Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Obvious Change

When life is going great and you are overflowing with joy, people can't help but notice.  Obviously, the opposite is true as well.  I've had several people stop me to chat, email, etc... asking me what in the world is going on in my life that is making me so positive and strong right now.  Those that are the most dear to us that know the weight we carry with some very difficult situations going on, Satan attacking us from every direction, and the great loss and stress we've been experiencing want to know what it is that is changing my heart so dramatically.  For someone that openly admits to battling very deep, long-lasting depression it's obvious that "something" has changed.  If I were to picture myself right here a couple of years ago, dealing with all that we've been asked to carry, I would have never dreamed I could have done it.  I know that had some real changes not taken place, I would not have survived.  My marriage would have collapsed.  Our family would have deteriorated.  My faith would have been torn to shreds, possibly to the point of being unrepairable.  Without a doubt, I would have easily lost it all!

Instead, I'm overwhelmed with peace and joy.  I'm energetic and focused.  Our home is more peaceful and we are more connected as family members than we ever have been.  (Now, don't go thinking it's perfect.  We definitely have our rough moments and I still struggle often with "gentle" answers and patience!!!!)  My marriage is simply put...extraordinary.  God has taken something that was struggling to barely survive and turned it into something that is thriving and becoming more amazing EACH day.  My faith is stronger than it has ever been.  I still have days that I feel disconnected and I'm not in perfect agreement with God's plans, but I'm not fighting against them either.  He isn't answering every prayer the way I think I need and He is often not answering in my time frame.  However, it isn't creating the wedge  brick wall between us.  It IS causing me to have to dig deeper into Him and day by day minute by minute turn over my own will and listen for His. 

Where did the change happen?  When did "life" start coming together?  What was the magic word? 

I don't know for sure.  I can't go back in time and say "this" day is the day that changed everything.  I can't say "this" is the action that put our lives back on track.  It has been a combination of small daily choices that have rolled together to create a bigger ripple.  Some things were incredibly difficult to step out in faith and others were just a matter of not being disobedient.  I'm glad He really finally started to get a grip on my attention and started molding me months and months ago.  I know I wouldn't have had the strength to deal with the last year, most specifically the last six months.

It has been the obedience of REALLY going against the modern world and unplugging the TV.  Guarding our hearts and minds has absolutely paid out greater dividends than I ever imagined.  Taking a more purposeful approach to EVERY single aspect of our lives has tremendously opened our eyes to our blessings and is helping us make decisions that keep our family strong.  It has been about digging DEEP into God's word through the Bible itself, in depth studies, blogs, book groups, etc... It has been about taking charge of our own need to grow closer with Christ.  Spiritual growth doesn't fall square on the shoulders of your church's ministerial staff.  It has been about not being afraid to look at the dark spots in life, embrace them, and being willing to change them.  It has been about focusing on the needs of another person and the magic that happens within your own heart.  (That has been the biggest part of saving a marriage!  Less focus on what he is or isn't doing.  More about how I'm reacting to Him and what I'm doing for him.  In the process, it's amazing that what I needed in the first place gets met in the process.)  It's about making healthier choices and kicking bad habits; putting myself on the list as something that matters.  It's been about realizing it isn't selfish to need some downtime to emotionally recharge from the demands of raising three kids and the pressure that comes with homeschooling and balancing everything else.  It's about taking the bad things and searching until there is some positive to be found. 

The list goes on indefinitely.  It's been a journey of doubt, frustration, and painful growth.  It's been worth every second.  It's been most especially about daily choices.  Many of those choices people have looked at us like we are crazy, but it is worth it.  It's worth it because though the ground we are on feels like it is slipping out from under us, we still have the greatest stability in the world.  Every uncertain moment we are facing and those that make us feel vulnerable have us just reaching out to God and not coming back empty handed.  It's knowing that Satan is fighting us SO hard right now because He knows we are just on the edge of a breakthrough with God and how He is going to use us.  Because Satan isn't silent and because He is fighting to pull us in the wrong directions, it means we are on the right track.  If he is silent and not on our backs, it's because we've already allowed him to take too much hold of us.  That's a question to ask every day!  If you don't feel him pulling and throwing daggers, you best run the other direction!  IF he isn't fighting you, you've already given him too much power in your life and he sees no need to attack you.  You are no longer a threat.  Embracing the fact that we must be a threat and not about to back down! 

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