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Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, God

I was blessed with the best Valentine’s Day I think in my entire life….yes, including those ever so sweet grade school ones where I received thoughtful cards with Jem, Gummie Bears, and Smurf characters that had been signed in some weird form of sanscript on the back (I can’t say anything really, my handwriting is pretty bad even now). I generally have a strong disdain of the commercialism of the holiday. You know, the cheesy stuffed animals and chocolates in shiny heart shaped boxes….extortionately overpriced cards and flowers. I don’t like that many times Valentine’s Day is the only day of the year couples do something special for each other.

This year, however, was different. My husband and I, in an effort to further the progress of reconnecting and learning how to communicate with one another in a way that glorifies God and that is loving, decided to go on a date.  Mind you we’ve been separated for about 4 months now. I prayed about it beforehand. I asked some of my friends to pray about it. I so didn’t want this to turn into a heavy laden discussion about our situation or to wind up in yet another conflict that needed to be sorted out through more heavy laden discussion (interspersed with apologies). I hoped for a light, sweet, fun night where we laughed and talked about funny things we used to talk about…when we were getting along. I really, quite honestly, wasn’t expecting a lot. But I prayed about it and hoped anyway.

I went to pick up Husband who was sharply dressed and looking quite cute if I did say so myself. And what did he have in his hands? The biggest, gawdiest, most adorable stuffed red dog, a tin of chocolates in a shiny heart shaped box, and an extortionately overpriced card! And I LOVED IT!! I realized that, while most have had some sort of typical Valentine’s Day, I have not…not ever. And I was excited. It was cheesy and cute and wonderful! Husband and I decided to detour the typical steakhouse restaurant meal and opted for the quieter more intimate setting of a fantastic Indian restaurant. And alas we talked….about normal things, sweet things, funny things, a few serious things (not in the category of heavy laden discussion though). We laughed…I mean really laughed. ‘This is different’ I thought. This is fun. Husband was a gentleman, kind hearted and affectionate. Husband paid for dinner and we went to a popular bookstore. I know, kind of odd that we’d want to spend time in a bookstore, but we have had lots of good memories in that bookstore. We hung out, talked some more. Actually we didn’t wind up buying any books…funny that.

And then we went shopping. Husband used to hate shopping. Very impatient. You know a go-in-get-what-you-need-get-out kind of man. When we entered the store, we shopped for him first. ‘He wants to buy new clothes? He cares about what he looks like? This is different’ I thought. He picked out some pretty swanky clothes that really do suit him. At this point I’m thinking, ‘You know, he really is quite handsome’. I don’t think I’ve looked at Husband in such a way in, oh, over four years or so. Alarmingly, he shopped with ME afterwards! He was patient and interested. He took notice of what I was buying. He didn’t rush. He didn’t get that “can we please leave now?” look on his face. He was having a good time. I was having a good time. This new normal is getting better and better! We checked out and it was time to take him home (not before he so sweetly filled up my gas tank because I freaked out about how much money I spent shopping. So he’d rather buy me some gas so I could have that much more in my pocket for whatever I need….so sweet). Here’s where I have to break for a moment.

Three year old baby girl often tells me that butterflies tickle her skin. She loves things that tickle her and she loves butterflies. She thinks they’re beautiful and soft and she loves the way their little legs tickle when they land on her. When it was time for me to leave Husband after a perfect sweet night, God made butterflies tickle my heart. How sweet it was to FEEL something for Husband. How I’ve longed to feel something…anything …for a very very long time…years even. I mean I don’t think I’ve gotten butterflies in over 5 years (and we’ve been married almost 8). I’d forgotten what it felt like. But this time was different than the very first time even that I felt something for him. This time Husband and I both are new creatures and constantly being transformed by the grace of Christ. This time we were blessed. I gave a little bit more of myself to Husband last night. Together, we took off a brick from the wall that surrounds me. But I realized on the way home, tearfully, that it wasn’t Husband and I that removed a piece of my wall of fear and mistrust. My God took off that brick. He just used us to do it….for His glory and for our marriage.

So my Valentine’s Day was perfect. It was filled with hand holding, laughter, corny stuffed animals, curry, quiet moments, and, most importantly, butterfly tickles. And amidst all of that I realized that the best Valentine’s card I got last night cost the most extortionate of prices, the loss of the One and Only Son of God.  God reached out His loving arms and enveloped us.  He made our time sweet.  Our prayers were answered!  Not just a little answer, but a HUGE one as our night wasn’t average, but awesome!  Husband and I are still a long way off from being a true family again, but at least my wall is one brick less than it was and I think it was another big one.  Who knows?  If I tippy toe, I might just be able to peek over.


Welcome to the New Normal?

I took a huge step today. I really want everyone to know because it was a REALLY big deal for me, and I’m super excited about the Lord working in my heart! For the first time since separating from my husband (October 2008), I allowed him to visit my home. My home that has been my private place, my refuge from the world. My home where I’ve only allowed people that I really trust to visit. My home. With my things.

Originally I was supposed to just pick him up and the girls and I would go eat somewhere with him…his treat. When he brought up the idea of want to watch a movie with me…at my house…I was a bit taken aback and totally unprepared. For some reason I said yes. I figured there’s only one way to start trusting God in this situation and that’s to jump out of the safe zone and do it. So as I’m driving us all back to my safe haven, I’m nervous, apprehensive, mistrusting and pretty scared. I felt like I was letting a stranger in my house. I know he’s not. I mean I’ve been married to him for almost 8 years. But this Husband is not the same Husband he was three months ago. Hence, he’s a stranger.

We decided to watch Fireproof…appropriate for our situation. Wow, what a movie! Husband and I cried while our children slept. We talked and cried some more. Husband and I both related to the characters in that movie in some form. Late in the movie when Caleb (Kirk Cameron) addresses his wife after she’s found the 40 Day Dare book, Catherine (the wife) says to her husband that he’s not acting normal. She was looking at him like he was a puzzle, like she was trying to find her husband…her REAL husband. I was thinking how I could relate to that sentiment. Who is this man? This new creature. Caleb responds to his wife in that scene by saying, “Welcome to the new normal”.

‘Aha!’ I thought. What a concept! Normal. What is that? I really have no experience, no understanding of what is ‘normal’ for a godly family because I’ve never really been in one. How cool! How awesome! How exciting that this man, Husband, could be my new normal! He WANTS to be with me! He wants to be the leader, the head of our family. He wants to guide us. He wants to be reliable, dependable, loving, respectable, the provider, a godly husband and father. AND he has every single tool he needs! Most importantly he wants to serve the Lord through our marriage!

So I’m still not quite sure who this man is, but I think I like him. Somehow, while it was still very strange to have Husband in my home, it was ok. It was a blessing. It was a beginning. Not a beginning of me trusting Husband but a beginning of me relinquishing control of the situation to the Lord. A beginning of forgiveness. And, hopefully, a beginning of our family’s new normal.

Not A Box of Chocolates

You know when Forrest Gump says his “mama always says ‘life is like a box of chocolates. Ya never know what you’re gonna get.'”? Well his mama was not smart either. Life is NOT like a box of chocolates. It doesn’t come in a pretty box. Nine times out of ten it’s not even sweet. And while I get the similie that the inside of each one is different, but sorry, life isn’t usually that tasty…especially if it’s Godiva.

No no no. I think life is like a roller coaster. Ups downs and the feelings that accompany riding a roller coaster apply to lots of times in life. For me, I’m on the upside down loop dee loop of a roller coaster. I’m feeling not scare, terrified, exhilarated, hopeful (I’m always hopeful on a roller coaster…hopeful that I’ll get off alive…especially on the upside down part), and happy. I’m also, however, on that part where you’re really wondering if the equipment is going to keep you in the machine or if it’s just gonna dump you out right when your upside down…but you’re willing to take the risk anyway. I think that’s called mistrust. But the feeling isn’t strong enough for you not to go on the ride.
Yes, I think that’s exactly what the thought of reconciliation with my husband is. Yes, a very touchy subject for many. And some might even gasp at the idea that I’m so public about it. But why not? I’ve found it’s better to satisfy curiosity with the truth than to let people make up something. And I also know that there are those that care and truly want to know how I’m doing. Well, if you’ve every been on a roller coaster that goes upside down, then you know.

Well I talked about that mistrust. I read some good verses this morning:

My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble.When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:22-26

I am reminded of several things: The Lord will give me His divine wisdom when I seek it. He will not let me fall. He will save me from my fear and protect me from the wicked onslaught. I learned that I am not trusting my husband to do right. I am trusting myself to my true husband, the Lord.

When we walk in divine wisdom, we can rest assured that the Lord is with us always. He won’t allow us to enter into any situation that He has not anticipated. Nor will He permit a circumstance unless He intends it for our good. – Dr. Charles Stanley