A new year is upon us. It is unnerving to think how quickly 365 days come and go. Many of us reflect back and hope forward during this moment of time between what has happened and what is yet to come. And when we take account of where we’ve been, who we are, and where we are going many of us vow to incorporate change in our lives whether through resolutions, new commitments or purposeful intentions.
Reflecting on my personal journey of 2010, I am especially thankful for the blessing of my marriage. For my husband and I, it was a bountiful season of new love, deeper respect, profound communication and a spiritual awakening to a covenant built upon humility and service. If I were to state my intentions for the new year, they would be a commitment to continue deepening my relationship with my spouse through prayer, sacrifice, daily communication and making the choice to love when it would be easier to withhold forgiveness, even in the little things.
Although I feel extremely grateful for the place we are in and hopeful as I anticipate the year ahead, I also recognize with a heavy heart that there are many spouses who find themselves in a season of marriage quite foreign to ours. I see couples that are reeling in discontentment, disillusionment and heartache – many full of doubt for a brighter future. The beginning of 2011 may not necessarily fill the air of these marriages with the joy of fresh beginnings, but rather cloud the skies with worries, struggles and the burdens of the preceding year, or even years.
This reality fills me with sadness as I watch the demands of the world, the faces of fear and the forces of evil wreak havoc on the sanctity of the marriage covenant. My husband and I are no strangers to hard times and bitter seasons within our seventeen years of marriage. We have been to the pit on more than one occasion and still bear the scars of many a trial. But, through every battle, God has been the Victor – even when, and especially when, we were not worthy to receive His mercy.
When we were ready to give up, He said no. When we chose to live in bondage because it was easier than putting in the effort to heal, He broke the chains. When I built a fortress around my heart, Love banged the door. When my husband fell into a season of doubt and insecurity, Christ sent the Holy Spirit, a blessed reminder of His redemptive promises, to breathe life back into his wandering soul.
Each time we pressed in resistance against the pain of our discontentment or failure, God pressed through it harder. And He was able to win the battle because despite our weaknesses and sins, we knew Christ. Although we may not have believed in His ability to fix things during those dark moments, we still acknowledged His presence. And it was that small window of faith we left open that was room enough for God to do His work. Which is why both of us have a heart for healing when it comes to the marriage covenants of others.
Sometimes God’s healing isn’t what couples had hoped or prayed for. It takes two open hearts for God to make full amends in one sacrament. But if our faith is true, and our personal heart is open, we can trust the healing we need as a daughter or son of the King will come – according to God’s purpose and plan for our life. If we commit for ourselves to know Christ, to allow Him entry into our daily routine – even if it means going through the motions without an inkling of feeling, we open the pathway for His restoration and healing in our lives.
Regardless of the current state of our marriage relationship, we all need to find a haven of refreshment. An outlet where we can turn for strength, a respite to seek relief from our daily wounds, a worship place to give thanks and praise, a fertile ground to absorb our tears, and a resting place to lay our burdens down. There is only one true Haven of Refreshment that can accommodate all our needs, and that is our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in His presence that, “… he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) It is because of His Grace that we are able to see outside of ourselves and believe in His promise, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
So, whatever comes our way this 2011, my prayer for each of us is that we make one solid resolution: surrender our human nature, abandon all our needs to control our outcomes and visit this Haven of Refreshment today, tomorrow, and all the days to come – allowing Him to instruct us and give us what we need in every moment.
Copyright © Shelby Spear, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved