Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

How did this happen?

-“The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?”

–Vivian, “Pretty Woman”

-I trusted him to be honest. He wasn’t. I trusted that he loved me. He didn’t. I trusted that he would protect me. I didn’t realize that he was my biggest threat.

–journal entry, 2018

-Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

–1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

-Don’t stay small. I did not mean for you to be small.

–journal entry, 2021

**This is not a single story, but a pattern…a mixtape on continuous loop…different songs, same genre…until finally I ejected it and threw it out the car window…and my Co-Pilot gave me a high five and a one-arm hug.**

Friends would say, “You were always so strong. How did this happen?”

Nice,” I’d think, “Please shame me some more. It’s really helpful.”

I don’t fault the question; I’d pondered it myself. But from them, it came across as…a criticism…an accusation of sorts.

Not “How did this happen?”…

but “How did you LET this happen?”

My “shortcoming” apparently is an innate spirit of loving, trusting, and giving to others. I know, such deplorable qualities.

In the intoxicating spring of our romance, I was caught up in “us,” in “we,” in him. He said he admired my strength and independence. Yet not long into the relationship, he proceeded to dismantle those very pieces of my character…incrementally, undetectably…moment by moment…year by year…

The proverbial frog in the pot.

Why?!

One day, I believe, it dawned on him…

How could I be happy…when he was not?

The joy that had initially attracted him had morphed into a spotlight, revealing his vulnerabilities, chipping away at his carefully crafted illusion of confident solidity. That joy…the Lord’s gift of joy in me…had become an affront…

Don’t you dare shine.

With every ensuing snarky comment, “joke,” and thinly-veiled jab, my light dimmed a little more…

I made myself smaller…

To fit into the box set out for me.

I could see into his beautiful, but broken and wounded soul. I hurt for him. I, another flawed human, loved him every way I knew to do. He accepted it, demanded it even…

But he couldn’t return it.

Just as his power and self-esteem were a shaky facade…

So was his love.

A falsefront hiding…emptiness…that the world, and even another person, could not fill.

Love…a word in noun and verb form stripped down to a shadow of its meaning.

Love…without God.

Loving…without His Love.

Looking back, there was never a “we…”

Only he.

There was no room…for me…

Or He.

How did this happen?

There’s my answer.

And now?

1 Corinthians 13:13–And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Jesus.

He, too, is not meant to be in a box. He is meant to shine…through you. Let Him shine in every corner of your heart, on every person that you meet, over every part of your life.

When you let Him into your life, it has to get bigger.

A bigger life…a bigger light…a bigger love…

The love of Jesus.

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