There was a time in my life when I had no idea what "a relationship" meant. I certainly didn't come from a family where anyone knew or practiced a relationship. We were one of the original dysfunctional families. Some people say that in the dictionary, along with the definition of dysfunctional, there is a picture of their family. If that is true, then my family should have had their own page.
I don't quite understand why we had such terrible strife when I was growing up. Perhaps it was because my mother and father "had" to get married (my mother's words). Perhaps my Dad resented that, and my mother felt that she had sacrificed her youth. I have no answers. I only know that there was a battle, almost daily, and that I was a very unhappy child.
When I was in college, studying psychology, I actually had a private discussion with my professor, and I asked her about families like mine. I brought letters and told her about some of the most volatile arguments. My father was an alcoholic, that much is clear. No normal person can down a case of beer, in a day, and this would go on for weeks.
My mother would have grand periods of brilliant light and low periods when I couldn't get her out of the basement. Since none of these things were ever spoken of, I carried them around like bricks in a sack, and it was years before I could ever let go of them.
Let me not forget my siblings. Wait, let's forget them. Let's just say that there was a big enough age gap, that we never became close. I try not to remember the utter cruelty, twisted lies, and unbelievable lack of kindness, and that is all I will say.
So how could someone like me ever have a relationship? Where would I start? And what did that mean? Well, without knowing, I began seeking God. Then with the birth of my second child, something happened within my spirit. It may have been triggered by a physical event. I almost bled to death. Then, there was the fact that no one wanted my little girl, so that made me want her more. We have had the closest relationship for over 36 years.
By the time my last child came around, she turned out to be a ray of light. And light, my friends, is what a relationship is. It's not sex. It's not games. It's not flirtation. It's about seeking the light that God gives to each of us, that we either accept or reject.
Light cannot be forced upon you. It shines on you, and some people run from the light. I know, because I have run before. But God never gave up on me. He followed me down the dark roads of my life, and wherever I stopped, He met me there. I find the love of God irresistible, even as I found my husband's love irresistible.
When my husband and I met, we had little in common. You might say that he was blue jeans and tennis shoes, and I was more satin and lace. But we both loved books, and, by golly, my two youngest children fell in love with him. They lived to get us together, and they very much succeeded. We fell in love, married, and we just celebrated our 27Th anniversary.
At 62, I have traded the satin and lace for flannel and fleece. I don't move as well as I once did, but his hands holding mine are still warm and strong. He lights my life with a strong, masculine presence, and a sense of decency that still amazes me. He has made me happy, and that is a first class miracle.
So where am I today? I am in a deep, personal relationship with my Creator. I am a Christian who walks in the foot steps of Jesus. I don't deserve His grace, but I can feel His light all around me.
I believe that God held me in His heart from the first second of creation, and He holds me in His heart today. My life is that cool cup of water, with which He quenched my thirst. I was hungry, and He fed me. And He feeds me still. I cannot tell you why God has blessed me. Lord knows that I haven't earned it.
Because of Him, and His grace, I seek to become a better person, a kinder person. It's like this: what do I want to leave behind, when my Father in Heaven calls me home? Kindness. Gentleness. Forgiveness. And love.
Father in Heaven. How can I ever express my gratitude for all of Your mercy and grace? You have changed my heart and my life. You have given me a loving marriage and children who honor and love me. You, Lord, not me. I could not have done this myself. Why, oh why, would You choose me?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008