Looking back at 2011, I knew it was going to be a tough one.
Last January, I declared it to be the "Year of the Marriage"
Matt and I have done some hard work on our marriage this year. The metaphor I feel comfortable using is it has been like having a knee scoped. The knee was working, but it hurt. And it wasn't doing what is what meant to do. It needed a surgeon to go in and dig out the old scar tissue, debris and other junk that was causing problems. Then once surgery was over, we needed physical therapy to relearn HOW to use the knee properly again.
We have been abusing our marriage and taking it for granted for so long that we needed a whole year to take stock in it and relearn how to slow down and love each other well.
As the very wise Buddy Odom has said, "We didn't have a bad marriage, we were being bad Christians. Who are married to each other."
People who are lazy in looking for opportunities to serve, care for and lay down their lives for another are going to have a difficult marriage.
This is us. Has been us. Will be us.
It is a daily struggle.
Thankfully we have been asked to pay attention to it and I am grateful for that.
Going to a marriage conference this year really helped to dig out the debris and to seek forgiveness for past hurts.
Going to France and the Sabbatical was learning how to be married without the distraction of needing to serve "others" within the context of the Young Life ministry work life.
Going back to work, sending kids to school and finding a loss of purpose set us up for a "new call to love one another" in a dark season for me. It was hard. But through encouragement, conversations and prayer, we found a new level of trust and understanding that would never have been there without the previous 6 months.
Now, we are heading in 2012 and the challenge continues. To not look back but to strive for deeper, more meaningful life and marriage together. It never ends!
Thankfully, I read this today from Oswald Chambers:
"You shall not go out with haste...for the Lord will go before you, and the God and Israel will be your rear guard." Isaiah 52:2
Security from Yesterday. “. . . God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.
Security for Tomorrow. “. . . the Lord will go before you . . . .” This is a gracious revelation— that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.
Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste . . . .” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.
And that is what I hope for in my marriage.
I would do this entire year over again. No problem.