At the end of this year, my husband and I will celebrate eight beautiful and very hard years of marriage. I have been reflecting on how our anniversary could have easily become my least favorite day in the year. It could have been a day that caused me to mourn a marriage that once was, instead of celebrating a marriage that has been redeemed.
I Consider This Joy!
Being around a new bride recently made me pay special attention to my eight year old ring. I noticed its loss of luster, failing to catch my eye the way a new engagement ring does. Just as I was beginning to feel discouraged, a peace washed over me. That dirt masking the shine of the diamonds was evidence of the hard work marriage takes.
As much pain as we have worked through in those eight years, I would not go back and do it any differently.
Praise God that I have worn this ring long enough to have things to reflect on. To see how God is so good through our pain - What a gift! To love my husband in a deeper way than ever before - What a blessing! To have kept the promise that we will not divorce, no matter what - Unfathomable! To really believe in the depths of my soul that there is joy in trial - Seems too good to be true!
The song below, "Dancing in the Mine Fields," by Andrew Peterson, describes the way I feel, using a talent that I don’t have - . He wrote it for his wife about their marriage. I love the line “It was harder than we dreamed, but I believe that’s what the promise is for.”
I am reminded how true this section of scripture is in James:
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
(James 1:2-8, The Message Version)
I chose to share this version found in “The Message” because my dear friends, I could hear myself saying it to you as we sit at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee.
Is your faith being challenged? I assure you that is a gift.
Are you hurting? I pray that sharing my story reminds you of the hope that is in Christ.
Are you walking through trial feeling like there is no way you could find joy in this? I promise you there is.
Let your faith-life be forced into the open. Wrestle boldly with the Father over it because he is the only one that can help! Your joy will be found in Him!
All the praise and glory to you, God! Because of you, grace and redemption are what we will be celebrating this year instead of mourning a “once was” marriage.
You gave us the perseverance to keep going when all seemed hopeless. You have not let us out prematurely and as a result, have blessed us with the maturing of our faith to rely on you in our trials. You have given us grace in Christ that we might have grace with one another.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of being married - to dance in the minefields with my husband. All the while knowing that without you I have nothing!
Celebrating in the Round,
Please stop back on Fridays for more about Erin's story and what God is doing in her marriage.