In Good Times and In Bad

“…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:11-13

I’ve been learning so much in the last several months. Through pain and through blessing, God has shown me much. I’ve been in seasons of bliss where it has felt like I must be one of God’s favorite kiddos with the amount of happy things happening in my life. I’ve also been in seasons or great sorrow, loss, and heaviness to where that one song pops in my mind as my life theme song, “This %#$@ is Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”.
Joke Joke Joke
But seriously

Right now I’m learning a lot through humility.  I’m learning how to receive help from people in ways I never have needed before. I’ve always heard those stories of people saying how they ran out of food and then on their doorstep was bags of groceries, or they had a bill pending and a random check came in the mail or a bill was paid by someone else for them. They are stories that I never thought I would be telling myself but I am now. It’s a blessing but also a painful reality to rely so much on the Lord for His provision alone. Not that I was ever outside of Him and His hand BUT, ya know how when things are going seemingly great, you can tend to think it’s more because of yourself then recognizing that all you have is from the Lord and because of the Lord’s goodness? Or is that just me? Maybe.

I don’t ask for help. I hate asking for help. It makes me crazy uncomfortable. And I don’t like receiving help either. It’s so far out of my comfort zone. I hate the idea that I’m ever putting people out. Even if they seem like they want to help, it still freaks me out.

This season, though, has forced me to have to receive from others. It’s been good for me but so stretching and yes, very uncomfortable at times.  It’s amazing to me the way so many have come to help us in one way or another.  Overwhelming at times but so amazing. Teaching an old dog new tricks ain’t so great feeling. I’m so blown away by how greatly the Lord has provided for us.  It’s insanely humbling. Realizing you and your family are fully reliant on the Lord is like the feeling I get after a hard workout where it hurts and feels wonderful all at the same time. From the outside looking in it can welcome lots of judgement, much like Job’s friends did in his suffering, but between my heart and the Lord, it’s exactly where He wants me.  Like a good Dad, He blesses and He teaches and it doesn’t always feel good, but the outcome can be beautiful and it produces a much deeper love and understanding of who God really is.  At least that what it does in me.

I’m also learning a lot about marriage and forgiveness and commitment.  It’s funny because on your wedding day you have NO IDEA what you really are signing up for. For reals! Love is blind, Baby! When you are saying your vows, it’s so easy because life is easy. The biggest stress is preparing for the wedding day and then you are finally there in that moment, staring at the love of your life, everyone smiling around you, everything looking beautiful, flowers and music and candles and pretty dresses and suits and children dancing happily around the room.  It’s perfect. Commitments and promises like, “In sickness and in health” or “for richer or poorer” or “in good times and in bad” are so easy to say in that moment but so hard to live out when they really get tested.

“In sickness and in health” is easy to say but your heart and commitment really shows when your spouse gets sick. Not the flu or a cold, but gets really sick. Sickness has heavy effects on the marriage and the family. I’ve experienced it myself and I’ve also watched my Mom with my Dad in all he went through in the last 3 years of his life. Her commitment to my Dad was unwavering, solid in all forms and as her vows were tested, she came out on the other side so faithful to what she promised to him 20 years before that.

“For richer or poorer” is easy to say before you get hit with true financial hardships. “I’ll love ya when we’re broke and I’ll love ya when we ain’t!”  But yet financial problems are one, if not thee main cause of marital issues that lead to divorce. On your wedding day it’s easy to commit that to each other because, yes, all by itself, if all it was was that you would have less money then of course I’ll love you and be by your side… But it’s not that simple when the financial issues really do hit because they hit hard and it puts pressure on so many other areas.

“In good times and in bad” is easy to say because in that moment you’ve mostly hit good times then bad times which is why you’re still getting married! The good times are good and the bad times are everything else. It’s a pretty blanket statement that you are vowing before God to remain and stay faithful and committed to this person you are marrying. “In bad” can really be  anything that is hard, that hurts, that is painful and that you don’t like… and ALL of it you are saying in that moment, “YES! I choose you for all of it! Forever and ever.”

When the sickness comes, when the poorer times come, when the bad times roll in (and it’s always such bad timing too), that is when the true commitment is tested.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15
Two sinners vowing to commit for life to one another is a recipe for disaster and without forgiveness it’s never gonna work. Even for those diehard folks that stay married for the sake of the children or religion or pride, without true and Christ-like forgiveness, they will have a divorce in their hearts that those watching can easily see. You can spot those couples that really love each other and those that are just married.
Forgiving like Jesus does is brutal sometimes. It’s never an easy thing to do. Ya know the whole, “your sins are forgiven and removed as far as the east is from the west” thang-a-thang? Yeah, that’s hard to do when it comes to your spouse. Forgiving and not bringing it back up as ammo in a heart-to-heart chat later on is easier said than done.
This is how God sees us:
“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” –Ps. 103:14 
This is how I need to see my husband and how he should see me.  We are all faulty. We all make mistakes. (Sometimes big. Sometimes small.) We are all in need of a little (or a lot!) more of Jesus.
Ya know that quote said over and over again, “God cares more about our holiness then our happiness”?  That should be framed in every home as a daily reminder in our marriages.  Shmuckity-shmuck happens in marriage and when it does we can either respond and forgive and show grace like Jesus does to us, or we can respond in what feels good in the moment. Being like Jesus is painful sometimes. Be like Jesus anyways.

This season in my life has been crazy. I’m experiencing so much pain while at the same time experiencing so much blessing and joy.  I’m not the crier in the family but this season has changed that up a bit (along with being pregnant!) and I feel like I’ve cried so much that I could have sailed on my tears to Hawaii by now. Hawaii makes everything better, right?!  It’s been a wild ride! In good times and in bad, God never wavers, never shakes, never lacks, never abandons, never lessens in His presence in my life. His kindness fails me not.


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