“I ‘ll cook for him, I’ll clean for him and I‘ll be civil, but I’m not gonna love him anymore.”
The words had run through my mind dozens, perhaps hundreds of times before I finally heard myself say them aloud to a girlfriend. Hidden in my thoughts, they had not seemed that horrid, but as my dear friend heard me say them, she looked stunned.
“You…you don’t mean that!” she sputtered.
“Yes, I do,” I coldly replied. “He has chosen to act this way for ten years and I don’t want to play the game anymore. Nothing I do or say makes any difference – he does what he wants to. I give up. I refuse to love him.”
That conversation finally ended, but those last five words echoed in my mind for a long time. I knew it was sinful to stop loving someone. I knew I was headed for spiritual trouble. I knew, without a doubt, that I was dead wrong. I justified my unforgiveness and stubbornly planted myself on sinking-sand ground. It was utter darkness. Like King David, miserably, I lived my life in the following months without the joy of my salvation.
My hope was gone.
I called Mary Lou.
Have you ever known someone who told you exactly what you did not want to hear, but would tell you exactly what God wanted you to hear, anyway? Mary Lou is that kind of person. I do not ask for counsel from her until I am ready to call a spade, a spade, so to speak. Destroyed by my self-inflicted bitterness, I could no longer play games with my sin. Sin’s pleasurable season had long lost its allure; I had made myself sick.
I self-righteously detailed the whole, sordid story into the mouthpiece of my telephone as Mary Lou patiently listened. Carefully highlighting the abuses I had suffered at the hands of this person, my confidence grew. Finally, I paused. She sighed, then quite unsympathetically cut right to the bottom line.
“So, you are telling me that you know what God wants you to do, but that you have made a decision not to?” she queried dryly.
“Well…yes,” I responded, feeling my throat tighten.
“Kay, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”
“You know that I have, Mary Lou,” my voice was getting softer, but my heart was beating harder.
Her voice became softer, too, “Kay, sit down.”
I will never forget the words she then spoke, ever so slowly and gently.
“I want you to imagine that the Lord Jesus Himself has come into your home. Picture that He has walked over in front of you as you sit there talking to me. Look at His hands and His feet, Kay. Remember all your sins. Do you remember what He’s done for you? He took your punishment. After all He’s done for you, after all of that, I want you to tell Him all these reasons why you’re not gonna obey Him – the ones you just told me. Tell him, tell Him right now.”
Of course, I was trying not to cry. My mind raced over those years of my selfish, depraved, malicious sin, sin that all been forgiven and removed in an instant of surrender to His amazing love. “Oh, Mary Lou, I could never tell Him all that stuff. I just can’t do it, ” I blubbered.
When she responded, her voice was just above a whisper, “You just did. You told Him all of it. He’s in you, Kay. After all He’s done for you, you’re telling Him that what He did is not enough.”
My uncontrollable tears turned from sorrow to joy and relief within the next few minutes. I cried out desperately for my Father’s forgiveness. Oh, how glorious is the release of joy in a newly repentant and broken heart! Astonishingly, inexplicably and supernaturally, I was changed. A power unlike anything I had experienced entered my being and instantly cleansed my heart with His pure, white, consuming fire, yet He was gentle and quiet. Could I possibly live as His beloved again?
I was free.
In the following days and weeks, the joy of my salvation did indeed return. My gratitude to my Savior began to yield a rich harvest of eternal fruit. Orchestrating miraculous coincidences, the Lord led me to write the song, “After All” and I sang it before a Christian Women’s Fellowship after a dear sister gave her testimony. The song became hers, as well. Our stories were one: trust and obey.
It is critical to understand that the offenses that caused my rebellion did not stop with my surrender to God’s leading. The object of my bitterness has continued in his sin, but my heart has remained different. I am free, indeed. I remember Mary Lou’s words, ‘After all He’s done, after all your sins…’ and I remember to live in gratitude for His mighty love.
The God Most High is worthy of our highest praise. He is also worthy of our obedience…
Testify Girl! Wow, how open, how honest, you are so welcoming to have opening your heart to us like that. To God be the Glory. I'm certain the thoughts you had have played in many of our minds so many times, thank you for putting it in this form to speak to our hearts and nurture our souls.