Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hand In Hand

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, 
as though some strange thing happened unto you:  
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; 
that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. "
I Peter 4:12, 13 (KJV)

"Be still sad heart and cease repining;
Behind the clouds the sun is shining,
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life a little rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I am so thankful God initiated the institution of marriage.

I love being married.
I love sharing life...
the good and the bad.

Every, single day I give thanks 
from the bottom of my heart to God 
for allowing me to walk through life....
hand in hand....
with such a kind, gentle man.

It matters not what we are doing,
or how hard it is.....
just so we are together....
I'm content.

Today, we mowed the yard.
Of course, Kevin always gives me the easier end of the load.
I rode the riding mower,
while he used the push mower to cut close to the fence and trees.

He always takes the first few rounds on the riding mower
to clear a path for me....
to make it easier.

As I rode, and he pushed,
we came across each other's path several times.
Each time we did,
Kevin would throw up his hand
and give me one of his sweet smiles.
And each time,
my heart was filled with love and appreciation....
for all he does for Zachary and me.
But, most of all...
for him...
the person he is.

I prayed for him a lot today....
while I was mowing.
I do a lot of praying on that riding mower.
His clothes were drenched with sweat,
and he looked so tired.
My heart was moved with compassion for him.
He works so hard,
both on his job and here at home.

He loves gardening and working in our yard.....
planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants.
We enjoy watching them grow as the years go by.
When Zach was a baby,
he and Kevin bought this crepe myrtle for me for Mother's Day of 2005.

Kevin planted it at the corner of our garage.
Seven years later, it is now taller than our garage.

I think the best gift a wife can bestow upon her husband...
is her prayers for him.

As I watched Kevin mow and work so hard today, 
I begged God to help him,
to give him strength, 
to have mercy on him.

I asked Him to bless the work of his hands.

For no matter how hard we work and plant and sow,
it is always God Who gives the increase of our labors.
I'm thankful He sends just the right balance of
sun and rain to make things grow and prosper and thrive.
Too much of either would damage the plants
and stunt their growth.

It is the same way in life.
God faithfully balances the sun and the rain.
Too much of either would damage us
and stunt our growth.

Looking back over our 24 years of marriage,
Kevin and I have had a lot of both...
sun and rain.
We've enjoyed sunny times 
when everything went smooth, 
everyone was well,
life was easy.
And there have been rainy days
when nothing went right,
sickness was rampant,
and life was so hard we honestly didn't know if we could bear any more.

Isn't that the way it is in all of our lives?

Peaks and valleys...
good times and bad times....
sickness and health....
sun and rain.

Through it all,
we've held on tight....
to each other.

He patiently shared the pain of infertility with me....
for years.
When we first got married,
he dreamed of having four children.
He didn't bargain for all of the problems I had conceiving a child.
Never knowing if we'd have a child of our own,
he unconditionally loved me, 
all the while knowing the inability was on my end,
and at the same time, realizing it wasn't my fault.

He shared my unspeakable joy when God proved He still performs miracles
and sent us a sweet, healthy, baby boy....
in spite of medical wisdom and diagnosis.

He stood by me as both of my parents drew their last breath of life.
He comforted me in the aftermath....
of sorrow, and anguish, and overwhelming grief....
when I fell completely apart.
He never scolds me for crying or 
chastens me for grieving too long.
He dreads the day when we get the news...
about his aging parents.
One thing for certain,
if God spares my life,
I will be there for him....
just like he's been there for me.
I'll understand...
firsthand...
what it feels like...
to hurt that much.

One thing I've noticed about life is that
when it seems the rain will not let up
and we are nearing more than we can bear,
God is faithful to send a reprieve of sunny days.

I recently heard a minister say,
"Our trials may seem unreasonable,
but they are not without reason."

It takes both the sun and the rain....
hand in hand...
working together in healthy amounts...
to strengthen us,
to build our character,
to make us grow.

I guess it is good that it isn't up to us.
More than likely most of us would choose too much sunshine.
and withdraw from rain every time.
Who wants to suffer?
And cry?
And hurt?
We all know too much sun isn't healthy.
Yet, in order to avoid unpleasant circumstances,
we'd overindulge in the sunshine.

I've been thinking about today's Scripture a lot lately
as trial after trial seems to come our way.
Sometimes, I wonder if the sun will ever shine brightly again.
But, Peter said not to think it is strange.
He had learned to accept the rain as a part of life.
He expected the fiery trials.

The NIV translation of this verse reads like this,
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering,
as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

The sooner we realize there is a purpose for the rain....
for our trials,
the better off we will be.
The sooner we settle in and say,
"Thy will be done, Father",
the sooner the victory will come.
Our external circumstances may not change,
but our outlook certainly will.

When we suffer and go through the hard times,
we can better know and understand our dear Lord.
We can relate in a very small way
to how He felt.
This sharing of His pain brings an intimacy with
Christ that nothing else ever could.

It invites us to walk closer to Him...
to walk through the sun....
through the rain....
and face it together....
hand in hand.



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