Monday, May 27, 2013

When you think you aren't worthy enough and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

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sharing our heartbreaks, our joys, and the wisdom from God that sustains us.
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When I was in college, my roommates would make so much fun of me because I would get stressed out if I hadn't finished a paper that was due in two weeks time.  Consistently, I'd say to them, "Hey!  Let's watch a movie!" and then proceed to leave halfway through because I thought I should be spending my time studying.  (You do see why this "fun" thing is a problem for me, yes?)

But life is teaching me this: Sometimes last minute is right on time.  Because God knows exactly when you'll need to hear something.  He knows when the planted seed is just about to reach the point when it will crack its shell, ready to open up.  God knows when just the right words will make us grow.

Last week, Craig was in Ireland on business.  He was gone eight days.  He was in a new country where it doesn't get dark until 9:30pm.  And there were pubs.  And lots of friends.  And he stayed out really late.  And every night, I worried.  And of course, the root of the worry was fear.  I was afraid he would get hurt.  I was afraid he'd fall into temptation and look at porn.  And the really embarrassing thing?  I was afraid he would cheat on me.  I have absolutely no grounds to ever suspect he would, but I was overwhelmed with this thought.

And then, as I was fixing dinner for me and the girls, wondering when he would call (Ireland is 6 hours ahead of us), I heard God speak into my heart:  "You think he will cheat on you because you do not feel worthy enough to have him.  These fears are about you.  They are not about him."

What do you do with something like that?  How do you hear these words?  What am I supposed to do about this?  How can I learn that I am worthy?

And, of course, I feel like a hypocrite. How many times do I tell all of you that you are worthy?  Worthy because God made you. Worthy because God loves you.  Worthy because God has a plan and a purpose for you life?

And I believe it.  For you.  And on many levels I believe it for me, too.  But this is one area, where, I guess, I don't.

So back to the "last minute is right on time" thing.  Emily Wierenga gave me the privilege of reviewing her book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty, and Life after Pregnancy, months ago.  And here I am reading it right now.  But I read it and do you know what it says?
We get married anyway, and there’s nothing magical about two broken people vowing to love each other for better or worse. It’s crazy hard, and some days, it feels impossible. You don’t know who you are, and you despise the person you think you are, and then you marry someone who claims to adore you, and you become convinced he is lying because who can really love you? You don’t even love yourself. This is not exactly a strong premise for marriage. So the broken woman becomes a broken wife with a shattered reflection. 
And I weep.  I weep because I'm not alone.  I weep because God knew I needed to know I'm not alone.  I weep because I am broken in this area.  I weep because I am still trying to figure out how this loving yourself really works.

One of the recommendations at the end of chapter 3 is this:
Spend a night talking to your husband about when you first met, and ask him to remind you of what first attracted him to you. Focus on the love in his eyes, and consider why you find it hard to believe that you are lovable. 
My first thought is "I cannot do that." It feels like it would be physically painful.  But I struggle to take a compliment from anyone.  And why is this?  I don't know.  But clearly, it is rooted in deep-seated feelings of unworthiness.  Is this where I'm supposed to start the journey, God?  I'm wincing already just thinking about having to listen to this.  Do any of you long for your significant other to tell you you're beautiful, and then, when it comes, you just think "No, I'm not." and you shiver with discomfort.  (Or maybe I'm just the crazy one?)

It is very scary for me to venture to these dark recesses of my heart.  But I long to be whole in this area. I long to not live in fear.  I long for the "perfect love [that] expels fear." (1 John 4:18)

All this to say, Emily's book goes deep into the heart of a woman.  It addresses far more than pregnancy and body image.  It addresses primary issues of worth and how God created us to see, really see, ourselves.  It's a book that helps us take off the glasses through which we glare at the woman in the mirror and put on God's eyes so that we may see ourselves wrapped in Truth.

T.R.U.S.T. Question:  How do you witness the transformation from fear to love in your own life?  How do you combat fear with love -- what does this look like in your life?

Thank you for listening to my brokenness, friends.  Thank you for loving me enough to be here.
To read more about Emily's book, Mom in the Mirror, please click here. You can purchase it most anywhere, but here is one place.  But, before you go, be sure to enter to win a copy by using the widget below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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  1. Ugh, Katharine beat me.

    I'm shaking my fist at you Katharine, ha!

    Happy Monday, girls! Can't wait to see what you have been up to.
    Oh, and a book by E? It's going to be a good night!

  2. oh Jen, giving myself enough grace is so very hard for me. I look at these moms all around me who seem to have all their ducks in a row and all i can think is, "I am failing in a huge way." He giveth a greater grace, and I need to learn to accept that grace in my own life.

    loving you and this place today. <3 also super excited to see dear Em's book featured here...cannot help but hope to be the lucky one!

  3. You're not crazy, or alone. Love you.

  4. wow. just, wow. i am so floored by your transparency and your openness to the Lord, Jen. this really blessed me girl. and hon? you are SO lovable.

  5. I think this sounds great! I'm divorced so have a hard time with "who I see in the mirror"...I feel like I've ended one life and began another. I'm not sure how to write the rest of our life's book but I know God has it under control! :)

  6. Hi, I'm new here! So glad I discovered you through Rachel of Dramatic Elegance.

    1. Oops I forgot to put "I'm new!" on the linky...sorry!

    2. I identify with so much of what you shared. Why is it so hard to learn to see ourselves with God's heart?

  7. Jen, along with the 'right on timeness' of God....I'm 61 and will be married 40 years in July. I was a believer when my husband and I were married but we(I) have been struggling in my/our marriage for most of those years with a whole lotta unhealthy stuff. God's revealing it in layers and pushing me patiently along. And what did I write in my journal this week in my quiet time(from a question prompt from Laura Barkat)? A sentence that expressed something I did not even know I felt--that I do not/did not feel worthy of my husband's love or God's love.......God is healing that, but it is taking time. And I might add, this book I'm reading is a keyring of keys unlocking fearful, broken places in me I didn't know existed. I think God is up to something. I KNOW He is.
    Expose the darkness with the light and the truth and kick the Devil in the teeth, girl.
    Hangeth thou in there with all the rest of your sisters who love you, me included, and keep on keeping it real.

  8. I have thoughts racing through my head after reading this...

    #1 Fear is such a tool of the enemy..... :(

    #2 Emily.... such truth in her words.... Our pastor likes to say, "2 sinners are getting married." We are broken. I love her advice....

    #3 You need to have that talk with your husband. Do it soon!!!!

  9. Jen, wow, what transparency here. Thank you. In the past year, I have been dealing with this phrase "I'm worth it." I didn't know how much I did NOT believe that. It affects me in many areas. I loved what you said about being fearful of the dark recesses of your heart yet you long for even more to not live in fear and to be whole. Thanks for sharing your journey. With love, Kathleen

  10. Hi Jen, As I read your post I recognised myself here. Need to think through this more but thank you for your transparency.
    God bless

  11. Dear Jen
    We used to play cards when we were studying and wee needed a break. These breaks sometimes became much to long. Oh, well, that was the good old days! I think the world has taught all of us this lie that we are not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, etc., etc., etc. and this is not an easy cycle to break especially when we carry this over to our relationship with our Lord. But with His grace, nothing is too hard.

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  13. So glad that you shared. This book has come across my path a few times & now I know to add it to my summer reading list. Thank you!

  14. such openness and vulnerability ... you are so brave Jen. Always good to pop on by your blog and read your thoughts. Blessings to you lovely xx

  15. The Lord is so sweet when he gently reveals the next area of untruth that He wants to heal. I love what Jody said ... light replacing darkness. Jen, you are a delight to all of us.


  16. Jen, when Dave first saw me, he thought I was stealing from his deceased neighbor's home. When I first saw Dave, I saw a man who was consumed with grief and "handled" it by getting drunk every night for years. His first wife died of cancer and, thankfully, God didn't allow Dave the courage to kill himself. It took 6 years of us living next door to each other before he was ready to move forward. It took 6 years of me watching him drink himself to death, knowing if he loved one woman this steady, this true, I was willing to wait for whatever he had left when he came through his grief.
    We sold out, we bought this farm, we moved and were married and it took around 18 years of me asking him every Sunday, "Would you like to go to church with me today?" before he finally said, "You know, today, I think I would" and we began worshiping together.
    Love is trust in action; it took a few years before we trusted each other completely. It took a few years of watching and waiting and remembering to remove the self-focus to God and Dave focus.
    Psalm 138:8 - If the only purpose God had for me these last 22 years was for me to love lead Dave into heaven's gate, it was worth it all. What a joyful privilege!
    What's next? God only knows but I'm working at being ready.

  17. Wow, God has been revealing so many things to me and I was just talking to my husband about how I believe things for other people but not for me. You hit it right on. Thank you for blessing me.

  18. Powerful stuff, friend! I've so been there, projecting my own fears on other people who may or may not struggle and react in the same ways as I do. The transparency here and the encouragement are nourishment for many. Thanks for sharing and being you.

  19. I struggle with the same thing. Once I think I am doing better I get complimented and can't accept it. My poor husband! I didn't experience even an ounce of freedom in this area until I really REALLY realized how much Christ loved me and was a able to receive that. Trusting in HIs truth and goodness is important. Thanks so much for sharing! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart

  20. This is such a powerful and inspiring post Jennifer; though I'm not married I have the same unworthy feelings as you. I guess we all do! I feel very fortunate to have other sisters to gleem from and connect to as we walk this bumping road of life!

  21. Hi! Linking I believe for the first time. This is a very nice site.
    Anyway, I was like you before, but God had changed me and whenever my husband is away, being a seaman, I just put his life in God's hands. And after 23 years, we are still in love and happily marriage. But before I met him, I was broken and abused and had nothing to offer, but my sincere love.

  22. Thanks so much for sharing your fear. We all struggle, but it's always so easy to compare only what is visible on the surface of another mom's life to all of our deep-down muck. And then, I am always amazed at how God shows us what we need to see. Thanks for being such a light, Jen!

  23. Thank you for this touching and honest post, Jen. Praise God that we are children of the King, and that He loves us in spite of our weaknesses. Thanks for hosting & God bless!

  24. I slipped in here and thank you for hosting. I don't like for me and my wife to be apart, so I can understand your feelings when your husband must be away even for 8 days.

  25. Thanks for sharing and for hosting. I think every woman struggles with thoughts of unworthiness in some area. The book you suggested sounds helpful!

  26. Jen: What you shared, all that you shared, I feel that way, too. So you are definitely not alone, sister! Thank you for your vulnerability because I think deep down it's easy for us to doubt. Unless relationships were perfect (as God intended them to be in the Garden) then we can never be sure. At some point we just have to believe that we are lovely and worthy and valued. And then maybe, we won't need to rely so much on the affirmation of others — affirmations, like you shared, that we don't necessarily "believe" anyway. The self-doubt, the wondering if your husband will be faithful is something you have to give to God every day. Because there are no guarantees, except for God's faithfulness to you, His unconditional love for you, and the value you have simply because you are His. Praying that this will sink into my heart as well!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life

  27. Your honesty Jen...beautiful! This will touch many. You have blown me away and I feel as though you were sharing what I've longed to be brave enough to share. "I weep because I am still trying to figure out how this loving yourself really works." I'm still trying too. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Blessings, Beth.

  28. Thank you for your transparency my friend!! What an awesome lesson for those of us who minister the Word! The revelation we teach to others will be truly be received by them when we've truly received it ourselves. Thanks again Jen for being a vessel and thanks for linking up today. May you have a blessed rest of your week lady!


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