My, it has been a long time, hasn't it? And, oh, the things that have happened since you and I last visited!
In short, I met and fell in love with a wonderful man and we were married almost 3 months ago. That is the short version of a long, complicated and beautiful story. A story of God's faithfulness in the face of our doubt. A story of God's provision in the face of our distrust. A story of God's redeeming our hearts in the face of stubbornness.
I was drawn back here today, not really sure why. Reading through some old posts, I began to smile at the different ways that God has revealed Himself to me. It is fun to remember those things, isn't it? Reminiscing over those times brought me back to the present, where July 21st will always be a reminder to me of God's presence and leading my life. Why, you ask? Let me tell you a story...
A little over a year ago, my now husband and I were calling off our wedding. We were done, our relationship was not what it should be and God had taken a back seat. Ryan was more ready for the parting of ways than I was (that's not to say it wasn't hard for him, but praise the Lord for a man who can face uncertainty and hard times by following His leading!), but we both knew it had to come to an end. What a strange place to be in - Ryan was not just my fiance, he was my best friend. How do you move on from such a thing without your best friend? I was lost and completely heart broken. Having never really experienced this before left me even more confused. How was I to ever move on? What would our relationship look like in the future? Could we still be friends? If not, how would I ever learn to live without his friendship, sense of humor, goofiness, honesty, and sincerity? (as a side note, even though we are married now, I still get choked up thinking about this time - I would never wish something like this on my worst enemy!)
And that is when I learned what it means when God meets us right where we are. He climbed into my brokenness and lostness. He didn't pull me out right away, but rather stayed with me there and let me experience the fullness of what had happened. Partially, I believe, as a natural consequence to decisions I had made - this was the result of that. I also believe he let me stay there for awhile so that I could truly see my need for Him in order to move forward. To see where I need Him to complete me - not just in the immediate moment, but my real need for Him to be my all in all, regardless of who I do or do not marry.
Lessons taught by God that center on romantic love have got to be the hardest. At least at this point in my life, that is how I feel.
At the time we called off the wedding, our future was uncertain. We had no reason to believe we could stay together, there was just too much that wasn't right. We were too far removed from what God wanted for us. But that's the beauty of love of Christ. Love given through sacrifice is stronger than anything I have ever experienced and has a power far beyond what we have the ability to comprehend.
Our story is just one of many, so please don't take ours as license to continue in a relationship that really does need to end. That is something only God can reveal to you. (another side note, and really, only God can reveal that to you. It is hard sometimes for friends and family to accept God's will for our lives, even more so than the difficulty we have in accepting it for ourselves at times. Just be sure you know you are really listening to the Lord's voice)
That said, I firmly believe that God laid it on both our hearts to separate for a time because He had a work to do that would get us back to where we needed to be. The ways that God spoke to us when we were apart and even more so when he drew us back together still floor me. The way His plans come together in His timing is truly something to behold.
Why do I bring up all this heart break, tension and hard memories? Because a year ago today, God gave us the go ahead, promising to be with us every step of the way. Ryan and I both resolved to do our part, with God going before us. To move when He moves and to stay when He stays. The months that followed were not void of tension, rather they were full of the grace that restores and the love that frees us to be who we were meant to be, even when we don't see eye to eye. And let me tell you, grace and love make all the difference.
I have often been reminded of this passage of Scripture. It may seem harsh, but until you really understand God's heart for us (something I will forever be working on), you won't be able to see the beauty of His plan. If we need to be broken so that we can be restored properly, He will do it. And how sweet it is to live in a restored, right relationship with God and with those around us.
"Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty,
For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal." ~Job 5:17-18