Friday, April 25, 2008

Seven in Six, really Lord?

I can’t really believe it’s true but so it seems. I want to stomp my feet and throw myself on the floor just thinking about it.

Since 2002, I have moved six times. I moved from California to Colorado, from an apartment in Colorado into the basement of a friend, from Colorado to an apartment in Seattle, from that apartment into a run-down house in West Seattle, from that same run-down flooded home to a wonderful home in Tukwila, to my favorite home so far in North Seattle. My daughter has attended 8 different schools in that same time frame. Luckily for her, this upcoming move won’t affect her since she now attends an online school.

We moved into our current home in August last year. I had about 2 weeks’ notice in which to pack up our previous home where we had spent the last 2 ½ years. I was so convinced that we would spend the next several years in this perfect home that even though I was exhausted from moving, I found just enough energy to paint an office, three bedrooms, an enormous living room, dining room, hallway, and the tightest little bathroom imaginable within the first 2 months of living here. I fell in love with North Seattle and thanked God daily for such a blessing.

I learned last week that our landlord has decided to put our home on the market. Trying not to panic, I calmly made arrangements with him to show the home. The same day the home went on the market; my husband received a phone call from a friend wondering if we would be interested in renting their home in South Seattle. I had many mixed reactions but overall felt like this was a huge blessing and possibly God calling us back to the place we love so much. This home would possibly be available in June. I made arrangements with my landlord that we would show the home within 24 hours to whomever but he would have to let us out of our lease 2 months early so we could move into this other home. I made it through the weekend by pondering the move into this new home and allowing my heart to fall in love with the idea. What I didn’t know at the time was that this home was not an absolute yet.

I woke up Monday morning with the heavy realization of the possibility that the home we live in could sell at any moment and we could possibly not have a clue as to where we were going. I don’t do so well with uncertainty. So I quickly turned to my husband and told him “you need to solidify our plans to move south, immediately! There was no way I could handle the uncertainly and stress of not knowing where we were going to live. I needed to know and the sooner you do this the sooner I could just relax and not fret.” My husband, always looking to Jesus, said that I just needed to trust God and be patient to which I replied that I wasn’t looking for a bible answer to my dilemma.

Oh, the heart can be ugly when it wants what it wants. It’s not that I don’t know that I need to trust God, that was a “duh” for me. What I “needed” from my husband was to for him to take me into his arms and console me and tell me how much he understood how stressful this was for me and if there was anything he could do to make it easier for me he was willing. I managed to express my disgust for his lack of compassion and quickly left the room to start my not-so-great Monday morning.

If you can’t tell by now, I have control issues. I have had them probably since birth but in the last four years my loving husband has taken many opportunities to show me what a control-freak I really am. God has worked wonders on me and to some extent I have responded in humility and obedience, but mostly I still stomp my feet and stand in resistance.

I can tell you that I want to trust in God more than anything, I truly desire this. But living it out in real life tends to look different. God has shown Himself so faithful and has blessed me when I clearly did not deserve to be blessed. Why is it so hard to imagine that He would want the absolute best for me? Why do I resist Him so?

The answer must lie in what I truly worship and from my temper-tantrums it’s clear that I am more in love with the little kingdom of Gina than I am with the awesome Kingdom of my Lord and Savior. Does Jesus promise me that I will be comfortable and live in the home of my dreams? No. Does He promise me that I won’t have to fret and worry? Well, actually he does. I’m reading A Quest for More right now and Paul David Tripp says “And worry never changes anything…At the end of an hour of anxious fretting, none of the things that I have worried about have changed a bit. Yet worry changes me. It is a cancer on my soul. Worry eats away my time, rest, strength, courage, hope, character, relationships, purpose, worship, joy, and satisfaction. It is a disease that is always terminal. It will never work.” There are many scripture versus about being anxious that smack me right between the eyes.

So I guess I am halfway there in that I am confessing my desire to worship what God has to offer me rather than God. What about repentance? When will I turn from fretting and anxiety and just believe God’s word and worship Him without any motivation?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Redeeming Love

I thought I would share the first evidence of grace that I could actually acknowledge, total redemption, my husband James.

When I met my husband on the internet (of all places), most people would (and some did) say this is not the man for you, he’s the one you should be running from, based strictly on his past. I think God must have given me a glimpse of his future because I had never felt so much peace and comfort knowing this is the man I would spend the rest of my life with. As a single mom who had experienced so much abuse and abandonment, the world would say I should have been more cautious and taken more time. Yet I knew that God was calling me to something bigger than I had ever imagined, honestly I had no idea how big it would become.

There is so much to unpack with this union of two lives. There was so much abuse, infidelity, divorces, and drugs between our pasts. How could we ever trust each other? How could we ever learn to love each other? How could this ever work? The answer is simple yet so extraordinary…Jesus Christ.

I have to admit the first couple of years were probably some of the hardest in my life. I suddenly had someone who was willing to walk alongside me and help me understand the pain of my past. I had always felt it was best to forget what happened, push it aside and move on. What I didn’t realize was that I had allowed what happened to me to define and dictate my relational skills and behaviors. Rage is probably the best way to describe what I felt the first two years of our marriage.

By the third year, I really felt God moving and experienced a hundred-fold growth in my spiritual life and in my marriage. I felt God was calling me to leave my career and come home and care for my family. This is huge and I’ll save it for another time. That same year I took a real deep look at my abuse and for the first time I could see how I was really sinning against God and especially my husband. Since then I have walked alongside my husband and other couples to see restoration in their marriages. I have helped lead women to healing (Jesus) whose husbands struggle with sexual sin. God continually uses the pain of my past to speak into women’s lives.

My husband has loved me well even in the midst of my raging attacks. He has led me to completely seek Jesus in all my pain and in all my joy. His faith and his love for Christ are truly an inspiration and example. It is so much easier to follow a man who completely has his eyes on Jesus Christ and His glory.

My husband has been my Hosea, my redeeming love. God has used my husband to pursue me. To think that God would take a broken and hurting man to pursue a broken and hurting woman, so He could love on me is amazing!

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.