Monday, December 3, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Fourteen years ago, this Christmas, we moved into the house we currently live in. We enjoyed all the Christmas Eve festivities, came back to our 'new' home and laid our sleepy, then 5 year old, in his bed, to awaken Christmas morning, for the first time, in his new 'home'. It was a very Merry Christmas!

For us, it was a real miracle. The Mr and I were working our way back from a six month separation, in our sixth year of marriage. I was in a really bad place, ready and willing to call it quits once and for all. I was ready to start a fresh new life, just me and my oldest. (only one at the time)

I felt absolutely nothing remotely positive for the Mr. I was beyond hurt, betrayed, angry and couldn't even see a glimpse of a future for the Mr and I. For some reason though, one day, I felt compelled to say a prayer...It was a very shallow and selfish prayer, I admit, but I believe God took it seriously.

I told (yes, told) God IF He wanted me to stay married, He was going to have to change my heart. That sounds simple enough at first, right? Except I was not willing to DO anything to facilitate this 'change of heart' I was asking for. My idea of a 'changed' heart meant I wanted to feel all lovey-dovey for the Mr. I wanted the warm-fuzzy, romantic feelings. I told God I absolutely refuse to live w/ the Mr. as a 'roommate' or to remain married out of obligation.

It was a tall order and I had no expectation of God fulfilling these selfish requests at all. Basically I sat there, arms crossed, daring God to change my heart. I don't know what I was thinking but I don't think I fully understood what I was asking, all those years ago. God certainly answered...

Besides my own heart needing to be changed, we needed to save up for the money required to move into a new place. Our son and I were living with friends, the Mr needed a new job and was sleeping on his parents couch.

We began our home search in the opposite direction. A friend happen to be driving by and saw a for rent sign. We were sure this corner, 3 bedroom, 1 bath home would be way out of our budget. (who am I kidding? WHAT budget?) We applied anyway and couldn't believe the low rent they were asking.

The landlords wanted us to wait until January but the Mr talked them into letting us move in right away. I think it helped that he offered to over look the paint job the the interior needed. They were happy we only had one child and obliged.

Fourteen years, 3 more children and innumerable mistakes later...I find myself in a similar situation, with a few minor changes. I can't tell if the situation looks more or less hopeless. Can hopelessness really be measured? Either there's hope or there isn't, right?

I've come a long way in how I perceive love to look and feel like. But hopeless is hopeless. It's the  first week of Advent and the focus is HOPE. We were a young, hopeless couple 14 years ago and God came through in a mighty way. Why wouldn't He come through now?

James 4:2b You do not have, because you do not ask God.  This CHRISTmas, the ktbunch and I are praying for another miracle. Asking and hoping for something we want.

A miracle occurred 2000 years ago that enables this Hope to live within us. Hope was born. 

I could have left my marriage, not looked back and been justified. I wanted to leave initially, at the time...but not now and not when we were in the middle either. When God changed my heart--all I can think is, that it was forever. Permanent. I certainly didn't do anything. Except pray.  God heard my prayer then and I've no doubt He hears it now. 

I prayed for one thing: a desire to be married to my husband. It's still here. Among all the mistakes and regrets, the desire that I prayed for, has never left. 

Heb 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

I can not release this hope. We've come so far, this far, too far, to give up now. 

Psalm 71:14a But as for me, I will always have hope...

CHRISTmas is a time for miracles. 

Which one are you hoping and praying for?

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