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Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Anniversary Present

It is 2:08 am. I slipped out of bed to come write. I sleep every night next to the biggest blessing of my life, aside from my salvation through Jesus Christ. My husband is the blessing through which most of my other earthly blessings flow. Without him I would not be the woman or mother I am today. He's loved me better than any other human in my life. He has loved me through it all. He's never been perfect but he's always been just what I needed and just what the Doctor ordered. To put it bluntly Dustin is the PRIMARY instrument Christ has used in my life to lavishly display His love for me. The sun will rise today on the 9th year of my marriage to an amazing man. I have never been more thankful than I am in this moment.

I don't know when, exactly, but I know that very soon my man and I will embark on another adventure together having already come so far. I cannot believe where God has taken us. Looking back, I have seen God's provision and I am filled with hope for our future together. We have come too far with Jesus to ever go back. God has done too much in our lives for us to stop following Him now, and by His grace we will continue on to finish the race He has for us.

I don't write all this to try to act as if we never falter in our faith. I certainly do. Trust me I have days where all of a sudden a feeling will wash over me that I have gotten myself in so unbelievably far over my head that I stop dead in my tracks for a moment. Then, I swallow hard and press on. I could pee my pants looking over my track record of faithfulness or my ability to get things right. It aint pretty! I've only recently come to realize it's SO NOT about me/us anymore. Thank God!

Speaking of my track record. It's funny how over time our memories fade. Even the things we swore we'd never lose seem to drift away with time. God has gifted me in that I have kept a journal fairly regularly since I was in elementary school. My journals are prayer journals. I don't usually record the daily routine in there as mush as I lay down my concerns and my deepest struggles. I've always felt as if they would best be described as the underbelly of my emotional/spiritual state, mainly because I tend to write in them more when I am sad or steaming ticked off than when things are lovely and all is running smoothly. If ever I find a need for a memory refresher my prayers and words linger there, stark reminders of the times during which the entries were written.

As I was heading to bed tonight I had more than a few things on my mind. The two topics which occupied the majority of my thoughts were our son and our anniversary. I dug out all of my old journals ranging from 1997- present and began by reading through the painful years during which I endured much bondage and the weight of uncontrolled sin in my life. Next, I read every entry on or around our anniversary date followed by every entry related to the birth of our children in '01, '02, and '04 and the emotions surrounding them. Finally, I read through the miscarriages in Dec '06 and Apr '07. I didn't need to read on through to the adoption because I am living out those emotions and prayers daily.

It's funny how much my journals differed from what I had expected to read. While I know that my journals are completely incomplete they have also captured more than I could have ever imagined they would. During the worst times of my life I had expected to read page upon page of lamentation only to find seeds of praises and hope written instead. In the lowest valleys of my life I never could have imagined what God would have in store for me. What I saw was God gently leading me up to and then through surrender. All kinds of surrender spanning so many areas of my life. As I read I saw that the more I surrendered, regardless of how raw that surrender was, the more God used it in my life to glorify Himself.... DESPITE my failures, shortcomings, weaknesses and sins. I was able to identify all the many times I learned (very SLOWLY at times, even STUBBORNLY), by the sheer grace of God, to submit.

The journals revealed what I've always known to be true. I am a REALLY- I mean REALLY- messed up person. I am still that person in the flesh BUT I observed, tonight, something truly amazing. As I read through those pages filled with tears of sorrow, remorse and repentance I saw not only the broken Jen, I was able to see something else or rather Someone else as well.

I saw Jesus. I saw Him, in all of His mercy and grace leading me and my husband.

Every low point in my life has been, ONLY by the grace of God, redeemed. It may not look as polished as I would like it to. I may not have come out smelling like roses. Some might still look at me and laugh thinking I have declared victory a bit too early. Truly, anyone who really knows me KNOWS I am still OH SO VERY imperfect and full of sin, but, I know there's a difference in me. Jesus knows too. He's the difference. Every time I have chosen Him instead of the "other" He has NEVER failed to redeem me. I am astounded at how far He's brought me. In many ways I am still that broken person but in so many more ways I am NOT. Christ is in me and He has made all the difference in my marriage, in my life!

King Jesus, I love you. What more can I say? You are my Redeemer and the Love of my life. You have given me EVERYTHING. You have been so ridiculously lavish with Your gifts I can't even express my thankfulness. ALL I want to do is bring a smile to Your face. I know I can do all things through You. I have Hope. My hope is in You!

Thank you for my beloved husband who is so precious to me. I LOVE that man. Thank you for our children who bring so much joy to our lives. Thank you for never failing our family and for richly blessing us despite ourselves! Mature us into faithful servants filled with Your Spirit and love. Not for our glory but for Your names' sake.

May no one reading this EVER think I've got it all together. All I have is You.* You are MORE THAN ENOUGH!


*If you've happened upon this post and you don't know how it is that a person can "have" Jesus you can click the button on my side bar that says "Ready" and read all about salvation through Jesus Christ.


Zack and Rebecca Caldwell said...

Isn't it amazing how God uses our spouses to show his love to us? YOu are right, our husbands are THE #1 instrument that God has chosen to lavish his love on us....Have a wonderful anniversary, and rejoice God's faithfulness!

Sassy Granny said...

What a lovely way to honor both your marriage and your God! Happy Anniversary.


Stacey said...

Great post Jen! You're an amazing woman. Happy Anniversary to both you and Dustin!!

Brooke said...

Oh Jen, I was reading it and reliving our times together. I do see how much GOd has grown in you and through you and how you and Dustin continue to grow in Him and honor HIm. Happy Anniversary and may this year be one of more fruit than all in the past and may that fruit multiply in your marriage and lives until the it be so bountiful that the "world" can not ignore it! All my love.

beBOLDjen said...

Awww Brooke-y! I love you dearest sister! I credit you with making the match. For, you are, in fact, the woman who made the magic happen.

For all who don't know it was Brooke who introduced me to my husband. She told me, "I have this friend. He thinks you're the hostess with the most-est (Brooke and I worked at 5&Diner together, and I WAS the hostess w/ the most-est ;)) "He loves Jesus and you two would be GREAT together!"

She was definitely right! Thanks Brooke!!!! ;)