Let Me Leave You Disappointed

My phone dinged and my stomach sunk. Was that Nathan again? What happened at work today? What advice would I give to fix the situation?

I could call my friend’s cousin and see if their company is hiring.

I could go wait tables and stop this fanciful writing.

I could send out his resume to the various districts of our denomination without telling him.

I could call the church we’d just left and beg them to take us back as their pastor. After all, this move, this town, this house, this job, and this boss—I’d organized it all.

Eight months earlier, we’d set our eyes toward Maine, a great distance from Colorado, and started talking about what might come after local church ministry. Conversations were frequent and long and bookended by prayer. In the end, it had been me who caught a flight to Maine, found a town to live in, and met the couple that sold us our house. It had been me who had made a connection for Nathan’s work, and me who promised the grass was looking pretty green on the East Coast side of the fence.

Or had it been me?

When we shared our decision with people whose wisdom we trusted, we heard the same response, “You guys have to do this. So many details are blatantly God. It won’t be easy, but it will be good.”

My phone dinged a second time and a third. I replied with the best cheerleading, emoji-filled, Jesus-laden advice I could muster and headed to the grocery store.

On the way there, I had an epiphany: I could start a kayak rental company. It was part of the dream—a very small part—but still something that had excited us about moving to Maine. The goal was to eventually open a ministry of renewal for pastors and families, but maybe if we did the kayak piece first, then the struggle would be bearable, and my frustrated husband would be happy again.


And so I read city codes and looked up incorporation procedures and priced out liability insurance and pitched this brilliant idea to my husband, who then brainstormed a name, designed a website, and made a logo—all in less than 36 hours

We were desperate for hope in a move that was hard.

Hour 37 arrived and the Lord finally saw fit to stop the insanity.

Marian, I don’t need you to fix your husband’s frustrations.

The realization was abrupt and affecting. I had been trying to fix his frustrations for the better part of 14 years. Every time something rocked his boat, I attempted to construct a new one. Surely I did this out of love for Nathan, right?

You don’t trust Me.

And there it was. It was an area of unbelief in my life. I trusted God enough to hop a plane and scout a new location. I trusted Him enough to resign from a salary job, sell a beautiful home, spend savings on an unreimbursed move, and buy a 200-year-old home sight unseen. But when it came to my husband’s source of joy or state of joy, I didn’t trust God to lead us well. So instead I stepped in and took over. Or rather I stepped in and pitched wild ideas as a distraction.

By selling my husband on my newest idea for an adventurous life, I wasn’t just distracting him, I was also trying to silence questions that plagued me, Does God see us? Is He going to show up? Will He really care for us in this hard place? Will I forever be married to a man of disappointment? Where can we find rest?

My inability to trust was infringing upon God’s ability to meet both of us in our darkest moments.
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It was nearly dinner time when Nathan walked through the door.

“How was your day?” I asked.

“Eh,” he shrugged. “Same thing, different day. I was chewed out again…” And he launched into the day’s conflict. I could feel his stress manifesting itself in my chest. Ideas for getting out of this situation started to form.

We need to update his resume so it’s ready. I need to check Craigslist for ghostwriting work. I wonder if my part-time writing gig could afford to double my work?

“Enough.” I said it to myself before I said it to him.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I need to apologize. I’ve spent years trying to fix your disappointment. I’m so sorry.”

He looked at me confused. “Why is that a bad thing? I don’t understand.”

“Today I realized that I am completely free from trying to save you from distress.”

“That doesn’t sound kind.” It was a fair statement.

“I know. We left pastoral ministry in order to find rest, and we both thought that would be walks on the ocean and surplus budget for dinners out and trips up the coast.”

He agreed.

“But today I grasped a more correct definition of ‘rest.’ Rest better means trust. And I haven’t done a great job of leaning into God when things are hard. Most of our years together have been me trying to make difficult things easier.”

Knowing and implementing are two different things. I don’t know how to break the habit of saving us and learn the language of trusting. I’m not sure how to lean into Jesus when all I want to do is grasp onto the next idea and run with it.

But I can tell you that I’m most excited to become my husband’s wife rather than his savior. And I think he’ll be the better man for it.


Marian Green and her family have recently moved to Bath, Maine, where they are restoring a historic home and developing a renewal center in the Maine wilderness. Marian is co-author of Inviting Intimacy: Overcoming the Lies and Shame, a book in which she shares her healing from promiscuity and discovery of intimacy. You can read more at uprootedandundone.wordpress.com.

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