Today’s writing took a totally different turn. I thought I was going to be writing about freedom, but God had other ideas. Today, I want to tell you about today's date, June 10th. Today I want to tell you why today is about life and not death.
On this day, five years ago, my husband chose to take his life. He did not take his life because I left him. He did not take his life because he was weak. He did not take his life to get even. He took his life because he did not see any other way to solve our problem. In fact, he told me something that will always stay with me, “You will be at peace when I am gone.” That was a lie in the bigger picture, but he didn’t know that at the time. I have no ill will towards him at all and you will see why very soon.
My late husband, Jeff, had struggled for many years with two selves - the good man and the monster. He was a victim of physical and emotional abuse from the time he was a young boy to the time he went off to the Air Force. He did not do relationships well as I would learn. I was, in fact, his third wife or perhaps his fourth – I may never really know that truth of that. He was himself abusive, learning only what he knew. He had formally been diagnosed with PTSD. I would later learn there were other things he was diagnosed with but chose not to accept. Even with all this excess baggage, he came to know Jesus. I am not excusing his abuse; however, I believe his coming to know Christ helped him fight longer and fight harder to not be a monster than if he had been without Jesus. We had many good times and we had many bad times. I can only imagine what it must have been like inside his head. I can only imagine the confusion, the loneliness, and the fear. Jeff would not give his destructive other self to Jesus. Jesus can take our monsters if we let Him. We must be willing to repent and hand them over. We must be willing to get help and start reversing the thought processes and emotions that got us to such a destructive place. Yes, a person can be a Christian and still have things in their heart they have not given to Jesus. They refuse to allow Him to deal with those areas. People can repent in one area, but not another. The reasons are many and unknown at times. I believe only God knows the deep places of the heart and there are many things only He can change in a person. My late husband was unable to repent in this area of his life – not because I don’t think he wanted to but because I believe he thought Jesus would reject him – just has his own earthly father had done by being cruel to him all those years ago.
So, what’s the good news? The good news is this – when Jeff died, He went to be with Jesus and was completely healed in a way he had never known. Jesus put him back together as one person, without the monster! No evil or voice of torment could follow him to Heaven. His behavior, although unacceptable for a marriage and very wrong, did not keep him from Jesus. Why? We humans are complicated creatures made up of three parts: spirit, soul/heart (mind, will, emotions), and body. I know this may be a new concept for some of you reading this but bear with me and keep reading. When we accept Jesus, He redeems our spirit and it comes to life. It is no longer subject to nor affected by evil at that point. He still must work on continually redeeming our heart/soul which influences our thoughts and behavior. Our bodies naturally age and can be affected by what is happening in our soul/heart. Our spirit goes to Heaven after we die and our soul/heart can be completely healed there as well, although I could not tell you how Jesus works all that out. I don’t have to know the why, I simply choose to believe it. If our spirit is redeemed and only if it is redeemed by asking Jesus to redeem it, by being “saved” as you might have heard, regardless of how badly we have behaved, we go to be with Jesus in Heaven and He takes care of everything else. Now, let me stop here and say when we behave badly because of issues in our heart/soul, there are consequences and reckonings while we live on planet Earth. I will also say you do not have to stay in an abusive relationship to try and “help” someone change who does not want to nor who has never wanted to repent in the first place. Their repentance is not your responsibility and I will never tell anyone to perpetuate evil in their life or the life of their children. For Jeff’s abusive behavior, the consequence was me leaving the relationship because Jeff was choosing not to repent and allow Jesus to change that part of himself. Other consequences included losing friends, isolation, and losing money. He chose not to give that part of his soul/heart to Jesus who could change that part of Him and still love him. The truth is Jesus had loved him from the time before he was born! Jesus loves us and can change us, but he won’t necessarily “save us” from the consequences of our actions. Many times, we need those consequences to see we need to change that part of us. Jeff took his life because he believed he had no hope to change which was not true. While we live, we can repent and let Jesus change any part of us, if we so choose to.
Today for me is about life and not death. Yes, I acknowledge Jeff died by his own hand. Yes, I acknowledge that was a bad time in my life. Yes, I acknowledge Jeff was abusive and that he did a lot of mean things to me and his behavior was unacceptable. I am fully aware of the reality and weight of that entire time in my life. No, I am not giving any abuser an excuse for their behavior. I do hope my words give them a reason to repent so they can change too. Jesus can redeem even the worst of times and the darkest places in our hearts and souls! He has redeemed my worst of times! He has also redeemed some dark places in my heart and soul both related and unrelated to this time in my life! I have been sharing that with you over the last few weeks and will share a final blog about my healing later this week. And Jeff? He lives today! He lives in the presence of Jesus fully whole – no darkness or evil can dwell with him. No issues can plague our souls/hearts in Heaven. He allowed Jesus to redeem his spirit and so he belonged to Jesus, not to evil. His behavior and suicide did not make him who he was, it just kept him from being all God wanted him to be on this planet. Is this making sense to you today?
I choose to celebrate life today. I choose to remember Jeff for who he wanted to be (a loving, fun guy), not who he thought he was (a monster). I choose to be thankful for the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. I choose to be thankful for the love of Jesus which always pursued Jeff relentlessly, even if he did not realize it or understand it. The monsters don’t win! The love of Jesus has already won for you and me!
Love and peace,