A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘God

As reports of the Boston Marathon bombing keep pouring in, my heart is heavy. My family has stood at numerous finish lines waiting for me to cross and I can’t help but wonder, what if this happened to us?

Running is my release, my happy place, my passion. And today that was torn away. A senseless act has put fear in my heart. Fear of the finish line, fear of running. While watching about Boston, my mind wondered to the tragedy of Newtown just four month ago. Another senseless act that put fear in my heart.

My children aren’t safe in their schools.

I’m not safe while running.

Fear. Overwhelming fear.

That’s the tragic part of tragedy. It puts fear in us. Fear that was never there before. It makes us suspicious and doubtful. It makes us grow weary. Quietly, this verse came to mind.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

I can’t say that I won’t be fearful when I cross my next finish line. I can’t say that there won’t be suspicious and doubt lingering in my heart when I run. But of this I am certain – Fear will not reign over me, because God reigns over me. He has strengthened me. He has helped me. He is upholding me. No shooter, no bomber, no tragedy can ever change that.

Fear will not reign over me, because God reigns over me. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Boston and the runners. You’re in my heart sweet folks, stay strong.

If you live in the Boston area, here are places you can donate blood.

Advertisements

The life of a grad student is challenging. Especially if they have full time jobs and family. They literally work non-stop 6 or 7 days a week. There are early mornings and late nights. Breaks are far and few in between.

The life of a wife married to a grad student is challenging. It’s single parenting 6 or 7 days a week. There are early mornings and late nights. Breaks are far and few in between.

Tack on life commitments, theology studies, marathon training, new jobs, little sleep, and even fewer dates, and you find yourself in a revolving door that never slows down.

This is where Jonathan and I have been for nearly a year. Constant go-go. Never stopping, just pushing through. Holding everything together, tediously keeping it all from collapsing, all from breaking.

Until it breaks.

About three weeks ago, after another long week, Jonathan called to say he’d be home late. Again. During the conversation he said “Babe, you need to let me know when enough is enough. We are in this together. I need to know how you’re doing.” Enough was last June. Enough was last December. Enough was yesterday. We are past enough. Immediately, pride crept into my heart. I thought “If you can’t see that I’ve had enough, I’m not going to tell you.” I went silent on him and our conversation ended quickly after. I found myself left standing in my house clinging to my pride.

My evil, lying pride.

In that moment along side my pride, like a flood washing over me, the Holy Spirit prompted this thought ::

This is how divorces start. 

Divorces don’t just happen. You don’t go from honeymoon happy to bitterly divorced. Divorces start off like a disease; small and unseen. And when left untreated, they grow until what once lived dies.

So in that moment, that moment of realizing that this life I had built, this love I had cultivated, this relationship I cherished could be killed, I hit my knees. I cried out to my Heavenly Father because, I knew that in my own power, in my own selfish desire, I would divorce Jonathan. This life can get too hard, and I don’t like hard. But… {oh what a wonderful word} with Christ’s power my marriage will continue to stay strong, even when it’s hard.

So I prayed. Prayed for my heart, prayed for my attitude, prayed for my marriage. And then I told Jonathan how I felt, what I was struggling with, my loneliness and frustration. I talked, he listened. He talked, I listened.

That weekend, Jonathan and I talked to our closest couple friends. They already knew what was going on, but we still needed them to help us in the thick of it. Help point us to truth. Help us remember our desperate need for Christ. {Where would we be without good friends?}

Then we booked tickets to New York. Just Jonathan and I. No kids, no obligations. Just the two of us.

We leave this Friday. {And a chorus from heaven sang “hallelujah!”}

Things are still hard. Life is still busy. But this truth has sunk down deeper in me than ever before :: Divorce is not an option for our marriage.

For that moment, standing in my bedroom after that phone conversation, I saw the path my life could go down. And I don’t want that. The heartache, the tears, the pain. It’s not worth it. So instead, we are fighting for our marriage. We are not letting this ship sink, we are not backing down, we are not giving up. Together we are clinging to our sure foundation.

Confession :: I didn’t do one single Easter/Resurrection craft with my kids. 

Late Saturday night, I was perusing Facebook seeing pictures of all these clever crafts that other people had done and I thought “Oh crap. I should have done that with the girls! I totally missed the chance to share the Gospel.” Immediately I felt guilty. And even as we were going to church on Sunday, I was struggling with the guilt of not doing enough, not talking about Christ enough.

Then when Hannah announced that she was so excited it was Easter because then she could wear her pretty dress {the same she wore for Halloween and Christmas} I knew, just knew, I had failed to make them understand the deep meaning of Easter.

And it’s true, I did fail. If it were my job to save my children, to “talk them into the Gospel” then I am a failure. I will never succeed at that. There are no words within me that are powerful enough to lead my children to salvation.

Thank God for that.

Thank God that my children’s salvation is not in my hands. Thank God that my own salvation is not in my hands. Because if it were, I’d fail. We all would fall short of God’s glory. We would be condemned.

But, Easter is proof that God is in charge of my salvation. That I am not capable of saving myself, saving my children, and therefore Christ did it for me.

Thank God for that.

So I missed a Gospel centered craft. So Hannah liked Easter because of her dress. So I failed to make my children understand the overwhelming power of Christ’s resurrection. Thank God for that. Because it shows me all the more how dependent I am for Him to move in my children’s lives, in my life, in order to move us closer to Him.

And while I know, and treasure, that it is my job as their mom to share the Gospel with them, to speak of God and His amazing works, I rejoice that it is not in my ability or words or power to save them, but in Christ only.

Thank God for that.

Monday was my birthday.

I had my day planned out. I was going to sleep in and start my day off refreshed. The girls had school, so while Joseph napped, I’d relax and enjoy the silence of my house. Maybe watch a show. Crochet a bit. Eat some cake. Then Joseph and I would meet Jonathan for a birthday lunch date. I’d go shopping before picking up the girls. Then dinner and maybe another date once the kids were in bed. Perfect.

But, the night before Julia got sick. Then that morning Jonathan had to be at work early, foiling my plans to sleep in. Once mid-morning rolled around, Hannah got sick. And my well planned day crumbled down.

Not gonna lie, I was disappointed.

My quiet birthday celebration while the kids napped {unaware that it was actually my birthday}

My quiet birthday celebration while the kids napped {unaware that it was actually my birthday}

At one point, I almost wanted to selfishly remind Julia that today was my birthday. But, God pricked my heart and reminded me of something –

My life is about His plan, not my plan.

That reminder didn’t make me jump for joy at cleaning up throw up or feeling glad that my plans had so drastically changed. But it did make me soften my heart toward my children and see that this mess was the plan for my birthday. It wasn’t my plan {and I wasn’t loving it}, but it was God’s plan.

And when I was brought to tears at just how hard the day was going {how hard the last two ten months have gone}, my sweet sister-in-law spoke these words to me ::

Blessed be the Lord! For He has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to Him. Psalm 28:6-7

My situation never changed on Monday. The girls didn’t feel better. In fact, Jonathan and I both got sick too. I’m still struggling with feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. But God is reminding me that He’s heard my pleas, that He is my strength and shield; He is my help. And that’s all I can hold on to.

Funny how you can find yourself shying away from who you truly are sometimes.

I told all y’all {yes, I did just type all y’all} in September that life was too busy to blog. That was true. But there is more to it than that.

You see, about six months ago I wrote a post that is very dear to me. It caused some outrage and it caused some good discussion. Both of which I am totally ok with. What I didn’t realize {or rather didn’t want to admit to myself} was that with some of the backlash came a shying away. I didn’t want to write for fear of it causing another riot. And while I am not one to back down from my beliefs, I am also not one to keep arguing just to argue.

It felt good to walk away from blogging. To defriend some Facebook “friends”. To take a break. However, I’ve wanted to write again for a few weeks now. Yet, I keep getting gun shy, keep worrying about riots. I went so far as to make an alias blog. But what good is an alias, when what I really want is for people to know me?

Who am I?

I’m a girl who loves spontaneity, but can’t live without structure.

Image

I love my Savior beyond words. But I’m not always great at acting out my Christian faith.

Learning more about Christ brings me to my knees. Knowing how depraved I am without Him makes me need Him even more. The closer I grow to God, the bigger He gets. That might seem terrifying, but it brings me comfort more than anything else.

I talk too much. Yet I don’t always speak up when I should.

I start arguments when I don’t feel accepted and loved.

I’ve fought dirty before. It’s not a good thing.

I married up. I am so happy for that.

I work for two princesses.

Image

Before kids I never knew what it meant to love people so deeply beyond myself.

I do now.

Image

I like beer. Shiner, specifically.

And red wine.

I drink often. But not excessively.

Running is a passion.

Then again, so is eating. Which is why running happens.

I screw up. A lot sometimes.

Other days I’m a freakin’ super hero.

I love music, but frankly don’t care for live music. You can call me weird for that one.

I day dream too much.

I try to act cooler than I really am. Which probably makes me less cool than I really am.

I’m more like a librarian that laughs at her own nonsensical jokes.

I am who I am. Yet I will change. I will mess up. I will offend. I will repair. But, I am staying put. I’m not shying away. This is who I am.

Image

If you get on facebook, twitter, or read any news, chances are high that you’ll come across that Chick-Fil-A is under fire for being anti-gay. Depending on which article you read, from which side you read it, you can get two very different stories. Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay or Chick-Fil-A is pro-marriage {which I believe is not an either/or}. Regardless of how you personally take it, I am struck with one thought :: Can you be anti-gay and Christian?

I’m going to stand up and say :: NO. No, you cannot be anti-gay and Christian.

In Mark 12:31, after telling the people that the greatest law is to love God with every ounce of their being, Jesus states : “The second Law is this ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No Law is greater than these.”

According to the dictionary, anti means “against; opposed to”. Now, to be anti-gay, means that you are opposed to a people group. A People.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

How can anti-people equal loving your neighbor?

If we are called, by our Savior, to love our neighbors {and to clarify, neighbor does not mean just our next door neighbor, but our fellow man}, how can we draw such a definitive line in the sand? How can we say, I follow after the teachings of Christ, BUT I am anti-people.

In my opinion, to be anti-gay is to close off your life, your heart and the opportunity to love a people group through the Gospel. You are choosing to see yourself as better than, more worthy than, more important than someone else. Be cautious. Because not one of us, no not one, is so right with God that we are better off than another person {Romans 3}.

To be so opposed to a people {not the practices of a people, but the people themselves} that we use the term anti, is to say that they are undeserving of Christ’s love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Frankly, that is a position that I refuse to take against anyone. Ever. Because, no matter how depraved you think a person is, I can full out guarantee you, I am worse. I deserve nothing more than the full wrath of God, and I am in constant need of Christ’s redemption. Therefore, I cannot be against anyone, because I know that I am no better.

I am going to ask my fellow Christians – Where is your heart in this matter? Forget Chick-Fil-A, forget the heated news stories and latest debate {after all, it’s an election year, what else did we expect?}. Where does your heart stand on the matter of being anti-gay, anti-people? Are you willing to love your neighbor as yourself?

*UPDATED*

Based on some feed back from a few people, I feel I need to further express myself. My entire intent and meaning behind this post is to ask ourselves how we are treating other people. Especially people who’s beliefs and lives do not align with our own. We are all sinners in need of the redemption of Christ. If you desire to ask me more pointed questions, please feel free to contact me sarah dot windham at gmail dot com.

*FACEBOOK UPDATE*

I got news from my cousin that there is a discussion going on on her facebook timeline from where she shared this post. Due to the security of her friends, I will not be linking the discussion, but have chosen two to share that I feel are more adequately say what I am wanting to say. ::

“A friend of mine can’t participate fully in this discussion but these are his thoughts:
Being anti-gay does not mean you are anti-people. You can love the person as Christ instructed, and yet hate the sinful lifestyle that they lead. Just because Christ loved and spent time with the prostitutes and the down and out, does not mean he approved of or condoned their sinful lifestyles. Rather, he tried to bring them out of their sin by showing them a better way to live their lives, and the truth of God’s love to follow.”

“I love all your opinions and thank you so much for sharing. My personal view is this: Being tempted is not a sin. Acting upon that temptation is. I have several friends that are gay and I do not condone their behavior but I do love them where they are and accept them regardless. Our God did not reject someone for their sin but he didn’t just sit idly by and twiddle his thumbs either. And we all have to understand that all of this is done in LOVE. Without love, the Bible says, we are a clanging gong or cymbal. No one will listen to you if you are judgmental and condemning. We cannot judge others by the standards of our faith if they don’t believe in them. They need to know the Lord first, and then we can look at them through the lens of scripture.”

I get trapped in the moment a lot. Not a savor-this-sweetness moment. But it’s counter moment, the can’t-this-just-stop-already moment.

As Julia is screaming out “mama” for the fourteenth time because her covers aren’t just so, I hit that can’t-this-stop moment. Tired. Tripping over little shoes. Stumbling back into their room. Ready for it to stop.

While standing in the girls’ room, covering and recovering, and doing my best to keep my attitude in check, I realized – This is not the big picture.

I get so trapped in these moments with my kids, moments that seem to last forever, but they don’t. Really, they don’t. Sure, will Julia get upset over her covers again? Of course. Will Hannah cry in hysterics over not getting that banana and being forced to eat this banana? I’m certain. Will Joseph decide that sleep is only for babies, and now that he has three teeth he is not longer a baby? Sigh. Yes. But will these moments last forever? No.

At times, those can’t-this-just-stop-already moments take over and I forget the big picture of our lives. I forget that I can make a choice in those moments to make sure that my actions {and reactions} point to our family’s big picture. The picture of loving each other as Christ does. The picture of sacrifice with joy. The picture of a family in unity. And in those moments, I can show my kids the big picture by doling out an extra dose of hugs and grace, and loving them where they are.


Follow Me on Twitter

Advertisements