But in case you don't, I'll fill you in...it was rough.
Sweet Man and I are products of two very different families. If you couple that with the reality that we are both beyond stubborn, independent and insanely selfish, it shouldn't surprise you that I called home after being in our wedding night hotel room a whole hour, weeping to my mom to come and get me.
She gently encouraged me to get a grip.
Now take that frustration and compound it by hundreds of days of unwillingness to bend or grow on either of our ends, and you're greeted with the natural result of numerous nights of my jumping up and down on the dining room table screaming, or pouting and whining to manipulate our personal agendas.
We were messed up.
From the outside, you would never know it.
We knew the Christian script well.
We mechanically danced the waltz we'd been taught to do, but we were professional fakers.
Mix this scenario with three surprise blessing pregnancies in three and a half years, a sick son and gallons of sin...and you have a picture of our ticking bomb.
But friends, we all have a ticking bomb.
It may not be your marriage, but there is a space you're striving to control, to juggle, to protect. You're unknowingly preserving its idol status.
You next natural question might be, How did you ever get from there to here?
From weeping in my daddy's lap to let me come home, to grasping that Jamie is the primary catalyst of my seeing my Savior on this earth and becoming more like Him?
It was a train wreck of coming clean.
We got real with those around us, let them into our muck and grey, to wade through it with us.
It was May 18th, 2007, when we hit rock bottom. I was six months pregnant with Daniel, Benjamin was at the doctor every other day, vomiting and so very sick all the time, Caleb was surviving, and Jamie and I despised each other.
But something shifted that day.
For so long, we had bought the lie that we could not be used by God until we were able to pull ourselves together. We believed the nasty whispers that in order to do life with the body of believers, we had to be neat and tidy, presentable and appropriate.
On that afternoon, we fell to our knees together and said, Enough.
We called those we considered close to us and shared the truth that we were broken and at the end.
They came, and for the first time in our five years of marriage we were exposed, our sin, our desperation, our aching and scars.
Then, we turned to God, weeping from our knees and said, Take it all. Take our lives, our sons, our home, our marriage, money and dreams, and just make it Yours, whatever you want, however you want it, because it's not working our way.
Friends, in that moment, for the first time in our marriage, I knew I wasn't going to suffocate from my own need to control.
I was free from myself.
We weren't our own anymore.
And we've never looked back.
People often remark to me in conversation, We want to do something like you do when we have it more together...
When there's enough money...
Or the bigger house...
Or our kids' grow up...
Or we retire...
Or we don't fight anymore...
Women tell me they will join a small group when their hearts are in a more stable place.
Families will open their doors to hospitality when their house is in better shape, the new project complete.
Christ-followers commenting they'll incorporate outreach into their lives when they cross the next time hump, financial crunch...
Friends, the Gospel is for the broken.
It's about beggars discovering the Bread of Life in the midst of our famine of the soul.
We're all desperate, and if we say we're not, we've missed one of the most beautiful cornerstones of life...
To be utterly exposed and needy together, with one another before our Savior who became exposed for us.
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all.
View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies;
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?
Lo! the incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture wholly.
Let no other trust intrude.
Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need for Him.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.
~ Joseph Hart, an 18th century minister who strived to have it all together,
before he finally fell in desperation at the feet of his Savior.