Love, what comes to mind when you think of amore? Is it romance, passion or intimacy? Maybe it’s none of these things at all. No matter what we think love should be the truth is love is many, many things. Love is kind, forgiving and gracious. Love is full of laughter, sometimes angry, other time it’s filled with sorrow and tears. Love offers compassion, love grows and deepens over time, love is an act of self-sacrifice and yes love is difficult. True love can be bold, fierce and beautiful whereas the idea of love can be destructive, hostel and vicious. Sadly many times we get caught up in what we think love should be. We compare our relationships to the ones we see in the movies, read about in books or lyrics sung on the radio. We get so caught up in fairy tales, in a writer or songwriter’s version of a love story; we forget who the real author of our love story truly is. Fear can be a driving force in love. Insecurities, uncertainties, anxiety and doubt can destroy love. “F-E-A-R has two meanings: Forget everything and run or Face everything and rise. The choice is yours.” (Curiano) So let’s get very real here, Johnny and I have had a rough few years, and that’s anything but an understatement.
Trouble always starts out small doesn’t it? A few emotions left unchecked, words gone unsaid, affections unattended then bam before you know it you’re living with a stranger. The once warm, beautiful home you’ve shared and built together becomes a battlefield. We’ve all been there, admitting it or not. For Johnny and me, we just simply lost touch with one another. Before we realized what was happening life’s wrecking ball came in swift, demolishing what we thought was a solid foundation. As for what got us there, the details are not as important as the symptoms. For us, as a couple, we struggled with communication; grappled with overwhelming emotions, wrestled with hurtful words and stumbled through uncertainty. Looking back on the last three years I have no idea how we successfully crossed our 20 year mark together. I can tell you honestly there were times I didn’t like my husband very much. There’s also no doubt there were moments he didn’t want to be anywhere near me either. Our marriage blew up, and yes we came close to walking away but God was BIGGER than any of our hurdles or insecurities. Yes, life has thrown us some pretty big obstacles but saving our marriage was and has been one of the biggest. Once we hit bottom, there was no doubt we not only loved one another but no one or anything was going to unravel the life we’d build together. Was I hurt, did I feel betrayed, abandoned, absolutely. Could I forgive my husband and find forgiveness myself, yes I could and I did. The thing about forgiveness is it’s about growth, to pardon, to show mercy; give reprieve and let go. Love doesn’t hold a grudge nor does it keep a record of hurts.
Life Lesson #52 ~Love is…a lifelong work in progress. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says this, “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.” If we’re being honest with ourselves how often do we practice every single one of those attributes? Bottom line love is hard and the truth, loving and liking someone are two very different and distinctive things. What Johnny and I found in the middle of our misadventures was that we couldn’t do any of this alone. We had to surrender ourselves, our wants, our desires and ultimately our own hard headed way of doing things. Essentially we had to be broken together wrapping ourselves completely around each other and in the Lord just as Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.”
None of us are perfect, not one and in that light no one should ever feel ashamed of the struggle God allows to develop our testimony. There’s no disgrace in the journey Johnny and I have made together or where it’s taken us. Yes, the struggle has been very real, but it’s also brought us increasingly closer than we’ve ever been before. We’re stronger, not necessarily indestructible but absolutely a solid and fordable team. So what about fear? Well, fear isn’t something our family runs from anymore. Nope, fear has taught us to rise and keep rising. Our story isn’t unique but it is part our past, our love and our future. And you know what? “I love our story. Sure it’s messy, but it’s the story that got us here.”(How I Met Your Mother) And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way!