Oasis of Living Waters

                                                                                                              True Source of Fulfillment

Once upon a time, there was a teenage girl and boy who met in high school and fell madly in love. Both were "good" kids who got high grades, listened to their parents, went to church, were involved in school and church activities and didn't smoke, drink or do drugs.

But she had an alcoholic father who often became verbally abusive when drunk and she had a lot of painful memories to escape. And while he came from a very respected, religious family he felt that he was only loved for his achievements and good behavior and that his feelings didn't matter at all.

They found acceptance, affection, attentive listening and "unconditional love" with each other. The couple dated through high school and college and then had a beautiful wedding. They seemed the perfect couple, very affectionate, sharing their dreams and goals. She worked while he attended dental school and then they had two little girls and she stayed home with them. For the next few years, it was the fairy tale marriage -- a loving relationship with few arguments, except about his becoming a workaholic like his dad. His wife loved him deeply, respected him and totally trusted him. Still, she couldn't help feeling disappointed that her vision of what family would be wasn't coming true.

Then one day, the wife discovered that this husband whom she loved and trusted so much was involved with another woman! It was shocking, hard to digest. The pain of betrayal was a deep, deep piercing of her heart. It was difficult to get through each day, going through the motions of raising her girls and crying herself to sleep at night.

Of course I am that woman, and this occurred  years ago in my first marriage. My husband and I went for counseling and were separated on and off for five years while he tried to figure out what he wanted and why. Even though he seemed to have it all, he felt something was missing. Then suddenly, he was killed in a car accident at 35 years old and I was left with unanswered questions, the definite end to the dreams we once had, an unclear knowledge of who the man I had married really was, insecurity about my worth as a woman, a host of legal and financial problems and two young daughters to raise alone.

The point of this story is not to get your sympathy but to let it illustrate a few truths for all our lives. One is about dealing with pain, hurt and disappointment. During the years of grieving the husband and marriage I had dreamed of and thought I had, I soothed the pain and comforted myself with food. I "grazed" a lot, eating when I couldn't sleep at night or was feeling overwhelmed and unloved. I gained a lot of weight but felt it was OK because it helped me get through the pain and heartbreak. I figured it was better then resorting to medications, drinking, smoking etc.

As I thought about sharing this with you, God said to me, "Your husband was doing the same thing!" It was a lightning bolt of new awareness for me. I realized as I never had before that my husband and I had turned to each other for fulfillment, affirmation and our unmet needs for unconditional love, but we could not fill those needs for each other; ONLY GOD could. But instead of going to Him, we both reached out in our unfulfilled emptiness and pain elsewhere.

Although we loved God and prayed, our lives weren't centered on God as our Source! We didn't realize that God--not any person, achievement or worldly pleasure--is the only way to meet our deep needs. The realization that we were both handling our needs in the wrong way has enabled me to forgive and to heal on a level I never was able to before. I realize that my husband truly never wanted to hurt me. He had reached for another woman for the same reason I had been reaching for food. With each of us unable to meet the deep, intense needs that the other one had, we both turned where we thought we might get comfort. We were both reaching toward the wrong source.

I believe that expecting others to meet needs that only God can meet is behind many of the troubled relationships people have and is the root of the world's seeking and discontent. Everyone has a need to feel affirmed, loved unconditionally and fulfilled, but God created us that way so we would come into an intimate relationship with Him. God CAN meet every need that we have (He knows them even before we present them) and He is the ONLY One who can meet our deepest yearnings. Our identity and our self-worth are found in Christ. He also will give us His peace, which surpasses all other and is beyond our understanding. (Philippians 4:7).

During the difficult years, I did pray to God but I didn't know then as I do now, to take time to pour out my whole heart and give the burdens to Him, in total trust that He will take care of them according to His all-knowing plan. Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28, "Come to me all who are tired and have heavy loads and I will give you rest." When I do this, I am filled with His peace, which is all encompassing and beyond comprehension.

I also did not know that when I prayed for my husband, I needed to pray for God to touch him, soften his heart and draw him to God. That is what he really needed. My husband had been religious and "knew" God but did not have the personal relationship with Him that changes everything.

I pray that this touches you and helps you resolve any past hurts from a new perspective. I also pray that it encourages you to develop your intimate relationship with God as your Source and the center of your life. May you experience God's love, acceptance, and peace abundantly.



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