Sunday, March 25, 2012


For almost two years, I was in a very dark time. Every day was the weight of seeing my husband torn down by people who should have been the first in line to build him up. Don't get me wrong. There were ups and downs and good and bad in that span of two years, but during that time there were a lot of wounds inflicted on our family. Slanderous accusations, disapproving remarks and sometimes silence, slowly gnawed at my husband. It was a time that altered him.

When we were young with our rose-colored glasses securely set on our green noses, we took vows to stay together for better or worse... etc. We had no idea what some of that "worse" would be, and how God would use it to draw us closer and closer to Christ, and by his grace, each other.

My husband and I retreated from those painful two years a bit battered and bruised, wounded and hurt. We didn't understand what in the world the Lord was doing. Why did he even bother sending us into a ministry that was going to chew us up and spit us out like that? It never made sense. What happened there never made sense, and in many, many ways even now, it doesn't make any sense. I just simply trust that on the other side of glory it will be clear, and pray that on this side of glory, maybe I can have glimpses of God's divine tapestry he is weaving.

Lately, I have been getting a glimpse of maybe why we went through those two years of pain. It has taken a good two years to even get a small view of what God has been weaving. I guess that makes me a kind of slow to catch on, or maybe not. Maybe God is simply taking his time to weave a very intricate pattern. Either way, it's a design that's taken at least four years to take shape- at least to my finite mind.

I think that we were more wounded than we realized. We needed a lot of healing that I'm not sure I could even see in some ways. It seemed like we were pretty okay, considering the beating we had taken. We took it pretty well in stride, for the most part, but slowly, God has been working a detailed pattern in my heart to bring about a beautiful picture, a delicate, and subtle balm of healing.

Today my husband preached in our church. It wasn't the first time, but something stood out to me today as it never has before. One of our pastors introduced Casey, and spoke about how he has been a blessing to the church and that he likes his preaching.

It wasn't anything extraordinary. In fact, that has been the pattern in our church. We have been showered with love and affection. We have been supported and embraced. We have been welcomed and appreciated. We have been accepted just as we are for who we are.

The only thing that was extraordinary about today is that I understood something that God has been doing. He has been healing. For the months and years that we have been fellowshiping and sharing our lives with the believers in our church, God has been slowly mending our wounds.

Casey has time after time, been encouraged and affirmed. After his season of being brought down time after time, he has had loving and godly men build him up. His leadership has been welcomed and wanted. He has been supported and loved.

As a wife who had to watch as he was hurt over and over again, it has been so good for my heart to see him loved and lifted up.

If the only reason for our season of trial was to experience the healing power of God, then that is reason enough. If God allowed hurt and pain for that time, so that he could simply show himself as Healer through the Holy Spirit moving his people to love us, then that is enough for me.

This is the first time that I have been able to see any purpose in the plan that God had for us. Until now, it has been through sightless faith that I trusted that there must have been something that he was doing in it all, and that it was for our good. I know that because time after time he has proven faithful, and has always kept his word. I have just been waiting.

Now I can see. I can see one thing, one good, big thing that has come from that dark time. God is Healer. He brings healing in time, through faith and through love. It's nothing new or that I didn't know before. It's just bigger, if that makes sense.

Sometimes those beautiful, intricate patterns that God weaves take more time. Or at the very least, it takes me a while to see it.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time..."
Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Friday, February 17, 2012

Word Thoughts

As our family has stepped out in faith on a long-awaited journey to adopt, I've been challenged to think about what that word means. Words are funny in this way. You can say a word to ten people and those ten people may have ten different things that they thought of when you said that word. Our experiences can range so widely when it comes to what we think and understand.

I've been challenged to think of the word adoption differently. For me, I first have always thought of my own adoption into my family, the blessings that have come from it, and the hope for it shaping my family more. I think that I need to think of the word differently. I've been thinking of it in a very temporal sense. I need to first think of it in an eternal sense.

I'm finding that being adopted in Christ takes precedence over all other associations with that word. As valuable as earthly adoption is, my adoption as a child of God is at the very core of my existence. When I think of that word, I want to think of the gospel first, and then earthly adoption second. My hope is that the church can become so saturated with this key doctrine and understanding of the gospel and our identity in Christ that we think gospel first, earthly adoption second.

The word isn't in Scripture all that much, but the concept is. Over and over we read of old self, old life and being brought into new life in Christ. We are found in Christ. We are joint heirs with Christ. Our father becomes God the Father. We are part of one body, one family in Christ. All of these things point to being adopted, grafted in, redeemed, taken from one place and brought to another, given a new identity, being born again. It's all summed up in that one word: adoption.

This is my new challenge, and maybe you'll be challenged as well. I want to search the Scriptures and look for all the ways that doctrine pops up. I can think of so many just off the top of my head! (You can read the verbiage in the previous paragraph!)

Even as my family pursues earthly adoption, I don't want just my family to grow, but I want my perception to grow. I want to think of who I am in Christ first, and then all other things second. When I hear that word, that precious, grace-filled, hope-saturated word, I want to think of how I am bought with a price, and that I am not longer who I was before I was saved, but I am the Lord's. I am his child.

I'll take it.

I won't say much about the fizzle at the end of the year. I can make excuses and such. I can feel guilty about not posting, but I won't. I think for a high goal as I had, and with the stage of life that I'm in, I can be proud of what I did accomplish as I sought to give God glory every day. Whether I wrote about it or not, a habit has been instilled in my heart to always seek out his glory and find his grace even when circumstances seem dark or my heart is far removed from its first love. Rejoicing in God's grace isn't a thing to do if I feel like it, it is a standard commanded and to be fought for. It isn't easy at times in this finite world to have faith in the infinite.

If that's the only thing (and it's not) that I can take from my personal challenge in 2011, then it is worth it. With all the bumps and bruises, failures and triumphs, and many, many moments of humility, I think God used it as a fire to refine me more.

I'll take it.