Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Broken Bone

So I was thinking about my pasts posts and realized they aren't particularly upbeat, though hopeful (I hope).  So I wanted to write about something much more positive this time, though the title does not lend itself in that direction, but trust me, this will be good. :) 

I was thinking about how when you break a bone, they say it grows back stronger.  I heard that so many times after Wes and I decided to work on our marriage after having been broken so deeply.  But I am here to testify to the truth behind it, and the truth that holds for all of us in areas of brokeness in our lives.  There are quite a few times in my life that I can testify to having been broken.  Broken hearted, broken in spirit, broken in faith.  Some were deeper levels of brokeness than others but working through each thing and coming out on the other side, I have become stronger.  Stronger in heart, stronger in spirit, and stronger in faith. As the brokeness healed in each of those areas, the healing created a much stronger me in many ways. 

As we work to put our marriage to rights and our family back together, we are stronger than ever, stronger as individuals and stronger as a couple.  Though the world and our spiritual enemy have tried to created cracks in our marriage again, our foundation is strong.  We are truly a team and face everything as such.  There is complete openness and honesty.  There is complete love and acceptance of each others "bad days."  It seems like an impossibility some days, but as God tells us, nothing is impossible for Him. 

I am so thankful for God's continued faithfulness to us.  He has built a new, stronger, marriage out of the shattered peices of what had been our marriage before.  I am not going to go on to suggest that my marriage is perfect, none can be with imperfect people, but I am proud of my marriage, of what God has made of it.   I think of how marriage is a play act of God's relationship with His church.  In so many ways, I feel closer to that idea than ever before.  God brings about a marriage between Himself and His church despite the brokeness of that relationship as well.  Through sacrifice and perseverance, that relationship is restored, as is my own. 

This idea of becoming stronger through brokeness is true for every area of my life.  As God wants to bring about that truth in all our lives.  Finding a way to work through the brokeness leads to the healing that God wants to give us.  Running away from or hiding from our pain is not healing and it is not going to make us stronger in the long run.  Eventually all those hurts we run from will catch up and we will find ourselves trying to deal with them all at one time instead of taking one at a time, as they originally came to us.  Could you imagine trying to use every workout machine at the same time?  You might eventually get stronger but it would take longer and be much harder than if you dealt with each area one at a time. 

The next question is "how?"  How do we do that?  Well, I am not a professional but I can say for me, what has worked.  Letting myself feel the brokeness, to process it.  Prayer, constant, unceasing prayer.  Being honest with myself, being able to discover my role, whether good or bad, in the situation.  This gives me the wisdom to not make the same mistakes again.  Forgiveness, complete, permanent forgiveness.  Forgiveness of myself as well as others, this is a choice not an emotion.  Learning to move on, this is also a choice.  Not staring back at the hurt, allowing it to affect my hour, my day, my week, and so on.  And by finding someone to talk through it all when needed.  Even if I am not looking for advice, it helps just saying things many times.  And in the case of my marriage, finding a professional was helpful.  I have never felt that there was any shame in getting professional help when needed, but I just always thought I could find a way to work through things myself, my foolish pride.  But there really is no shame in not being able to handle everything or work through everything with out the help of a professional. 

With perseverance and faith, brokeness can heal and we will be stronger in heart, faith, and spirit!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Unexpected Imperfection

As I discussed with my husband this morning, one of my biggest failings is the pressure I put on myself and those I care about to be perfect.  Not that I have ever thought myself perfect, I just expect it and am disappointed in myself when I fail.  The weird thing is that I don't expect strangers to be perfect, just those who I am closest to, mainly myself.  Along with this I also project their expectation on me as well to be perfect, whether or not it actually exists.  I could go into a whole bunch of theories as to why I do this, but those would just be excuses.  The feeling of not being good enough for anyone and the perception that my striving towards perfection and excellence will ultimately change that, affects me almost daily.  But here is the real failing in this battle, my failure to recognize that my imperfection is God's glory.  For many, this isn't a new idea, and it's not for me either.  I have heard it many times before, but fail many times to let that resonate in my life.  If not for our imperfection there would not be any need for Christ, no need for God's abounding mercy and grace; all of which glorifies the God who loves us.  And that love is the salvation of man.  That love,when we choose to pass it on, comforts, encourages, defends, and changes lives in profound ways.

Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated at my 8 month old son because he doesn't understand.  He does the things that I have already expressed my disapproval in and I think, "why can't he just stop doing that."  I have expectations for my son to behave perfectly at 8 months old (this is insanity).  Not only is he unable to always understand, sometimes it is just his humanity that comes out as well.  We push the boundaries and test the limits.  When told "no" we sometimes don't think whoever told us that really meant it for us and attempt to do the wrong thing over and over.  Imperfection.  I fail.  I disobey.  I struggle.  

But even though I expect more of myself, and others, than I can ultimately achieve, God does not.  Unexpectedly, He expects us to be imperfect.  In fact, He counts on it.  What a relief this should be to everyone.  Why do I expect more of myself than my own Heavenly Father expects of me?  He, my Creator, knows I can't achieve perfection and yet I think that I can and should.  Fail.  As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9: "And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
 May I learn to revel in my failings so I may boast about God's power conquering them.  I must learn to expect my own imperfection and the imperfection of others and strive to expect God's perfection.