With or Without 

As I was in worship service Sunday, I prayed to move forward in my walk with God….I always pray for our family to be closer to Him and have a more intimate relationship with Him…that they would long to be closer to Him. I don’t pray for my son without praying for my daughter and vice-versa. I don’t pray for me individually without praying God’s same characteristics in my husband and children.

Sunday, I found myself saying, “Lord, even if they don’t want you (they do), I want you…”. I kept going and praying, “I want you for me whether my husband wants you…or the kids want you…I have to move closer to you with or without them!” 

It almost felt like a selfish prayer. With or without them? Obviously, preferably with but I understand that I can’t base my “closeness” with God by how close my family is with God. I can’t let their relationship hinder or hold back who I am in Christ and the fullness of His calling for me. BUT and there is a but…I can’t leave them behind.

I had an image of a person walking with a disability. The image had a heavy leg…dragging behind the rest of the body like a huge weight. I heard the Lord remind me that as husband and wife, we are one. When we married, the two became one. When we are injured-as in the dragging leg, we work it out…we can’t look at our leg and say well, leg you are dragging me down so I’m cutting you off! At least not easily….Sometimes in marriage, it can end abruptly but mostly….mostly, when our physical body is injured, we seek help…maybe we see a doctor…we take it to therapy, we exercise it, we lather it with a soothing cream or ointment…we re-strengthen it, recondition it and get it back to strength and health.

That’s where we are in this stage of our 25 year marriage journey…strengthening it back to health after letting it lag behind. Moving forward but sometimes dragging each other to keep going…encouraging and ministering to each other to restrengthen each other until it is a healthier and stronger relationship.

Don’t look for marriage to be a fairy tale. It is work. Don’t take the beautiful white dress as your ever after. Don’t get married with the pretense of chopping off your leg if it stops working. Marriage requires more of you than you could ever imagine. It will mold you and shape you. It’s ugly sometimes but it’s also beautiful. Take the vows seriously. Take each other along for the ride through the smooth paved roads and the bumpy “ouch” roads.  

We just celebrated 25 years! Reflecting back about 21 were actually good years…and 4 stunk badly (for me–maybe more for my husband) but all in all, we are still on the road–limping along…dragging each other and sometimes hopping, skipping and jumping. But we are on it by the grace of God. 

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