Pictures from the past were drawn in varied shades and hues. Neither of us saw exactly the same image on the screens of our minds.
As streams emerging from the same Source, we had every expectation of converging together in a river of reflection; instead, we meandered tangentially into rivulets of our own making.
How had we arrived here? Barriers were breaking and walls crumbling before our very eyes.
Conversation crept into those private places where we feared to tread. And I heeded these words, "We tend to wall off our hearts in the aftermath of pain".
The prison we know can feel safer than freedom as its walls close round us with comforting familiarity.
After 38 years wedded and bedded, we were gradually becoming more emotionally intimate than ever before about our sexual intimacy.
While my beloved had viewed our courtship and surrender to one another through seemingly rosy-tinted lenses, I wore such dark glasses they had obscured all truth as he saw it.
Now, I had to refresh my vision and version of events as seen by one who had transferred much of the guilt from the childhood emotional and sexual abuse she received on to the very person she should have trusted most.
I was discovering more about how "we can live in reaction to a negative relational experience and eventually stagnate, or we can ask God to compel us forward to a kingdom goal".
Retreating into my own worldview wasn't helping me to see or accept my husband's. I had to dare risk being wrong, or misguided at least. "When we're hurt we tend to retreat, nurse wounds, or lash out" and I had done all three.
How would it look to "turn to God in praise instead?" or is that too much to ask of a heart at war with itself? Maybe. Though "eventually we have to choose to move forward".
This marriage had been cluttered from the start. Perhaps now it was time to shift the luggage, send past thoughts and fears packing and begin with a lighter load?
For past relational baggage "should not define us, nor should the pain from it inform the way we interact with or withdraw from others" because it "strangles our ability to live freely today".
As I begin to embrace a fresh perspective, asking God to renew my mind by the light of His word, making a conscious choice to move forward rather than cling to familiar, He is giving me all the grace I need to see things as He sees them - and it is good.
I want to break free. I want to live an uncaged, open-hearted life. To live, love and give as God desires me to as wife and lover, mother (and grandma-to-be), friend and helper to others.
And in the process, "living without walls means becoming more proactive in the way we deal with hurt" which can only serve to aid with healing those broken places in our hearts and lives.
So what are we to do?
With all quotes given here coming from Mary de Muth's just released book, 'The Wall Around Your Heart', I will answer with her words of wisdom:
"If you have a wall firmly built around your heart, ask Jesus, the great gateway, to make a doorway through. He is the gate. He is the avenue leading toward a rich and satisfying life - not a stingy walled-off life".
I have been greatly helped in seeing walls beginning to crumble in my own life since I've read, digested and prayed over this book, asked God to come into the situations and make me willing to allow Him access to all areas.
I am still very much a work in progress, but some way on from where I used to be. My growing awareness of these walls can be found here.
And I long for you to be set free too, my friend. A walled-in life is one of misery and a walling-off from the liberty which Christ died to give us.
"If therefore the Son makes you free, you are free indeed" ~ John 8:36Because I strongly believe in the reality of being set free in Christ, and the way Mary de Muth's message can aid in the process of becoming free and living a life without walls, I am giving away a free copy of 'The Wall Around Your Heart' here.
All you have to do to be in with a chance is to leave a comment below and your name will be put into a random draw, with the winner being announced here soon after.
To find out more about why Mary wrote 'The Wall Around Your Heart' (speaking from her own and the experiences of others) and why she desires us to live without walls, please click here.
**NOTE** - Having been privileged to read a pre-release copy of this book and be part of its launch team, I can wholeheartedly recommend it on a personal basis.
You can buy a copy here in the UK or if you live elsewhere you can buy it here. It is also available from Barnes & Noble.
Linking here with Laura at Missional Women Faith Filled Friday
Could this be the time to co-operate with God and see those walls crumble brick by brick to release you into a more open-hearted way of life?