“Do you want to be happy?”
This is the question the young minister I’ve been seeing recently asked me. “Do you want to be happy?” We’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know one another, and all of the issues of my heart have been bubbling to the surface for him to see. Much of it deals with the guilt I feel because of how my husband died. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye and tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. I still regret that I didn’t have the time to express to him how much he changed my life. The other issues are the fears I have about dating as a single mom. I was raised by a single mom and remember how much I hated growing up without my father and meeting my mother’s “friends.” It doesn’t help that I was violated by my stepfather. I always told myself I would never have children without being married. I know all of the statistics. I know children are more likely to be abused by a non-parent living in the home. I read the paper and see the stories about children being killed or abused by their mother’s boyfriend. I’m tormented by these thoughts every day.
So, when my husband died, this added to the devastation. My “perfect” family would never be. If I ever wanted to be married again and have companionship, I’d have to deal with the issues of my past and work through the complexities of dating with children and ultimately a blended family. It hasn’t been easy because as I said, ALL of my issues have been pouring out. Several times, I backed out of my new relationship because the fear became too overwhelming and it was too hard for me to let go of my past issues and regrets. I kept saying to myself that it would just be easier to be alone instead of having to deal with everything. However, since I know God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of love, power and a sound mind, and He wants us to address the root causes of our issues, I’ve been bringing these things to Him while still allowing the young man to continue pursuing me. I’m shocked that he actually still wants to pursue me after seeing some of the stuff I’m wrestling with.
As a result, the Lord led me to Matthew 9:1-2 and showed me how it relates to my life.
“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven’” (NIV).
In the King James Version, Jesus tells the man to “be of good cheer” because his sins have been forgiven. The Lord showed me that one of the things holding me back from opening myself up to the possibility of happiness with someone else is the guilt and regret I have from my marriage. I feel guilty that I didn’t know my husband was deathly sick. I feel guilty that we spent so much time arguing about trivial things in the year leading up to his death. I feel guilty that I didn’t spend his last night by his side and attending to his needs. I feel guilty that I didn’t tell him how much I loved him that night. I regret that we didn’t cherish the few years we had together, and the list can go on and on. The Lord showed me that this is paralyzing me just like the man with palsy in the text. I can’t move forward because I’m weighed down with guilt, shame and regret.
There have also been some medical issues (nothing major) I’ve been wrestling with that are not changing despite my ferocity in the gym. The Lord showed me that this is all connected. When Jesus addressed the man’s condition in the text, he addressed the spiritual issue that was causing the physical issue. The man’s sins and his negative feelings about them were paralyzing him. Jesus speaks to the root cause of his problem, the spiritual, which ultimately, heals his physical issues. This is what the Lord is saying to me.
So, do I want to be happy?
Yes, I want to be happy, and the Lord is showing me that in order for me to do so, I must let the past go. I have to accept the Lord’s forgiveness about what I should have done, but didn’t do. I have to release it, so I can be spiritually and physically free. I also have to trust that the Lord is watching over me and my children and will give me wisdom in the decisions I make about dating and my children. I have to trust that God is watching over us and will protect us from any person who means us harm. Basically, I have to lay it all down at the Master’s feet. It’s not easy, but starting today, I’m going to “be of good cheer” and receive all that the Lord is trying to give me and release me from.
How appropriate is this song for this post? Enjoy and be blessed.