It’s easy for me to tell you that we are all individuals, and we all have gifts and traits that the Lord chose for us that makes us so unique and they make us masterpieces. It’s easy to say because it’s true. However, it’s difficult for my heart to believe sometimes. I struggle here a little bit.
A few months ago, a statement came across my Instagram feed that really solidified for me that a lot of our insecurities are competition based, but it planted a little seed in my brain that would later blow up in my brain regarding a particular situation in my life.
I have fought long and hard against the insecurities of “the other woman.” For years, I was in serious relationships with unfaithful men who lied to me and cheated on me, and those situations made a cheater out of me. Infidelity and unfaithfulness was no stranger to me. But the Lord has been good and faithful to me, and has been restoring to me what the moth had eaten away over the years, piecing together my heart…. And finding that statement was a part of that healing, I think.
My husband is a member of a worship band called The Stone and the Oak. About a year and a half ago, they were two members smaller and they were 300 Strong. After a season of confusion, they were left looking for a new lead singer and that terrified me. I did not want them to pick a girl.
I knew how much time he’d be spending with the band once they were complete and the thought of him spending so much time with another woman, albeit in a group setting, but sharing worship together which really is a spiritually intimate thing, shook me to my very core. I dredged up a ton of old feelings and fears and I was scared of being betrayed.
To further my fear, I was haunted by something my last boyfriend had said to me. He had been the first person I’d really opened up to about how I felt about the other woman, and he’d been the first man I actually trusted to do the “right” thing and treat me delicately, and he let me down by betraying that trust (boyfriend idolatry is dangerous). The others didn’t ever surprise me but he did, mostly because I expected him to do what I thought was the right thing. He said to me once, something to the effect of: “Have you ever noticed there is always a girl? There’s this one, and then once you run her off, there’s another.” When he’s right, he’s right. The man hit the nail on the head and it haunted me.
Here more close to two years after he said it, and clearly with someone new – the sweetest and most careful man when it came to my feelings I’ve ever met, who would later become my husband – here was another girl. And though this girl had no face or name at this point and I was already afraid and trying to run her off.
A few months later, a female was chosen for their lead singer. And though I wrestled with guilt over how upset I was with him for what I knew was no reason, I received a wealth of encouragement from the Lord through multiple avenues that I need not be afraid. It started with my pastor saying “the place you’re running from just might be where Jesus is trying to meet you.” I woke up and realized that here I’d been running from the “other woman” when it was quite possible that was exactly the place Jesus wanted me to go. I realized that in order to trust my Jesus when the water rose, the water actually had to rise. How do you learn to trust someone without situations that that trust is tested and proven? Over and over again, I’ve sat obediently in my insecurity, trusting in His promises to me that He will keep me safe from harm. And it hurts sometimes still, but He HAS been faithful.
He ripped off the band-aid I kept cover up these wounds with and He’s walked me through things I could never have done on my own and it’s still moving, this healing and trust-building is still happening and I’m forever grateful for His patience with me. And for blessing me with a patient husband as well.
But then, this: “Her success is not your failure.” The light bulb flickered on.
In ripping off the band-aid and causing me to face my pain and pursue real healing here, He’s shown me that my real issue with the “other woman” is that my man had a need that I couldn’t fill. And when another woman was chosen to fulfill the need that I couldn’t, it made me feel like I wasn’t enough. It made me feel that she was better than me because she could do what I couldn’t. I was measuring my worth against her abilities.
But just because she can do (fill in the blank here) doesn’t mean she does what I do. I was made to be his wife, his bride, his very own flesh. No one can be me but me, because that’s what God created us for. Just because this girl succeeds as his band’s lead singer doesn’t mean I have failed as a wife. We’re in two different arenas. We are not in competition with one another. She has her gifts and I have mine.
And in the course of leading me there, the Lord led me to a new kind of idolatry I never knew I had: I was trying to make myself God to my husband. I wanted to meet all of his needs… which of course, I cannot. The only one who can meet and provide for his every need is the God we serve. Not me. I was trying to make myself his savior and helper and counselor and his everything. And I can’t do that. I’m his wife, not his God.
In exposing that, the Holy Spirit exposed this too: I always assumed my trust issues were with the men I was dating, but that was wrong. My trust issue was with God. I wanted to play God by controlling these types of situations and it never worked. It only caused more problems. I didn’t trust the Lord to hold me, my relationship, or my world together for me and I choked the life out of situations and myself with my anxiety and controlling nature. And I failed enough times to, like my pastor suggested, just meet Jesus there. I haven’t pushed anyone away, I haven’t run away from the situation (I have a few times, but His grace is calling me to courage), and surprisingly, I have been fine. In fact, it’s been better. Still growing, but growing. Moving forward. And that’s glory to glory. That’s transformation. That’s healing.
I know there are SO many of us that suffer from these things because people in our histories have failed us badly. But I really encourage you do search inside of you and ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart up and seek out your reasoning. How much pain could we spare ourselves if we simply finally admit that the problem is with us, how we behave, and the fact that we don’t let Jesus heal us because we don’t trust Him?
Let me be plain: I am not encouraging you to let your husband or boyfriend spend time alone with another woman. A man should be guarded when it involves women who are not his spouse or significant other; and if you really can’t trust your man and he’s proven that he’s unfaithful – get out. If you can’t trust your husband, seek counseling and seek Jesus. However, 51% of the world’s population is female. We cannot shelter our men form them. They will have co-workers, band mates, and people from church that are women and we can’t fear them all. The Lord gives us a spirit of joy and of peace, of love and sound mind, not one of fear. I am encouraging you to TRUST IN THE LORD. Not on your past. TRUST IN GOD. Don’t try to be Him. TRUST IN JESUS. He has come to heal.
And a post-script: The situation the Lord is meeting me in is an easy one compared to most, where I’m learning to trust Him and my husband who has not betrayed me. Last night, I was talking to a number of women who have marriages that have survived infidelity and I was so encouraged by their strength and wisdom because they had learned that their husbands didn’t cheat because of them. They for so long – I, for so long – assumed that because he needed someone else meant that something was wrong with me. But much like I mentioned above, just because he has a need you can’t fill doesn’t mean you failed him. His need was to satisfy his sinful nature. His flesh was crying out to be fed and he fed it. You could not have met that for him. That is not your fault, and I will painfully and controversially admit that it might not necessarily be his fault entirely either. That’s his sin to blame. Romans 6 tells us that our fight is not with flesh and blood, but it is with the powers and authorities of darkness. You and your husband are flesh and blood, his mistress is flesh and blood – and as much as we sometimes want it to be, our fight is not with them. It is bigger and beyond us and our small lives, but it is an ongoing battle for our souls that will continue until the returning of Christ.
Biblically, he broke that covenant and no one will fault you if your marriage cannot recover from that, but I pray you forgive him either way. The Lord forgives us our sins when we forgive those who have sinned against us. We are all wrestling sin and we all fail. I pray that you seek healing from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that, though sin may have increased in your marriage due to adultery, that His grace may abound that much more. My prayers for you, sisters in Christ.