You might need more than 5 reasons not to quit your marriage.
All I have today is 5. Hang on to the end, and you’ll understand why. If you’re looking for hope today, it’s my goal to dish some.
One Friday in October, Jim and I sat in the surgery waiting area at Children’s Hospital.
The cheerful bright green and orange walls contrasted starkly with the concerned faces of family and friends as they sat waiting for a word from the surgery teams working on their kids.
Jim and I waited similarly, but I noticed something missing…
I felt gratitude.
Because what was missing wasn’t missed… it wasn’t even noticed.
I was completely unaware that I wasn’t afraid.
Fear was absent.
Fear’s absence left me in awe and wonder.
Of His mercy.
He IS in the transformation business, you know.
For the last five years, three really important men in my life have undergone major surgeries.
Two of our teen boys had pectus excavatum repairs and large titanium bars inserted into their chests, pulling their sternums out of their heart, lungs, and for one of them, out of his flattened esophagus. They kept them for 3 years. They dealt with pain daily because of the placement of the bars – but that pain was less than the pain that came because their lungs and heart were compressed. Or because of vomiting from a too-small smashed space in the esophagus.
These are what they removed from my 18 year old on Friday:
Two weeks before Christmas in 2014, my husband had open-heart surgery to repair an aneurysm. Most people aren’t this blessed to have known about it, much less have it repaired before it ruptured. Most people find out after death that they had one.
In case you don’t know, an aortic aneurysm is when your aorta expands in a certain spot. The walls are thin and it can blow with exertion or high blood pressure. We spent about 8 months knowing if it ruptured, he’d have searing pain, then we’d have about 20 minutes to get him from wherever he was into surgery before he bled to death.
Knowing and being able to be proactive with the surgery for my husband was beyond kind of God – and we are all thankful for the second chance at life.
I remember walking the halls of hospitals dealing with everything from the evil acts of a nurse trying to steal narcotics from one of my young men, to watching them rush my husband back to ICU so he wouldn’t have permanent damage from a complication. The worst were the moments of helplessness… like in my most gut-wrenching moment as a mother when I wanted to trade places in a heartbeat to take the blinding pain of my 14 year-old son suffering from a nursing mistake.
Friday in October was different.
Because I was different.
I slept great Thursday night.
I woke Friday morning without stress. Went to the hospital without stress.
Registered him, interacted with staff, and prayed over him – without stress.
I listened to the surgeon give us the outcome and expressed gratitude to him.
I saw life through the lens of Philippians 4:8…
I was not at all afraid.
And I didn’t even notice that, until we got home late that afternoon.
I sat, thankful, on the couch, looking at the young man dozing after his surgery.
And it hit me.
When as recently as two years ago, when our oldest son had his bar removed, I was anxious. Nervous. Dreading.
And this time?
I just trusted God.
During a discussion with a friend this weekend, I came to realize that the difference was that over the last two years, I had come to understand, on a whole new level, God’s freedom for us.
We often think that Jesus’s purpose is to save us from our sins – and that it means heaven is our hope. I don’t disagree with that, but I have learned more about what Jesus meant when He read from Isaiah in the synagogue on the Sabbath:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He he has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19
In the last few years, I have received an even deeper understanding of who I am, and Whose I am.
I understand on a whole new level the freedom He offers to all of us. Freedom from the opinions of nearly everyone in my life, freedom from the lies of my past, freedom from the judgments of our culture, freedom from judging myself.
(Do you judge yourself?)
Have you ever considered what it means to judge oneself and others in light of His gift of grace and love for us – what our judgment says about His gift?
Saturday morning after surgery, my recovering son and I both slept in til 8am. We missed the 5:00am pain pill.
I freaked out for a hot second, then woke him up to give him the drugs.
He woke in pain.
The old me would have spent the day beating myself up.
You know, “MOTHER GUILT” – ever been good at that?
This new-every-day me grieved the mistake, offered an apology, for which my son said, “It’s cool. Seriously. The sleep was worth it.” He forgave me.
I fought for a moment against condemning myself…then let go of that. I knew the sleep was valuable for me, too.
So opened my hands and I let go of condemnation.
(there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus)
I received God’s grace. And my son’s. And my own.
Don’t you think it just seems like before we can more completely receive His grace and love, we have to open our hands to let go?
And at the end of the day, I was left with these five things… reasons… if you will… for not quitting on your marriage, or anything else God has given you to do:
- This life isn’t ours – we’ve been bought with the ultimate price – so we need to offer up whatever we have, including our sufferings, to be used for His glory
- Fear can be conquered – but only through the on-going redemptive work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – and God IS IN the transformation business
- There’s not much space for His love or grace when our hearts that are full of control, fear, discouragement, or condemnation/judgment for ourselves or others
- To the extent that we receive His love and grace – we can extend that to others and ourselves – I think the sin of self-judgment (self-condemnation) is a big sin indeed – it flies in the face of His greatest gift to us, salvation and freedom through Jesus Christ, where there is no condemnation
- His teachings are gentle, and He is patient – and we don’t have to stay the way we are – and change is what we’re looking for, right?
Dare you today to really ask yourself how you are doing in these areas.
And do not give up – because this hard Now you are in? It’s training for a thing you may not even know about.
Have you forgiven yourself? Will you let go of condemnation, fear, control – to receive what is even better?
See you in the comment section. 🙂 SO glad you are here!
Love to you!
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