Saturday, June 29, 2013

Restore: A Grace Story




"Restore". It was late in the year 2011. 4 girls of various life stages, clinging together through their own life journeys, pile in a beach condo to pray, laugh, cry, and enjoy a glass of wine or two. Mothers to little ones, wives with a little less than a decade of marriage under the belt, all women with the basic need to be heard and understood. Each had wounds. Some deeper than others. Some healed with just remnants of sutures left. My wound was raw. Bleeding. Smelly. For this, my kindred spirits arranged this getaway. 

That Saturday morning, I ran on the beach. My marriage, through no one person's own fault, was split. In the moment, we humanly think we are perfect and couldn't possibly have contributed to such an upheaval and death of a dream to sit in two white rocking chairs on a front porch at age 90. I was blindsided, and I was hurt. So often, we forget the other person who shares our story is wounded, bleeding, in need of encouragement and grace as well.

The wind is whipping my hair, and deep in the hidden places of my heart I hear clearly: "Restore". Is that you, God? Am I just dreaming this up to help me cope? Is this a cruel joke? 

I didn't know how, or when, or even why. But I knew this: My God Restores. He Redeems. He sets the captive free. The same God who gave life to a barren womb, ripped apart the Red Sea, tore the temple veil in two...This same God is no stranger to heartache and human messes. This same God could piece together a marriage that appeared too shattered to mend. I didn't know what this would look like, but I wrote the word in the sand, took a picture, and walked away. 

I used this blog as part-therapy. The other part was a reminder to myself of Grace. As the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into seasons, I walked a winding path of uncertainty. I learned things about myself that needed to be gutted out. I learned that my words are potent, and I must use them carefully. I learned some things you can't ever undo or change or take back, but the power of forgiveness and restoration brings life and wholeness. I found that my husband was hurting just as much as I was, and both of us were stubborn, proud, and so incredibly in pain. 

I don't know when things changed. I can't pinpoint a certain date or time, but I saw us both change. A miracle is the only way to describe how our two lives were reconnected. Through an outsider's eyes, hope was lost. Through Jesus, Hope is never gone. Our parents and family and friends prayed. Wept. Listened. Wept. Prayed some more. Little did they know during those late night, knee-scarring prayer sessions, that restoration was coming. 

He kept asking me to eat dinner with him and our little boy. He asked me to the zoo. I finally said yes, and I'm so thankful I did. This was the beginning of the journey back together. We walked through the Asheboro Zoo with our 2-year-old. Each step we took was closer to healing. The next several days and weeks were spent cautiously but with purpose: dinner, Target, pool. At last, we both spoke forgiveness, poured out our hearts, and resolved not to speak of the past but to move forward. 

 

This is nothing short of a miracle. Each morning that I wake, I thank God for His grace. I thank Him for a restored marriage. I ache for those who do not have this story yet, and many times I find myself in tears, literally feeling the pain of close friends who are walking this path still. But all hope is not gone. Our God restores. He heals. He raised the dead and can raise up a marriage from the ashes. I don't know how yours will look, when it will be, or if the restoration will be the way we think it should be. I only know that I can't keep silent. I can't stand by the wayside and not be a voice to every woman who has ever thought twice about fighting for her marriage, or every man who has wondered why the woman he married is not the woman he thought she was. For every person who has thought it would be best to just quit, give up, give in, walk away, spew words of hate that can't be taken back...for all of these people, I now speak. All of us are human, and all of us are undeserving of grace...

Yet

It is for us. His grace is sufficient, forgiveness unending, mercy new every morning. Within several months of reuniting, we found out a baby girl was to join our family of three. What a beautiful chapter in a bittersweet book. We also now live in a beautiful house on our own piece of land, with neighbors who feel like family. Our family of four is far from perfect. Our journey is not over, and we are always learning how to love and be loved. Forgiveness lives in our home, and Grace meets us at the door. 





Thank you, thank you, thank you. All of you who stood with us and for us. All of you who cried, laughed, and followed this blog: you are part of the miracle. I would be remiss if I did not recognize the role you played in our journey. To our parents: much heartache you have all seen. I am so thankful that you raised our hands when we could not. You spoke for us when we had no voice left, and you all have rejoiced with us. For what you have done and continue to do, we could never repay. So we humbly say thank you, and we unashamedly ask for your continued prayers for us. 

And to you, dear ones, who are still walking in my old shoes, you are not alone. You are beautiful, loved, MORE THAN ENOUGH. You are a treasure, and He sees you in those dark nights when no one else does. I have not stopped praying for you, and I look forward to your restoration story, for there will be a story. 




"As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deed, of your saving acts all day long—though I know not how to relate them all.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
 you who have done great things. Who is like you, God?Though you have made me see troubles,
 many and bitter, you will restore my life again;from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.You will increase my honor and comfort me once more. " Psalm 71: 14-21

















3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to complete this precious blog. This is a sermon for all of us in every situation we encounter. Our God is faithful. I love our family of four. We continue to pray and praise our awesome God daily.
I love you, ShaSha

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am praying for the restoration of my marriage. We share the same bed, but he is "done", he "is leaving". He hasn't touched me since February (not even a pat on the back). Your story has given me hope! God is telling me to stand and I am, even with the hurtful words and actions. I continue to trust in God and extend grace to my husband and pray over him every night. Thank you again!

CharisFaith said...

Oh Anna I am so glad I finally had the chance to sit down and read. Our God moves mountains, and He restores and redeems!!! Love you!!!

Lori