Tuesday, January 7, 2014

But Won't You Miss Him?

As we gear up for Jim to head off to Ethiopia, I've heard this question outright and implied a few times. Here's the answer:

Of course I'll miss him.  If you've been around us for any period of time, you know he's the glue that holds this place together.  He's the steady one.  The one who keeps the details, the schedules, the normalcy to it all.  My biggest fear is that Jim will return home to the 5 of us sitting on a pile of rubble, formerly known as our house, because I've forgotten some really important detail.

He is the first one to whom I've entrusted my heart.  Performing and Behaving has come easily but Trusting and Loving has taken much longer to learn.

But I love Him more:  Jesus, my Savior, my God, my King. This love is a gift from Him.

This comes as no surprise to Jim.  He's prayed it over me and even into me, that my most intimate, deepest relationship would be with the Lord, and that there would be no higher calling for me than that in His Word. Months ago, as I read, the Holy Spirit would bring back, time and time again, to Mark 8:35~For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses it for my sake and the gospel's will save it. My life bears little resemblance of what I once thought it would like at this point in my life, so at first, reading this verse seemed to be a reminder of what I had already lost for Christ's sake.  But God was lovingly beckoning me to surrender more.  To surrender to is trust more, to depend more, to be free to love him more.  I remember saying to Jim at one point, "We've done this already, right, we've given up our lives?"  But I came to a verse in Luke and was reminded that this is a daily surrendering and a believer can't merely survive on day-old grace.

I was hearing this in private, but it's easy to let daily tasks and personal fears drown out God's Word in my heart.  During this time, on a regular Sunday morning as Steve stood to preach, the Lord caught me off guard as Steve explained that we would take a 2 week break from the regular preaching series, to give a message that he believed God wanted to give. As soon as he began, I knew this message was like a sit-down in a chair across from my Father kind of talk.  The kind where you listen, don't wiggle, don't get up for a drink or to go to the bathroom.  Steve reminded us that we cannot hold onto our lives. The verses that had been running over and over in my mind about losing one's life, all at once made total sense, as the Lord lovingly spoke:   I love you, and I am asking you to surrender your reputation and your husband.  My response was what it always is when expression is too deep for words-I cried.  I just sat and cried through both sermons, knowing a renovation in my heart had begun, and with any renovation there is deconstruction, reconstruction, and new construction.

My Husband:  The Lord was showing me that I must surrender my husband.

Christ has poured grace upon our marriage, and we have had to fight in the strength God gave for the marriage we have through many obstacles, much pride, and deep wounds.  It is far from perfect, but to say joyfully that my husband is my best friend is not something I take lightly or for granted.

But God reminded me that my husband is a gift.  Marriage is a gift.  And ultimately,

this husband of mine is His son. 

This is the thought that has kept me praying for the men in my life more than any other.  These men, they're not merely husbands of friends, worship team members, children's teachers, or elders.  They are sons of my God. And He, my God, has not withheld his very Son, Jesus Christ, from me, giving me life,  how could I not joyfully surrender his son, Jim, back to Him?

So yes, I will miss him.  I will miss him praying with me and over me.  I will miss him chasing the kids and tickling.   I will miss hearing him drumming in Cole's room.  I will miss the warmth of his hugs when he comes and goes from our home.  I will miss his listening ear and the many other joys he brings me and our children.   
I couldn't surrender him for any other reason than for Christ and the Gospel.  

I do believe I can speak for both of us (and even the other husbands and wives who will be separated) when I say to be separated is not without pain or struggle but there is great joy, as we ultimately desire to lose our lives for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, to see Him proclaimed throughout all the nations.  

Because He's worth it.  He's worthy.  Because somewhere there's someone who doesn't yet know Him, love Him, or worship Him.  To know Him and be known by Him is to love and worship Him.

For God's Glory, Our deepest Joy, and
the Good of others.