Category Archives: Faith

A Letter to Myself About Glennon’s Divorce

 

Glennon Doyle Melton announced earlier this month that she is leaving her husband.

I admire her vulnerability in sharing about her marriage and her decision to leave. I thought about making this “A Letter to Glennon About Her Divorce.” But I’m not. Because this post isn’t about her.

It’s about me.Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery has been a source of much marriage advice, humor, and more. When she announced her decision to leave her husband, it rocked me. It felt like something came loose in my heart - and what bubbled to the surface could not be ignored.

You see, Glennon closed her announcement with a very wise request: “Sometimes, when people make decisions about marriage, it evokes strong feelings in others. If my news does that to you today, please look inside and get curious about whether those feelings have more to do with you and your life than they do about me and mine.”

You could say her announcement “evoked strong feelings in me.” (I mean, if a full blown panic attack counts as “strong feelings.”) I realize I do not know every detail of Glennon’s journey, and I also know I shouldn’t project my life and marriage experience onto hers.

But likewise, I must be careful to not project her experience (and subsequent conclusions) onto mine.

My marriage isn’t an easy one. I see couples who appear to LOVE BEING MARRIED. I just don’t feel like that. Perfect example: one year, on her 10th wedding anniversary, a friend posted a picture online from their wedding and wrote, “If I had known then what I know now, I would’ve run down that aisle!”

I thought, “Holy crap, what a horrible thing to say.”

Then I realized she meant she would’ve run down the aisle TOWARD HIM.

In that moment, my mind instinctively pictured the bride running down the aisle and OUT OF THE CHURCH.

See what I’m saying here?

You guys, my husband is a GOOD MAN. But, if I had known 13+ years ago how hard this would be, how much ongoing work it would require – I wouldn’t have done it. I understand I may be the only one who feels like this. But I suspect I’m not.

Has it been ALL hard work and ZERO enjoyment? Of course not. (Although that’s what the voice in my head will try to tell me.) But do I always feel like, “I LOVE BEING MARRIED!”?  I’m sorry, but no. I LOVE reading books. I LOVE taking naps. I LOVE eating brownies.

I don’t always LOVE being married. I AM married. And the two don’t always go together. I don’t always feel like I fit here. And being married certainly doesn’t always foster my own peace. Glennon describes a still, small voice that guides her. Well, mine regularly says, “It’s not supposed to be this hard.” It whispers promises of freedom and escape. It beckons to me in the name of self-trust and self-peace and self-love.

If you read her announcement, then perhaps you understand how Glennon’s words resonated so deeply with me. Why her words evoked strong feelings in me. She said so many things I feel on a regular basis.

I was completely undone.

That still, small voice continued ringing in my ear long after I finished reading Glennon’s post. All evening, my head and my heart drummed, “God loves you more than He loves marriage. You have Jesus. Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Even divorce.

And you guys, I had a full blown panic attack. Because I very sincerely believe each of those statements are TRUE. Those statements do not contradict Scripture.

But I also very sincerely believe that the enemy was using that truth AGAINST ME.

Because do you know what ELSE can never separate me from God’s love?

My marriage.

When my marriage feels like such hard work, riddled with misunderstandings, unmet expectations, and hurt feelings (“It’s not supposed to be this hard!”), I can often feel overlooked by God. I tried to follow Him and His ways, and I still ended up in a marriage that seems to require more than I have to offer. SO NOW WHAT.

And then I feel alone. Like I’m completely on my own in this thing. Distanced from my husband in any meaningful way, and separated from the God who was supposed to keep it from being this hard.

But who in the world said it’s not supposed to be this hard? And just because I feel isolated from God doesn’t mean I am. And YES my marriage requires more than I have to offer. Because I wasn’t meant to come into this thing in my own strength. And neither was my husband.

“God loves us far more than any institution God made for us [marriage].”

This is a true statement.

And so dangerous out of the greater context of God’s love for me.

Because YES He loves me more than my marriage. But He can so greatly live His love out, to, and in me by walking me THROUGH my marriage.

And when I don’t feel like I fit here? You guys, God is reminding me that He made marriage big enough to HANDLE THAT. You don’t get smaller. Your marriage gets bigger. Marriage stretches. It grows. And you stretch. And you grow. And YES IT’S PAINFUL. But some of life’s most glorious gifts are borne through pain and stretching.

So, indeed, NOW WHAT.

My first “now what” is to refuse to trust the “still, small voice” outside of the context of what else is true. Fear is not the boss of me. And that little voice in my head? ALSO NOT THE BOSS OF ME. It may not be popular, but GOD is the boss of me. (And in Him, also TRUTH and LOVE.) So, I will seek to recognize God’s voice through prayer and His Word. Because He is trustworthy. And because He loves me even more than I am capable of loving myself.

Now what #2: Back to marriage counseling for Matt and me. Because it’s worth it. WE are worth it.

Now what #3: Let’s address that issue of “if I had known 13 years ago… I wouldn’t have gotten married.” Here’s the thing. Thirteen years ago I had NO IDEA what marriage would actually require of me. And I THANK GOD I DIDN’T. Because I would’ve missed the GIFT of the tears turned to laughter, the stretching and breaking and growing and healing. The miracle of making it through – over and over again. NOW WHAT I KNOW: marriage requires more than I can give because marriage is BIGGER THAN ME. It’s bigger than us. It’s bigger than always loving being in it. It’s bigger than sometimes wishing you weren’t.

What a 3-month-old baby taught me about bathroom politics.

Lately, it feels like controversy is constantly all up in my face. So. much. input. Social media, blogs, articles, posts, comments. Everyone has an opinion. I end up feeling like I ought to have a “stance” on everything. And, if I’m honest, as a Christian it feels even MORE like I should have this stuff figured out. (Whatever “this stuff” means this week.)

“Where do YOU stand on this issue?”

Ummm? Honestly, I can’t even explain the dinosaurs. Can someone help a sister out? Because whether it’s dinosaurs or bathroom policies, there must be an actual “right” answer! Right?

But how can so many people have so many different right answers?

And on top of THAT, how can two people who both love God, walk with Jesus, and even study His Word – end up on different sides of the same issue?

I’m exhausted.

My brain needs a break. My answer-finder, stance-determiner, stand-maker needs a rest. Because even if I think I understand what’s “right” or “wrong,” somehow I can still do what is right in the wrong way.

So, I’m calling a timeout.

Have we considered – or maybe we’ve just forgotten – that we aren’t supposed to have it all figured out?

Psalm 131 says, “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful to me. [“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DINOSAURS!?!”] But I have calmed and quieted myself. I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”

Lately, it feels like controversy is constantly all up in my face. Between articles, posts, and comments — there is so. much. input. On EVERYTHING. And then it feels like I should have a “stance” on everything too. But what if I just DON’T KNOW. Then what? Thankfully, I got my answer from my friend’s baby. Not kidding. Maybe it will help you too.Okay, not to nitpick, but, why a weaned child? Why not just any child? Don’t you imagine any child in its mother’s arms as sweet and and at rest?

Well, if you ask a nursing mother, the answer is NOPE.

Just yesterday, I watched my friend Amy hand over her almost-3-month-old son to her husband at bedtime. “Please, you take him. He settles down better with you. He just thinks of me as the food source.”

And it’s true, right? A nursing child, when cradled near his mother’s breast, is constantly looking for an answer to his hunger. It’s difficult for him to truly rest in her arms. My own children would never rest when I cradled them near my chest because they would instantly – whether instinctively or habitually – begin rooting for milk, restlessly looking for something from me.

Is that how I spend my time with God? Constantly seeking answers, understanding, or revelation? More, more, more?

Or can I simply rest in His presence? Can I stop this perpetual rooting for answers or whatever, and be content to be held?

Can I trust He knows what I need, and will provide it at the right time?

There is so much – some old (AGAIN, DINOSAURS.), some new (BAAAAATHROOOOOOMS) – just  so much I just DON’T KNOW. Yes, I’m a Christian. And no, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what’s best. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

But here’s what I DO know.

God is good.

God loves us. (All of us.)

We’re not perfect. (None of us.)

This separates us from God. (All of us.)

But, God doesn’t want even one of us to remain separated from Him. (None of us!)

So, Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin and give us access to God. (All of us!)

But, God will not force anyone to love Him. (None. None of us.)

So, we each have the opportunity to accept and receive this gift of salvation through Jesus. We have a choice. (All. of. us.)

For me, I have chosen to accept this gift from Jesus – the gift of Jesus. I’m different because of Him. In every way that is good, I am different because of His presence in my life. And I could spend the rest of my life trying to put into words who He is and all He’s done. I probably will, actually.

And in the meantime, I’m sure I will keep asking for wisdom and clarity and understanding. That is not all bad. There will be answers to find and stances to take and stands to make.

But when I don’t understand, when I don’t know the answers, may I release the quest to know more, and rest in the invitation to know Him. And by knowing Him, I believe even the way I walk through my “not knowing” will be better, truer, holier, and more loving – more like Him.

 

Lent for the rest of us: 2016 (Free printable reading plan!)

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is on February 10 this year, and leads us to Easter on March 27. Are you familiar with Lent?

I used to get super stressed about this season. Lent. This 40-day journey leading up to Easter… a time to prepare our hearts for Jesus… all He is and all He’s done. (No pressure, right!?)

There are many ways to engage in the Lenten season – prayer, fasting, simplistic living – all with the aim of drawing closer to God. In the past, I leaned toward the Downward Spiral route into “how can I possibly prepare my heart (AND my children’s hearts!!!) to even REMOTELY grasp what Easter really means.” And, being a recovering perfectionist, I can still easily fall into the “All or Nothing” trap. (I can’t do it ALL, so I’ll do NOTHING.) (So healthy, I know.)

This is a simple, meaningful tradition to begin with your children for the season of Lent, leading up to Easter! Enjoy this free printable reading plan!But two years ago, I began a simple new tradition with my children for these weeks leading up to Easter: we read The Jesus Storybook Bible from the very beginning through the Resurrection story. One chapter a day, for each day of Lent.

(If you’re doing the math, don’t despair — the 40 days excludes Sundays — so yes, there are actually more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.)

And you guys – reading this together has been so powerful. (Even if you don’t have children, please get a copy and read it anyway. I promise you’ll be glad you did. I get at least as much out of it as my kids.)

“But Lent and Easter are about JESUS. Why would you start all the way back at the BEGINNING of the Bible? Doesn’t Jesus show up much later?”

I’m so glad you asked!

Did you know that the entire Bible points to Jesus? All the way back to the beginning. As The Jesus Storybook Bible says: “Every story whispers His name.” Where better to start than the beginning?

To help you stay on track with which chapter you’re on, I’ve put together a new 2016 Lent Reading Plan. (And bonus – if you fold it in half lengthwise, it makes a great bookmark!) Click here or on the image below to download the FREE printable file!

Don’t have a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible yet? You can click here to purchase a copy on Amazon. Order quick and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the reading! 🙂

What do you think of this idea? What does your family do to prepare for and celebrate Easter? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

This is a simple, meaningful tradition to begin with your children for the season of Lent, leading up to Easter! Enjoy this free printable reading plan!

Click to open free printable!