By Shelley Martinkus
Founder, Redemptive Living for Women
About six months ago, I told my husband Jason that it was really important for us to celebrate my big 4-0. I wanted just he and I to go away and spend some time together. What I didn’t want was for my birthday to be just another day or another birthday.
For me to actually want to spend time with Jason is a BIG DEAL. For many years in our recovery after the revelation of Jason’s infidelity, spending time with him alone was the very last thing I wanted to do. Too vulnerable. Too risky. Just too much.
Sure, some of this was simply because I was recovering from the unthinkable. I also know for myself, it was more than that – it was also because I never learned to be fully known, fully intimate, and fully vulnerable.
Over the years, this landscape has changed. Thanks, in part, to Jason’s patience and persistence. I also wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for a safe place where I’ve practiced being fully known with a group of women. My sacred inner circle.
So Jason went to planning and I stepped back and enjoyed not having to deal with the stress of prepping a trip. In the midst of the planning, Jason realized how grateful he is that we don’t keep secrets from each other anymore. Planning my surprise reminded him of hiding certain parts of his life from me. He was so ready for the big day to come when he could fill me in on our plans.
I also wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for a safe place where I’ve practiced being fully known with a group of women. My sacred inner circle.
As I write, we are headed west on a plane, taking us to our warmer than Denver destination. Jason filled me in on all his searching and planning and stressing. During the midst of our conversation, I looked at him and said, “wow, you must feel really vulnerable doing all of this”. And he agreed, completely.
I, for the most part, sat in shock. As I tried to put my internal feelings into words, what I realized is – I felt vulnerable too. And more than that, I questioned my worthiness in all these plans that he so carefully pieced together.
For me, explaining and conceptualizing worth is challenging. Worthiness is knowing, believing and living out the fact that I am enough. No matter what I do or don’t do in a given day, because I am a child of God – I am enough.
For me it seems that somewhere between those years in Sunday school and present day, I forgot about this. Or maybe I never fully conceptualized this as a child. What I DO know, is when I listen to my boys’ music and when I read Jesus Storybook Bible to them – it’s loud and clear. God loves us more than anything else and we were born into this world as worthy. There is absolutely nothing we could do or not do to take it away.
So why, then, has it been so hard for me to live my life out of a place of worthiness? To live from a place of deep security and wholeness? To believe that on my 40th birthday, I am worth others going out of their way to celebrate me?
This is something ladies that I’m currently wrestling through.
And here’s what I think – it goes alllllllll the way back to Adam and Eve. When Eve ate the apple and sin entered the world, the wounding began. It’s from the wounds I’ve endured – both thanks to my sins and thanks to other’s sins – that my worthiness slowly, over time, started to crumble.
So it’s not enough (no pun intended) to just repeat to myself – “I’m worthy, I’m enough.” I’ve got to go deep. I’ve got to Identify the lies I believe in my head that are causing my insecurity and thus my lack of worth. Then trace those back to the wounds I’ve endured.
With that insight comes validation and empathy. With that insight, I can start to replace the lies with the truth. And with that truth, I believe I can start to slowly piece together my worth as God intended it to be.