Monday, August 19, 2013

Ocean of Tears: Finding Shore

Over a year ago, we were given a word that I wrote a blog about titled Ocean of Tears.  In this vision we had cried an oceans worth of tears, but they brought healing to those who jumped in to the waters.  I had assumed that we had cried an oceans worth of tears prior to that vision.  I was VERY wrong.

If you're reading this you probably know most of what we've gone through this past year -- both Matt and I suffering horrible back pain, denial of surgery for Matt, the possibility of Matt having cancer, trying to raise our kids in the midst of it all, etc. I'd say in the span of three months I have cried more (from physical pain, emotional heartache, the possibility of losing my husband and best friend) than I had in our previous 10 years... and that's saying a lot.  It was definitely enough to fill an ocean.

What's interesting about this though, is that I was also walking out upon the waters of this ocean; I walked away from the safety of my boat/land (whatever metaphor you like) further and further in to the powerful presence of God.  He called me out upon these waters and I trusted Him -- well, more like He gave me the faith and courage to walk these waters.  I followed His voice.  I didn't know where I was going or what it was going to look like.  All I could see was a vast ocean.

Today that changed.

The same person that spoke that vision over a year ago shared a new development.  As I was deep in these waters, there was now shore all around me; boundaries, borders, a focusing in on some specific purposes God has for me.  I was so blown away by Jesus, yet again.  I was already so filled with just being able to be closer to my heavenly Father through walking these deep waters -- as in, pursuing His presence was enough reason to go out upon the waters, but He still is giving me more!  I don't know what that is going to look like specifically, but those specifics, I believe, is the shore I'll be stepping on to shortly.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

14 Years and Counting

As I sit in my disasterously messy house, with my kids asleep, as well as my husband from his pain medication, I can't help but feel extremely overwhelmed with love.  Tomorrow is our 14 year wedding anniversary, and although it's not quite a "significant' year (20, 25, etc) it's our most important one yet!

The phrase "marriage isn't designed to make you happy, it's meant to make you holy", or some version along those lines, is very true!  Our 14 years of marriage have been extremely difficult.  We have not been one of those couples with the easy road.  BUT I am thankful nonetheless.

I was taught a long time ago the word "happy" comes from the word "happenings"... which is another word for circumstances.  If you're married then you are well aware that there are many circumstances within a marriage that are not happy!  So there MUST be a better goal; something that is beyond our circumstances to aim towards in a marriage.

Holiness.  To be set apart.  Unfortunately, our tendencies work against this which produces:  idolatry, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, divisions, and more of the like.  But what if we were led by the Holy Spirit within our marriage?  Then we would see: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), and self control.

Like I said, our marriage has been filled with difficult circumstances.  So how can I sit here and say that I currently feel love, joy. peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control towards my husband?

-- In the beginning of our marriage, during 9/11 (Matt went to New York to minister to the broken) the Lord began to show me that my husband belonged to Him first.  I needed to let go of him and trust him in the Lord's hands.  That was hard, but I've been letting him go and trusting him to the Lord ever since.

-- Through our difficult times I trusted myself in to the hands of Jesus.  I let Him past my walls to heal my own heart; to comfort me in my brokenness; to pull me out my own shame; to release the enemy's grip on my life; to speak to me my true identity; to reveal my true beauty.  (I watched my husband do the same.)

-- The more I trusted, the more of myself I've surrendered.  And this year more than most, I have fully surrendered all that I am and all that I have -- which includes my husband.  I look back at the first lesson of letting go of him when he went to go serve, to this year's lesson of being willing to let him go for the rest of my life.  Both times felt just as hard, but what was increased this time was my peace in it. Why?  I believe because my trust in the Lord and His character is deeper and further than ever before.

It gets better.

The more I trust, the more holy I become, the more His Spirit is present in and though me to touch the lives of others -- to show the Father's character to more people than just myself.  With the first lesson of letting him go, the audience was very small.  This last lesson of letting go the audience has become world wide.

I've surrendered my marriage to Him.  He has made us both more holy.  We are both filled with love, joy, peace, etc in the midst of our continued suffering.  Now this doesn't mean that we don't FEEL all the anguish of these circumstances!!!  But because we choose to do all of our crying/sobbing/weeping at the feet of Jesus, when we are finished (because we can't shed another tear), we are left with His Spirit to provide the love, joy, peace, etc. -- you get the idea! ;-)

So I look back to our 14-year-younger selves and barely recognize those people.  I love who we have become, and are continuing to become.  Because we are both more rooted in the love of Christ than ever before, we are overwhelmed with love for one another --  the kind of love that brings tears to your eyes because really, you are being touched by the Father's love through another human being.

I love you Matt Bram.