Sunday, September 20, 2009

12 years of marriage, forgiveness and mercy

Today was my 12th wedding anniversary. My 4 children made us breakfast in bed. The menu: Chocolate Milk, applesauce, waffles with strawberries and of course computer generated anniversary cards. With each special occasion that they surprise us with breakfast in bed, the meals get more and more edible. Downstairs on the kitchen table was a huge bouquet of sunflowers and lillies, all neatly arranged in a beautiful vase. At the foot of the vase was a tin box of chocolate candy and a heart felt card from Big D. We went to church later in the morning and then afterwards our awesome sitter came over. Big D and I prepared to go on our 6 hour date. We saw a play at the University's theatre, went to a Japanese restaurant afterwards, and then for desert at Starbucks.

The weeks before this precious day, my heart was reminded of so many great memories that my husband and I shared together as a couple and as a family. So much so that the not so perfect memories were constantly overshadowed. Big D and I met in 2003. From day one we were friends. My husband's heart has always been kind and thoughtful. When he makes me laugh, I bust out laughing- loudly. Those are some of the qualities I like about him, besides the fact that he's so darn cute!

We had an awesome honeymoon. We cruised the Carribean and later flew to St. Lucia for a few days- a land and sea vacation if you will. Over the last 12 years we have had 5 addresses, 3 pets (not including fish or hermit crabs), and 4 kids (all born during the Bush Administration might I add). Life has been nothing less than an adventure.

Some seasons have been filled with joy of new birth, some filled with the tasks of ironing out kinks in our friendship. Other seasons have been growth opportunities.

The life lessons that I have learned after 12 years of marriage is that the best gift you can give to each other is forgiveness and mercy. The best gift you can give your children is a great marriage. The best thing you can do for your sons is to respect their father; the best thing you can do for your daughters is to love their mother. Another best thing you can do for your children is to love on them and to swallow your pride and ask their forgiveness when you have wronged them-even in the times when you don't think you're in the wrong...whether they are 5 or 25. And that my friend, is where a lot of parents go wrong. Many say, "I tried my best" and for them it may be true, maybe they did try their best. As a parent, I try to be self aware and trust me I know what days I try my best and I know what days I don't. And for the record, this rant about parents, pride and forgiveness (hey that's a catchy phrase) is not art imitating life.

If there is ever a time to be set free from the bitterness, anger, and disappointments from childhood, adolescence and even adulthood, it is now. Holding on to those things will rob you from the relationship, companionship and fellowship that you desire with your spouse, your children and eventually your adult children and their spouses. That is not the legacy I want to leave. Sure I can point to many self help books and say, "Read this" or do this and your relationships will be straight. But I know, that all of those contemporary fixes are not long lasting. I can point to churches and seminars and podcasts and say, " If you go here, listen to this or attend this meeting, you will find peace". But I know in my heart, that tools are only good if you recognize them as tools, and use them and even so your strength will give out because often your battle is bigger than you are. So, I won't even steer you in that direction.

Yet instead, I'll point you in the direction of a book, that is considered outdated, and irrelevant and useless in many sects in our society, The Bible. Psalm 34:18 says, " The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed". (New Living Translation). I can list a million things that break hearts and crush spirits but I will name only one and that would be....... people. And when we live life operating out of hurt because we have been crushed or broken, we then hurt and crush others, often inadvertently and then those actions affect even more "others" and so and so on. But, there is hope. The Lord that is close to the broken hearted is just waiting to hear from you, your side of the story, your heart ache. His arms are open wide just waiting to heal every broken part of you. He longs to heal your crushed spirit, if you let him. So why do I have many posts that point to God, Jesus, and the Bible? I found Him to be the Pennicilin that is denied in many countries and is considered hostile to many people in the country that I live in. Yet each time I try Him, things work out and the evidence refutes all the lies that are told about Him. And I can not stop proclaiming His Truth.

So what does hurts and baggage have to do with love and marraige? (Isn't that a song?)
Our last 12 years have not been about pretending to be perfect or even sacrificing family for a job that would ensure we would have the most prestigious cars and designer clothes. We have simply been two imperfect people who were and are still being transformed and molded by a perfect, loving and merciful God. We have been allowed to see the beauty of God's love and the ugliness of sin and its effects in our lives. We have and continue to see, that God the Father loves and freely gives mercy and grace to His Children and that He delights in us. We have been given an opportunity each day to choose life or death with our deeds and words. His love for us has given us the boldness to declare that His Word is true and true love comes directly from Him. May our next 12 years be filled with a deeper level of friendship, more belly laughs and the reality of His presence that produces true love. That being said, let me remind you God is not mad at you, He is mad about you!

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