worldlier seemed to please him. Later, he began to contradict himself in how he wanted me to be. I became confused and frustrated.

Has your husband ever told you that if you are too old to dress skimpily or sensuously for him, you must be too old for him? As a result, he gets angry with you because someone makes a pass at you. Eventually you feel like screaming: "If I canít please you, Iíll please myself!" Only, you donít know what pleases you anymore. Try dressing skimpily or sensuously for him at home and modestly when you go out.

Do you feel smothered because he does not trust you out of his sight? You begin to feel as though he wants you exclusively for himself and any friendship you enter seems a threat to him. Loneliness becomes a way of life. Make your-self available to him and keep your mouth shut about your work and friends. True friends will understand that "your husband comes first." PUT YOUR HUSBAND FIRST and you may find he doesnít mind you having friends so long as they do not interfere with his time.

Has he ever asked you what you wanted to do and when you tell him, he rants and raves about how stupid or boring that would be? Eventually because you never get to do what you want, you forget what you enjoy. It is better not to think about your own desires than to hope for them and receive disappointment. A part of you has disappeared.

When you eat a favorite food that your husband doesnít care for, does he make fun of it? Did you quit eating something you liked because it wasnít worth the hassle anymore? By now, you donít remember what you like to eat: food is just something that is necessary to keep you alive.

Did you go to work because your husband made you feel guilty every time you needed something? You work all day taking care of his home and children: nevertheless, he treats you and acts like you arenít earning your keep. Even worse, he makes you feel guilty; yet, forbids you to work. Guilt is a common tool used by ungodly people. Guilt becomes a way of life.

When you do go to work, does he help with the house and children? By now, you like your job even though you feel overworked. Do you remember whether you preferred staying home or working? Do you enjoy your job because it makes you feel confident and worthwhile? Possibly your husband has criticized you so much that you are losing confidence in yourself. You have lost personal self-esteem.

You are earning your keep; but how much do you spend on yourself? NOT MUCH! You just donít feel guilty about getting the necessary items you need to survive. Again, you donít think about what you want in order to keep from being disappointed. Between the husbandís wants and the childrenís needs and wants, you donít feel like you receive anything for your labor. You donít remember what you want: another part of yourself is lost.

In the past, were you happy-go-lucky? Do you now find yourself being so serious about everything that your children avoid talking to you? Have you lost your sense of humor? Could it be because youíre walking on eggs trying to keep your husband satisfied? You donít dare relax and you are a nervous wreck because of his temper.

Do you feel like no one appreciates you? You are over-worked, under-paid and tired all the time. This makes you cranky and critical toward everyone and everything. The love, joy, patience, gentleness and kindness, that used to be a part of you, are fading fast. Are you becoming selfish!

How can I possible ask if you are selfish? After all, you are giving everything. Or, are you? It is not what you do that makes you selfish - it is how you feel about what you do. Jesus looks at your heart: Not your hands. If you are resentful, you are selfish.

I could go on and on with the questions; but you get the idea and can write a more personal list than I can. List your problems on a piece of paper. Try to find solutions to them: sometimes you can - sometimes you canít.

I understand your pain and all the problems you are facing; but the fact is, you have to change before God will save your husband. I had to get right with God. I had sinned by becoming unequally yoked and had to repent. But how? I could not get a divorce because he never committed adultery or beat me (he had never been unfaithful). If repent means change my mind and go the opposite direction, how could I do that and stay with my husband?

God had the answer in His word and as difficult as it was, I did what He said and He saved my husband. Here is hope for you. When you start to examine yourself, you will find you have become a lot like your husband. Especially the things you dislike about him. You donít like yourself anymore.

Funny, we forget that God said, "Love others as you love yourself." Not more than you love yourself. When you get out of balance, you tend to go to the other extreme. If you are totally selfless, you will eventually become so drained due to neglect that you will have nothing left to give. Living with a totally selfish person leads to neglect. Non-Christians are selfish.

Who do you want to be? The person you used to be - loving, caring, happy go-lucky, even-tempered, fun loving, peaceful and easy-going. Or, do you want to stay the person you are now: empty, bitter, angry, selfish and critical? The decision is yours.

No! I am not talking about leaving your husband. Donít be hasty: read the whole book.

The only thing that kept me going was remembering that Jesus said from the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Non-Christians truly do not know what they are doing. Remember that your husband doesnít know what he is doing and it will be easier to forgive him. It is impossible for a non-Christian to know how to love because love comes from God and your husband does not have the benefit of God in him yet.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the

Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts

us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble

with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

Most men who are not Christians love it when their wives take the kids and go to Sunday school. They have a nice quiet morning to either sleep or read the paper. If they donít have something planned for the day, they donít mind if the family stays for the worship services. BUT THAT IS ALL! They will resent it if you go to church more often.

Bottom line: get back in Sunday school and church so you can fellowship with Christians. NO! Do not wait until you are a better person: IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN unless you have Christian fellowship so you can grow in the Lord. Look how far you have backed up from where you were when you left home and got married. It is time to go forward and a local church is the best place to begin. God did not create church just so we could worship Him: He created the church for us so we could grow in Him. Scripture tells us not to forsake the gathering together because this is where we receive fellowship, love and encouragement. Without love, we become selfish and without encouragement, we give up.

If your husband tells you he doesnít want you to go to church, donít go. Create some alternatives, such as: Find some Christian friends and have lunch with them each week. Start a Bible study/share group where you work: this is quite common now. Purchase a Christian music tape and sing along with it on the way to and from work.

If you do not work, go to a lady's Bible study one day a week. Call your local church: they will give you the time, day and place. They usually meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays in someoneís home. If you donít have transportation, someone will give you a ride.

Even though you have a busy schedule, make time each day to read the Bible. Read the book of John first - it is the book about spiritual things and helps people keep from getting hung up on the law in the Old Testament. Non-Christians try to live by the law. Then, read the New Testament from front to back. After that, read the whole Bible front to back; then read the New Testament again. Read it the same way you would a good novel. Pray before you start, ask God to open your eyes and heart so the Holy Spirit can teach you (Jer. 33: 3, Matt. 7: 7-8).

Jesus in us is the only hope we have of becoming the person we should be. As you start growing in the Lord, you will find things easier in all areas of your life. Why? Because you will be more aware of how to handle your problems. God will fill you with His Spirit and carry you through them.

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