It was all about a ring....
(no, not that one)
More like these...
(these two rings aren't exact, but are similar to the one I had)
I would slip it onto my finger making sure he knew how happy it made me, dropping not so subtle hints like a piano from a 4 story window.
Until one day, I discovered that the ring was being discontinued.
My heart sank.
It was the only sort of "indulgent" item I had ever really wanted. I knew I couldn't have it, but I had secretly hoped. Sort of like Cinderella secretly hoping she could go to the ball. An impossible dream, but just maybe.....
I had hoped, assumed even, that during those 5 years my husband had been stashing away cash so that he could get me this thing that I so longed for.
So, when I told him that it was being discontinued and was now at a rock-bottom price ($1,700...still way out of our price range), I just knew he would pull me close and say something amazing like,
"I've taken care of everything darling! I've been saving, because I knew how much you wanted that ring. Look, I've got the money right here (as he pulls out a stack of cash from his magic black hat). Let's go get it!"
We women can sure make up some doosies, huh?
So, when he looked at me puzzled and sort of laughed when I asked him if he would get the ring for me, as if to say, "Woman, are you crazy?" And I realized that my Fairy Godmother was not showing up,
I LOST IT!!!
I cried and threw the hugest fit, accusing him of not caring about me or loving me because he hadn't saved not one penny to get me the ring. He was just being his boring, practical self, saying that I should know that we couldn't afford a luxury like that on just one income. And I snorted back, "That's why you were supposed to have been saving!"
It was ugly.
I didn't speak to him for 3 days.
I wanted that ring so bad and nothing, not even my husband, was going to stop me from having it.
I called every jewelry store in the area until I FINALLY found one, 3 hours away, that would let me lay it away.
So I made my husband drive me there (still not speaking to him) and I took $200 bucks (that we didn't have) and laid my ring away.
A few months later when I got my student loan check, I paid it off (borrowing from Peter to pay Paul at it's best) and proudly wore it for the next 6 years.
It was my very favorite thing.
I would sit and stare at it under the bright lights at church because there was where it seemed to sparkle the most.
No one knew what ugly lengths I went to to acquire my precious (ha ha) little trinket because I just lied and said that it was a college graduation present to myself.
But while that was not one of my best moments for sure, the Lord did speak to me very clearly during those 3 days when I was giving my husband the silent treatment.
And those words from the Holy Spirit changed my life...I still live by them to this day.
The Holy Spirit whispered to me in the midst of my anger and hurt feelings and gently said,
"Your husband is not responsible for your happiness. Let him off the hook."
It's still amazing to me how one little word like that from God can pierce a heart so. Mine was pierced that day alright, and it's never healed over.
I knew in that moment that I was very wrong for how I had treated my husband and I went to him and apologized right away. I indeed, let him off the hook.
And while I haven't been perfect, I really do try not to hold him responsible for making me happy, because he can't. It's not his job or anyone else's job to know how I feel or give me what I want at any given moment.
I hardly know what I really want most of the time. So, how is my husband or anyone else supposed to know?
And when it all comes down, my husband does make me happy. He's wonderful!
So, when I get my feelings hurt, or think that he's supposed to meet my every desire and whim, I am putting unattainable expectations on him...which is cruel and wrong.
So, it's much easier to just let it go and move on.
Incidentally, something very interesting happened with that ring.
Would you like to know what became of it?
I hadn't worn it in many weeks because for some reason, I just didn't enjoy it anymore. God had been doing incredible things with my heart and when I looked at the ring, I saw the truth behind it.
That while it was my very favorite possession (my precious...lol), what I was wearing was really debt, lies, bullying, dishonor to my husband and disobedience to the Lord. It was sickening actually.
But one Sunday, I happened to pull it out of my jewelry box and put in on to wear to church.
During the service, our church was taking up a special offering for the A21 Ministry, an organization that is dedicated to freeing women in the sex trade industry and abolishing sexual slavery all over the world.
As the mother of a daughter (and as a human being), this subject is close to my heart. I pray for these women and young girls all the time. The evil they endure is abhorrent to me, so when they were taking up the offering, I wanted to help, but didn't know how.
I didn't have any money to put in the offering, so I began to cry out of disappointment. I told God how sorry I was that I couldn't help that day because I had no money.
And then again, as He so gently does, He spoke.
My tear filled eyes fell on that big diamond ring on my hand and the Holy Spirit said,
"You have that."
I knew what He was asking.
God wanted me to give my ring to help save enslaved girls.
For just a moment I wrestled with whether or not I was really hearing from God. But just for a second, because I knew, as clearly as I knew my own name, that God wanted me to give it away.
So, still crying (tears of joy), I said YES.
I made my way to one of our pastors, and told her the story.
She graciously accepted my offering and promised to put it to good use.
So, I took the ring off, placed it in her hands and walked away, feeling freer than ever!
You see, my husband can't make me happy.
People can't make me happy.
Even beautiful diamond rings can't make me happy.
Only my wonderful, sweet, gentle, loving Father can. My joy and happiness is found in Him alone.
It's taken Him using some pretty hard and humiliating lessons for me to come around to that truth, but the truth it surely is.