I remember hearing this question at the beginning of our marriage journey: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Pastor husband and I will be celebrating 10 years in just a couple of weeks. 10 years. 10 years ago, we were seniors in college and I marched across the graduation stage a new wife and mommy-to-be just barely pregnant with our firstborn. Now we have 4. 10 years. Where do you picture yourself in 10 years? In college, this question came up a lot. And I remember thinking how hard it was to answer because it seemed SO far away. 10 years. Now, here we are. Here I am. And if I’m going to be brutally honest, 10 years has brought me to a place that I have wrestled with. The road of full-time vocational ministry and the calling on our family has been less then glamorous. In these 10 years I have walked through shattered hopes, failed expectations and have had to come face-to-face with new eyes to see with – that we serve and worship a God who’s ways are not our own. (Isa. 55:8) They are so far from our own, that sometimes we are left feeling abandoned and disappointed with what has come from His hand.
10 years. In these 10 years, I have wrestled with the sovereignty of God and with His infinite and boundless love for me. Why, if He loved me so deep, would I have to face dis-appointment and hardship and brokenness? Perhaps you read this in shock wondering how a “Christian person” could have such an outlook. All the answers in my head, 30 something years of biblical knowledge burning out the ole’ sin nature, and how? It’s only when we learn to embrace the things that have defined our years, that we are able to walk more years truly seeing the good hand of the Father.
10 years. Now, here I stand looking back. Wondering what will lie ahead, “laughing without fear of the future” (Prov. 31) Well, some days. God has never left and if I am brave enough to look back on all of the circumstances that didn’t line up with my “ideal”,” I see He was really there. And He is here so quietly and so beautifully orchestrating…for the time when we sat in a hospital room in a new city scared out of our minds with a seizing infant, for the times when we ate the last crumb out of our cupboard wondering how we would eat the next day with the belly swelling with child and a toddler at my knees, for the time when we sought out help for “how to know” if I needed anti-depressants, the times when I would feel my husband roll out of bed at 3 am to deliver newspapers and then work his other 2 jobs while attending seminary full-time, for the times without a car in an 800 sq. ft. apartment with 2 babies by myself, for the times when the head pounded with migraines, for the times when people laughed at the prospect of ministry and labeled us foolish and crazy, for the times when I heard “c-section”-something I never wanted to experience, for the times when I watched mice run in front of my infants playing hands and heard gunshots too close for comfort, and felt ripped off and used by neighbors, for those times when I anguished over all of my dear friends living so far, for the times when I felt angry towards my own husband for leading us “here”, for the times when we would drop into bed so tired that the thought of getting up to do it all again the next day was overwhelming, for the times when people hurt and life hurt and death stung and life just wasn’t. the. way. it. was. supposed. to. be.
And for ALL of those times, And all of the others too lengthy to pen, there is great grace to be found – a God who never left me and who promises to orchestrate the beautiful even when beauty is hard to grasp. 10 years. These weak and feeble eyes, this heart, sin-sick as it is, has begun to see. I’m a slow learner.
10 years and looking back is giving me courage to hope, to laugh and to wonder at God’s goodness to us – for the thousands of ways He has been right at my side… the “random” checks that came to our mailbox, the reconciliations, the blessings of children, the fruit of hard ministry, the clothing on our backs, the words of thanks, the budding fruit of our marriage…all of the graces He has gifted us with that in all of that time, blessed is He who has given and taken, blessed be His name. This IS his good and marvelous plan for us, this is THE WAY ITS SUPPOSED TO BE. HIS way. 10 years….and it couldn’t be more beautiful.
“There is precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor, or in suffering, or unknown, but for your encouragement, review your “calling” and the consequences that flow from it. As surely as you are God’s child today, so surely shall all of your trials soon be at an end, and you shall be rich to all the intents of bliss.” –C. Spurgeon
“Those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:30
“This I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” Lamentations 3:21