How God Provides Beauty for Ashes
I was wounded; left scarred and broken from the effects of abuse. Love was all I wanted, but it was the one thing I ran from. My life was defined by pain, and intimate relationships of any sort were only certain to add more sorrow. If you remain alone and isolate yourself no one can hurt you.
Then I met Michael. What attracted me to him was his strength; I felt safe in his presence and secure when around him. We became friends at a distance. Though I rarely talked to him, I enjoyed sitting beside him in the prayer room or at class, and he didn’t seem to mind. I was just a scared child looking for someone to keep me safe.
I remember the first few months when we were dating. We would sit in his bedroom and he would talk for hours while I sat and listened. Patiently and gently he would lead my heart into vulnerability, tenderly prying it open and allowing me to show him the beauty within. Whenever he got too close I would ask him to tell me stories about his childhood. He would relay tale after tale without complaint, allowing me to nestle into the warmth of his security until I was ready to open up about my own childhood. He didn’t seem to be concerned with my fears and hesitancy; he was determined to know my heart.
And he never touched me. From experience my mind had come to believe the lie that men only wanted one thing: sex. Your personhood, emotions, and heart were inconsequential as long as the guy got his sexual hunger scratched. Michael, however, was not like any other guy.
We ended up getting married. Marriage was something I never desired, yet somehow the Lord knows exactly what each of our hearts need to find fullness and freedom in Him. I remember lying in his arms after making love and knowing that what we just experienced was a beautiful gift from the Lord and wholly selfless. I, Kimberly Miller, knew I was valued not for my body, but for my heart. Even during weeks on end when panic attacks overwhelmed my body and sensory memories made me collapse in tears during attempts at union, he would hold my quivering body and let me weep in his arms until the safety of his presence lulled me to sleep. He never once forced himself upon me or demanded what I could not give.
Back in the days when I was too scared to open up I didn’t know how to tell him what I was feeling. He used to gently tap my head with his finger, and I knew this to mean he was asking what I was thinking. Seconds, minutes, stretches of silence would go by while I anxiously squirmed to release the words that I so longed to speak. His eyes would probe mine and he would wait; he never was irritated or impatient. Today he can hardly get me to be quiet and he knows what I’m thinking just by a look in my eyes. I’m no longer afraid to trust.
There’s days when I look at Michael and stand in awe of the goodness of the Lord in my life; there’s also days when I question what He was thinking when He ordained for me to marry this knucklehead of a man. All in all, he’s the best thing that’s happened to me. In the place of pain and sorrow, He provided a man to show me what His love looks like and how to receive that love. To a life that knew naught but abandonment and abuse, He provided a companion that resembled His nature and echoed His heartbeat. He gave me beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for my mourning. He restored my soul and through the knowledge of love made me whole. Praise God; He provided through Michael a love that set me free. Through Michael I saw Jesus.
For those of you who have known your own share of struggles and were encouraged by my testimony, I encourage you to check out the website www.howgodprovides.com to be edified by testimonies of how God has provided for countless more individuals. Be uplifted by inspirational Bible verses and meaningful quotes as your heart is satiated with the truth of God’s goodness and His unfailing love.
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