Thursday, November 17, 2016

In The Fire

"Take me with you," I whispered to my husband as he departed for a business trip a few days ago. Part of me was excited for him and the other part envious. I was jealous he got to venture to a new country, even though it was work related. "He's going to try new foods and see sites I never have while I look at the same four walls, listen to children bicker and figure out what to make for dinner again," I shamefully thought.

Let me rewind just a bit. My husband and I have been married a little over 3 months. 4 months ago I had a picture in my head of what our lives would look like. Visions of fields of wild flowers colored my imagination as we gleefully ran into the sunset. I guess a lifetime of Hallmark and Disney movies helped prompt those daydreams. But, real life has a way of waking us up very quickly. As soon as we married, the storms began to hit. So much so it seems all areas of our lives have been tested. From appliances repeatedly breaking to kid troubles to drama from exes to identity crisises. There are times we'll look at one another and jokingly say "we made it through another one" and times we'll tearfully say "how much more can we take."

Which brings me to this current business trip he is on. We'd been praying about it for weeks since we knew he was going to be leaving. Asking God to help things run smoothly but it's been anything but. One child got sick, followed by the second and then a third. Our microwave caught fire and we've been living out of a cooler for a month since our refrigerator's been broken. I went to pick up a sick kid from school and my car wouldn't start. And, as I type this, we still have two more days to go until he gets back home. This isn't a woe is me pity party or at least that's not my intention. What I want to convey are the lessons God is teaching me in a class I like to call - In The Fire 101.

This class is one we've all had at some point or another. Let me explain. Most of our days are spent around the campfire, so to speak. We're surrounded by family and friends. There's always some heat in the middle, also known as problems, but we tackle them and sit back down with our marshmallows until the heat gets too hot. Every so often, that fire starts to burn out of control when we are faced with too many issues all at once. We feel alone, swarmed by flames and smoke that threaten to spontaneously combust us. We learn at an early age to stop, drop and roll in a fire. However, God is teaching me to Stop, Drop and Grow.

What it seems I am constantly learning is to:

Stop filling my calendar with activities that I don't make time for Him.
Stop fixating on myself and my problems.
Stop thinking I am in control.


Drop to my knees and bask in God's presence.
Drop my selfishness and gaze on God. Then, help others.
Drop my pride and pick up the humility of knowing His plans are perfect no matter how much they hurt.

By doing these things, the Lord allows us to grow in our maturity and walk with Him. As we do so, we are able to brace ourselves in the blaze. We become stronger and so do our marriages. The relief comes when we realize God is with us in the fire just like He was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who stood untouched by the heat in the fiery furnace. Jesus Christ is our balm when the sparks have grazed our skin. He breathes life and pieces us back together when all we feel is left are ashes.

No, life normally doesn't go as planned. This side of Heaven will always produce pain. But look around. Who has he placed beside you to help alleviate it? He's given me the greatest gift and answered prayer who is my husband. One thing I have quickly learned in our short marriage is it is far better to suffer with someone than to suffer alone.

A side note-God not only wants His children to come to Him when we are standing in the inferno but he wants a relationship all the time. Let us remember that the next time we are sitting around the campfire enjoying the warmth and telling stories. Hmm...I can't help but wonder if God likes marshmallows.?

Father in Heaven,
Thank you for the trials you send my way to keep me humble and constantly reaching for your hand. Help me to withstand them so I grow closer to you and more like you. Thank you for the smooth days that allow me to exhale and remind me of all I have to be grateful for. Thank you for the people you have sent to walk alongside me through life. Help me never to take them for granted.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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