On an unusually sunny Tuesday in December, we dressed up a bit and whispered healing words, heartfelt promises, and holy vows. A million prayers. A miracle answer. A marriage restored.
Art and I renewed our wedding vows in our backyard surrounded by those who’ve walked closest with us these last few years. It was so personal and meaningful to seal our commitment in the very place we can once again do daily life together.
It hasn’t been easy or simple, and I still cry over what was. I still find myself wishing the hurt wasn’t part of our story.
I also wish that hurt wasn’t part of anyone’s relationship story. I know for some of you that you prayed, and hoped, and worked, and tried everything you could but the reconciliation never came. If I could sit with you right now, I would weep with you and simply say, “I’m so sorry. I don’t understand either.”
I wouldn’t offer you plastic sounding answers. God doesn’t want to be explained away, He wants to be invited in. So, we would just invite His presence and ask Him to help. Redemption is possible even when reconciliation is not.
Throughout this long process of healing, God has whispered deep into my soul, “I haven’t ‘cursed’ you with this. I’ve ‘entrusted’ you with this.”
May we all be found fiercely faithful no matter how our stories go.
And may we never doubt we serve a God who still does miracles. Sometimes they look like we hoped but other times it comes in the most unexpected unfolding.
Trust that only God knows the full story. He is working. He is hearing and shifting and intervening and convicting and stirring and doing what only He can do.
God does some of His best work in the unseen.
“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)
Today I’m feeling so challenged to look at love a little differently. Sometimes in the gut-honest quietness of my heart, I look at love through the eyes of what it will offer me.
I hold out the little cup of my heart to the people I love, “Will you fill my empty spaces? Today will you do that one really thoughtful thing and make me feel like I’m the most noticed and special woman in the world?”
Then I hold it out to my children, “Will you fill up my empty spaces? Will you do something today that makes me look really good as a mom so I’ll feel a little more validated?”
Then I hold it out to my ministry, “Will you fill up my empty spaces? Will you provide something today that makes me feel more significant?”
Maybe today seems like an odd time to consider such things.
But as we start a new year I actually think today is the perfect time to hit the reset button on my sometimes frail heart. Love is a tricky thing. Our hearts were created to crave it. God proclaims that love is greater than hope and greater than faith.
God also proclaims that love never fails. And in the quietness of my heart that verse from 1 Corinthians 13 makes me squirm a bit. I see love failing all the time. Or do I?
If my only view of love is what it will give me, love from others will fail me every time. It’s not that love fails. It’s that other people were never meant to be my God. Even a wonderful family and a thriving ministry can never truly fill me up, right all my wrongs and soothe those deep insecurities.
No, I can’t read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 with eyes hungry to see what love should give me, and then demand it from those around me. I should read those steadfast Scriptures with the realization: This is the kind of love I can choose to give.
I can choose that my love will be patient. My love will be kind. My love won’t keep a record of wrongs. (Ouch — that’s a hard one, right?)
I can choose that my love will protect and persevere.
And I can choose to lay the cup of my heart at Jesus’ feet and stop twirling, twirling, twirling, hoping — no, demanding — that those around me do things for me they were never meant to do.
Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world. Love is what I have the opportunity to give.
Sweet friend… if you’re trying to figure out how to let God provide the love your heart is aching for, I want to invite you to check out my new Bible study, Finding I Am. With this study, you’ll learn to:
• Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is.
• Stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you.
• Gain a better understanding of how Jesus’ words 2,000 years ago are so very applicable to the answers we are searching for today.
On January 23, we’re starting a FREE online Bible study of Finding I Am through Proverbs 31 Ministries. And I want you to join in. To find out more information and to sign up, click here!
Do you ever have little places of discouragement that entangle around your heart? You know in the bigger picture of life things are good. But there’s this little dark place. A little black hole. That sometimes doesn’t feel little.
It hangs like a cloud. Blocking the sun. Casting shadows.
Maybe it’s an argument you and a loved one have had one too many times. Your relationship is good but this one topic feels like a black hole.
Or an issue with one of your kids. You have an amazing child. But there is this one behavioral tendency that baffles you. Embarrasses you. Causes you to fear. It feels like a black hole.
Or a reoccurring frustration with a friend. She’s amazing. But there’s this one part of your friendship that darkens the collective good. And you can’t figure out how to address it. Now it’s happening with more frequency and it feels like a black hole.
I know. It’s hard.
But here’s what God keeps showing me… a black hole isn’t a black WHOLE.
The whole isn’t all bad. Yes, there are some issues to address and some tensions to manage but don’t let Satan use this frustration to darken your outlook.
Jesus reminds us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Ask Jesus to shed His light on your situation today. Look at this from Jesus’ perspective. Use truth to do something positive in this area today. Invest the time to make a little imperfect progress right there.
In the dark place.
That won’t be so dark with a little light cast upon it.