When You’ve All but Given Up

What happens when we release the grasp of something we are afraid to give up? What happens when we let go of the control of something that we think only we can fix? What happens if we hold on to something for too long? 

This has been the lesson that God has been teaching me for the past two years. Amongst other things, He has been teaching me the importance of letting go and casting all my cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). To acknowledge that giving Him all of my doubts, worries, hurts, and frustrations is the only way things will get better. I won’t say it has taken this long to figure that particular principle out because I’m stubborn, though I can be stubborn, but instead it’s been trying to fully understand what it means to let go of something and hand it all over to God. 

All along that’s been my desire.  To give Him everything that was happening in my life and allow Him to work. What I didn’t realize was that I was still holding on. That my fear of losing something familiar  was keeping me from releasing every piece of what needed fixing. And so what had to happen? He had to completely break me down. I had to be reminded that I have no control of what happens in my life. Here’s what I mean by that…..Yes I can make choices or decisions but the outcome of His plan is based entirely on how His plan has been written. I can change how I get from point A to point B by the choices or decisions I make, but ultimately the destination has already been determined by Him. This means I can make the road an easy one or I can make it incredibly difficult. And that is what happened over the last two years.

Matthew and I have spent an incredible amount of time the last two weeks searching out God‘s word, studying God‘s word, talking through what’s been going on the past two years with his accident, the struggles in our marriage, and really praying and asking God for direction. It has been an amazing two weeks. For two years we have struggled, searched for God, questioned God, trusted God and felt like we weren’t making any headway. But one day when we didn’t think we could take anymore and we both expressed that we were done, we sat down together and asked God to step in, to move in a way where we knew He was working.  We asked Him to guide and to restore. And that is exactly what He’s been doing! 

Matthew likes to listen to a preacher by the name of
Joby Martin. This pastor is fantastic and I enjoy listening to him as well, especially because he sounds like Matthew McConaughey to me. Anyway, Matthew sent me one of his sermons last week on God‘s faithfulness. At the beginning of that sermon, Joby talks about being part of the family of God. Being in community. He talked about how community is so incredibly important when it comes to facing trials or struggles. He went on to say that if you wait until you need Christian community then it’s too late because we are always in need of the body of Christ.   Accountability, the encouragement, the connection that comes from believers spending time together.  He added that Christian community is deeper than any genetic family. And if Matthew and I have learned anything over the last couple of years it is the truth of that statement. When a group of people share the common bond that is the love of God and an intimate relationship with Jesus, the relationship you have with those people in your community is something that you will never know outside of being part of the body of Christ.  And as I thought through the significance of that statement, I realized that that was part of what Matthew and I have been missing the past two years.  

For two years, we have been surrounded by a group of people who have prayed with us, prayed for us, walked with us, stepped into the mess that has become our life, and loved us no matter what we were facing. It has been a loyalty and love that I have never experienced before. But what existed within our community, was lacking in our marriage. Our life situation had become so monstrous that we had become more focused on our problem than we were on God, the One who loves us.  We had become like Peter when he stepped out into the water. Instead of focusing on the face of Jesus, we focused on the storm that surrounded us (Matthew 14:22-33]. The common denominator, that is Jesus, that had drawn us to one another in the beginning was no longer the common denominator. We had lost that intimacy that is shared between believers because Matthew and I had lost our foundation which is Jesus. The rock that had made our community so strong and kept it strong, was not the rock that our marriage or our individual lives was built upon. So when life’s struggles came to be, our foundation crumbled. For two years people have prayed that Matthew‘s brain injury would be healed, that all of our issues would be resolved, and that God would show up in a big way. But all along, God allowed these things to happen as a way to draw us back to Him and mold our lives into something that He has planned for us. 

We would rarely choose the hard path that God lays out for us.  The one that includes the pain, the struggles and the frustrations. But thankfully we serve a God who loves us and knows just what we need in order to hear His voice within the chaos that is this world. It took a place of complete brokenness that we were finally able to hear His voice, but thankfully He didn’t give up on us. Though it took us reaching a place of complete exasperation and a place of “being done,” His faithful love chased us down and drew us back into the safety of His arms.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Ephesians 3:20 

Made for Love

I used to believe that Song of Songs was written solely for the purpose of describing two people who intensely loved one another. That it provided a sort of template for what we should expect within the intimacy of marriage.  And though I do believe that it demonstrates that kind of love, I also believe it shows something else as well.

Song of Songs is such a beautiful book and provides such imagery of what life and love can be within marriage, but as I’ve been reading lately, I’ve come to discover another image depicted in the words of this book.

Human love is beautiful but it will fall short. It will fail us. It will betray us and over time, if neglected will turn to ash.

Though Song of Songs speaks of the love shared between two people, it also gives us a glimpse into the way God loves us. It is with a great intensity and fierceness. It is a constant and sustainable love that never ends or gives up. And though the idea of sustained love can be used to describe human love, it is rare. But being those with human hearts, we long to be loved with such an intensity by another.

Song of Songs is a beautiful picture of Jesus and His bride. It speaks of God’s jealous, strong, fierce love for us. It describes a love that our souls long for but cannot be quenched by anything found in human relationships. This yearning is not one that can be satisfied by any other because we were created to love God and to be loved by God. He is our first love. He loved us before any other and His love will never end. And though we might not recognize His love is the love we are desperately seeking, once we discover it we are never the same ❤️

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.”
Song of Solomon 8:6-7