Like a sweet seduction in the middle of the night, he crept into my bed. Laying there naked, he wrapped himself around me, engrossing me in his thoughts, whispering into my ear. I heard the things he saw in me. He saw my accomplishments, those things I’m most self-conscious of, the details I thought no one could see. Grabbing my face, he showed me some things beautiful– my hard work that no one else had appreciated. Then lurking into my imagination he painted the scene of how he saw me better than anyone else. How he saw, but no one else could. I began to see that my friends saw all my blemishes and lumps. They were staring at me, laughing at my home. They talked about how dirty, and awkward, and uncool I was. Then just like that, he kissed me and showed me it would be alright– I just needed to work a little harder and tomorrow they would see. He would help me, right by my side. I’d never be alone.
I knew this affair needed to stop, but why? It seemed everyone else I knew had the same thing going on.
When I woke up that morning, he was still there– reminding me of all he showed me the night before. Prompting me to eat less food, so I could look like her, and to clean my home to be like theirs, and to make sure my kids were better behaved because that’s what good moms do. Good moms have good kids who listen and obey.
At the park, he held my hand as my kids ran out to the swings. He assured me I looked fantastic and that as long as I had showered and put my make up on, I was doing much better than most moms. When my oldest took the toy truck from the baby in the sandbox, I saw so clearly how the others hated me– the other parents saw that I hadn’t done enough. He held my hand tighter. Since all my positive reinforcement and training hadn’t been enough, I knew I needed to crack down harder from now on; my child wouldn’t do that again. Tears started to fill my eyes, but he wiped them away. He said it would all be OK. He’d remind me each day of what I could get better at. Show me the ways to grow. Show me examples of how I could improve. And I knew that would motivate me.
Standing with my perfect friend– you know the one with the flat-ironed, non-frizzy hair and porcelain skin, who somehow makes everything look beautiful– and she shares about her ‘mom-fail’ of the day. He nudges me to make sure I respond with mine. So I quip back with something like, “Oh, Girl! You have no idea. I do that all the time. That’s nothing. Just today, I did this REALLY awful thing.” She laughs, but somehow doesn’t seem comforted. And neither do I.
I walk away sulking in insecurity and lies. This feels like a disease. Why can’t I shake these thoughts? This affair has got to stop.
Later, I chatted with my friends about marriage and left so excited for them and their families. Their husbands had just brought home flowers the night before and surprised them with a spontaneous date night. One of them got a massage and the other an hour alone to spend doing anything that refreshed her. What great spouses they had. They worked so hard and they definitely deserved these gifts. I thought, “Wow. Maybe my husband will surprise me tonight.”
Except instead of gifts or spontaneity, I was greeted with a “Hello” and then a hurried retreat to our room to change out of work clothes. I knew he didn’t love me as much as my friends’ husbands loved them. It wasn’t his fault though. If I just made our home a more refreshing space to be in, then he would see how hard I worked. Besides, this isn’t as bad as the marriage down the road.
During our nightly family worship time, I’m torn. I’m struggling to find God. I can’t seem to surrender. What is right and what is real? I feel misunderstood and unseen, and so afraid. Moments of pride followed by deep inadequacy. I’m alone.
Maybe you’ve been in this same spot before. He’s creeping around corners, closing in on you, or possibly you even welcomed him into your space. He confuses you with blinders of how you are not. He steals your joy. He speaks lies and death. His name is Comparison. Have you heard of him?
That night I had a dream that broke through it all. It was short and simple. I hope this sweet dream breaks through your confusion as well.
I was staring into a well at my reflection. It was so dark and blurry, but the sun began to break through the haze. Quickly I realized there were many other people around me staring into their own wells. Then the kindest man standing beside me embraced me. He was warm and jovial. His eyes like water– a reflection. His name was Jesus. And just with that touch, and with that look, the scales fell off my eyes. He said to me “Daughter, you are my beloved.” Suddenly, I could see who I was.
And that torrid affair was over in a flash. And a new love story began. To be seen by Jesus, to be loved by Jesus– that is enough. That is peace and joy.