The Choice to Love
by Kathy Collard Miller
When Larry and I had been married for seven years, we were completely disillusioned with each other. In the beginning I'd been excited that he was a policeman, but in time, he seemed to love his job more than me. Plus, he was so ambitious, he also was a real estate agent and he flew airplanes for a hobby. He was never home.
One morning Larry announced he was flying to San Jose for the day. I quickly suggested, "I'll get the kids ready and we'll go with you..."
Larry interrupted me. "Kathy, I'm sorry, but you can't go. I rented a two-seater plane and I've already asked Joe to go with me."
"But Larry, we never see you. Can't you stay home just this once?"
"I won't disappoint Joe.”
Larry walked away from me down the hall as I stood with my hands on my hips, trying to show my disapproval with a disgusted look on my face.
He walked through the laundry room into the garage, closing the laundry room door behind him. I had been eating an apple and before I realized it, I hurled it toward the door, wishing it would hit him. The apple shattered on impact and pieces flew throughout the laundry room adhering to the ceiling and the walls. I whirled around and marched into my bedroom, dropping to kneel beside my bed. "Lord, make that plane crash! I don't care if he ever comes home again."
During the following months, the pieces of apple began rotting on the walls and ceiling of my laundry room. I saw them as a memorial to my rotten marriage. I worried that we would get a divorce or I would live in a loveless marriage for the rest of my life.
One day several months later, I sensed God say in my heart, “Tell Larry you love him.” I was shocked. I didn’t love Larry and I believed he hated me. I refused because that would make Larry think I approved of his unloving behavior.
God said it a second time and I refused again! Then a third time the Holy Spirit nudged me with a different message: “Then think it the next time you see Larry.”
I thought, “If he doesn’t hear me then he can’t use it against me. Alright, Lord, I’ll do it.”
That evening, Larry returned from a flying trip and as he walked down the hall toward me, I stared at him, gulped, and thought, “I love you…” and then after a pause, I added, “but I don’t really.”
The most amazing thing happened. By making that choice to love Larry—a small step—and as I continued to make that loving choice, the feelings of hate dissipated and loving feelings took over. I also recognized that I’d been holding Larry completely responsible for my happiness. I realized I couldn’t change Larry; I could only change myself as I surrendered to God.
That day I went into the laundry room and washed off those rotting apple pieces. I no longer needed a memorial to my rotten marriage. Little by little, I became loving and caring.
Larry noticed the changes and agreed to go on a couples retreat with me, which God used as a turning point in our marriage. That was in 1978 and today, we are best friends and consider each other the most important person in our life. We tell each other several times a day “I love you,” and we are committed to choosing the best for each other. I’ll never forget those rotting apple pieces because now I enjoy a laundry room free from them, just like my heart is free from bitterness and anger. And I never worry that we'll get a divorce.
BOOK SUMMARY AND BIOGRAPHY:
It is possible to worry less through trusting God more. Regardless of the storms of trials, temptations, worry, uncertainty, confusion, or regrets that you're facing, you can trust God more. Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries offers a conversational style, personal testimonies, practical illustrations, and solid biblical teaching for breaking anxiety and the devastating effects of worry. Each chapter includes Discussion Questions for individuals or groups, along with a “Letter from God.” In addition, a profile of a woman in the Bible who struggled with or experienced victory over worry is featured in each chapter to inspire every reader to see God's hand in her life.
Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author. Her passion is to inspire women to trust God more. She has spoken in 30 states and 7 foreign countries. Kathy has 49 published books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible (Thomas Nelson) and she blogs at www.KathyCollardMiller.blogspot.com. Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of 43 years, Larry, and is the proud grandma of Raphael. Kathy and Larry often speak together at marriage events and retreats.
Order at: http://www.amazon.com/Partly-Cloudy-Scattered-Worries-Collard/dp/193849976X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1380319647&sr=8-2&keywords=partly+cloudy+with+scattered+worries
**We are going to have a little fun with this post. Kathy has graciously offered a free copy of her book to one lucky winner. Tell me in one short paragraph who you have chosen to love and why, and end with your email address. If you are chosen, we will contact you for further information. Let's see what you come up with! :)
I choose to love my unsaved wife Mary, as I love myself and as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her. She is a worrier by nature, and often lays awake at night fretting over every little thing. It is my hope, prayer and confidence that my example, the light that I allow to shine in our home, and the love that I extend to her, just as God has done for me, will be a part of what God uses to save her. As a baseball fan, I'm in awe that God made me the cleanup hitter in His lineup to drive in the spiritual runs here and bring her "home".ReplyDelete
Hi Matty, I so appreciate your sacrificial and God-honoring love for your wife. I'm sure that it speaks to her more than she even realizes. And I love your baseball analogy. What a testimony it will be when she turns to the Lord. Thanks for commenting here!ReplyDelete
We have similar marriage stories. I chose to love God more than I loved my husband. The Holy Spirit honored my choice and filled me with love for my husband. No more do I look to hubby to fulfill needs onlyReplyDelete
God can fill.
Elaine, I love how you said that you chose to love God more than your husband; a truly biblical picture of marriage. God first, spouse second. What may look to some as slighting your mate, is actually the most loving thing a person can do. Thanks for your reply!Delete