The Forging Fire

The mountains definitely feel more like home to me, but our beach trip this weekend was rejuvenating, empowering and fueled by grace and reset.

I want to tell you about it.

I married a stand up man.

We celebrated three years of marriage on Thursday.

Three years since I do until death and five years of togetherness.

Sometimes this feels daunting, most days this feels like life.

We do not have all of our trash bagged up, but it is spilling out less and looks a little more like the week’s end instead of a landfill fuming stench.

We didn’t enter into marriage whole. Do any of us?

I brought with me mistrust, tainted views of intimacy, fear of abandonment, a body image rocked harsh by the world and a lot of stored up anger coming out in fleshy ways.

He brought with him a past healing from sexual impurity, fear of causing disappointment, uncertainty in how to lead, and defensive mechanisms when facing confrontation.

And those were the big, honkin’ things. We also had(ve) annoying things about us.

We were a bunch of broken pieces—very much in love and fitting together as thought up by a sometimes confusing Maker— thrown into a forging fire, as Jeff has titled our marriage adventure.

But we did have something whole that has kept us whole in our brokenness, and I was reminded of it over our trip and this year of Easter.

anniver

Jeff gave me “The Broken Way” by Ann Voskamp, and I had the chance to dig into it on a sunroom porch filled with the steady of my leader, and the streams of the sun and the peace in just resting.

She floors me every time with her words, echoing the very nature of my heart.

In it, she shares this idea of living cruciform.

Living in the utter grace of Jesus’s final act of love, the one that sealed our forever.

She explains everything from communion—the breaking and giving of bread, as we are then asked to do for others—to the breaking and giving of Jesus Himself, so we can then give of His love to others.

It is so beautiful.

And we have been doing a piss-poor job of it on our homefront.

We know the breaking, but forget—or neglect— the giving.

Giving of everything Jesus was.

Without compromise.

Friends-you, readers-we live in so much compromise. And how do we justify it? Grace? I don’t know.

But we’ve been pressed to live by His giving.

His time, his listening, his intimate words.

His vulnerability, open palms, and acts of kindness.

His hope, his ground and unwillingness to waver.

His compassion and his justice.

His fellowship and his blood-sweat prayers.

His friendship and his attention and his spurring us onward.

His fixing us on the kingdom and abandoning the temporal.

His being at peace with his breaking,

And his knowing that it would bear—

the fruit of forever.

Yesterday  I took communion, as I have since I was a little girl, from my dad’s hands.

This time was different.

Jesus didn’t break so that I could live apathetic, wavering, unpredictable, hypocritical, judgemental, immodest, fearful, angry, unforgiving.

He broke so that I could give more of Him. To the stranger, and the neighbor. To the sibling and the coworker. To the social media connected friend. To the children I raise. To the ones who have led me. To the husband that leads me.

Sometimes that looks like set apart, and without words.

Sometimes that looks like encouragement.

Sometimes that looks like time, finances and energy.

Sometimes that looks like saying no

And setting boundaries.

Sometimes that looks like forgiveness

And letting go.

Sometimes that looks like asking questions.

Or answering with the least expected, or desired.

Sometimes that looks like rooting down in scripture,

And sharing. Hard, good truth. 

Sometimes that looks like leading,

Other times like listening.

Sometimes that looks like humility, 

In other moments, strength. 

Sometimes that looks like daily tasks and other times

Like the monumental sky highs.

But always, it looks like Jesus.

And if it doesn’t—if He isn’t enthralled by my words, my time, my heart, my actions, my wear, my example, my fellowship—than I need to come and eat again, and feel His breaking, so that I can really daily give.

I am so thankful my husband sees life this way too.

Living cruciform, and against the grind of the world.

With eyes set beyond the now, and reminding me daily,

It will be okay.

Because sometimes it feels like it won’t. Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones.

But the more I reach out my hands, the more people I find reaching out too.

This giving has been the forging. And we’re back at it again.

grain

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24, NASB

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