Last night James and I had a difficult and, quite frankly, painful discussion about the state of things. It started-out as a petty argument and quickly turned into something much deeper as both of us could tell that there was an underlying current of frustration, bitterness and exhaustion with the way things have been.
This year has been more than hard on us. I’ve tried to take things in stride and deal accordingly, attempting to learn from where life has taken us but, truthfully, I feel completely defeated by it all. I don’t feel like I’m learning. I don’t feel like I’m becoming a more understanding or graceful or patient person. Things that I’m not proud of have seeped into my heart and I’ve allowed them a home, I’ve made room for them to take root. I know that James has felt the same.
Both of us came to the conclusion that everything that we are dissatisfied with (with our marriage, with our parenting, with our finances, with our selves) is not really because it feels like the world is constantly taking a dump on our front yard, but it is all a result of our own shortcomings and our desire to find something else, or someone else, to blame. We then ignore the issues at hand and find distractions, escaping the hard work of making things right. But even when we do address the issues we look to ourselves for solutions and answers, which will inevitably end in ruin. Instead of looking to the One who will be healing and restoration, we try to rely on our own understanding…which is very limited indeed.
The only time I see positive personal growth in myself and my marriage is when I spend time in prayer and devotion. It’s as simple as that.
James and I both agreed that this is something that has been lacking and that we can no longer put it off. This morning, over a cup of coffee, James found a devotion on the internet for us to do. He read it aloud and, when he was done, I had a good bout of laughter.
“Did you google ‘most fitting devotional for James and Bria EVER‘?” I asked
“No” James replied, “I just looked for a devotion for today and the only one I recognized was My Utmost for His Highest.”
It was like it was written specifically for us on this very day. Here is an expert from it (you can read the rest of it here if you like):
“Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— “God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!”
I feel so encouraged after our talk last night and our devotion this morning. Are things perfect? No, not in the least bit, but I finally feel as though a light has gotten through our thick skulls and it’s refreshing.