True Confessions: From Frustration to Freedom Part One

Once upon a time, a woman met a friend on the street.  The friend asked her, “Martha, how are you?”  The woman lowered her eyes to the crack in the sidewalk, and slowly replied.  “Oh, I’m alright—under the circumstances.”  “My goodness,” exclaimed the friend.  “What are you doing under there?”                                                                                                                                             

Have you ever thought about the fact that many of us live our lives according to our circumstances?  For 28 years, this was true for me.  I was the all-American teenager, involved in lots of church and school activities.  Outwardly, I appeared to have it all together but inwardly I struggled with guilt and disappointment over my failures and shortcomings.  When I wanted something or got into trouble, I would pray, “God, please.  If you’ll do this for me, I’ll live my life for you.”  Or “God, if you’ll get me out of this mess, I’ll live for you.”  

Even though, my prayers were often answered, life circumstances took over and I soon forgot my end of the bargain.  There were times when I felt close to God.  Church camp, a good speaker, or an interesting  Bible study would inspire me to be a better person, but I soon realized I had no power to remain true to my own standards, much less God’s. 

As a result, my life was an up and down experience of sometimes feeling close to God and other times, frustrated that I wasn’t the person I knew God wanted me to be.  I went away to college and set my goals to have a good time and find a husband.  (After all, this was the fifties.)  After I met Jay, we fell in love and were married a year later. 

We had a good life, healthy children, no great tragedies.  However, I soon discovered that marriage was not all I’d hoped and I certainly wasn’t the wife and mother I wanted to be.  As I reflect on those years, I realize I loved my husband, not for who he was, but for what he could do for me.  Selfishly, I was more concerned about his meeting my needs than I was about meeting his.

We knew nothing about resolving conflicts. My husband was a pouter and wouldn’t speak to me for days after an argument. Perhaps that was because I had a way with words, fighting words .  Therefore, we never solved anything.  In time, the conflict would fade, but it always seemed to hang over us, ready to pounce at any moment.  Basically, our marriage consisted of doing our own thing, in pursuit of whatever we each thought would make us happy.  Our relationship was shallow and fragile.  We rarely talked about the important things of life and existed on a superficial level.

I loved our children but I didn’t always show it.  “If Mom feels good—great.  But, if she’s in a bad mood, stay out of her way.”  Frustrated and clueless, I disciplined the girls in anger, rather than love.  I knew it was wrong, but I had no idea how to respond any differently.

Frankly, I didn’t like the person I had become and you may be thinking, “I wouldn’t like you, either.”  What then was I to do?  I believed in God.  I never rejected Christ.  In my heart, I wanted to be a good wife and mother.  How could I learn to rise above the circumstances of my life when I didn’t even know it was possible to do so? 

By the way, if you’d met me back then, you wouldn’t have known what was going on in my heart.  I was pretty good at putting on a happy face and hiding the disappointments in my life. 

Join me next week for the 2nd installment of True Confessions: From Frustration to Freedom.  I’d love to share with you how I discovered the strength to rise above the circumstances and find hope, wholeness, and even happiness.

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Comments
9 Responses to “True Confessions: From Frustration to Freedom Part One”
  1. Mary Jenson says:

    Now THAT was a revelation! Who knew? Isn’t that so often the case? Who knows–we know. Great writing. Great transparency and I’m eager for the next post! And I love you. We have way more in common than I thought :).

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve thought of you lately, wondering how you’re doing. I miss you, my friend. Thanks again for connecting with me. I kinew there was a reason I’ve always felt a kindred spirit with you! Love you, Liz

  2. Lisa Tyler says:

    Mama, thanks for sharing your open and vulnerable heart with all of us! I helps to hear that the woman I most admire and strive to be like wasn’t always who she is today!! Helps me realize it is a growth process and one in which I am defnitely still maturing! Love you!!

    • Thanks, sweet daughter for your support and encouragemnet. The truth is, the opportunity to grow never ends. None of us have arrived and won’t completely until we meet Him face to face. I love you, Mama

  3. Linda Williams says:

    Sounds just like me. Now I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for next week! Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • Thanks, Linda. Right before I read your comment, I had written this in my notes: “A large part of perseverance is the encouragement of others. Example: my blog: I pray God will give me just enough feedback and encouragement to keep me going and not enough to make me proud.” You have just played a big part in that. 🙂

  4. christen adams says:

    Mama Welsh,
    Don’t you know I hate “to be continued” stories? I can’t wait to read “the rest of the story” next week. Way to leave us all hanging!
    Love you! Love your blog!

  5. harriett salley says:

    can’t wait for next week!

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