by Amy Allen
from "A Redeemed Marriage"
(Sixth in Amy's series on sexual addiction)
“Don't you know how much more valuable you are than money?” I heard God's voice in my head as I drove alone in my car. “No,” I whispered, and then started to cry.
Worthiness was hard for me to comprehend. I only felt “worthy” if I earned it by getting good grades in school, being attractive to gain attention from guys, doing everything perfectly, or making lots of money in my career. I found a false sense of self-worth in my own achievements.
It wasn't until my marriage fell apart, that God took me on a journey to discover my true worth. He did it by stripping away two of the most important things I derived my identity from my husband and my marriage. When I found out my husband would rather pay to have sex with other women than me, my whole world plummeted. Who was I if I wasn't Tim's wife? Why didn't he want me? Wasn't I attractive enough, or good enough for him?
During a six month separation from my husband, God began to change my perspective. It didn't happen all at once. Through studying His Word, I learned how much God loves me and wants me for Himself. As I spent more time alone with the Lord, I began to desire His attention more than other men's. He also worked on my desire to earn my worth. It took a long time to realize it's not how much money I make or what I do that makes me a worthy person. Instead I learned I am infinitely valuable to the Lord just because I am His precious child.
This new understanding of my worth helped change so many areas of my life. In the past my mantra had been “I can do all things.” Now I've added, “through Christ who gives me strength.” He has made all the difference.
God loves each one of us so much. I truly believe if anyone can start to comprehend God's agape love for them, the rest of their lives will be so much easier to deal with. Now, with my new source of worth, I try to take everything that happens in my life to the Lord. Whether it's good or bad, I first run it by Him instead of allowing it to define me.
For example, one day, about eleven years after my husband and I had reconciled, a lot of what God taught me just clicked. My husband blew up at me for not disciplining our children. In the past, when he got angry, I harbored and nursed my hurt for days, weeks, and sometimes years! This time, instead of licking my wounds and wallowing in self-pity, I chose immediately to talk to the Lord about it. I asked God to show me which part of my husband's reprimand was true, and which part was said only in anger.
The difference in how God helped me handle this situation was amazing! A few hours later I was able to calmly talk to my husband about how I listened to what he said. Yes, there were areas I needed to work on disciplining our kids. I promised I would seek the Lord and ask for His strength to help me change. But I also told him, in a loving way, how the way he blew up at me was wrong. I asked him to please strive to calmly discuss his concerns with me before he reaches the point of anger. I also told him that certain parts of what he said were untrue.
He apologized, I forgave him, and we moved on. Ultimately he had more respect for me when I stood up for myself in that way. I would never have handled this situation so lovingly and calmly without understanding my worth in God's eyes.
I often like to say, “It's not who I am, but Whose I am.” It helps me remember where my worthiness comes from.
Here is my prayer for you which Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT:
“I pray that from [The Father’s] glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Links in this Series by Amy Allen:
First: When You First Discover Infidelity
Second: How to Find Strength When Your Husband is Weak
Third: Your Cheating Spouse: You Can't Fix Them, Spy On Them, Or Force Them to Stop
Fourth: How to Find Trust After the Affair
Fifth: No Quick Fixes for a Crumbling Marriage
Sixth: Finding Your True Worth When You've Been Betrayed
Seventh: Are You Enabling Your Spouse's Sin?
Eighth: The Best Tool for Restoring Relationships
Ninth: How to Build Teamwork in a Restored Marriage
Tenth: Restoring the Sexual Relationship in a Marriage
About Author, Amy Allen: When my husband's internet pornography addiction led to an affair, then acting out with prostitutes, I filed for divorce. But God used what seemed hopeless to bring us both into a real relationship with Jesus. He also redeemed our marriage. You can watch our testimony on The 700 Club(www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx) or visit our website athttp://www.aredeemedmarriage.com/. There truly is hope and healing for your marriage when you allow Jesus to redeem it! Tim and Amy Allen