This is us in Maui 7 years ago.. a wonderful memory!
If you have been following my blog you know that I write about the struggles of this life.. disappointment.. grief and loss.. disillusionment etc. I feel like there is a need for that type of transparency and sharing. However.. there is more than just acknowledging the trials and the pain we face. In the midst of these trials, God promises to show up.. to reveal Himself to rescue us and to renew us. This was a week when God showed up in my life in a very surprising way.
As you know, my husband is suffering from a type of dementia and we have been grappling with what that means for the last year.. since he was diagnosed. A couple of months ago I decided to take our wedding movie to Costco to have it put on a DVD. We have never seen this movie since it was shot with a super 8 camera with no way to view it.. time to do something about this. I wanted to make sure that we watched it together now..in case Steve is unable to take it in later.. but at the same time I felt like I was going to lose it when I saw how things used to be. We have been married for 17 years and both of us are very different from the way we were on that day.
It seemed as though the Lord and Steve wanted to see it.. so I just hoped that I could recover after it was over. God surprised me.. not only did I recover, but I was totally encouraged as I watched and also amazed. The important moments were all there.. views of the guests.. many of them are with the Lord now.. including my Dad and Steve’s sister. It was wonderful to see them again and to remember them.. Then there were the vows.. showing the close up of my face and I saw the joy that God gave me as I married this wonderful man and promised to be faithful to him no matter what happened.. in sickness and in health. Wow.. so thankful that I made those vows and that God is giving me the strength to keep them. The pastor gave a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13.. the love chapter. It was a prophetic word for us.. emphasizing that love was to be at the center of our relationship.. It was as though the Lord knew we needed to file that away and keep it for this season. So awesome to realize that He knew what we would face and that we would walk it out together. I was strengthened by the words of the pastor as he told us that he could see God’s handiwork in our relationship.. it was confirmation to me that nothing that is happening is a surprise to God.. He knew what we would walk through and that we would cling to Him and each other.
Yes! It was a surprise in a dark time and it came in a surprising way.. I cried and longed to relive those early years of our marriage.. but these years matter too and I want to live fully as they unfold.
I just had to share this with you.. I hope it brings life and hope to your heart!
This time of year brings up lots of memories.. It’s the holiday season that seems to be the trigger. We all have memories of the past..some more difficult than others. The past is part of us..we cannot change it.
I am reading a great book called “A Grace Revealed” by Gerald Sittser. I found a book written by him 13 years ago when I was widowed and drowning in a sea of grief. the book was called ” A Grief Disguised.” In this first book he shared about his journey through grief after losing his mother,wife, and daughter in a car accident. He and three other children survived. My loss seemed insignificant compared to what happened to him.
It has been over 20 years since that accident and he recently remarried. His children are grown now and he is able to look at what happened from a greater distance. There is a chapter in this new book called Redemptive memory. I want to share a quote with you..it is powerful.
“It starts with redemptive memory, which enables us to remember the past differently..not as an ideal to which we would like to return or as a regret we would like to reverse, but as one chapter in a larger redemptive story we can continue to live out in the present moment. God is in the past however ideal or horrible: He rules over the past, as it is, to work redemption. He makes all things serve His redemptive purpose. There is no Golden Age to which we must return, no hellish experience that consigns us to a lesser life. There is only one God writing His story, a story of redemption…Nothing is beyond the reach of God’s grace and power. We can therefore trust that God will use the past to work redemption in our lives, which frees us to trust Him and obey Him in the current circumstances of our lives.”
So take heart..your life story is part of God’s work on the earth. He is at work in your life today no matter what has happened in the past. He has written a larger story that is more wonderful than anything we can imagine..no one is left out.
No.. I’m not talking about the kind you are thinking about. Yes..I would love to find a valuable treasure buried in my back yard..one that would bring an end to financial difficulties for good. That isn’t likely..especially since I have no yard 🙂 I’m referring to another kind of treasure. It is buried..but has nothing to do with money.
Beneath the surface of our lives..in our innermost parts..there are treasures. They are keys to help us unravel our stories..our memories..even the ones we would rather forget forever. God created us with memories. He designed us to retain pictures of things that have happened in our lifetime. Some of these are pleasant and joyful..some are sad and painful. All of them have a purpose. They tell us about ourselves.
Allowing yourself to re-visit these memories may be difficult..but it is easier than burying them inside where they can continue to cause pain. This is one reason I believe in counseling..under the right conditions it becomes a safe place to remember. So many of us just need to tell someone our story.. to be listened to..to have someone say that it was hard and it makes sense that we are in pain. There is freedom in that process..receiving validation that our pain is real is the beginning of the healing. God is able to meet us..but we often need people as well..someone who is able to walk with us on this leg of our journey..somewho will provide emotional support..compassionate caring..understanding.
Ask God for that person..keep seeking..He will provide the help that you need. Isolation can bring the issues to the surface but it takes intimacy with people to resolve them. We were created to be connected to one another and to need each other. Don’t be afraid..allow Him to dig up that buried treasure so He can give you the abundant life that He has promised.
” The thief”s purpose is to steal..kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”