Monday, June 27, 2016

This Is Me, Stopping...

Years ago, Scott and I began this grand experiment that resulted in a marriage recently celebrating its eighth birthday, and everyday is the highlight of my life. If I'd asked at the time, I'm not sure how many reasons Scott could have given me as to why he wanted to date me. I know I had two looming reservations as to why I DID NOT want to date him: the past, and the future.

My relationships in the past had been miserable. I'd start off dating this guy: I'd be "me," and he'd be smooth. Before I knew it, he'd be "him," and I'd be some fragmented being that vaguely resembled a human. My weight would fluctuate, my hair would fall out, my moods would swing; I couldn't make a decision to save my life. I can't blame the men I dated, or lived with, or married -- yeah, it was nuts! -- they were being who they were, and I had no discernment whatsoever. I was not a super nice person either -- proof that water seeks its own level.

And as for me and the future, I wasn't quite certain we were on speaking terms either. I couldn't imagine a good future for me; I couldn't imagine my "present future" could work out any better than my "past futures" had. And there were even more "past futures" stacked up against me since the last time I took a run at this relationship thing!

Obviously, we went through with it. But it took a lot of looooong phone conversations and a lot of -- sometimes brutal -- honesty just to be sure we weren't completely wasting our time. And after we'd decided, there was the issue of making "Us" work. If we could get that up and running, we'd have children to introduce and family to consider; there'd be exes, and property, and jobs, and lions, and tigers, and bears -- O my! Young adults starting out have it rough, but love at middle age is no bed of roses either.

The other afternoon, one of our daughters was in her room, getting ready to go out. She was going through her closet as teenagers do, singing along to the radio as most of us do. Bishop wandered in, and she stopped to scratch him behind the ears, telling him what a good dog he was. Bishop has always gravitated toward the ladies in the house, invading their rooms and their personal space -- most of the time, accompanied by the screaming of names: "Mom!" "Bishop!" This time, Olivia allowed him to stay. Watching the two of them, this relationship that has grown through the years, reminded me of how far this whole experiment has come. Our children are getting so big, and time is moving so quickly. The miles we've travelled -- literally and figuratively -- are countless. We've been through moments of pain which God has used to turn our attention toward those precious moments of joy; mayhem through which He has taught us to appreciate the peace; grief from loss through which He has reminded us to hold a little more tightly to the ones we love; disagreements that threatened to do us in, but God showed us how to forgive; and poor health that forced us to take better care of ourselves for the ones we love. To do anything less than praise God for the victory He works -- even in suffering, chaos, sadness, loss, conflict, or sickness -- is to cheat Him of what He is due.

And to do anything less than stop at a moment -- like the one between a girl and her dog -- and appreciate how far God has brought you, how good He has made this, is to ignore what a loving and mighty God we serve.

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