It's no secret to those close to us that Dustin and I have hit our share of trials in life this year. Deaths in family. His career. Our finances. Transitions all around found us at rock bottom a few months ago. I love that we worship a God who finds us when we are at rock bottom. The lifter of our heads....
Life stressors can, when you let them, affect your marriage. I'm sure this is not news to anyone, especially if you're married. I confess I've given way to this: allowing my circumstances and the world affect me, mainly in my thought life, in a bad way. And a negative thought life has led to a bad attitude toward my husband. Fortunately, I married a man who has, for the most part, been quite patient with me. There are people in our life these days who God is using to bring us (me) back to His word. God is truly teaching me and nailing down two important truths in my life: forgiveness & thought life. Everything I've been reading/ listening to these days has been bringing me back to these two things. Over & over again.
Which brings us to the wedding. The vows the couple exchanged were beautiful, and one line in particular God used to convict my ever-softening heart.
I promise to love you graciously, not according to your performance, just as God has loved me.
Hm. I sort of did a "double-take" in my seat.... Do I do that?
That is how God loves us. But... is that how I love others in return??
That sure wasn't how I loved my husband through the trials we've faced this past year. Daily, I'm angry with him over something he has done/ or hasn't done. Daily, I withhold affection (love) from him because I'm angry. Daily, I speak coldly or harshly to him. Why? Because he hasn't met some expectation I've built in my head that he's "supposed" to meet (performance). Is that how God loves me though? I'm constantly missing the mark. As a daughter of God, I fail in my walk... daily. But He never withholds His affections from me. He never continuously reminds me of my failures. He is a gracious & merciful God- ever withholding what I truly deserve and bestowing on me what I could never earn on my own.
What a beautiful reminder He gave me last night... and that in and of itself is evidence of His love toward me. He loves me too much to allow me to remain where I've been. He desires to see me walk victoriously over my sin... and He alone has granted me the ability to do so.
I desire so much for our marriage to truly be a model of Christ & His bride. I pray daily for him to continue to soften my heart, to cultivate in me a forgiving spirit, and the ability to love- everyone, not just my husband- graciously... not according to performance... just as my God has loved me.