Isaac and I started dating fresh out of high school. With the exception of maybe one or two weeks per year when one of us would be out-of-town for fishing or horses, we have basically been inseparable. It’s been easy to cherish our relationship through the good, bad, and the ugly because God had always made one thing about it very clear – we could serve Him better together. If God decided to bless and provide for us in something absurd that He had laid on our hearts, we learned. If God took comfort or stability away from us, we learned. With Isaac it has always seemed like anything in the world could go wrong and it would all be okay because God put us together to face that, and that’s how we’ve always taken on life.
I was talking to my best friend about this the other day and realized that God really doesn’t put two people together to make life easier. That’s not the point. I strongly believe that our God sees two completely imperfect people whom He has created and says, “if I put these two people together with all of their flaws, personality differences, quirks, crazy habits and passions, I could move some big mountains with that.” That’s how we need to treat relationships – a big combination of everything about each other that’s not supposed to work, working for the purpose of Christ. We have no right to be happy, for life to go smoothly, or for our comfort to stay in tact, but, we are privileged that our God wants to move mountains with us and bless us so sweetly. It’s always going to be worth all of the struggle.
This past week, Isaac left for a week-long fishing trip in Canada. No cell service, no communication, and it was pretty much as miserable for me as it sounds. HOWEVER… it wasn’t until the end of the week when he was making his 15 hr drive home that I finally got to talk to him and realized… I’d learned. To be honest this was the first time in our relationship were we had been so close to God and so ex-communicated from each other. The devil really did try to eat me up that week. I had constant headaches that prevented me from attending the majority of my Bible studies, a bag of peas exploded on my head (that’s actually a long story, haha), I felt completely terrible and had no motivation whatsoever… which is exceedingly rare for me. All the devil sneaking in when he knew I would be most vulnerable and when he didn’t have anyone else to stop him. As bad as it seemed at the time though, I am actually starting to appreciate that week.
Relationships can sometimes become a crutch for us. We learn to lean on the other person because it seems to be our most accessible and convenient source for immediate comfort. I was so used to running to Isaac first and then us running to God together. God, in all of His sovereignty and grace, knew how bad I needed this week. Don’t you love it when our human hearts get so dang stubborn that God literally has to bring us to our knees for us to look up? He is so faithful. I felt helpless, but the one question that kept coming back to my mind was – Why did I never feel like this before? What was the secret that gave me so much strength when I had been alone before? When I lived in Oklahoma alone… when I lived in Hatteras alone… when I lived in Blackstone alone… what is so different now?
Something I have been very adamant about in our relationship and before we were dating was that I was not going to let my relationship status determine my worth. In any stage of our relationship, my identity would always need to be child of God first and foremost. That is a major theme with girls because the ugly truth is we all struggle with our identity and we all struggle with self-worth. In my newly married life, I had forgotten the principles I had to hold fast to when I was single. Missing my husband is not a bad thing. Wanting to be with him, fellowship with him, and learn with him are not bad things. Believing the lie that I cannot still grow alone though is a very bad thing. The lessons Christ teaches us throughout our life are not to make us stronger in the moment and then be forgotten later on. The lessons He teaches us are to build on each other. All the pit stops, rest stops, hazard signs, wrong turns, flat tires, etc. on the road map He has slowly showed us how to build our life on were all for a long-term reason.
I realized this week that the things He teaches us alone vs with our spouse are very much not the same. My husband is my partner, but our relationship is also our greatest mission field. Approaching alone time with Father equals asking for our hearts to be refined. Single, dating, married, we all need that. As God is often described as a potter molding His clay, we must remember not to leave the kiln and become hardened. Isaac and I can be molded together in our time with the Lord in many ways, but one thing I desire greatly for my relationship with Isaac is that I always want my heart to be beautiful to him. That actually REQUIRES me spending time alone with the potter, letting him refine me, smooth out the rough edges and work on my rusty, tangled heart. Then I can go back to my husband with a heart prepared to serve him and love him like Christ created me to. I’m learning guys…
The other lie that I believed in my week of solitude was that if I was not accomplishing a million things in all of my free time with Isaac gone, then I was wasting my time. I beat myself up about it a lot. Isaac has always been that mediator for me that keeps me from letting my mind overdo it 24/7. I am terrible about convincing myself it’s okay to rest. Sometimes though, God needs us to just NOT do, NOT be, NOT move or think. Sometimes He needs us to NOT get so caught up in ourselves and the schedules that we have determined are for some reason so important to consume our lives with. Do you know how many times in the Bible God commands us to just BE STILL? It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to make less money than you think you should, do less cool things than your friends are doing that week, not have your house completely spotless, not finish the library book you’ve renewed three times, etc. When it all comes down to it, Christ cannot teach us to the fullness He desires to if sitting down to learn is not our priority. I missed that point. I let the devil win a few times this week. No more believing those lies though. I am a child of God. Sometimes just telling myself that is all I need to do. I am full and complete regardless of who I am with, where I am, everything I accomplish or don’t accomplish.
Forever striving to saturate my life with His word and His character. Forever striving to clear my crazy head and fill it with the things of Christ.
PC – Lauren Jene Photography