Latest Stop OnThe Restoration Tour: A Graduation Party

Posted: May 29, 2011 in Love and Marriage
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Yesterday’s post was very difficult to write.  Jesus said that people would recognize His followers by one characteristic.  It wasn’t how often they went to church, how much money they gave, or how much they read their Bible.  It also wasn’t that they didn’t curse or drink or fool around.  Very often, christians define themselves by what they do or don’t do.  Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Someone once said, “Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.”  My wife and I ended up pushing that one to the limit before we figured things out.  You see, when you think someone loves you, and you want them to love you back, it hurts infinitely more when they hurt you and let you down.  The pain my wife and I caused each other was deeper than any that anyone else could have caused because of the relationship that we had with each other.  The disappointment that we felt when people from our church let us down in our time of need was minute compared to the way we failed each other.  Even so, it was much more significant than it would have been, had we not known what it was to be loved by them previously.

There were a handful of people who remained true friends.  One in particular was a guy named Joe, who had moved to the area at almost the same time we had.  We had become friends right away, but then had a falling out during the time that I was wandering.  We had pretty well patched things up by the time my marriage fell all the way apart, and he was a true rock for me throughout.  We called each other almost daily, and he would pray with me, come over when I couldn’t bear to be alone, and offer encouragement any time, day or night.

Joe has a daughter who was and is a true miracle child.  She was born so prematurely that she weighed less than 2 pounds.  She went to special schools most of her life, but she was always loved and prayed for.  Her development continued over the years to the point that she attended a large public high school for her senior year, where she earned a student of the month award and graduated as a member of the National Honor Society. 

When we received her graduation announcement and party invitation, we had every intention of going.  When we saw that the party was being held at our former church, my wife balked.  Going to the party meant not only facing people that we weren’t sure how to respond to, it would also mean returning to the place that held such bitter memories.  I told her that I stood by her whatever she decided and that we could celebrate with Joe’s family privately instead. 

Love has a way of building people up, giving them courage, and making them strong.  From within the safe covering of my unconditional love, my wife soon announced that she was willing to go after all.  She only asked that I stay by her side and not let her get cornered or put in a difficult situation, which was the very thing I was eager to do.  We were going to celebrate Joe’s daughter and her accomplishment; everything else was secondary. 

Last Spring, we left that church broken and disgraced.  Almost exactly a year later, we returned as a completely different couple.  It was definitely awkward being there, but enough healing has taken place apart from the church that we were able to put aside that part of the past.  I couldn’t have been more proud of the beautiful lady by my side. 

A few days later, Joe told me over the phone that my wife had never looked better.  He said she had a glow about her and she looked like she was free of some huge burdens.  He was right.  She and I both still have some healing and the final phases of the restoration to go through, but we’ve reached that point where it shows on the outside.  Just like when the new siding, paint, shutters, etc. draw people’s eyes to a house that’s undergoing restoration, so the effects of everything that’s taking place inside our marriage can now be unmistakably seen on the outside.


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