Thursday, December 20, 2007

8 Years, 80000 miles, and 8 blocks

Thoughts from a hotel window.... Denver, Colorado

From my hotel window, I can see where my husband used to work, and just 8 blocks away, I can see our first apartment. 8 years ago we moved to Denver, fresh out of college and full of ambition and hope. We have traveled quite a road in the past eight years. I am only 8 blocks from where we started our life together, but I feel 80000 miles away.

Our first years of marriage were very challenging. Being in a new city, with no friends and no church we were left only with each other. Both of us were so selfish and ill-equipped to make a marriage work. While my memories of our years in Denver are bitter-sweet, filled with arguments, fighting, and discontentment, I am actually thankful for those years. Through our struggles and through wise counsel, we began to learn that the battle is not between us, but against the enemy of our souls who seeks to destroy marriages. By the time we left the crucible of Denver, we had resolved in our minds to live as one - to face the challenges of life together rather than allowing them to divide us.

We moved from Denver when Mark joined the Air Force. Since then, we have experienced 4 moves, 2 deployments, 1 hurricane (Ivan), 5 years of military life, the birth of 2 beautiful girls, and the death of our Lia. Behind the headline events are numerous small stories each of which has continued to serve to strengthen our marriage.

As I contemplate who I am today in light of my experiences of life, including the loss of Lia, I am encouraged. As I look across the 8 blocks to that first apartment, and remember all the selfish little things that used to seem so insurmountable, I am thankful for the Faithful One who will complete His good work and purposes in us. I am thankful for all the hardships and trials we have faced that have refined me. Without the Lord's sanctifying work in my life, the death of Lia would have destroyed me.

My final thought as I look out the window is an appreciation for the goodness and gentleness of the Lord. I was angry at the Lord years ago when our marriage was struggling. I was angry about the hardships He was allowing us to endure. It seemed without purpose. But the Lord was so good to prepare us for this day - even if that preparation at the time was painful. And in His gentleness, He did not reveal to us the purpose of the preparation. If God had told me 8 years ago all that we would face in the years to come I would have been crushed. Thanks be to God that He is all knowing and does not leave us to endure this life alone.

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