Stop dwelling on the past. Don’t even remember these former things. I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. Isaiah 43:18-19 (TPT)
For those of us who like to keep score, and we do like to keep score, this is our seventh Leap Year anniversary. Yes, on that first February 29th we birthed a new beginning culminating in twenty-four years of unimaginable happiness. Granted, some years were happier than others, but even the imperfect times were blessings from God.
The odds were certainly against us. My back story was anything but storybook, with failed marriages, and yes, I did say marriages, two to be exact, which were dramatically filled with emotional, physical, and verbal abuse. There are two sides in a marriage story, and I could have been somewhat at fault too. With God an afterthought, we worked ourselves from one mess into another, piling up all kinds of dirty laundry. Only God can sort through our stinky laundry and make everything fresh and clean. My past was messy, but my future is not. God turns our mess into a message, if we turn our life over to Him.
Have you allowed God to clean out the deep-down dirty laundry and let his light make all things new? Is there something in the closet you have buried or covered up because of shame or fear?
I am so thankful God doesn’t keep score. He is the God of second, third, fourth, fifth chances. In fact, he doesn’t keep up with the number of chances he gives us, he just wants us to come to him! Before I could be a proper mate to my husband, I needed to allow God to clean up around my heart. There was pain, conflict, hardships, failed relationships, struggles, rejection, abandonment, all hovering at different levels, impacting my ability to love and be loved! God helped me to scrub away the stains, one piece of laundry at a time.
I was desperate for you to help me in my struggles, and you did! Psalm 120:1 (TPT)
Yes, before the leap of faith in 1996, I spent five years in close communion with God. It was a time of relationship building with God, teaching me how to love others through Him, along with learning the characteristics of real love. There was training on the value of commitment and re-learning how to trust. Reading, praying, and studying His Word brought me great comfort and peace. As I studied the four Gospels, God opened my heart to his great love for us, and I wept profusely understanding how valued we are to Him! I began to believe there was someone God was preparing just for me. I began to believe there was someone who loved God, and because he loved God, could love me the way God wanted me to be loved!
By the time I sat cross legged on the floor that evening, the children had said their prayers and we had shared our good nights. Robin had just arrived, and we were talking about the days’ events. I was really surprised when he nervously dropped to one knee and began asking me to be his wife. The giggles erupted down the hall and I knew my daughters had overheard the proposal. My heart couldn’t help but leap!
I know my lover is mine and I have everything in you, for we delight ourselves in each other. Song of Songs 2:16 (TPT)
Before there could be an us, there had to be a new me. Before my betrothed fell to one knee, we had both been on our knees in prayer. Before we could experience the hope of a new life together, the old life, the past, all its doubts, hurts and struggles, had to be buried at the foot of the cross. To birth a legacy for our family we had to give ourselves fully to God! Joshua 24:15 reminds us of that commitment, “As for me and my household we will serve the Lord.”
Have you told yourself there will never be anyone for you? Have you declared your marriage a lost cause? I only have one question left for you, have you taken these issues to God? God makes the impossible possible.
My reason for writing this column is to offer hope for those feeling hopeless. God hears your prayers and knows your heart. He will help you find what you are searching for. Do not give up, do not quit praying, continue seeking God; He will grant you the desires of your heart. He always knows what is best for you. I usually get into trouble trying to make things happen, God knows where you are, and he will bring his blessings to you. Then, like me, your mess will become a message, to encourage others to never give up hope!