Thankful in the Midst of Painful Recovery
A Codependent in Colossians
by Kim Pullen | February 6, 2018
Instead of ignoring the pain following the disclosure of our spouse’s sexual sin, we choose to use our trauma as a catalyst for growth, digging deeply into God’s Word in search of spiritual healing and transformation.
Thankful in the Midst of Painful Recovery
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”
This concludes the five-part miniseries on Colossians 1:10-12. See the sidebar for links to Parts 1-4.
Grateful for the Pain
I’ve always been a little suspicious of people who can be unruffled, composed, or resigned when something traumatic happens to them. My instinct is to think either they’re faking it, they’re in denial, or they’re deceived.
So I had to re-read James 1:2 a couple of times to make sure I had actually read it right.
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
You mean consider it a joy when my husband of 19 years abandons me for another woman? Consider it pure joy to wait for God to bring him to his senses? Consider it pure joy to face my shame and insecurity over my husband’s rejection and the realization I too was an idolater?
And yet, two years into my journey, I actually found myself grateful for the disclosure of my husband’s sin and the revelation on my own.
God knew all about Russ’ secret sin. And He knew all about my idolatry or what the recovery world diplomatically calls codependency. He knows about all our sin (Psalm 90:8). But God was merciful, to both of us. If Russ had died unrepentant without his sin being exposed, I wouldn’t have known it until judgment day. And I would have continued in my ignorance, enslaved to my people pleasing.
But God foresaw our future and therefore, in mercy, exposed both our sin so we could have every opportunity to repent and go to heaven.
I think God spends a lot of time focusing on heaven. I mean, he lives there. Why wouldn’t he? I think that’s why he orchestrated his whole elaborate plan to qualify us for heaven. He tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2) so that when pain inevitably comes, we can put it in its proper place in our lives.
The Apostle Paul suffered intense persecution (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). In fact, four of the 13 epistles he wrote were done from a prison cell: Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon, and yes, Colossians. But Paul had his eyes so firmly fixed on heaven that he called all his pain and affliction “light and momentary troubles” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Yes, it may feel like your heart is being run through a shredder. But as someone who has moved through the pain of betrayal and recovery to a place of peace, I understand what Paul means. The four years of uncertainty, shame, fear, and continual heartache are a memory. Parts of it are still quite vivid, but the worst of the pain is slowly fading as Russ and I replace the pain and anguish with joy, trust, and emotional intimacy.
Qualified for Eternity
Another tactic I used to help me to keep my eyes above while Russ and I were separated was taping scriptures and affirmations up all around my house—in the bathroom, the kitchen, the closet, even my laundry room—so that every time I was tempted to believe the lie of my inadequacy, God’s truth would remind me that I was God’s daughter and Jesus’ bride, and together they had qualified me for eternity.
Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus and what pleasure he took in planning this! (Ephesians 1:5 MSG)
I will be a Father to you, and you will be my daughter. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
For your Maker is your bridegroom. (Isaiah 54:5)
Regardless of my spouse’s choices yesterday, today, or tomorrow, God qualified me. All this world’s pain diminishes into its proper place when we remember Jesus did the hard work so we can receive the most precious prize of all—salvation.
As I wrestled through my character and choices, I just need to keep my eyes fixed in front and if I leave God’s path and go astray, I will hear a voice behind me say, “No, [my daughter] this is the way; walk here” (Isaiah 30:21).
A Parting Gift
Thanks for joining me for this 5-part miniseries on Colossians 1:10-12. Here’s a video from the group Stars Go Dim to remind us to look up and keep our eyes fixed on things above. To view the lyrics, click on the CC symbol when the video starts.
What is the hardest part about finding joy in your journey? What scriptures comfort you when you are in the midst of pain?
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