Performance Based Love

(Written 15 months after my husband went to heaven.)

“Jehovah appeared of old unto me, (saying), Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”  Jeremiah 31:3

One of the thoughts that has hounded me the most in these fifteen months of grieving is  how much of a disappointment I must be to God because of how the death of my husband literally threw me on the ground and shattered my faith.

Surely I am a disappointment to Him because I am a Christian and should be able to stand up to the greatest loss in my life.  I should be able to keep my head up in the midst of this darkness and have a smile on my face.  I should be stronger than this.  My faith should be at the highest level it has ever been.  I should not have any questions of “why” or statements of “how could you do this to me after my serving You my entire life”.  Instead I should be bowing my head in quiet acceptance.  I should not be having any trouble finding out who I am now that I am no longer a wife.  I should just let go of all those years I had with my husband and move forward.

Yesterday as I was listening to the Moody Radio station in my car, I heard a statement that hit me right in the heart.  I do not even remember who said it, but the essence of it was that there is nothing I can or cannot do to make God love me any more than He already does.  All my life I have believed that if I do all the right things in following the Lord, that will make me more deserving of His love and more deserving of more of His blessings.  When God did not answer my prayers for healing for my husband, I feel totally and completely betrayed.  My first thought was that somehow there was something that I did not do right that made me undeserving of getting that answer to my prayer.

The idea that there is nothing I could ever do or not do to make God love me any more than He does literally blew all of my whole life way of thinking out of the water.  It stripped me bare of all of my “doing” and left me feeling like a load of “performance” had been lifted off my shoulders.

All my life I have been a performance based person with very high expectations of myself and others.  I always wanted to do everything I could to make my parents proud of me.  Now they did not demand that of me nor do I even ever remember them telling me that they expected that of me.  As the oldest child and the only girl this was just something that I expected of myself.  I felt like I was the one that should always take care of everyone.

This carried over into my marriage and family.  I strived to be the perfect wife for my husband and the perfect mother for our daughters.  Whenever I failed, it greatly troubled me.  After my husband received a terminal diagnosis and we made the decision to go the alternative medicine route in dealing with that, I did everything I was told to do to keep him alive and well and it worked for a little over five years.  I spent hours every day preparing fresh juices and raw food meals for him, putting his supplements in separate bottles to be taken at different times throughout the day, reminding him of all the things he had to do every day to help his body heal, and so much more.

Both of my parents were having health problems at the same time and I was scrambling to do my very best to take care of them as well.  To say that I was living on “high alert” would be an understatement.  My thoughts were that I HAD to do everything I could for all three of them so that God would answer my prayers for their healing.  When they all three died in less than four months’ time, I was completely crushed.  My performance had not been enough to merit enough love from God to keep all three of them here with me.

Yesterday I realized how erroneous my thinking was.  God’s healing is not based on my performance nor on how much He loves me.  There is nothing I can do to earn His love.  He already loves me as much as He will ever love me.  That truth is very freeing.  It is something that I am going to have to continue mulling over and over in my mind.  I guess that is what renewing the mind is all about.

Thank you, God, for opening my eyes and my heart to this truth.  I know it does not negate the truth that I am to do my best for You, but it lets me off the hook in thinking that the more I “do”, the more You will love me and the more prayers You will answer for me. 

Help me in this grief journey, Lord.  Heal my broken heart and my shattered faith.  In spite of everything, I love You, Lord. I don’t understand how I got so messed up in my thinking, but I thank You that as I can handle it and this fog begins to lift, You are helping me to throw open all those doors of my heart that have been locked and sealed and are beginning to clear out the cobwebs in my mind so that I can “see” what is really true.

7 responses

  1. Wow your words are so amazing. I lost my dad 25 years ago to cancer on December 26 now I lost my husband of 14 years to cancer on December 22. It really has been helpful and a good reminder on what to keep our eyes on. Thank you

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  2. I am humbled that you did everything in your power for your husband to live .You are a wonderful woman. Caring for somebody is a noble task. I know this because I am not only a palliative nurse, but I cared for my husband for seven months when he was diagnosed with the deadly advanced pancreatic cancer. Hat off to you for going an extra mile in caring and loving your husband till death separated you. so many thoughts went through my mind when I was caring for my husband. “May be I am not doing enough or may be the church is not praying enough”. But I thank God For the Holy spirit, who reminded me that God Is a gracious God because during that very same season when my husband was fighting to live ,sometimes finding it difficult to breathe, God had supplied oxygen to robbers, murderers, prostitutes unfaithful husbands and wives etc etc. This was evident because none of the aforementioned groups had created their own oxygen cylinders to supply them with oxygen. Their lungs were able to contract and relax as they inhaled and exhaled oxygen in order for them to live. Unfortunately they used their lives to engage in wrong activities. This gave me peace and even now when people try to explain the reason as to why my husband died when he was only 42, I stick to the above revelation which clearly suggest that my husband’s life did not depend on his performance neither mine, because the Psalmist does say the length of our days are numbered by God. This is the truth, sadly we do not know the hour when our days will be finally numbered . More over if God was only to reward me depending on my good work how about the times am sleeping when I am literally and unconsciously doing nothing and yet God goes ahead to protect me , my family and property. God goes AHEAD TO ALLIGN BLESSINGS FOR THE FOLLOWING MORNING WHILE AM STILL SLEEPING. CANDY ,ISN’T COMFORTING THAT I DO NOT NEED TO STAY AWAKE 24 HOURS DOING GOOD WORK OR PRAYING FOR GOD TO BLESS ME AND LET ALONE HEAL ALL MY DISEASES.

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    • Yes, Gertrude. That scripture that says that God has our days numbered has new meaning for me now. It wouldn’t have mattered how much I did for Bob. His planned journey on this earth was finished. It IS a comfort to know that I don’t have to earn God’s love. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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      • Point of correction candy. My heart wanted to say one thing but my hand wrote something else. The psalmist in chapter 90 verse10 states the length of our days is seventy years or eighty if we have strength………This is one of the verses that I used to qoute when I used to pray for my husbands healing and health. Such that when he finally passed to glory, I was confused. That’s when the revelations that I have shared above helped and still helps to heal my broken heart. Regarding death I wanted to say in the Ecclesiastes it states that there is time to be born and there is also time to die. The biggest challenge is ,we are clueless when our time of passing to glory will come. May God continue to heal your heart and even mine

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  3. Oh my, this post helped me so much. My faith grew by leaps and bounds as my precious husband keep defying all the odds and I truly believed with all my heart that God was going to make him whole. Then when Jesus took him home June 15th of this year…my faith was shattered. I had built such a close relationship with Jesus throughout Kevin’s 2+ year battle with cancer that the feelings of betrayal and anger took me by surprise.

    The harder I tried to fight them the stronger they got. I too keep asking how could he take Kevin away from me at the young age of 47 when we both had served Him our whole lives? I knew it was in His power to make him whole no matter what the doctors where telling us.

    Then when I couldn’t get an answer to that question, I stated questioning myself…did I do something wrong…did I not pray enough…could we have went another route medically?

    I knew these questions were not going to be answered here on earth and was trying to get past them. Your statement…God’s healing is not based on my performance nor on how much He loves me. There is nothing I can do to earn His love. He already loves me as much as He will ever love me…has brought peace to my heart also. Thank you!

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