The word for 2018 from many Christian leaders was “new life”…
If we are being honest that ‘word’ for the year, actually pissed me off all year. I would see the hope and then another event would slap me across the face.
However, looking back at the close of the year, I can see new life starting and as it often does- much of it seem to come out of death or destruction. 2018 was full of devastation from looking at all the tragedies in the USA, to seeing the way people disrespect authority and each other, to my personal life falling apart and having to rebuild most of the year. Having gone through something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, as well as seeing someone most dear to me go through what was almost hell- I have come out of this year feeling like I might be completely different with new compassion and idea of what “God is good” ACTUALLY means.
Social media has been so painful for me this year, watching people divorce, others stop acknowledging Jesus, way too many miscarriages, and the hard one for me to admit (see others getting miracles you have been waiting for). So what am I getting at? LIFE IS HARD NO MATTER WHAT HAND YOU ARE DEALT. IT IS WHAT YOU DO WITH IT THAT MAKES YOU WHO YOU ARE.
Here are the two lessons 2018 has taught me:
Marriage is like going to hell and back. In a second it is so easy to turn on the other to escape the pain and get the heck out of there… But the only way to make it through, is to walk through the shadow of the valley of death HOLDING HANDS saying “God help us” every second until you are through it. Marriage is not meant to make you happy or serve you. YOU ARE MARRIED TO A SINNER. Which means they sin (yeah I know the goal is not to), but no matter what the sin that grips them, often it will end up hurting you more than it hurts them! I know, this is not encouraging and I am sounding like a cynic. But married people know it is true. What do we decide to do every time they hurt the heart? I would be lying if I were to say that we didn’t ride the line too close to divorce a few times this year. That is why I want to be so don-gone honest about this. There is always a way to find a righteous reason as to why it is okay for you to get divorced. But at the end of the day I look at my Jesus and think that if He choose to love me every time I wronged him, and I have all of eternity to be ‘happy’-then I can darn well do it for just one person in my life. Because reality is, we would be in hell burning for eternity- if my Jesus didn’t let us spit on him, while he was dying on the cross-taking ALL our sins on Him. And He STILL loves us. So this year- I LEARNED THAT WHAT REALLY MATTERED TO ME MOST IN WHAT I WANT MY LIFE TO LOOK LIKE IS: One day returning to Heaven and looking my Papa in the face saying Lord I hope I learned to love just a little like you. I gave all I could to love my husband like you asked, despite how he may have loved me. Because that is really love.
The church is not perfect so drop your weapons that are really pointed at God. I have always LOVED church. I love going after the Lord together. But I have had to work through a lot of offense this year because I expect so much from it. Church is ran by other humans, so there might always be weaknesses. Jesus looked at Peter and declared His house will be built upon him, even though He already knew Peter would deny him multiple times while He was getting crucified… God still loves and has purpose for our churches despite the downfalls each one of them might have. While my husband and I went through our trials we had to reach out many times to leadership for help and were pretty hurt when after each time no one would follow up or reach back (yet it felt like the news just spread so everyone in the church knew). I watched others who are close us go through different trials this year and have the same experience. It would be super easy after to find a new church (like I uncomfortably want to most of the time). But offense to the church creates a wall that we build between us and the Lord in an area He created, no matter if they were wrong or not. So rather than us constantly leaving churches to finding other ones (or leaving the church and pretending the Bible doesn’t say community is a must to live our lifestyle) – why don’t we chose the hard thing and give the offense to God. Often the lack we can see is actually an area we could step in and be that missing piece in the Body of Christ. Part of this experience this year as really shown me how important it is that the Body have someone at their church that can help mentor them through hard things. Rather than put my anger toward churches I have decided that might be my passion for going back to school to get my Masters in Christian Ministry. I love the body of Christ and think everyone has their place. A lot are called to be the ones who find the lost sheep and bring them to the pasture. But I am starting to see maybe I am more called to help the sheep who are no longer lost heal the wounds they each have. Because we cannot go through things alone– and I am so grateful for those I did have as my support system this past year. SO STEP UP AND BE THE WEAKNESS YOU SEE IN YOUR CHURCH.
SO at the end of 2018, watching miscarriages break hearts to my dearest ones and my marriage almost fail. I am starting to see this new life. He created new life in the wombs again for those mothers. My marriage is a new creation, and is more honest and faithful than ever. The bible says we must die to ourselves to be reborn in Christ. I think we have to do this in all areas in our lives, and sometimes daily. I also think God is illustrating all life in this statement. That at the end of a season the flowers die. But if we till the soil and put the Light back on it- He will bring new life. Because He is a good, good father and will never leave us or forsake us- rather He is cheering us on to the do the hard things so He can till our soil and create new life.
“We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4