Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I have never loved you more.

"He cheated on me."
I received this text on Valentine's day, just days away from our impending double date. 

I doubted her at first.  He's a God-fearing man, a dad, a church volunteer, a life-long Christian.  He comes from a solid family and has an amazing, beautiful wife.  How could he?

Fast forward several months and the you-know-what was still hitting the fan.  A story that would have been "bad enough" to begin with somehow kept getting worse.  Pornography, prostitution, flirting, affair(s).  Lying and cheating.

Since then, I've learned even more stories of how satan is wreaking havoc on marriages.  Some are friends, some are friends of friends.  All are Jesus-fearing, heart-broken, devastated wives, reeling from the reality of sin.

News of recent brokenness left me speechless.  And then another.  And another.
The story is similar.  A father, husband, leader...a Christian.

I sat at the kitchen table, stunned at the news of another.  Tears burning with anger and sadness and disbelief dripping hotly down my cheeks.  I swallowed hard and stared forward, memorizing the colors of the vibrant painting hanging over our table.

Paul fidgeted.  He'd known for a while about the shambles of this particular marriage, and just broke the news to me.  Still, I sat.  Frozen with emotion and questions.  Wondering how this could happen to them.  Paralyzed with fear and doubt.

I feared my own relationship with the man sitting beside me.  The one who also loves God, serves in church, has a solid family, has integrity.  The man who chose me.  If these other men could keep such filth hidden, absolutely secretive, for so many years, could I, too, be blindsided by my own partner-for-life?  If I've learned anything over the past year of other's heartache, it's that no one is exempt from the devil's schemes and temptation.  No one.  Not even my pastor husband or me, the pastor's wife.

Knowing full well that our marriage is not off limits from the evil one, I squeaked out a question ridden with sincerity and fear: "how do we keep this from happening to us?"  

A handful of times over the five years we've known each other, my husband and I have confessed pieces of our past to each other.  Little things and big things.  All things, that when kept as skeletons in our closet, keep us from being perfectly unified in marriage.  This was one of those times when a skeleton came out.  Not a skeleton of cheating, but a skeleton nonetheless.  Sin lost its power and significance as it was brought into the light.  Shadows of guilt and shame disappeared as the power of Truth broke chains of bondage.

Still, I sat.  But this time there was more than a lump in my throat.  I choked out sobs and coughs and hurts and choked on love and mercy and grace...and freedom from the power of sin that would no longer hold me or my husband prisoner.

We embraced, holding each other tight, as though we were squeezing satan out.  His sorrow, humbleness and repentant heart gave way to a fierce love for my husband.  Overcome with deep love and affection for the man who just bared his sole, an overwhelming peace and joy consumed me.  I spoke confidently: "You want to know something?  I have never loved you more than I do right now." 

He looked at me and blinked.  Insta-tears pooled in the corner of his baby blue eyes. "How is that possible?" he whispered.

It's possible because I'm made in the image of the Divine and He speaks the same Truth to me.  Over and over again.  How many times have I wondered how my husband could love me?  Filth has flowed from my mouth.  Annoyance has coated my words and actions when something doesn't go the way I wanted it to.  I "harumph" and give him "the look." 

Not to mention the filth in my heart.  The greed, selfishness, covetousness, doubt and comparison I harbor inside.  I doubt God's goodness.  I doubt His timing, His truth, His plans for me.  I make time for a zillion other things and not for Him, the Lover of my Soul.

And when I'm full-to-the-brim with guilt and shame and complaints and pity parties and grumbling, I tune my ears to my Father's voice and hear: "You want to know something? I have never loved you more than I do right now."

Will you join me in praying for our husbands?  Pray for purity, honesty and protection from the evil one.  Pray they would fight temptation and not give in to the devil's schemes.  Pray that their eyes would be fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I feel alive.

My heart is being stirred and I'm being awakened in new ways.

I'm in a season of growth.  Studying "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan has me longing to be obsessed with Jesus and less obsessed with being comfortable.  I want to consume less and give more.  Instead of praying solely for protection, I want to pray for whatever will bring me closer to Jesus.  Whew.  That's a tough one to ask for and I'm hesitant to ask for it because of what it might look like.  My first thoughts evoke tragedy and heartache.

I'm also reading "Radical" by David Platt.  Two chapters in and I'm hooked.

My heart is being stirred in new ways and I feel at peace in my current community of friends.  I laughed so hard after last week's Bible study and drove home (at 11pm) with such JOY in my heart.  We tried on hand-me-downs and giggled.  A lot.  We got carried away and stayed too late; my husband was already fast asleep by the time I got home.  The next morning, I bounced (literally) into the kitchen, excitedly recounting my tales of the night before and told Paul: "Last night was so much fun.  I have friends here."

My new business with Noonday Collection is thriving.  I'm joining a movement of world-changers and trying to do my part with what I've been given.  People (friends and strangers alike) are making informed purchases while advocating for the poor and it is humbling and invigorating, to say the least.  Noonday has come to Renton, Longview, Newberg and Beaverton.  And it's coming soon to Hillsboro and Grants Pass!

I am even at peace with my health.  While it's been a frustrating 60+ days of less-than pleasant issues, I am experiencing some relief.  I'm hoping for answers following my surgery on Friday afternoon (a hysteroscope & DNC).  At the risk of sharing too much information, descriptions can be found on Web MD, but are not for the faint at heart.  I am struck by how trivial this procedure is in light of what is happening around me: friends fighting cancer (again), marriages failing, bombings in Boston, etc.  God, do what you need to so we might draw closer to you.

For me, feeling alive is doing my part to change the world: living intentionally, allowing God to shape my deepest desires, inspiring others to become world-changers.  It is also sitting at a coffee shop on a sunny, spring afternoon with music in my ears and words at my fingertips.

What makes you feel alive?