Marriage is teaching me how to trust God with everything, and not dig up what I planted in faith. Growing up life was easy and I had things under control. Life was full of blessings and empty of trials. I am so thankful for those years and the precious memories I have. But in my easy-to-control world, I rarely felt the need to turn to God. I didn’t trust him in the big things or the small. So often I would lay my request before God and quickly snatch it right back by worrying about it and trying to solve the issue myself.
God has also used my marriage to teach me how to endure trials by resting under his protection. Early on, I was convinced God wouldn’t “get to” my requests because my life had been so easy up to this point. I even felt guilty for feeling so desperate for God’s help and for the encouragement of others – I believed that my problems, issues, and concerns weren’t worthy of anyone’s time and attention.
It is so hard to lay something down at the cross and walk. away. Don’t look back. Don’t turn back. Just lay it down and let it go. I have found myself at the feet of Jesus over, and over, and over again with the same heart issues. With the same needs. And with the same plea for mercy and redemption. When I entrusted my marriage to the Lord, do you know how many times I went back and dug up what I had planted in faith? SO MANY! Daily, for many weeks. And you know where that got me? No where except in the same hard season of frustration and hurt. As I slowly began to see the damage I was doing to my marriage and my husband by trying to control and fix everything myself, my thinking shifted. How could I say to my husband “I know God will use this. I know he will have mercy on us. I know he is a God of redemption and he is the master of healing” when I didn’t act on that belief myself? I could easily tell others God was working, but in all honesty I wasn’t allowing him to work in me. I wanted to do it all because I didn’t trust God to take care of me. I didn’t feel like I had earned his attention, time, and grace.
Do you know what’s beautiful about God? We don’t have to earn his grace, his time, or his attention. We don’t have to go though hell and high water before he listens to us. He loves his children – every one of them – with such a fiery passion that he died for us and he reigns forever. He is the almighty, all-knowing, gracious God who has promised the same things to all his children.
The process of letting go and trusting God with everything isn’t easy, and every day is a new opportunity to allow him complete control. God was working in my heart, in our marriage, and in my husband despite my efforts to fix everything. But God can only do so much without us inviting him and opening up to him doing more. When I finally release control, he is able to do abundantly more than I ever could have imagined – so much more than I had even asked of him.
It is still a daily fight to release the trials, the issues, and the hard stuff to God. It is hard to trust in his timing and in his ultimate plan for our lives. It is a decision I have to make every day, often multiple times. What I have found to be the most helpful is to trace the path of God’s faithfulness in my life – to look back and specifically identify where God has been faithful.
It is hard to look forward and trust that everything will work out for good. God tells us it will, and I truly believe that. But there are still days when it is difficult to pray about certain things and to then not revisit them by worrying, fretting, and trying to control the situation I prayed about. But when I trace the path of God’s faithfulness I can clearly see where God has provided jobs for my husband and I up to this point. I see where his timing landed us debt free, with a job that pays for our new house and for seminary. So why do I pray for the future, for the jobs and circumstances our hearts most desire, and then spend my energy worrying about it and thinking and trying to plan for 10 years down the road?! There is merit to planning, but what a disservice I am doing to God by worrying about it, when he has so clearly taken care of us up to this point? I am not trusting God for the answer I think is right, but just to continue to be faithful in his provision for us financially and circumstantially.
The road of marriage has been a hard one, but when I look back over the last three years I see so much GOOD. So many sweet memories, so many opportunities to love unconditionally, and chances to forgive and learn. I can see where God has been working, faithfully, for months. His redemptive grace and mercy is abundantly apparent. In my husbands victories, in the shifts in my heart and the reactions I have, in the insights others have shared with us. In our new church family and relationships we are building. God is faithful, and he will provide.
If you are walking through a season that seems endless right now, find a place in your life where God has been faithful and cling to that. If you are finding it hard to let go of something and trust God completely, every day, trace his faithfulness. When you do this, you will find the courage and the strength to leave whatever you are facing at his feet.