Monday, November 3, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 11 - Widening the Lens of Life

I'm sure that we have all heard the saying that, "you don't know what you have until it's gone." If you have ever lost a loved one, you understand in a deeper way what this phrase means. When my mom was first diagnosed with terminal cancer, it brought a lot of my life into focus in a much clearer way. I watched my parents let go of so many trivial things that they had held onto over the years in their marriage in light of this new serious diagnosis. They lived out her last couple of years with such openness, tenderness and selflessness. It was beautiful and yet deeply saddening to watch. So many years had passed by without the openness and tenderness between them. Not intentionally, I am certain, but still days past that cannot be returned.

Many of us who are married do this "holding onto the trivial" without even realizing it. Our spouse wrongs us, annoys us, forgets to put the seat down, forgets to close the cupboards after they get something, run the family vehicle down to almost empty before filling it every time, etc. Trivial things that if we allow ourselves to hold onto with negativity, resentment or anger end up becoming bigger issues throughout the years. We may not have huge things that cause a deep caverns between us, but we allow the small things to divide and steal peace and joy that God intended for us to know as a married couple. Our heavenly father is the designer of this sacred union. It is meant to be an earthly glimpse into an eternal union as we, the church, become HIS bride.

In previous posts, I have eluded to the fact that my husband has on-going health issues. He has Crohn's disease. He has been told by many a specialist that his is in the the 1% of extreme cases of the disease. He has had several surgeries and many near death experiences while dealing with this disease over the years. So much positive has come from his illness in our marriage. Don't get me wrong, it has been agonizing, frightening, maddening, and draining as well; but God began opening our eyes to the good in it all about six years ago and gradually as we allow Him to refine us, we can see the benefits in so many ways. One huge blessing is that it allows us to never lose sight of our own mortality and how blessed we are to have each other every day. Another blessing is how it has allowed us to walk with God in deeper and real way. (To read more on that read this previous post.)

Sometimes in our view of life we zoom in so close to an object that it gets distorted or all of the flaws are magnified. It is easy to do this "zooming in" on those closest to us - our spouse and children. Sometimes we need to widen our lens and be sure to capture the whole picture of who they are in our life and let go of the trivial flaws. As I am writing this God is prompting my heart to widen my lens with my children...I pray He will touch your heart as well.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Phil. 2:3-4 (Our "family verse")

*On a separate note, I am still waiting to hear how the first "teachings" have gone in New Guinea. I will post an update as soon as I hear, but I am expecting amazing things!


Imperfect said...

I'm so glad you found my blog. I have enjoyed looking around yours! It's so fun to read that you are a She Speaks grad. Some of my friends went this summer and I hope to go in 2009!

Gretchen said...

Shanda, thank you for your visit and sweet encouragement on my blog.

I totally loved this post. So timely. Not only for my critical nature towards my husband, but my children, as well. The only perfect person died and was resurrected over 2000 years ago. Blessings on your day, and to you and your husband as you face each challenge of his disease with God's hand on you both.

Shanda said...

Imperfect ~ She Speaks was amazingly insightful! Hope to see you there!

Gretchen~Thank you! My husband has been doing very well for quite awhile now. God is so good!

The Happy Mom said...

Stumbled onto your blog from SITS and I'm glad I did-this post was refreshing and inspiring. I don't have Crohn's but I do have a different autoimmune disease. It has really made my marriage so much stronger and I appreciate the little blessings in life so much more (looking death in the face will do that to you!). Hope you have a wonderful day!

AndreaLeigh said...

I'm visiting from SITS, and so glad I found this beautiful blog. What poetic and truthful words. Thanks for sharing.