Today I am participating in a blog hop with Hearts at Home. On the third Thursday of every month, I have the opportunity to write on a specific topic and link up with other bloggers and Jill Savage. This Third Thursday’s Thoughts are prompted by the question, “Have you experienced any miracles in your life?”
I cannot tell you how desperately I wish I could tell a story here about the way God healed my dad from cancer… but I can’t. While my dad is no longer suffering from cancer, it was not through the miracle I had hoped and prayed for. Dad is whole now only because he is with Jesus.
Just 3 months later, light came in a dark moment that will forever remind me that God truly works in miraculous ways. Unprepared to face death all over again, we said goodbye to my unconscious father-in-law. The next morning, fully prepared to see his lifeless body and begin funeral preparation, I walked my girls in to be greeted by their Grandpa’s smile as he spoke their names. Our Heavenly Father graced us with a miracle of bonus days to cherish before our final goodbye.
There is another moment, when I think of miracles, that my mind immediately flashbacks to. When I was a kid, our family dogs went missing. After 4 long days, my family gathered around the dining room table to pray for their return. The miracle of the reunion with our cherished pets was a lesson in the power of prayer that I’ve carried with me through life.
While these moments remind me that our God truly does work miracles, I am impressed with the reality that the biggest miracle in my life may not even resonate as a miracle to anyone other than my husband and me. Every time we hear another heartbreaking story of a marriage falling apart, I am reminded to lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for the miracle God performed in mine.
The first five years of our marriage were plain hard. Married just a year after my graduating class’s pomp and circumstance from high school, I heard the whispers of the mistake we were making. We dated for a short 6 months followed by a quick 6 month engagement. It was a union that, to outsiders, seemed to happen way too quickly. In the years to come, I cast blame all too easily on my 7-year-older husband for all of my unhappiness in our marriage.
Young and insecure, I entered our relationship with a broken heart that hadn’t had time to heal. All of my friends were enjoying the prime of their college life as I played house with this man. While he was my best friend on that day of wedded bliss, I couldn’t even convince myself a couple years into it that someone hadn’t held a gun to my head. It really is sad how all the reasons we choose our spouse get blurred when the going gets tough.
Financial stress didn’t help matters much and our biggest problem has always been miscommunication. Adjusting to combining our families of origin and all the traditions and expectations that came with it was overwhelming. Depression took over my soul as we found ourselves living as roommates, all the while, I thought, putting on a happily married show in public.
A friend of mine invited us to FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember. We went having no idea what to expect. I don’t remember much of that weekend outside of the comment my friend made in a moment when the two of us were alone. “You don’t seem to like him much.” I was caught off guard and my response was a flood of tears. It was time to face the truth.
My husband and I started getting real with one another. We shared the hidden secrets of our hearts. The fears of coexistence, for life in a marriage, forever lacking the passionate love we so desperately desired, came to the surface. We made changes in our lives but it was a gradual process that I cannot even pinpoint today. While I cannot give anyone a step-by-step process as to how to save a marriage, I do know God worked a miracle in mine.
In a small book entitled God Things Come in Small Packages, I read words that penetrated my heart of stone. “God often has to do open-heart surgery in us and replace a calloused heart with one that trusts and risks everything for the sweet reward of love and life.” I remember sitting as tears flooded my eyes and I surrendered my heart to God’s plan for my life.
I quit focusing on everything that was so blaringly in need of change with my husband and I began to allow God to change me. The One-Who-Performs-Miracles once again had access to my hardened heart. Slowly, I began to feel again. Little by little, I was able to see the positive in my husband as I took my focus off of him and placed my focus on who God wanted me to become.
While God transformed me, I had no idea that my husband was doing anything to work on our marriage. Years later, I learned that my husband petitioned God to save our marriage. As I was falling deeper and deeper into darkness, my husband was fasting and begging God for a miracle. This man I married because of his love for God, captured my heart with his response to our deteriorating marriage.
We will be married for 15 years this summer and I am continually reminded that the survival of my marriage was nothing short of a miracle. I can honestly say today that a life without my husband is not one I can imagine nor would I want to. We overcame a failing union because God performs miracles.
In the pit, God took my heart of stone and gave me life again. God works miracles all the time. Sometimes we just need to be willing to open our hearts to allow the miracles to happen and open our eyes to be witness.
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” ~ Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)
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