14 October 2014

crumbly marriages + stubborn hope

It is no secret that marriages crumble in our culture.  They come together and fall apart almost effortlessly.  Or at least that is what it looks like from the outside.  There are costs, though, to these fallen apart relationships.  And they add up for far longer than we like to admit.  My own parents divorced when I was young.  There are still costs associated with that loss.  I have seen God do a good work in both my parents' lives and we have happily reaped great rewards because of it. But it has not been an easy road.

So I arrive at this place with a lot of baggage, and a heaviness that accompanies my heart.  A shaky marriage is a scary place.  Recently, I was invited in to pray with a friend in the middle of her worst fears.  She found herself standing in crumbles and confused as to how it happened. 

There were no easy words to comfort her.

My first desire was to heap dirt on him. Lash out ugly words about his lack of wisdom and the absurdity of this path.  I know them both, but obviously know her better.  I was hurt for her, and wanted to spew forth all the uneasiness I felt in my gut.  But God said, "no."  Rather, He might have said, "don't you dare."

It is easier to place blame and point fingers and badmouth.  We naturally want to divide the roles into good guy and bad guy.  At least we can sort of feel better about ourselves for a minute in the middle of the mess.

But God impressed upon me strongly to stand in the middle and pray boldly for both of them. And that was a hard thing for me to do.  Rather than choose a side, I picked their family - healthy + whole.  I am begging God for restoration.   

At times, it feels awkward.  But hope is not about feelings.  And restored marriages need a hope that holds on for the ups and downs and in-betweens.  This hope holds tight through his feelings of inadequacy and her struggles with trusting again. It is a fragile ground to walk through, fraught with broken shards of memories and bitter pieces of thoughtless moments. 

We are still walking there.  I am doing it from afar and through prayer.  Prayer for both husband and wife to the God that is able to heal all wounds.  This will be a long path.  A hard path, one that might be easier to walk away from than continue on. 

There are still no easy words.

I hold tightly to my hope that our God can restore what has been lost.  I hold on tightly to this hope that He can rekindle a love that is able to forgive and grow stronger on this new ground. I hold on ever so tightly to this hope until my friend is ready to claim it as her hope too. 

Sometimes when our hope is stubborn, it isn't for us alone.  We get to step out bravely into the brokenness to reach out for the hope our loved one is desperate for.   We get to hold onto it while holding on to our loved ones until they are ready to grasp it themselves.  This is risky and beautiful and altogether holy.

"and He was seated on the throne and said, "behold, I am making all things new."  Also he said, "write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."  Revelation 21:5 {esv}

"I will restore to you the years the the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.  You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.  And my people shall never again be put to shame."  Joel 2:25-26 {esv}

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