Posted by: JennyRain | December 22, 2009

One-Year Anniversaries. Intersected Stories.

Today is the one year anniversary of the day John and I first met.

 

I can remember one year ago today, waking up early, excited to meet the new day. Little did I know that I would also be meeting my future husband.

It consistently astonishes me how our lives can change in an instant.

Sometimes our lives change for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But change will happen – whether we are ready for it or not.

Many of my readers are experiencing their own anniversaries. In their anniversary celebrations – I joyfully cheer them on. In their tears – I weep with them.

My year anniversary today is one of celebration.

This past year has been filled with challenges, as all first-year marrieds experience, but the last 365 days – in joy and sorrow – have been a gift that is immesurable in value.

Meeting my Gumpee. Engagement. John graduating from seminary. Me moving to DC. Our jobs in full-time ministry. Losing the pug, finding the pug. Snow-storms. Growing deeper in our relationships with God. Developing relationships with our family (including my wonderful new in-laws 🙂 ) Fashioning a life together as we become one.

Several of my friends are celebrating anniversaries that are not as blissful. These friends have risked sharing their experiences over the blog-o-sphere and I have been touched by their raw authenticity.

It is some of those stories I share below.

Anniversary of a storm:

This is the story of two of my friends who have been struggling since the night Katrina hit. They lived in the ninth ward and when the levee’s in New Orleans broke, it not only washed away their home, but it also took them into a four-year struggle that has ripped through their lives with an unrelenting force and left both of them – at times – gasping for air. My friend writes…

I just had a shocking realization.  I’d been holding my breath for who knows how long.  No, I wasn’t waiting for an answer to anything.  And I wasn’t anticipating the ending of a cliff-hanger or watching a cool movie or anything like that. 
I’d been holding my breath, it seems, for years.
Keeping in my feelings. 
Holding in my insecurities. 
Harnessing my dreams. 
Biting my tongue. 
Stifling my creativity.
It was like an invisible, but very real weight had been laying across my chest–closing in on my heart and tightening around my throat.
It left me waiting. Breathless.
Because of my lack of oxygen, I couldn’t speak.  I couldn’t scream.  Or cry.  Or laugh out loud.
It was as if I was living life in slow motion.  Watching what was going on around me almost through a fog.  Not really disconnected, but not truly plugged in either.
As I woke up today and watched the rain falling outside, I finally realized that I’d been actually holding my breath.  Ever since I woke up to water pouring into my house and ended up on a roof during Hurricane Katrina, rainy days no longer evoked the same feelings in me that they did before that day.

 

Anniversary of heartache:

This is the story of a young woman on mission in South Africa whose blog – Grit and Glory – was forwarded to me by a co-worker. Her story gripped me from the start and has profoundly touched me – though I have never met her. She has shown a tender transparency that has invited me into her journey. As she struggles, her readers struggle with her. As she heals, we are invited to heal with her. Her anniversary is one of heartache – a cheating spouse. She shares her story below…

My husband’s affair devastated me. But not as much as his deception did.

For a year and a half, he lied every single day. Not only to me, but also to our team of staff and interns. When I think of the sheer magnitude of dishonesty he used to cover up his unfaithfulness, I can barely breathe.

I wish I could say that the lies stopped when he was caught.
But I can’t.
I think the web of deception grew so thick that he could no longer tell truth from lies.

He deceived others so much that he became deceived himself.

It wrecks my heart that he was never forthcoming with the truth. It had to be coerced out of him. Literally.

The day after Thanksgiving, when confronted with undeniable proof, my husband confessed to what he called “an emotional affair”. I knew that wasn’t all it was, so I continued to ask questions and challenge his justifications. Even after I left South Africa for counseling here in the States. And even though he told me my distrust was making it impossible to move forward.

Late one night, while I was here and he was there, I questioned him yet again as we chatted online. And he finally admitted that it was a full-blown affair.

That was a year ago today.

The blatant, ongoing deception hurts far more than the adultery.

And it remains the most painful and difficult part of my own journey of healing.
It’s why trust is so shaky.
And why doubt comes so easily.

It’s also why I’ll never stop asking the Lord to help me live a life marked by unshakable integrity.

Peering through the looking glass of Love.

Often it is easier for me to see God when things are going well, but I begin to ask “Where were you God?” when I see my friends struggling.

Yet I am learning that it is in these stories of suffering that God’s redemptiveness is often working the most powerfully.

So on our one-year anniversary, I am choosing to celebrate not only my story with John but also the stories that have intersected with my own this year and given it depth, breadth, and awareness of Divine Love.

You see, I believe that in the intersection of pain and joy, love and loss, suffering and celebration we see a redemptive picture of the One whose sovereignty is above all and through all things, and that is the greatest gift I could ever receive on this – my one-year anniversary.

My prayer is that for others who are celebrating anniversaries… of joy, of sorrow, of gifts, of loss, of betrayal, of committment… somewhere in the height and depth of your particular anniversary, that you too have an opportunity to peer through the looking glass of Love and see your circumstance in a Divine Light that gives you comfort, hope, and yes – even joy…

You hear, 0 LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry. (Psalm 10:17)

For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (Psalm 22:24)

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119:50)

For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

 

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Responses

  1. This was beautifully written. I loved reading of your heart and journey this past year.

    I came from Alece’s blog. I’m glad I did.

    Congratulations….on your wedding. My 2nd born got married this year. It was truly a celebration.

    I write on my blog of my journey into living as one who is loved. I have lived many, many years as a religious woman… until God came for me and invited me to know true, relentless grace.

    I’d love to have you visit. I love meeting new people, especially younger women. God has placed a love in my heart for younger women.

    It’s great to meet you.

    Merry Christmas!
    Julie

  2. Julie

    Thank you so much for visiting! Alece is amazing. I have been so encouraged, inspired, and blessed from her blog. I can’t wait to read yours too.

    I love learning from people who have been down the road I am now just starting to walk in my marriage so I’m sure your blog will be a frequent place for me to land. Another friend who has inspired me greatly with marriage stuff is http://www.melaniechitwood.com

    The online community is such a blessing for those of us trying to figure stuff out as we journey along our path with Christ… I’m so glad we are all on the journey together!

    Thank you so much for sharing your blog… Blessings & Peace+

    Jenny

  3. Jenny, Thank you for your sweet comments at my blog. You’ve blessed me today!

    I will check out your friend’s blog. I’ve enjoyed my blog visit here today. I’ll be back for sure!

    Yes, Alece is amazing… she has inspired us all through her struggles with life and her vulnerability… I’m glad I found her as well…

    Again, thanks for visiting and your words…

    Julie

  4. thank you, jenny. your heart is beautiful.

    happy anniversary, my friend.


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