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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: The Stronghold


My arms are wrapped tightly around my body, as if to hold it together. Sometimes I feel like my head is going to literally unscrew off my neck and go flying across the room, followed in quick succession by my arms and legs. I feel powerless to control what is happening in my life or my family. I must gain and maintain control. Without it, I will come apart.

That’s the way I used to feel. For years, I exercised control, tight control, over my children and myself. That way, no one could hurt me again, or my children. If I controlled our lives, I could protect us and keep us safe. Yet, those who had injured me throughout my life continued to do so - my parents or my ex-husband - and I would be powerless once more. I would suffer and so would my children. I would again, strive to gain control. In “protecting” myself and my children, I was blind to the damage that I myself was causing and the walls I was building. Walls that eventually became, not a protection, but a prison and a barrier.

I’d been a Christian since I was a teen-ager - but not an involved one. I strayed far from Christ and did it often. I would turn back to him when it was convenient or when my own choices threatened to be my downfall. I married young to get away from an abusive home, and my marriage quickly became abusive as well. When that ended, I began to take charge - and I viewed that as being strong. I was capable, competent and in control.

Until Christ said “Enough.” My second husband and I added a son to the two children I already had, and then we adopted two more. The two we adopted had problems, lots of problems. I had problems, lots of problems, and my husband had problems he didn’t even know about. Our home became a battlefield. But I knew I loved this man and that, if I’d let him, God would bless this marriage. Finally, after all the years, I turned to God.

I began to pray. My husband went to a pastor who did marriage counseling and asked him to “fix” me, because obviously, everything was my fault. The counselor quickly let him know that, rather than fixing me, he needed to fix himself, and then I would likely follow. My husband wasn’t sure he believed that, but he agreed to go to a Christian marriage counselor with me. Even through a year of seeing the counselor, my husband still resisted.

As part of our work with our adopted children, our whole family went to a counselor once a week. For some reason, one week the counselor decided to focus on me. I fell apart and thus began two years of figuring out what made me tick. My husband attended all the sessions with me. He was finally able to hear about the abuse in my home and learn how it had affected me - and why I reacted the way I did to the things he would say to me. And he began to see that though some of our problems were certainly my fault, not all of them were.

I continued to pray and pour our my heart to the Lord in journals. Gradually, God showed me that I needed to give Him control. Over my marriage. Over my children’s lives. Over my whole life. Complete control. Only then would I have real protection. Only then would I truly be safe. Finally, I could rest inside his stronghold.

Every now and then, the urge comes to me to erect another “protective” wall, but the Lord quickly shows me that he can do it better. The walls I built through all those years are still there for my oldest daughter. She has added her own walls, as well. My prayer is, and shall continue to be, that she and all my children will learn that God’s protection is surer, his control is safer and his love is stronger than anything I ever built or anything they will ever build.

At last, He is in control.

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This article has been read 536 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristopher Cox02/06/06
You've obviously had to tear down a few walls just to write such a personal writing. That was an extremely emotional work. Simply gorgeous.
Jan Ackerson 02/09/06
The images in your first paragraph are very powerful.
Alexandra Wilkin02/11/06
Powerful personal testimony - illuminates the difference between control and controlling. God bless.