It's time to pull up your chair. Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria? You do. It's reserved every week only for you. This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone. This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter. Scooch in close. You won't want to miss a word.
And it's really true. I've seen so many good things come out of the process of writing it that I would be content with just that. But there is another reason I don't want it to be published --
I'm terrified. On so many levels, I am terrified.
So, today, I am writing a little about a current part of the journey. It's pretty raw and unedited, but it's good for me to practice being vulnerable in this space. I hope you don't mind. Here it goes:
I was writing along in my first chapter -- the chapter where I talk about first discovering the illicit images on the computer years ago. I remember the deep feelings of insecurity that immediately cropped up. Even today, I can remember her hair and the perfect body. And I remember thinking --
I can never measure up.
I cannot be this image on the screen. I cannot be perfectly toned in every area. I cannot erase my cellulite. I cannot dye my eyes or lengthen my legs. I don't even think my hair will grow that long.
I cannot compete with perfection. Scratch that. I cannot compete with manufactured perfection. If this is what it takes, it is an impossible, unobtainable goal.
I remember the words that Craig said to me in the weeks following that first discovery.
I've had this problem way before I met you.
I don't compare.
It's not the same.
It has nothing to do with you.
And I believed him. I separated the addictive behaviors from what happened between us. I drew a line, put up a wall, created that clear distinction.
Because I couldn't survive any other way.
But back to writing the chapter, I begin to have these questions. Questions that I am sure I had from the beginning, but that I couldn't articulate in that state of raw and open-woundedness. I scratch them out on my notepad so that when we have our writing time that night, he can answer them in the chapter that he is going to explain the roots.
What need does pornography fill that a wife (or sex with a wife) does not?
Do you compare us?
Does a good sex life lead to a decrease in your porn life?
How can their be two separate entities in your brain?
He reads the questions and he looks at me. I don't know the answers to these questions, he says.
You have to know the answers to these questions, I say.
But, I don't just need the answers for the book.
I need them for me.
I'm sorry, he says. And I can tell in his eyes that he is sorry. And if he had the answers right then, he would speak them. But he just doesn't know yet.
But, God! I cry, secretly. Because now all those initial fears of not being enough come roaring back. And the noise is so loud in my ears that I just cannot stand it. It rushes at me like a wave and I am drowning again just like that very first day.
We women. We just need to know that we are enough, that we can satisfy. We need this at the very core of our being because it seems that everything in the world tells us that we cannot possibly until we do this or have this or become this...
Later that night, I look at myself in the mirror. I think about how far I have come -- losing 50 pounds, having two babies, running marathons, contorting my body into yoga poses.
It's not terrible, I think. But still not enough.
I'm in a dark place and I don't know how to get out of it. I cannot wait for the answers to come to Craig. I cannot survive in these sea of darkness for indefinite amount of time.
I close my eyes and try to sleep.
The next morning, I have new clarity. It's the first thing on my mind after I get the kids up for their last day of school, but even in the chaos, I hear Him clearly.
You are more. You are the perfectly shaped puzzle piece that I created for your husband. It's not just the shape of your body, my daughter. It's the shape of your heart. It's in the shape of your soul, of your spirit, of your words. You are the perfect fit and to compare yourself to some manufactured image...you don't do Me justice. You are more.
I type this out with tears, friends. Tears for myself, tears for any of you who judged yourself by the contours of your body alone. Tears that I have ingested this message that it matters if I look as good as ___________. But I'm tasting freedom. Freedom because I know that even though I make mistakes, even though I react out of hurt or anger or frustration, even though I am not perfect, I know that I was chosen for my husband. I know that I love him and that I love him well. I know that I fight for him unlike any other. I know that. And because I was crafted by One who loves me deeply, I am more than enough for him.