At the end of 2013 my wife wrote a Facebook post saying she was most hoping for an “uneventful” year in 2014. For details that aren’t worth getting into now, her prayer to God for a year that could be called uneventful made a lot of sense. With that said, I should have known what was coming…
On the outside this last year might seem pretty uneventful. We didn’t move, have another child, etc. Yet, family and friends who are closest to us know that 2014 was probably the most difficult year my wife and I have experienced together.
For me, personally, it was emotionally the most difficult year I have walked through since I was 14 and my parents divorced. Honestly, this year may have been harder than that. It is always difficult to compare things so recently pressed into the heart and mind to things more than a decade old. Nonetheless, I had no idea what God had in store when 2014 started. Let’s just say I had never seen so many curve balls and I didn’t expect so many of them to drill me in the face.
In our marriage, Meredith are in a better place than we have ever been. Our marriage is without a doubt at its healthiest point. What does it take to make things healthy? Confession. Repentance. Grace. Forgiveness. To sum it up, heart change. Typically, when it comes to sanctification and heart change, pain is the conduit.
Yeah, 2014 involved quite a bit of pain. Sadness ruled my heart for several months and that spilled over into my home. Thankfully, I am a few months on the other side of the sad season that dominated most of my year and I can see God’s grace. Not only am I more mature man, husband, and pastor, but I am seeking the things above with a deeper tenacity.
My marriage, if I was okay with comparing it to other peoples, seemed “fine.” Meredith and I realized that as we settled for mediocre in reality it would take us to the brink.. In not settling, we had to address things that were difficult. Thankfully, grace prevailed.
Philippians 4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is hard to have a posture of rejoice in the Lord always in seasons of sadness, pain, and hurt. It is also incredibly difficult to not be anxious about anything. To be honest, for most of 2014 I felt, ” I am not abiding in Christ very well in this season. My heart is overwhelmed with anxiousness. I feel like a total failure in how I am handling this season in my life.”
The reality of life tells me 2014 was not my last difficult year. In fact, I am confident that I will have many more painful years and years that carry a much deeper pain. Thankfully, because of what God chose for me(and Meredith) to walk through this last year I now have better depth to walk in greater dependence on the Lord.
Yes, after possibly the most difficult year in my life, I can gladly “Rejoice in the Lord.”