I want to apologize because this is probably the longest post in history. I tried to do it in
So much time is wasted in
God has given me the spiritual gift of gab! He wired me for sound. I love to share with
The story I am going to share with you today is no exception. I look dumb. God gets the glory, and I eat another slice of humble pie.:)
In February of 2003 my world was shattered. I thought my marriage was over. I was devastated. As a wife, I was worn out. I had done everything I knew to do, but it just wasn't enough.
The kids and I attended church every Sunday, without Shannon. He was never interested in going with us. I spent time teaching both boys about God. I went to Bible studies. I wasn't perfect, obviously, but I put a lot of effort in my relationship with the Lord. I longed for Shannon to have a relationship with Him also, but at the time, that seemed very unlikely to ever happen.
When my world was seemingly falling apart, I was mad at God. I didn't understand why He was letting this happen. I was trying so hard to do all the right things as a wife and a mother, but none of it seemed to matter. I was devastated. I was frustrated. I felt like giving up. But, those of you who know me, know I am stubborn (another spiritual gift, I think). I do not give up on things easily.
So, I stayed. I fought it out. I fought with God. I fought with Shannon. I had to get up each day and keep fighting for my faith. It was a struggle. But God was in my corner. He gave me rest. He gave me hope. He gave me peace. He gave me His Word. He was faithful to me. With God in my corner, I won the fight! My marriage was restored. It was a long way from perfect, but it was a new beginning.
God not only changed me and my heart, He changed Shannon too. He gave Shannon a new beginning. He tugged at Shannon's heart. Shannon became a new person with Christ in his life. During the difficult time of healing from all my emotional pain, God gave me this verse to remind me Shannon was different now. I was different now. Our marriage was different now. It was new because Christ was the center of our lives.
2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
I put this verse on my refrigerator. I said it out loud more times than I can count. On my difficult days of struggling with old hurts, I had to remind myself of these words. We are new creations. We are not who we used to be. God has changed us!
It's funny how I always dreamed of Shannon having a relationship with God. I longed for him to be the spiritual leader of our family. But, you know that old saying Be careful for what you wish for, you just might get it ? Getting what I had always wanted took some getting used to.....
Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled with the changes that were happening in my home and in my marriage. Like I've said before, earlier in my marriage, I was the only one taking the kids to church. I was the only one developing a relationship with God. Shannon had no interest in either. Anyway, I wasn't prepared for what happened on a particular morning at church.
Several months into our healing process, Shannon had written a letter to the church. Our church was going through a difficult period as well, so he wrote it to encourage the staff, but he was also pouring his heart out to God. So several weeks after he had written the letter, we arrived at church, and were greeted by several people patting Shannon on the back, saying, "I loved what you wrote!"...."Amazing letter!"....."Nice job!"..."Can I have your autograph?"...You get the point...
Click on the picture to enlarge the passage.
Suddenly this man, who in the past never even went to church, was a Christian Rock star! It really irritated me. Nobody ever congratulated me on fighting for my marriage. For hanging in there through the tough times. For dragging the boys to church ALL BY MYSELF for years. For not giving up on him. I know, I know, it sounds selfish. That's because it was.:) I'm very human that way. I didn't do any of the things I mentioned for applause, but come on. He's been doing the right things now for a few months, writes one letter, they publish it, and now everyone is sooooo proud of him! It was irritating!
Shannon, needless to say, was quite hurt by my reaction to all of this. He thought I would be proud of him, and I was. But.......my heart was screaming, "What about me, God?... Have You forgotten me?" I tried explaining this to Shannon, but there's no good way to explain selfish hurts. :) I just felt like he was getting praised, and I was left out. I had fought so hard to stay faithful to God and to my marriage vows, but all of that went unnoticed. I know that God noticed it, but it didn't seem fair that Shannon got so much praise, while I sat in the background alone. I thought, "Why, God?"
I warned you all earlier that I never look good in my stories.......I bet you believe me now, huh?:)
Not long after this incident happened, Shannon and I saw the movie Field of Dreams. If you haven't seen it yet, do. It is wonderful!
There is a particular scene in the movie though that is my favorite.
If you've seen the movie this will make sense to you, if not, I apologize.
Here's a quick synopsis of the movie I found on the Internet written by Scott Renshaw.
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, "If you build it, he will come." He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
To add just a little bit more, the author, Terence Mann, gets invited to join the players in Ray's cornfield...Ray wants to go, but he is told that he is not invited.
He can't believe his ears.... "Not invited?" he says...
Hear is just a short part of that wonderful scene:
Ray Kinsella: This is my corn. You people are guests in my corn.
Ray Kinsella: I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what's in it for me.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray Kinsella: I'm saying? what's in it for me?
Terence Mann: Ray, there was a reason they chose me, just as there was a reason they chose you and this field.
Ray Kinsella: Why?
Why? Isn't that what we always ask God?...Why?...Why me? Why now? Why do I have to go through this?
Never before in my life have I ever identified with anyone in a movie more than I did that one.
Ray summed up all my frustrations with one word...Why?
I felt like Shannon was in my (spiritual) corn. The corn I had planted! When he was getting all the applause
After seeing that scene in the movie, Shannon got tears in his eyes. He finally understood what I meant. I wasn't trying to behave selfishly. I was just hurt and confused trying to understand my role in the whole situation. What was the purpose for me going through all this. Did my part count? Did my effort matter? Why, why, why?
When all was said and done, Ray Kinsella found out the answer to his question, "Why?"
Needless to say, the answer was more than he could ever had hoped for. But, in case you still haven't seen the movie, I don't want to spoil the ending.
Looking back now, I know my part mattered. I know my walk with God mattered. My faith mattered. Shannon has told me that my faith in God and my walk with God were the examples that made him desire God in his own life.
1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
That's an awesome role to have.....and funnily enough, I didn't even know I had the part. But God did. God used me despite my own selfishness.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Everything that we do in obedience to God matters, even if we don't understand it, or even see it at the time. God is always working the things in our lives for our good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Just because other people get the applause sometimes doesn't mean that God has forgotten about us. Our time of understanding will come, in God's timing, not ours.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Well, my coffee is cold, and my humble pie is all gone (until God serves up my next slice). I guess this is
(I was encouraged to tell this story after I read a post on Laura's blog called "The Wellblog." She shares a story about what happened when her dream of her husband knowing God came true. Click here to read her story. It is very moving.)