Archive for July, 2011
Today, we celebrate our 18th anniversary. That’s an entire childhood’s worth of marital bliss. If our marriage was a child, it would now be graduating from high school and preparing to enter college. It could vote. It could hold a driver’s license. In some states, our marriage could legally drink, and in a perplexing train of thought, our marriage could actually get…um…married.
Don’t worry. I’m not going there.
We decided to treat ourselves to a night out, just the two of us. Despite the fact that we’ve had a LOT of together time over the past year, most of it has not been what either one of us would consider “quality time.” Something about the stress of unemployment, lack of income, inability to get decent health insurance, and the pressure of starting your own company during the “worst economy since the Great Depression” kind of gets in the way of that. But with Grandma now living close by and willing to provide free babysitting almost at the drop of a hat, we decided to take advantage (after culling through our coupons, of course).
We found a coupon for a neat little bistro just down the road from Grandma’s house and decided to try it out. And boy, are we glad we did. Bonnie Ruth’s turned out to be a delightful surprise. We enjoyed an intimate dinner with the place almost to ourselves (not counting the couple who brought their very fussy baby with them to a swanky french bistro…). And when we told the waitress it was our anniversary, we received the royal treatment:
- complimentary glass of champagne for each of us, to toast our many wonderful years together
- free dessert of choice for each of us, which allowed me to enjoy a slice of Italian Cream cake – our wedding cake – guilt free
- free cupcake for each of us, wrapped in a to-go box, to ensure that we remain fat, happy and in love.
And I’d say it worked, because after 18 years we’re still “happy together.”
One year ago today, on July 14, 2010, my husband was unexpectedly laid off from his job.Â When Matt told me the news, I also heard the voice of God whispering in my ear…”How far are you willing to go with Me?” and I admit, I was terrified. Terrified of what that meant: would we lose our house?Â our cars?Â Would we have to relocate to an entirely different part of the country, and give up the life/friendships/ministries we’ve enjoyed here?Â How long was this going to last?? I was on my way with the kids to Hawaiian Falls for a discount Wednesday, and although we had a great day, those tears of fear, apprehension, and uncertainty were always right below the surface, even spilling over a few times when no one was looking.Â Thank goodness we were in a pool and I could blame the chlorine for the red and watery eyes.
Less than two weeks later, I was on my way to Uganda for the second time.Â That challenge: How far are you willing to go with Me? resonated in my ears throughout the trip.Â I experienced such a joy and peace while I was there, watching these children who were satisfied – and JOY-FILLED – with far less.Â God showed me through them how to worship, how to pray, how to trust in the face of terribly daunting circumstances.
If God had told me last July 14 this journey would last over a year, I might have been surprised.Â I most definitely would have been afraid.Â But if God had told me of the blessings we would have received through family and friends – some known and some anonymous – I don’t think I could have wrapped my mind around it.
If God had told me we would still be in our house, paying our bills, putting gas in our cars and food on our table, I wouldn’t have begun to comprehend how.
If God had told me our marriage would be strengthened and become the most healthy, most positive, most meaningful it has ever been, I wouldn’t have thought it possible.
If God had told me how He would speak to our children and use this experience to deepen their spiritual walk and reveal His character to them, I would never have expected it.
If God had told me the ways He would provide for our physical needs, I’m sure I wouldn’t have believed Him.
If God had told me He would lead Matt and I to start our own firm, and that He would provide all the clients, at just the right time, in creative and unexpected ways, I know I would have been too afraid to trust.
Even though He didn’t tell me, He has been faithful to do all this.Â He has provided for ALL our needs, whether they are physical, emotional, or spiritual.Â We are so blessed and humbled by the journey He has taken us on.Â It hasn’t been easy by any means, but what we’ve learned about His character has made even the darkest times worth it.Â I’m thankful today for the promises of His word, especially this one (from The Message translation -emphasis mine – gotta love it!!!!)
God can do anything, you knowâ€”far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (Ephesians 2:20-21)
Ironically – but not coincidentally:
It was 2 years ago, around July 14, 2009, that Matt informed his co-workers that he was officially in remission and completely cancer-free.
It was 3 years ago – around July 7, 2008 – that he went in for the annual physical and mentioned the two nodules in his left shoulder that eventually led to the diagnosis of cancer.
And it was 4 years ago – around July 15, 2007 – that I knew God had called me out of my comfort zone into an unknown journey of following Him, wherever that led.
I’m still on that journey as evidenced by the twists and turns of the last 4 years.Â But I praise Him for this journey, and for being my Leader throughout it all. That is why I say I’m “Following the Leader.”
Once upon a time, there were two families that were really good friends. They did lots of things together. But one of their favorite things to do was to go watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Except that the fireworks weren’t on the Fourth of July. They were on the third of July. At a place called Kaboom-Town.
Finally, when it was all dark, the music would play and the fireworks show would start. The families would “ooh” and “aah” over the beautiful colors and special effects of the pyrotechnics display. And the dads would “ooh” and “aah” over the long lines of traffic that would build during the pyrotechnics display.
But even though it would take a long time to get home – sometimes an hour, sometimes more, sometimes less – the families would always have fun and promise to do it again the next year.
And they all celebrated their freedom happily ever after.