For the last ten years, I have been married to a man who has been faithful to me, and our children, and I have been miserable.
I waited a long time to get married. And two weeks after I walked down the aisle, I was ready for a divorce. The constant fighting, the lack of emotional intimacy, wasn’t the picture I had for my life. I married my husband with a laundry list of expectations. None of which he met, and truthfully neither did I. I have heard intimacy described as “in to me see” and oh how I craved to be really understood. Time and time again he would say, “I know you” so proudly. And the truth of the matter was, he didn’t know me. His statements were dead wrong. It was crushing. Night after night, I would pray for my marriage. Praying for God to change my man. This prayer became, as Lysa Terkeurst put it, “my sweet sorrow." Sorrowful in that it was an unanswered prayer, and sweet in how Jesus met with me.
In every turn, Higher Ground deals with expectations. After Gabe tells Hattie of the unthinkable tragedy in his life, her response is priceless. Hattie tenderly whispers, “You gotta hand all that over to the Lord and you gotta sing,” and “What you need is vision and for that, you gotta get to higher ground.” She then proceeds to tell him how each week she finds the highest spot in New Orleans and “Count[s] [her] blessings and..feel a mile high. When you are a mile high, anything is possible.” When I count my blessings, I see all the good qualities and character traits of the man I married. I see how he always gets on his hands and knees to play with our boys. I see how he still calls me beautiful after all these years and all these extra pounds. I see how he faithfully provides for us each day working tirelessly. I see how he refused to give up on us -even when I had. I see how he held true to his vows, to God, and to me. I see that what I wanted, wasn’t what I needed. When I reach for higher ground, I find...contentment.
When I stop wondering “what if” and start settling into “what is” I begin to find joy in the life I already have. I begin to get vision. Vision for the kind of mother and teacher I want to be. Vision for how I can better love my man who I have been incredibly unfair to for all these years. Vision for how I can serve others with the means that I have been given. Vision to see that I have never been out of God’s reach and I have never been unloved.
Hattie said “You gotta hand it over to the Lord and you gotta sing." I believe prayer puts our requests before the throne and praises puts our hearts in line with His. Early the next morning, they found her and admitted her to the ER with alcohol poisoning. To this day, her healing is my sweet sorrow. In May, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt a calling from the Lord to giver her to God. I had to release her into His hands. And once again, I was called to praise through the tears.
I realize that it’s a daily calling to “hand it over." I don’t get to see what the future holds and that’s OK. I know God is in control and on His throne and that’s enough for me. My mother is still finishing her treatments and just this week, my father had a mild heart attack. They live a thousand miles from me, and as the firstborn, it was a struggle to be so far away. I felt the Lord asking me to once again, release my will for His. My father went home from the hospital with no need for a stint. His arteries are clear! It could have been so much worse!
The Living Letters series continues as long as there are stories (or even praise reports) to share, and I'm always looking for submissions. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life (or even your wardrobe) that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me. Keep the good going and submit yours today!