by Ingrid L. Kimble, Special Guest Blogger
Why is it that when it comes to romantic relationships we often times find ourselves in a position that leaves us miserable and confused? Constantly making excuses for behavior or relationships that are not God’s best for us. Instead of learning or waiting, we find ourselves in a vicious love cycle moving at a rate that depletes us and leaves our souls empty and unhealthy.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we sat down with Christy Johnson, life coach, inspirational speaker and author of Love Junkies, 7 Steps For Breaking the Toxic Relationship. During this holiday season (and most other holidays), a lot of people find themselves hurting, disappointed and involving themselves in toxic relationships just so they won’t feel or have to be alone. During our conversation, Christy shared her testimony as a love junkie who knows what it’s like to experience chaotic and painful toxic relationships.
DIVINE Magazine: Christy, tell me what made you write “Love Junkies 7 Steps For Breaking The Toxic Relationship Cycle”?
Christy: As a single mother with three children, Brittany, Garrett and Jake, life wasn’t easy, but I felt more freedom than ever. The daily agony of living with verbal abuse, deceit, drug addiction and manipulation was over. A couple of years after our divorce, however, tragedy struck. It was June 13, 1998, the weekend of my 20th High School reunion. My ex-husband had our children for his weekend visitation when he decided to drive under the influence with our two sons, Garrett and Jake. He hit another vehicle head on. Toxicology results confirmed that he was under the influence of several narcotics. My ex-husband and Garrett survived, but Jake died at the scene.
Jake’s death was an awakening. Everything God had revealed and spoken to me; in little tiny glimpses (tiny glimpses – God gives a little word and you do not understand it at the time, you just ponder it in your heart) all began to make sense to me; it was like the missing puzzle that just connected all the other pieces. That day I knew that all of the heartache that I had endured in my first marriage and all of the things that God had taught me were for a greater good. That day I understood my destiny.
Adversity really does develop character and perseverance in us and then it gives us that hope that never disappoints.
It was not as if I ever audibly heard God say, “Christy, I want you to write a book, I want you to start speaking,” but that was the only way I knew how to communicate with the skill set I had. If it were not for all the adversity I endured in my first marriage, I would not be who I am today. Adversity really does develop character and perseverance in us and then it gives us that hope that never disappoints. I just have this burning passion to equip other women, to show them, hey there is a way out of this mess!
You don’t have to stay broken.
DIVINE Magazine: During your first marriage, there were moments of time (tiny glimpses) when God was speaking to you. Do you mind sharing?
It wasn’t until my affairs were discovered that I really was desperate for God to change me…
Christy: Yes when we first married, I was a broken mess. I had a list of expectations for my husband and I expected him to fill my needs that were not his to fill. I tried the best I could not to point the finger at him, but, you know, hurting people hurt each other and we hurt each other tremendously. It wasn’t until my affairs were discovered that I really was desperate for God to change me because I tried so hard to change my husband. I mean, I thought, my dissatisfaction and unhappiness was all his fault and if he would just change, I could be happy. I used to be so co-dependent, I’d to go to AA meetings with him when I really should have been in Al-Anon meetings. The ladies in the Al-Anon group were weird to me; I didn’t understand setting boundaries and detaching or letting go but I went for a couple of years and honestly, during that time I didn’t make any progress. It was not until my affairs were discovered and I was flat on my face and desperate for someone to help me that I begged a friend to take me to an Al-Anon meeting and, Ingrid, all of a sudden in that meeting all of these light bulb revelations just kept going off because I was so desperate for the truth, that I finally wanted to listen, and I began understanding that God wanted to transform me.
God gave me hope for my future and He gave me a scripture to hold on to, “Behold I am doing a new thing, do you not perceive it! I’m even going to make roadways in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Those dry places in your life that you never thought could ever be revived, I’m going to bring water there and I’m going to make roads where there are none.” Isaiah 43: 19-19 paraphrased.
My marriage actually got worse, my husband returned to the addiction in full force, we were separated twice, but I never felt God’s release.
I hung on to that scripture for years thinking God was going to restore my marriage, instead He began restoring me. My marriage actually got worse, my husband returned to the addiction in full force, we were separated twice, but I never felt God’s release. During this time in my life, God taught me through enduring adversity how to have joy in the midst of having nothing to eat, no phone or car. Honestly, those were some of the most joy-filled times because that is where God taught me that today I have everything that I need for a life of Godliness.
DIVINE Magazine: In the early chapters of your book you wrote – about three years into your marriage you began to ask question – “Why am I like this?” and “Why have I always needed a man to make me complete?” Those are questions many women ask, would you mind sharing about shame and vulnerability?
I didn’t know how to be alone, I had never been alone.
Christy: My affairs were about two years into my marriage (two and a half) and then by the time they were discovered, that’s when I found myself at the end of my rope. I had to file a victims protective order against my husband, because he had threatened to abuse me and I was alone. I didn’t know how to be alone, I had never been alone. Weekends were for man hunting and because I was trying to do right that wasn’t an option for me anymore. I was resolved that I was going to do it right this time, but, you know those old habits were still in me, and I knew I was vulnerable and needed some protection.
Before that moment, I sought approval, affirmation, and identity out of men
I was sitting on my couch on a Friday afternoon, like, “Why am I like this, God?” and that’s when I think God loves to speak to us but He waits until we are ready to listen. He doesn’t force His voice on us even when he’s been waiting for that opportunity for a long time. When I was ready to listen God revealed to me that I had such a void in my life. Before that moment, I sought approval, affirmation, and identity out of men and it nauseated me literally, Ingrid. It made me sick to think that I use to do that.
In that moment the Lord showed me, Christy, I love you just the way you are. There is nothing so wonderful that you can do that’s going to make me love you any more so you don’t even need to try to be better because I love you just the way you are. There is nothing so horrible that you’re going to ever do that’s going to make me love you any less. It completely stripped me of having to perform to get God’s approval. I never felt free to be Christy before and I was like, I felt that freedom and liberty that day just to be who I was, not to have to pretend to be who other people thought I should be and not to have to try to gain their approval. It was absolutely the most liberating experience I, I ever had.
…the Lord told me those are the women you are going to help…
So, shortly after that time was when I had that vision that I explain at the beginning of the book where I am standing on top of a mountain and as far as I can see was a single file lane of women, and the Lord told me those are the women you are going to help. I was like, I literally almost laughed inside like ‘really’ I cant even talk to one person at a time let alone a multitude of women.
God gives us a vision long before we are able to receive it because he’s preparing us and He wants to push us in that direction…
I didn’t share that vision for at least twenty years, Ingrid, because I thought it sounded so beyond my own capabilities. I didn’t believe it myself but God gives us a vision long before we are able to receive it because he’s preparing us and He wants to push us in that direction but when Jake died I knew that that was part of my destiny. It was to empower other women but I still didn’t share that vision because it still sounded so, so big but when I started hearing other women share their vision, about how God started their ministries, it really gave me the freedom to start believing that God could use me too. It was empowering, it empowered me to believe for my own dream.
Stay Connected To Christy Johnson
Official Website: http://www.christyjohnson.com
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