6 Years and Counting

At the Beginning

Today, Dustin and I celebrate 6 years of marriage. Anyone just tuning into our story might not understand why celebration today is particularly significant. Celebration is standard at anniversaries, right? Well, our story has been less than glamorous. Look at those two kids in that picture. They were dreamy, ecstatic, praying for their beautiful future. Thank God one thing stayed true throughout the last 6 years. We prayed.

God is so good, and we want to shout it from the mountains. I’m sharing a bit of our story today, because I believe that you need to hear it. I believe that God’s name MUST be praised.

Shortly after that picture was taken, our life together took a turn we could have never prepared ourselves for…over the next five years, there would be challenges that took our breath and our hope away. Our beautiful future crumbled. There were obstacles from our young and short-lived youth ministry, enormous financial failures, strained extended family relationships, undiagnosed medical problems, and multiple moves. There was bitterness, shame, insecurity, selfishness, and humiliation. It was more than we could take on our own. And through a lot of those years, we did try to face it on our own. Although we prayed, we sought our own solutions…to no avail.

Dustin and I separated physically on April 9, 2013, and legally on May 14, 2013. I moved with our son, Josiah, found a job, and began life as a single, working mother. For a girl who felt called to be stay-at-home, homeschool momma and minister’s wife, my life and worldview were shaken to the core. I was desperate, afraid, and I thought my marriage was completely hopeless.

Dustin and I had somewhat regular visits so that Josiah and Daddy could continue to build their relationship, but our relationship and our situation continued to crumble. There were GOOD Christians who validated my pain and told me they’d support me if I chose the big “D” word. I don’t even want to say it because it hurts too much. What I’m telling you is that our situation was BAD. I would be lying if I said I didn’t seriously consider making our separation final, and Dustin knows that. He felt hopeless, too. We became acutely aware that being a Christian doesn’t make you immune to your marriage falling apart.

Throughout the last year, we prayed, we sought counsel, we cried, we fought, we loved Josiah, we relied heavily on our families and close friends, and we learned in no uncertain terms that we cannot do this on our own. First and foremost, we need God’s help, and we also need the love and support of the people He places in our path. We are not alone, nor should we try to go it alone.

Throughout this long, cold, ridiculous winter, God started showing us exactly what He can and will do if we truly pour out our hearts to Him, open our lives to His will, and trust and obey. You know what God taught us? That this is both of our fault. No relationship crumbles because of one person’s sin. No matter how heinous one person’s actions may be, there is another party sinning in his or her own way on the other end of the relationship. So…as we both gave our hearts and our sin over to God, He started piecing us back together. I have a friend who always says a person is “being dealt with” when God is working on their hearts…and let me tell you, Dustin and I have been “dealt with” this year. I imagine a toddler throwing a mighty fit. If you’ve ever been in charge of a toddler, you know what I mean. That kid is melting down. The only thing there is to do is stop and “deal with” that situation. I am so thankful that we have such a patient, loving Father. He stopped and dealt with us. He didn’t let us fall apart, even if it would have been by our own hands.

God has truly worked miracles in our marriage. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). He really does way more than we could ever think to ask. Not only has God pieced our marriage back together, He has given us our hope back, our joy, and our love. We have a love story. Thank God. We are not just surviving, we are in love.

As Dustin and I have reunited this month, we are celebrating our present and praying for our future. We are not those naïve kids anymore. We know that life is hard and that we desperately need God every hour, every breath. We know that our marriage could still crumble and that our enemy certainly hopes it does. We also have a new understanding for people who have lost hope in their marriages. If that includes you, know that you we do not judge you for wanting to give up or even for giving up altogether…but we also want you to know that there is more hope for you than you can imagine. God can save your marriage. And He can make it better than you ever hoped, even in the beginning.

God is so good, all the time.

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Time to Dust off #25

This blog is on my #30Before30 list. That’s right! #iusehashtags

#25 on my list says “Make my blog mean something (Post it publically!)”

I literally just let out an anxious sigh after typing that. This blog is my thinking ground, but it’s also a place where I hope I will foster growth in myself, in my family, and in people who read my words. Being Milly and Becoming Wilder means shaking off fear and allowing God to sanctify me…But let me tell you, I am on the precipice of whiting out so many of the things I originally wrote on that #30Before30 list. Some are out of practicality (I have a child to raise and credit cards to pay off…), but several are out of fear. Fear of failure. I’m afraid I’m going to put this blog out there and completely let myself down. I’m afraid it won’t become anything I can be proud to call mine.

I was going to wait to post it publically (and by publically, I mean posting it for MY world to see, that is, people I know), but I’m starting to think if I do that, it’ll never happen. There’s no accountability to continue posting if no one knows about it. So here goes.

With this blog, I want to:

Testify…

I love and serve an Almighty God who has truly done amazing things in my life, but more significantly, in the Universe. I want to let people know about that.

Grow…

When you have to report what you’ve done, it’s motivation to keep going and trying. So I guess I’m saying that keeping this blog up will hold me accountable. I want to read more, pray more, love more, think more, and worry less. You get the picture.

Inspire…

I hope something someone reads here will inspire them to face their fear and overcome it, try something new, love their family more deeply, seek God’s face with more fervor, and live life to the fullest.

Not every post is going to be awe inspiring. I’m not that good. But I hope the blog will be a coherent journal of a girl who loves God and loves life. I do and try a lot of different things, so I can’t promise a collection of recipes, or a long list of parenting how-to’s, or even a series on how to save money (and boy do I have a lot of those stories), but I will tell you that I will attempt to show God in the details, and I will share what I’m interested in this week or even this minute.

And I can also promise that I will often use ellipses… I’m sorry if that annoys you. I trail off in daily life, and I’m more of a starter than a definite finisher. For that reason, I find the use of ellipses a bit of a personal quirk. BUT… You will never find me using any more or less than 3 periods in those ellipses. That would be wrong. People! 3 periods is the definition of an ellipsis!

So, as I step off of my grammatical soapbox, I commit to at least try to fulfill #25. Fear not, my soul.