Other Gods I Have

My newsfeed seems to be suddenly filled with articles on marriage… 5 ways to lose your husband, 3 ways to keep him. 10 ways to read her mind, 7 things you’re doing wrong.
There’s articles about how to make it work, and there’s even a few about forcing it to work. There’s advice, so much advice.  Answers!  Answers everywhere!

(One might wonder HOW MARRIAGES ARE STILL FALLING APART?!  There’s so many answers out there to PREVENT THEM FROM ENDING.)

I haven’t read any of them.
Because I used to read ALL of them. I could have been a walking advertisement for Dr. Laura. I can now proudly say that I have her Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands in my burn pile.  It was not for me.

My life used to be a chaotic roller coaster with highs and lows that could make Evil Knievel lose his breakfast. One word from my husband, and I was riding high or low. The highs made the lows worth it… And I pandered along in this warped sense of normalcy, rationalizing away unhealthy behavior on both our parts. Still, no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t seem to tap into marital bliss or even true marital happiness. I didn’t expect perfection, but I hungered for a human connection that lasted beyond appearances. I could feel something substantial missing. I couldn’t understand it because I read the books! I followed the articles! I followed dating blogs and took their advice! I worked out so my body would stay thin for him.
I cleaned for him.
I cooked for him.
I worked hard to be interesting to him.

Why wasn’t I whole?

I turned to my friends for answers, and I was sure I needed a counselor. I needed answers! Something was wrong, something was definitely wrong, and I needed to fix it.

Phone calls were made to friends and family, comparing my relationship to theirs. I worked tirelessly to prove that I was right when my husband shrugged off any marital issues.

I felt crazy, and that crazy feeling drove me forward. I felt the need to control the outcome. I was capable, so… Why not?

What it all came down to was this: I knew in my heart something was wrong.
I knew in my heart.

Did I handle it in a healthy way? No, because I didn’t know any better.
Again and again I put myself in the role of savior. God let me know in my heart and gut that something was amiss, but I failed to reach out to Him in reply.

My God, and the center of my life, had become my husband. My savior was myself. Everyone around me existed as a secondary God. I looked to them for answers, for insights. I vented to them thoughts. When I felt the lows of my roller coater, I voiced my pain and hurt! I laid it at the feet of my friends.

All the time, God waited patiently on the sidelines. All knowing, all understanding… He knew why I felt so capable, why I felt the driving need to handle things on my own… Because He knows me.
He has walked my entire life with me, has seen everything I’ve seen, felt everything I’ve felt and understood everything I could or would not.

And one day, when my God of a husband and secondary Gods of people failed me -as mortals will do because it’s part of the role- I rode my roller coaster in stunned silence.
The twists and turns and loops that I had once seen as a challenge to be controlled and fixed became sickening to me.
I had to get off.  So I jumped.

Once on the ground, I found rest.
I laid out flat on the hard, solid ground and inhaled the serenity that came from not spinning. I closed my eyes to the drama of the roller coaster raging in front of me and slept for months. In my real-time life, this equated to spending six months in heaps of broken tears, wondering what was to be done.

Occasionally, I’d get on the roller coaster again as a means of habit only to hit the first loop and remember with nauseation (it’s a word now) that I DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE AGAIN.
I’d get off, lie down, and I would rest.
After a few months of this cycle, I opened my eyes and found God.
He was standing over me, and He raised me up. I walked with him, never quite ready to leave the circus grounds… but my walks with God began building my trust in Him. Around this time, I’d given up any and all self-help articles, books… but I did read one.
I read it on my walks with God.

There was entire chapter on allowing yourself to be romanced by God, and it made me squirm. It was weird.
But even so.
Suddenly all of the love songs took on a new meaning. Tears would fill my eyes as I could hear -instead of a man singing to his mistress -God. I could hear God singing to me, and I cried a lot.

I started to see God in the sunset -as if He arranged my favorite shades to come out to play just as I took my routine spot at the kitchen sink. I started to see God in the air around me, in the eyes of my children. I began to stand still, and in those still moments, God took my hand and everything missing in my marriage faded in the background. The “something missing” wasn’t missing anymore.
I looked forward to walking with God, and the more trust I felt in our walks, the more I started to feel like reaching back, replying.
As I streamed Pandora one afternoon, Josh Groban belted, “You Raise Me Up” and my eyes filled with tears. God raises me up.

It was during this period that God let me know… not only was the roller coaster NOT mine, but the circus was not MINE. It wasn’t ME.

Hand in hand with God, I left the circus.

I left behind the articles, the debates, the trends, the flashy fashions. I left The Land of Answers and embarked into The Land of Questions.
Leaving the circus didn’t mean leaving pain… though admittedly, I have left so much self-inflicting pain behind.

With my hand in God’s, I ask what He needs. I ask what I need. I find, little by little, that all of the answers I was working to earn and find were there all along: the answers were within me. God knew it, and He patiently waited for me to know it as well.
God can be at my center, but it’s a decision -a choice -I make moment by moment.

The big thing missing in my marriage, in my relationship, in ME was God.

There are days I choose to return to the circus: to take offenses personally when what they really are… are responses from other broken people that have NOTHING to do with me and everything to do with their own struggles.
There are days when I find others at my center, when I find myself obsessing over something said or done, wondering if I’m despised, hated, judged or (this is the biggest one for me) rejected.

In those moments, I remember my walks with God. I remember to take one. I remember the feeling of creating safety from WITHIN instead of waiting on others to create my safety and sanity for me.

This all equates to my life being one big mess, but the remarkable -yea, miraculous -part of ALL of this is that I feel peace. I feel my feet on the ground.

I feel the answers within myself.

So many Nicholas Sparks novels-turned-movies have lost their luster now that I see life is so much more than about worshiping others. It’s more than earning love, more than climbing the steep roller coaster in anticipation for your emptiness to be filled only to be let down, let down, let down low.

God never lets me down. God raises me up.

And while I’m sure there’s so many way that I can break my marriage or lose/annoy/frustrate my husband/neighbors/sister/daughter/cat, I also know that when I put God in the center and talk my life over with Him, I find within myself in incomparable peace, an immeasurable wholeness that defies any amount of searching, earning, and self-expectations.

I find myself outside of myself, more aware, more alive and totally, completely ENOUGH.
My answers aren’t your answers, save one: Go to God. Let Him fill your “something missing” and you will find within yourself a wholeness that needs no debate, no defensiveness, no explanation, no apology, no ego… just an encompassing peace that defies fear. Pain isn’t as scary anymore, and life becomes -instead of a rapid succession of anxiety ridden preventative measures -one beautiful embrace of reality with it’s injustices, calamities, unknowns, unfairs, and beautiful mysteries.
I have no control over my husband, my relationships, my cat! And this is freeing.
It’s freeing to NOT read articles with answers.
It’s freeing to know that I DO KNOW FOR ME, that I can tap into my own soul, be honest (even if it’s not easy) and true (even if I don’t like what I need) to myself.

There is no one right way. There is no one right person because Jesus died.

He died for me because I am wrong, do wrong, and am a fully broken human… knowing this, I can finally embrace that I can not manage my marriage and other people. I can, however, go to God and therein will my life take the best course for me.

Just do the next right thing for me.



  1. Thank you. I needed this today.

  2. How? How do you do that–take exactly what I’m learning or want to learn and write it out in such beautiful, eloquent ways?
    I love you, my friend. You have taught me so much through your words and through your love, and you have been one of those people who has helped me to focus on God. Thank you.

Leave a Reply to Emily Cancel reply