“People are afraid you are a distraction to my ministry.”
My ex husband shifted in his seat in the car as I struggled to understand what he was saying. We had just recently become engaged. He said he was called to be a missionary and I was not sure where I fit into his calling. I thought we could do it together? But, it seemed like he was the only one called.
“What people?” I asked. Feeling offended and hurt. Why did it seem like everyone looked down on me?
He didn’t answer but just looked away from me and out the window. He sighed. He looked down. There was some sort of internal struggle going on. I didn’t understand. I thought he loved me. But now, it was as though he felt like I was just a burden to him.
A distraction. My esteem seemed to break in that moment and sit at the bottom of my stomach like lead. Is that what I was?
I fumbled with my seatbelt in the passenger’s seat. “I will be a good wife. I don’t want to be a distraction.” I was somehow meekly defending myself. I thought about how other men had wanted to marry me. They seemed to think that they had hit the jackpot when they met me! What had happened that I had become such a nothing? When did I stop having something to offer? When did I become so insignificant as — not only to no longer be someone who could be a partner, enriching the life of my spouse — but now I was reduced to someone who might cause my spouse harm? A distraction?
My ex husband set the stage, over and over, as we dated and were engaged. He groomed me to believe that I could not do better than he. He melded my mind (brainwashed) me to think that I had no ministry. It was his ministry. Not only did I have no place, but I was a liability. Not a gift.
By the time we were married, I felt lucky that anyone wanted me.
For the rest of our marriage together, I felt lucky to have anything at all. That is how it works. A hundred conversations like the one above during the dating period. And it is settled. He had me and I did not deserve better. There was no one in my life to tell me otherwise. And his family confirmed it. On the night before our wedding, his mother and father sat down with him and said, “When are you coming home?” And he told me about it. It was so bad. IT WAS SO BAD that after I left, a friend told me I had “so much to offer” and I stared at him like he was crazy. There was nothing positive about me! I worked over-time to try to win approval from my ex husband, his family and my own and yet I could never find it.
Leaving all of that was the best pruning I ever received.
Years later, I don’t even recognize that girl. I was so afraid that the real Megan was gone forever. Lately, I have seen so much relational success that I cannot even recognize the girl above except in my distant memories. It is like watching a movie of someone else’s life.
I am not really sure why I want to share this but I do. I think that part of it might be that I want people to see how things happen. I was vulnerable; my parents had just died; I was 25; I was hurting; there was no family that did not already treat me questionably. It was the perfect storm for breeding even further pain and insecurity in my life until I felt like I could not live without him.
I think another part is that I want people to see that they can heal, if they do the hard work. I’m myself again. I lead, I minister and I love. I am healthy — body, mind and soul. I eat heartily and I laugh loudly. I write and paint and work hard to inspire and encourage. Because I know where I am and what I am supposed to be doing, I don’t feel a need to criticize, belittle or hurt others. I am healed. And giving her wings is my favorite. Oh, how I love to see our mamas fly. And our team. There simply is not time enough in the day to love the people in my family and the people with whom I work.
Life is a good and painful thing. And I can experience it all. So many people have followed me for a long time and, if you are one of those, I’m here to tell you that it can get better. So, so much better. For so long, I felt like all of the limbs of myself were chopped off. But, no one could take my soul — that belonged to Jesus. And He helped me to thrive, despite the deep, devastating pain. It just took time, and struggle and growth. And healing and more growth and stretching and trying. And if I could do it, you can do it, too. I believe in you. And so does Jesus.
You are not a distraction. That is a disgusting word to me. You are all that is sacred, in your own right. Every single part of you. And you are a vessel and a carrier of God’s powerful Holy Spirit. You. Not your husband — not your ex husband. You. You belong to Him. And no one can take that away — no matter how hard they tried. Be filled. And be at peace . . . at the very center-core of the bit of life that is still there. Rest in that. You . . . are powerful.