January 28, 2009

A Broken Memory

I first wrote this blog a little more than three years ago as part of a memory meme.  I don't know why, but last night I just really began to feel impressed to post it again today.  My Dear and I have now celebrated our 23rd anniversary, we have a child in college and our baby is wrapping up her senior year of high school.  The truths learned through this time in our lives, '94 & '95, continue to shape and mold our marriage and I fully believe that is what God desires!  A quick glance back to remember where He brought us from but always looking forward to the path He lays out each day!

I pray you are blessed today and can see that ONLY GOD can resurrect a VERY dead marriage! 

After 20 yrs of marriage, I have learned that most every marriage hits a brick wall within the first 10-15 yrs that humanly speaking, seems impossible to overcome. These times usually come when you have small children...and that adds a stress of its own! But, what I have seen is that God usually allows these times to grow us up into Him and into who He is calling us to be. Some of you know, though, it is really hard to walk through those times!!!

I KNOW WE ARE NOT ALONE!!! If you are walking through a hard time in your marriage right now, please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! Not only is God right there, holding you every step of the way, but a lot of marriages around you have walked through something so similar. If you need help, please search out someone that you can talk to and lean on in order to possibly save your marriage and your sanity!

I'm not saying that every marriage is salvageable...that is simply not true. However, God's grace is there just for you to hang onto, no matter what happens in your marriage and your life! Knowing just what we have walked through, I have a soft spot in my heart for marriages and I would love to see them all continue...but I know that is not always possible. No matter what is going on in your life, you are in good hands as long as you are in God's hands!

Okay, now for my memory:
In the mid-90's, God began to reveal heart issues between dear hubs and I that we could either ignore and kill each other, or deal with and continue to love one another...and did it ever get rough to actually live in the same house!!!

Christmas 1994 - the girls were 4 and 1 and life seemed simple, not easy but simple. I knew what our days looked like and I loved being a Mom of young children. However, like I said earlier, God was beginning to reveal deep heart issues...and it hurt.

By late '94, I had realized that my dear hubs was running from the hand of God! I was also beginning to realize that my marriage could not survive without leaning on God and His word! One Sunday morning in January '95, I was getting me and the girls ready for church and hubs was sleeping soundly in our bed....and I do mean soundly! It bugged me that we were struggling to make it through the days together and yet he chose to sleep on Sunday morn...and that is where I found hope - in the community of church and digging corporately into God's word.

We lived in post housing at the time, a 1940's duplex that had a long hallway from which you could look from one end of the house to the other. Standing at my bedroom door, I could look down the hall and see all the way to the outside wall of the dining room with no obstructions. On the outside of the dining room wall was a small storage room connected to a carport. I know this is a boring description but if you can follow this, you will understand just how big God was on this particular day!

On this particular Sunday in January 1995, I was walking from my bedroom to the girls to begin getting them ready for church...only a few steps away....but before I could even get to their door, I watched as our wedding cross-stitch, made by my Mom, literally jumped off of the outside dining room wall! I heard the crash before I could move my feet down the length of the house - a very loud crash for a simple 8x10 photo frame! There was a picture right next to this frame that DID NOT MOVE at all! To this day, it is still a mystery to me how this particular decoration simply fell off the wall! We were all on the opposite side of the house and no one, not even the dog, was in the dining area.

When I made it to the mess on the floor, I realized that the glass had shattered into little tiny pieces....lots of them! I simply sat down and cried!!! The cross-stitch itself was fine, only the frame was broken...but it was not just broken, it was shattered. I thought, "This is what has happened to my marriage. Our marriage isn't just broken, it is shattered." The reality of that broke my heart into those same little pieces! As I sat there in my tears and sorrow, I felt God say, "Yes, this is what your marriage looks like and there is no way that you can just glue the pieces back together. But I can!!!"

Then God gave me a verse. It had been used in our wedding, along with many others, but now that we had been married for 6 yrs, it started to make sense in living daily life...not just a flowery verse at a wedding.
Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
As I went through that week, I found myself meditating on my verse. As a young bride, I had heard that verse warning others to not try to tear apart our marriage. That week, I began to see the verse in a different light...let man not separate. This didn't just mean others, it also applied to the two of us!!! I began to realize that if anyone could tear apart our marriage, it was us!!! Our selfishness, our past wounds, our stubborn pride! Those were the things we needed to guard against...things of ourselves!!!

Present day - we just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on Dec 27!!! I love this man more now than I ever could have imagined on our wedding day! It is truly a privilege to be his wife!

The road to this point was NEVER easy!!! We have both had to learn to give up those icky parts of our hearts and let God bring in the new attitudes that He had for us. Hubs now attends church with us and while it is not always perfect, he tries very hard to be the spiritual leader of our home. I could take the easy road and tell you what HIS problem was that almost destroyed our marriage but that would not be fair....he was not alone in that! I had some really deep wounds myself. Some places in my heart that God had to expose and heal and boy, did that hurt some days!

WE ARE NOT PERFECT!!!! We still have days that we struggle with those old hurts and attitudes! We still argue...sometimes selfishly! Please hear me, the only way that we could have made it here is with the hand of God guiding our steps! With God holding our hearts and our hands, we can give each other the grace needed to make it through those rough days!

The cross-stitch??? Well, I never did put it back together! It resides in one of those boxes in the garage. I know it is there!

Would I trade those struggles??? NO WAY!!! It is during these struggles that I have learned to lean even more on the arms of our Lord! It is because of my imperfect humanity that I see so deeply my need for our Savior!

I pray that you have been blessed today. I know this was not an easy read...it was really hard to write! However, I pray that you will be encouraged to hold onto your faith and hope in our precious Lord...He is always right by your side, no matter what you are walking through!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....like my marriage and my dear hubs!

God's girl, Pamela


Lynnette Kraft said...

So much can be gained through the difficult times. So many lessons we can share to help others...more compassion for others...a deeper love for one another...great faith in our Almighty God!

Thanks for sharing today. I'm so glad that you've had 20 wonderful years with your man and that your love is even greater today than the day you met.

PS We've been married 20 years too!

Kristin said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I love my husband so much too, but I am finding it hard lately because he has no desire to know the Lord. I have a responsibility to get in church, so that I can introduce it to him, but I'm finding it hard without support. I know I will take that step, and I know because he loves me, he will go with me if I want him to. I know it will work out, but it's going to be a long road ahead. It's no sacrifice to me though, when I think about what my husband will be gaining by coming to know the Lord. So thank you for sharing. I'm headed in the same exact path.

Tanya said...

Thanks for sharing, it is encouraging to read stories like these, especially in a time when marriages all around us are crumbling apart.

My husband and I will have our 12th anniversary this summer. God is good.

Julie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It's amazing how your cross-stitch fell...talk about signs.

I've only been married for 3 1/2 years, but I can see how easy it could be for a marriage to break down. My hubby & I just started doing a couples devotional together and each chapter we both go "Wow I never thought about that" or "Wow we really need to start doing that." Marriage is work and it's hard to put it as a priority sometimes.

Abigail Kraft said...

It's hard to face the reality that marriages have low points, but the truth is, they do--the realization of that fact is what prepares you to fight through it and come out firmer in your love for each other and for Christ. I am blessed to have the warning early on and the guiding of a precious Father and the parents that He has given me for teaching and instruction.

Thanks for posting.
In His arms,

Kim said...

I just wanted to thank you so much for this post today as it was a pleasure to read. I get exactly where you're coming from. A marriage is not easy and I think so many young people today have much different thoughts on marriage.

GrandmaKathleen said...

It must have been extremely difficult to write this memory, but as you said it needed to be said. I am so happy that you worked it out and have made 20 years. May you be blessed with many many more years.
Marriage is a committment and you need to work on it day to day. My DH and I have our battles and know how to resolve them and move on. This June will be our 39th.

Sarah said...

Congratulations on working so hard to grow together in your marriage - which sounds stronger than ever! Thank you for sharing this story, which can't have been easy to write. But, it is one of hope and a memory of a real turning point and realization - an awakening.

I am so fortunate to have been blessed with two wonderful parents, who have also worked at their marriage. The path isn't always easy; but as my father told me once - just keep talking, communicating, holding hand and you'll get through. The moment you stop talking, really talking, the moment you start to drift apart.

My husband and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this year and the messages we've both received from our parents stands us in good ground. We are so happy and our love keeps growing richer all the time.

Thank you for sharing. Sarah

Nutty mom-- said...

What a journey! and what a celebration of 20 years! Thanks for your wonderful story

Brad Ruggles said...

Thanks for being real and transparent in this post. My wife and I have been married for 9 years next month and we've already had to deal with challenges that life throws at us. We've had to make choices that could either make us stronger or tear us apart. It's a journey.

btw, first-time visitor to your blog. I enjoyed poking around!

Karabeth said...

I didn't get my own "Memory" posted yesterday, but I appreciated reading yours.

The description of your base housing sounded like some I saw at Luke AFB. Maybe the government only had so many floor plans. :)

As a pastor's wife I would love to be able to say, "No, of course we've never had any marital problems." But then I'd be a terrible liar. Pastors' marriages are not exempt from times of standing on the brink and wondering if it is going to last.

But after 30 years of marriage I can't imagine breaking in someone new. Just kidding, except to say, I remember some pretty hard times in my marriage but looking back now I can't really remember all - some, but not all - the reasons why we were struggling so much. Selfishness was the main reason every time.

Praise God for being the One Who made us keep it together for His word's sake. (Titus 2:5)

The Mazza Munchkins said...

I am very lucky to have a husband who loves the Lord, more than he loves me. Thanks for you story, it is a good reminder, that God has the power to use ANYTHING, to get his point across...a burning bush, a talking donkey, or a marriage cross-stich.