One time, not all that long ago, God stripped from me some things that were very important in my life. A teenager, I felt very alone, had very low self esteem, and to be quite honest, I was a Christian, but was forced to really turn and face God for the first time in my life. It was the greatest spiritual moment of my life up until that point. God was working out my salvation within me, and in order to do it He had to allow His daughter to endure pain since I wouldn't come to Him on my own. It was Him drawing me to Himself, and for that I will ever be thankful. If it weren't for this specific, lonely time of my life, I would not be remotely who I am today. In fact, I may have a different life all together. Thank you, God, for your sovereignty.
He taught me a lot, and I grew. As time went on my loneliness began to diminish as God gradually placed friendships, real, genuine, sincere friendships in my life. My self esteem began to increase on an even slower rate, but it was increasing none-the-less. Afterall, if the Lord of the Universe could take time out of His schedule to love me, I must be worth loving, right? For the first time I was able to look in the mirror and see past myself and see into what God wanted for me, how God valued me, how He loved me.
It wasn't long after this that I moved past the lonely state all together. I was almost nervous about it. I was able to look back over the past 4 years (since I'd been a Christian) and see how easy it was for me to almost love Jesus. Almost. Getting my attention was such a painful, but redemptive, process. Is this how God was going to have to continue getting my attention? Is this how He'd continue to show me His love?
Then I began to notice Aaron in a different light. His love for Jesus astounded me. I could look at him and think to myself, "I see a lot of qualities in this man that I hope to someday see in my future husband." It wasn't long after that, and we were dating and seeking God's approval. (And if you know our story, everyone elses as well.) When I was 20 years old I married him.
And marriage was a whirlwind. I was so in love with my new husband and so in love with this Creator who had authored the entire thing, through my loneliness, my trials, my complacency, my filth. He had good in store for me! I just had to heed to His guidance. I felt so very blessed and unworthy to have a loving Savior and a loving husband. I knew some would never experience the joy I felt.
Jesus continued to use my union and commitment with Aaron to display to me how He wanted my commitment to Him to be. He was showing me the union formed between He and His church. He was showing me, up front and personally, how to extend grace and receive it, how to show mercy and accept it. He was showing me the joys and heartaches that come with a relationship indebted in this much commitment. He was teaching me what it felt like to be in submission, and how it felt to be the recipient of sacrifice, and though I still can't fully understand what Jesus' sacrifice on the cross felt like to God, or can I even understand the weight of the sacrifice from the recipient's end, Aaron teaches me daily what sacrificing, giving up your life for the cause of someone else looks like.
Jesus was still wooing me, tickling my chin through the winds of marriage to get me to look up at Him, see Him, know Him, love Him. Marriage is still a mirror in which I can see how He loves us.
In January of 2008, Aaron and I decided to start trying to have a family. On Easter Sunday I was able to lie in bed with him and watch his eyes light up as I told him he was going to be a daddy. We had no idea what we were getting into. Yet another beautiful hurricane God was leading us into, together. And in November I was staring into the beautiful blue eyes of a chunky baby boy. I felt the spiritual wind stirring again. There was nothing to explain the love I felt for this tiny human laying in my arms. A child I'd never met, but felt like I'd known for 100 years, and I wondered, is this how God looks at me? When I really curl up in his lap, look into his eyes, and become fully dependent on Him, fully trusting with the faith of a child... do His eyes well up with tears because this is how He loves us?
The next few months were the hurricane. We were tired. We were exhausted, and we were trying to figure out this tiny child that we just couldn't understand. Our whole world felt upside down. Everything changed. Everything was different. Even adapting to the new little joys, which by no means were anything like the old little joys, was difficult. Sometimes the wind blew hard on our marriage, the convictions of places where we both were falling short were like huge waves ready to capsize us. But God was in the hurricane. It was yet another moment of God speaking... teaching... loving.
And the more B grows the more I understand how He loves us. Everything is metaphorical. The dependence of Bryton for us to nourish him, love him, and guide him. The way my heart feels when he crawls up in my lap, or says my name, or tells me he loves me. Is this how God feels?! When Bryton asks me to play with him, to spend time with him, is that how God feels when we really seek to spend some time with him? Watching him succeed, and watching him make good decisions, hurting for him when he hurts, and smiling when he smiles. Do you think God smiles when we smile? Do you think He cares? I bet He does. And disciplining. When we know what's best for him, we know the direction in which he should go, we know where the other paths lead, and we have to discipline him for his own good. Isn't this God loving us? Isn't this why He disciplines? Because He loves us. He knows the path. He's seen where our road ends. He wants a better road for us! A father's love for His children, He wants what is best for us... what will most benefit us... He loves us.
And so it's for all of these reasons that I can't let this song go. I weep when I hear it, but God has been so gracious in drawing me to Himself, through highs and lows, through joys and trials, always showing His love for me. It's our love story... my life is His love letter...