Natalie's Story

Battling Insecurity in Marriage

As a newly married woman, I struggle with much insecurity – a lot of which stem from the way I grew up. Coming into God’s kingdom, into His Word, and building Godly relationships has helped me to begin healing from my past hurts. However, after getting married on May 16th of this year, I understand that the healing process has only just begun. 

Roots of Insecurity – My Childhood

As a child, I remember trying to be overly strong to combat the insecurities I had from not feeling loved by parents and family members. My dad moved out when I was three, and my parents divorced when I was six.

Their relationship was very volatile. They fought often, even in front of my young sister. They also fought while I was in the womb — I didn’t realize this until I was in a therapist's office one day trying to figure out why having kids really made me nauseous and scared. As I started to cry, I pictured being pregnant and someone punching me in the stomach. Later that week, I asked my dad if he and my mom fought while she was pregnant and he admitted to it.

After my parents divorced, I lived in a home with my sister, mom, and a babysitter. It was peaceful enough, but I battled with not being an adult or in charge.  I was constantly telling my sister’s friends to do what I wanted, as well as my own friends. I would even blackmail my mom to buy me things when I felt that she let me down.

Because I would get things this way, my cousins became jealous and called me a spoiled brat. To this day, they still call me a brat. I struggle to be righteous when I hear this.

I have always been very sexual. I lived with cousins as a child and constantly experimented with them and friends. At nine, my older girl cousin made me kiss her breasts. I never felt like it was rape, but was it was so shameful that I finally told on her. I still remember watching an adult film at 9 years old and wanting to show my friends. No parents were around to tell us yes or no, so I continued on this sexual path until becoming a disciple.

I was a natural leader and popular until 5th grade when I moved to a new school. I lost confidence when a boy, who must have sensed me as a threat, came up and told me, “I hope you don’t think you will be popular at this school.” I immediately isolated myself and trusted few.  I was totally hurt but had no one to confide in. To this day, I feel like I’ve lost my natural desire to lead. For fear of rejection, I would rather sit on the sidelines.

From the age of 11 through 17, I lived with my mom and her boyfriend, and went home everyday to an empty home. When they did come home, the fighting would begin. It got so bad one night that I called the police, but when they arrived, my mom told them that everything was fine. From then on, I didn’t respond to any of her requests for help. I grew cold, to the point I wouldn’t even open the door if I heard her yell my name. It just made me madder. Sometimes I would just turn the TV up louder or talk on the phone.

While my mom was with her boyfriend, we moved homes and schools often. One time my mom asked my aunt if I could stay with her, and my mom stayed with another aunt who lived close to her work. At this time, her “boyfriend” moved in with her. I felt so jealous and hurt. I got excellent grades but started partying. I was never questioned or held accountable because I was always at the top of my class.

I experimented with drugs from ages 14 to 24, and my virginity was stolen at 16. I nearly always had a boyfriend, but when they got too close, I would always run from them by cheating on them. I learned to make men leave me by hurting them. When they wouldn’t leave, it just made me feel angrier. I felt trapped, so I would cheat again or get meaner. I felt unlovable.

Insecurity Surfacing in My Marriage

I recently confessed my tendency to be mean to my husband. I’ve often asked God why He loves me. In tears, I recently asked my husband that too.

I see now that insecurities from the past have come to the surface in my marriage. I am often ashamed that I am the more sexual one and seem to want sex more. I struggle with jealousy when I see my husband talking to pretty woman or being nice to someone else. I have to pray and trust God when I start to compare myself to other women or begin second-guessing my husband’s motives.

Cheating on past boyfriends has also negatively affected me because Satan tells me that I will do it again. I fight hard to be righteous, but sometimes feel condemned.

God’s Love – Opening the Gate

Even with all of my struggles, God has shown me his love from a young age. I still remember going to Sunday school as a child and singing "Jesus Loves Me." It felt good. When I was little, my mom always reminded me to say my prayers. My prayer was followed by, “I, Natalie, can do all things through Christ’s strength in me.”

When I finally studied the Bible at age 24, I read Philippians 4:13 and realized that the phrase I had recited as a child was from the Bible! I was so excited.

Later, when I found Secure in Heart, I realized that these affirmations only matter when you know God intimately. With this intimacy has come trust and experience to base my faith upon.

Over the last 6 years as a disciple, I have battled with trusting others. This has included my boyfriend (now husband), family, and leaders. It was my boyfriend who not only bought me Secure in Heart but also recommended I see a marriage and family therapist.

The tears I have shed over these years over feelings of abandonment and hurt have shown me the depth of God’s love—knowing that he will never abandon or hurt me, bringing me healing and a clearer vision. They have also helped me recognize the walls I built to keep people out.

The book Boundaries provided me with a helpful illustration. The authors suggest  keeping a gate up instead of a wall. In this way, you can make the decision to open the latch and let people in.

Victories in my Battle

God hasn’t allowed me to just sit on the sidelines. He has been telling me to let my light shine! Since becoming a disciple, I have spoken for many events at work and church.

My husband has become my biggest fan! He even sat on the floor in the back corner for the Secure in Heart class I taught to 200 women and then encouraged me after. I still have times when I don’t want to let my husband in or see who I am, for fear that I am not good enough. It’s then I go back to the chapter in Secure in Heart, “Am I enough?”  It reminds me that God loves me for who I am not for what I do or don’t do.

God is still helping me grow in my life. As a married woman, I have continued to find my strength in God through my prayers and times with other woman. I recently joined a book club to help me learn to respect, affirm, and understand men. My hope is that I can become a better wife through this, and to continue to get to know God more deeply!

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