Being the Prodigal Daughter

If you read my Love at First Sight? or Letting Go of Perfection: Work in Progress post or if you know me at all, you know that our dating life was marked by sin. And our marriage has been far from perfect.

At the time, I didn't even know how much that sin affected me.  In fact, it's taken me years to realize just how much it did.

It went on for months and the fact that I was able to do something that went against everything I had been taught and personally believed for that long a time...well, the Bible talks about what happens when you do that. But the thing is, it actually went on for longer than that. It was a gradual thing, little by little I violated my conscience more and more until ultimately, I didn't even care that I violated it in the ultimate sense.

We had a wedding. We had a honeymoon. We went through the motions. But now, it's really hard to even think back on any of that because it's so marked by sin. And those old feelings of guilt and shame are overwhelming if I dwell on it.

It's hard to pinpoint the moment that God began to redeem our lives. I'm not even sure there is a pinpoint. What I do know is that He did and He is. It's more of a process than a defining moment. I feel like the process (for me, Michael's story is his own to tell) really began about 5 years into our marriage when I started a series of "Give ups".  I realized that satan's life plan for me wasn't working and I was tired of trying to make it work. So I gave up. And a few years later...under different circumstances I "gave up" again. Not the same "give up"...a different, more defining one...and since then I've had another or two.

Like an artist sculpting a statue out of a large piece of rock...God has been chainsawing away at the large unwanted pieces of rock. And with each piece gone He's getting closer to the image in His head.

I know that at different points in all of this our families were wondering where this...our marriage...was going. I know they must have been afraid and frustrated and angry and embarrassed. And I'm sorry for that. I wish that others didn't have to suffer for our sin.

But I'm so glad that we didn't give up. I'm so glad that God didn't give up. I'm so glad that we stuck around long enough to enjoy the fruit of not giving up. To see the good in not giving up. Because while I would NEVER want to leave anyone with the impression that we are (or think we are) perfect or without flaws or struggles on a daily basis...we're not, we don't and we do...things are good. Even in the moments of struggle we can see God's grace in our lives. In honest and raw conversations that end in calmness and prayer instead of physical violence. In trust in God to see us through instead of blame and isolation. In compassion and forgiveness instead of condemnation and pride at the discovery of sin. In the reduction in the amount of time required to bounce back from a disagreement. He's here.

Those years were hard. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. But they've made me thankful. I feel like I have some sense of how the Prodigal Son must have felt when he came home. Humbled, surprised and overwhelmingly thankful for God's grace!

How GREAT is our God?!

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