I am going to share something very personal and private. I am going to let you in on something very vulnerable. I share it with you because if my pain and experience can benefit you in some way, it will be a double-blessing. And I love double-blessings.
I am a journeyer. I believe that life is a journey and our spiritual walk with God is a journey. I believe marriage is a journey, parenting is a journey, friendship is a journey. Our relationship with ourself is a journey.
I have been on a sometimes painful, seemingly long, conflictual journey. This particular journey I’m referring to is with myself, with my husband, and in my marriage. My husband and I just celebrated sixteen years of marriage. There have been good moments and good memories, and there have been very painful and hurtful moments of conflict as well. What has made it more painful at times is that I am a marriage counselor; and I successfully help couples get past conflicts to effectively communicate and experience greater intimacy and connection and an overall feeling of actually liking their partner and loving their marriage! And at times I have been envious of the reconciliation and understanding and caring and intimacy I have seen partners get to in my sessions, because I have longed for that myself; and for a long time, it was a longing unfulfilled.
My most recent journey has brought me new awareness which involved grief. I know grief gets a bad rap, but it is essential toward healing. I’ve heard it said that the measure to which we love someone, is the measure to which we grieve the loss of them. Grief is not just loss through death. Grief can be loss of what we thought someone or something would be; loss of what was, loss of hope that something or someone would be different; loss of a desire or dream being fulfilled. It was through my grief that I was able to see things for what they are; I was able to see myself, my husband, my marriage, for what me, he, and it, is. Though getting there was painful, it was in the acceptance of what is that I was freed. I let go of my expectations and my longings for good and even Godly desires; and instead I embraced what is. In doing this, I was set free from my anger and my disappointment. I was able to give myself and my husband a new kindness, compassion, love, and affection. And then, I was able to experience the very thing I had been longing for; closeness and connection with my husband. I let go of the picture of what I thought it should look like, I accepted and embraced what is, and I experienced the relationship anew. I let go of talking to my husband about the relationship and instead, I just experienced the relationship.
Isn’t this the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives? “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Isaiah 43:18-19. We cannot beholden the new things that God is doing if we are grasping so tightly to what has been, to what we know, or believe we know; or even to what we think we need or desire… it is God who says He will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert; not us. In Revelation 21:5, “and He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.” I am making (it is an on-going process) ALL things new. All things. God is in the process of journeying with us making ALL things new; us, our relationships, our perspectives, our desires, our hopes, our joy, our peace. And He is making them NEW. That means something that has not been before. He continued in Revelation 21:5, “Also He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” Trustworthy and true. Do you believe this about God? Accepting what is requires us to believe that God is trustworthy and true. It requires being present, not getting ahead of ourselves or God or anyone else, and just being in the now…trusting in God alone in it.