Saturday, May 29, 2010

firm foundations

Did you read Ann's post today?  It was about the pain and the shame divorce brings into our lives.  Her parents got divorced eleven years ago, and still, it hurts her so much.

Some days I know my husband wishes I were different.  And there are certainly days I wish he didn't struggle with certain things. But at the core?  Our marriage is solid.  Rock solid.  We hate divorce, so we would never go there in thought, much less in word or deed.  Knowing this about husband and me brings me security, fulfillment, joy.  Our current days are hard.  So much to weather!  And yet strength abounds most days, due to our firm foundation.

Reading Ann's post today, I wanted to fall on my knees and thank God.  Wow!

 I think of a tree.  There is a glorious season of flower and fruit.  Temperature changes come, and a shortening of days.  The leaves change color, weaken, shrivel....blow away with storms.  Dormancy arrives for a time.  Things look bare.  Lifeless.  Desperate.  But the glory season faithfully comes again.  The tree's firm foundation and rich root system are its hope, its life.

My marriage has that same hope and life sustenance.  Praise God!

It dawned on me recently that I need to draw on that same strength of commitment in other areas of my life.  Take church, for instance.  Have you ever grown disillusioned with your church?  Ever thought about leaving?  Did you go so far as to research other churches?

I did.  Yesterday.  And today, I'm ashamed.

You remember that I sought some pastoral counseling in regards to dealing with unsaved family?    Since then, my husband has been to two sessions of counseling to help guide him through this job/career storm.  I don't write about the crisis from his perspective, but suffice it to say he is angry and demoralized, even though he has faith in the outcome.  This is an understandably deep crisis for a man.

We were grateful pastor lent an ear.  He's a sound counselor.  All seemed well, despite the trepidation involved in being laid bare before one's pastor.

Only now, it seems that our privacy was more important to us, than to people on the staff.   We aren't certain of a breech--just a strong hunch.  Could be our imaginations, but we both feel less comfortable at church.  The kids are oblivious and love it there, however.

I went through a couple days of anger.  I added up all the things I didn't like about our church.  The flaws in the children's ministry.  The fact that we are more conservative in our spiritual approach than most of the church body.  The fact that there are only a couple homeschooling families.  Some are dual career households with kids in daycare, with whom we have nothing in common.  The music never thrilled either of us, after the first couple weeks.  The church body is predominately empty nesters, or soon to be empty nesters.

My list went on.  My anger fueled a bit.  I coveted a fancy, anonymous type mega church I researched online.

And then the Holy Spirit soothed.

Of course our church is flawed!  Who makes up a church?  Sinners!  Like me.  Like my husband.  Like my kids.

I don't like people knowing things.  Without an entire story, details can get skewed.

But I shouldn't look for a new church because someone sinned against me, any more than I should look for a new husband because mine is flawed.  Sinners sin.  I am a sinner.  Where is my grace?  My father in heaven extended it to me, and I must do likewise.  I am called to do so.

Seeking help with issues puts one in vulnerable territory.  People might wonder things.  Judge.  Jump to conclusions.  But where does my security come from?  Not from the approval of man.  Not from the security of anonymity.  Not from Pastor thinking I have it all together.  False security, all of it.

My security comes from my foundation--my God.  And secondly, from the strength of my marriage--my family unit.  Like a firmly rooted tree, I can weather storms.  I can avoid chasing after the things of this world, which are here today, gone tomorrow.

I can go into that church and embrace those people, serve those people.  Truly.   Flaws and all.  (Theirs and mine).

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