I've written this blog in my head about a hundred times. I've struggled with finding the right words to tell our story. I've been wrestling with it awhile; but when it comes down to it, it's an issue of pride. What will people who haven't been walking with us this past year think after reading this? What will people who don't know us think? And if I could, I would hide it. Truth be told, if I could, I wouldn't have lived through it. This morning I almost chickened out but Jamy encouraged me again to share what God has done in our family. We want to tell our story so God can use all of this brokenness for His glory.
This weekend marks our eleventh wedding anniversary. To sum it up: year number ten in our marriage has been hard. Hellish is more like it really.
Last November our marriage hit the fan. I'm not sure if I'll ever get into details here, but suffice it to say sin entered our relationship and hit us hard. So hard that we separated for three months. Eleven weeks to be exact. Had anyone ever said that this was what we were in for ten years beforehand, we would have chuckled and dismissed them. And honestly, so would many of our close friends.
We came face to face with the reality that our marriage was not perfect and was far from what God created it to be.
During this experience, we've gone through incredible loss. I was a single mom for almost three months. I lost friendships. Our finances became a mess paying for individual therapy, marriage counseling, and play therapy for the kids. Pride? Out the window (that's probably a good loss though). And our marriage has been through the wringer.
But we also had incredible gain. Mostly in our relationship with Christ. When everything was ripped from me, I literally had no where to turn but to Him. My identity could no longer be found in "having it all together." My faith couldn't be harbored in believing God would make everything turn out right if I just made good decisions. I needed to trust that Jesus was enough while my life was falling apart around me.
So our eleventh anniversary this year is bittersweet to say the least. I'm full of mixed emotions and there's been many times this week I've just wanted to skip this milestone altogether.
But on Saturday, August 25, 2012, I'm choosing to celebrate. I'm not choosing to celebrate the heartbreak, hopelessness, and despair of marriage that has been turned upside down.
Instead, I will celebrate God's amazing redemptive power to heal a broken marriage. I will celebrate my God who forgives, restores, and makes things new. I will celebrate a husband who doesn't take the easy way out and strives to be the man God has called him to be. I will celebrate a family marked by suffering but glorying in our God who will make all things right.
We're still in it. We're still in the thick of it some days riding a roller coaster of the effects of sin and betrayal and hurt. But we're still running to the cross.We're still learning about what repentance and forgiveness means in the most practical and daily way. And we've learned what real love is all about. 1 Corinthians 13 took on a whole new meaning when it wasn't our pastor reading it to us at an altar; when we're trying desperately to live out "love never fails" when the world tells us we have "good reason" to give up. God has been faithful in healing our marriage, in healing our hearts, and in healing our family.
And when you get down to it, isn't that what every marriage is all about? Two broken, sinful people coming together to show a sinful, broken world what redemption really looks like.
To see how we began our celebration, watch this short film.