Sunday, August 5, 2012
Cory and I did not have the easiest dating relationship. Someday I might share the whole saga in hopes that our story might help someone else to avoid it, but let’s just say we broke each others hearts, and drove our friends crazy, over and over again before we finally got married. The other day I found an old journal from that time and as I was reading over it that now extinct but unforgettable feeling of sadness swept over me. Reading the words of my then 22 year old self, I could feel and remember the nights of anguish that I spent writing them, wondering why I had such strong feelings for a boy that I could not make it work with. Why we could not just let each other go when it was obvious the only thing we did was hurt each other time and again.
It is bittersweet to look back at that time. Hard, because back then the hurt was so tangible and all-encompassing. But sweet too, because now, six incredible years of marriage and two kids later, I can see clearly that God was not working in the obvious parts of our dating relationship, he was working in the unseen ways that God so often does. And what he was doing was redeeming something that our sinful flesh tried again and again to destroy. God KNEW who he was making us into as individuals, and the couple he wanted us to become for his glory. So no matter how many times one of us tried to screw it up, he was gently (and sometimes not so gently) trying to make our crooked line straight.
So now, on the eve of our sixth anniversary, I can’t help but reflect on this life we have created. Cory is exactly the husband I would have prayed for if my single self would have had any idea what was good for her. He is a man that is fiercely devoted to Christ and to his family. He gives, serves, and loves in endless measure. Last night I had the pleasure of watching him marry two friends of ours. As he was preaching the gospel and instructing the groom on how he is called to love his wife, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God that he has given me the husband that was not only speaking those words, but living them out each and every day by his love and devotion to me.
Happy anniversary my love, my best friend. Thank you for fighting for us back then, and continuing to fight for us (all four of us!) now.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
It’s not Tuesday, but I’m doing a special edition post about this book because it it currently knocking my freakin’ socks off and I just have to share it with someone.
Have you ever been reading a book and come across a particular quote that you thought you might want to share with a friend, or post on Facebook, or write in your journal? While reading this book I have felt the desire to do this many times, but I can’t. If I started copying something down I would literally have to write the entire book into my journal and there just isn’t time for that in my days.
I did not expect to feel this way about a book. Confession time. I am a passionate lover of books, a passionate lover of Jesus, yet I don’t think I have finished a “Christian book” all the way through in years and years. Non fiction just kind of bugs me as a general rule, and more often than not I get bored or distracted and trail off reading in chapter 3 or so. But this book has been a game-changer. It is speaking to me exactly where I am right now. I am mom of young children who spends her days providing for other people’s needs, desperately (and most of the time sinfully) clinging to any moment in the day where I have a “free” second to spend for myself. I spend those times just staring at Facebook, looking for things on the Internet to buy, daydreaming about trips to the ocean alone with my husband, and very often catatonic in front of some mindless TV show.
Rest is not bad, and please don’t hear me saying that. Also, I love being home with my children and being able to serve my husband. But I have been finding my rest, my strength, in the wrong places. But worse that that, I think, is that I have been looking for God in the wrong places too. it’s RELIGION, and it is gross. I have compartmentalized God into this unattainable free hour in the day where I can go summon him up by reading the bible or writing in my journal. Like he is sitting on my nightstand waiting for me to let him into my life. I have created my life and my relationship with God in such a way that whether I’m seeking him or not seeking him, I’m not really seeking him. Does that make sense? The thing that I am looking for is not real. It is not the God of the bible, it is not Jesus Christ and his grace and love for me, it is this false sense of duty I have made for myself that never satisfies and never works.
God isn’t just here while I read his Word, or here when I am doing something “good,” or going to church, or serving in some specific arena at church. No, Jesus Christ is real and he is here and everywhere every second. Gospel wakefulness is not about paying God back in some way for the work that was accomplished on the cross, or trying to replace what has already been done for me by some work of my own. It’s about acknowledging what has already been done and living in the freedom that comes with it. So when I’m washing the dishes, or changing a diaper, or watching a movie with my husband, or resting by myself during the day I am doing these things to the glory of God. As someone who knows they are forgiven and seldom gets things right but doesn’t have to, as someone who knows that she is loved and wants to serve and love and give and worship in response to that knowledge.
As I read over this the funniest part is that nothing about it is a huge epiphany. I have known all of these truths for some time. But I didn’t know them deep in my heart and I did not live my life as though I believed them. Truthfully, I’m not quite sure how to live my life as though I know these things. But I feel encouraged that there is not one way to do it, and it is not my job to do things “right,” which always seems to be my first inclination.
Jared Wilson puts it this way.
"Gospel wakefulness is an experience of such power- of such awakening - that it persists and endures, settling deep into the heart and the conscience of a believer, that is carried through all emotional highs and lows."That is how I want to live my life, with a deep and enduring knowledge and dependence on the gospel and its power and truth in my own life.