My God is a redeeming God, that's for sure. And I will most definately be calling on Him for that in a few hours. I'm up, about to write and it's only 5:22am. I've actually been up for much longer than that trying to go back to sleep, fighting off the call to get up and write. But alas, it hasn't worked. So I figure I'd better get up and do it and let the words flow from my fingers, even if I haven't a clue as to what the finished puzzle will look like.
God does that a lot with me, sets me up to do something, only giving me a little bit of an inspiration, and not much else. Like I said, I usually fight it. Today I kept telling myself (and making a pretty strong case for it, I might add) that I could sleep a little while longer and get up to write later. The whole house is asleep and these are precious hours to be had. But God knows better than that. He knows I'm faulty at keeping up my end of a bargain and more than likely I would either forget to do it, or dismiss it altogether. He knows that I need to strike while the iron is hot, and He'll *nag* at me until I get it done. Thankfully, I'm learning obedience, and I take a much shorter time to acquiesce than before.
Take for instance, late last week: I had blogged and had this feeling afterward that I should really write down either on a piece of paper or on the blog itself a *remember when* type of quip. I felt like I needed to write to myself about how no matter what, I must remember that being married is not optional. I have some pretty strong views on marriage and remarriage, all that I feel are Biblical, and I just thought I'd better write something that I could keep handy for when times get tough. A preemptive encouraging note to myself. Reminding myself that divorce is never, ever an option (unless one of us commits adultery). But since at that particular moment, my marriage was stable, I never "got around" to writing it. See.. I should have. Little did I know how quickly things could change.
Fast forward to this week. Things are good. Not perfect, but good. Notwithstanding any major hiccups, I believe that marriage is a life long commitment. When I took my vows with my husband, I wholeheartedly believe I made a covenant with God as well. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part.
So where exactly do I begin? Let me just say that every marriage ebbs and flows. And after being married for 10+ years, I am able to recognize when it's ebbing and when it's flowing. But never, in the total of almost 20 years of being with this person, have I ever wanted to walk away more than I did this weekend. And that is saying whole lot. Those that know me know how much my marriage has endured. And yet, I was considering leaving it all behind. A person can only take so much, and I really felt like I was at the end of my rope with it all. But the biggest problem was that I had no Biblical basis for leaving. I KNOW what the Bible says about marriage. I KNOW what I promised. I KNOW what devastation divorce causes to the hearts and minds of the people involved. But still.. my heart was puffed up and badly bruised. And I began to convince myself that my situation was different. I had the *right* to leave, that I shouldn't be treated this way; that I could make it on my own. That another man would find the treasure in me. And I just opened my mouth wide like a little birdie, gulping down the lies I was being fed.
But somewhere in the recesses of my heart, I knew that I needed to stop; arrest my thoughts, take captive my emotions and get on my face before God. But I just couldn't. The chains that bound up my heart were heavy. They literally constricted my breathing. And come Sunday morning.. the last place I wanted to be was at church, hearing about my need to forgive, as I have been forgiven. Hey! I was in the right here. I needed the tenderness, grace and mercy. Not him. Thankfully though, I had the guilt of not taking my little children to church hanging over my head. So instead we went to the evening service.
I was apprehensive about going. There is a passage in the Bible that talks about not coming to the house of the Lord if you have an offense that is unresolved against your brother, to address it first, then come back. I figured since my husband and I weren't even speaking that my offering (worship) would not be accepted before God until we were. And really, who knew when that was gonna happen? But at the very least, I wanted to go and sit under some teaching, letting the words fall over me, hopefully settling into my stony heart somewhere.
There was a guest speaker, a missionary through the sport of soccer. He actually was a part of the program that Airenne has been accepted to go with in June. He told of a story of when he was on a team that would travel down to Fresno and play the local team there. Apparently, there was one man that liked to heckle this team every time they came to play. He said the heckler would holler out "to hoo" every time they made a crummy play or missed a pass. After a while, the missionary figured out that the man was asking "To Who?" as in, to who(m) are you passing to? This heckler had a profound impact on the missionary. As did this missionary have on me.
He went on to talk about God's authority and used the illustration of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 and how God will humble you until you recognize who He is and relationally, who you are. He then posed the question "To whom do YOU play for, Christine?" (Ok, so he didn't really say MY name out loud, but he may as well have. Because it was in that moment, I realized just what he was saying...) Who really did I make my wedding vows with?
In the situation with my husband specifically, who do I think I am vs. the reality of who I am? Do I have the *right* to be angry? Do I have the *right* to hate? or to be hurt, or to hold a grudge? Well, many in today's culture would say yes. A part of me still says yes. But in the grand scheme of things.. that's irrelevant. The real question is.. who am I and what does God call me to do? He tells me to love. He tells me to forgive. He gave me the perfect example of Christ to model after, lean into, take shelter in. He has given me the freedom to let go. When the world around me says to fight tooth and nail for my*rights*, Christ says "Come here... Lay your burdens down. Find rest in me. Take MY yoke upon you because it is light. I've got this."
And so there it is. An hour later, I'm moved to tears because of that little nugget. I didn't know that's what he as gonna tell me this morning, but I'm glad He did. I suppose it was definitely worth getting out of bed for.