Love is nothing like what I thought it was. It's not Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak kissing in the rain. It's not happily ever after. It's not fireplaces and slippers and pipes and endless ecstasy.
It's hard, gut wrenching work.
Being human is not what I thought it was either (which is probably the reason love isn't what I thought it was).
Before struggling with my own sin and witnessing Michael's struggle, I had never witnessed anyone truly struggle with sin. Well, I say that, but it's not entirely true. I did see people struggle with sin but I got the impression that they were somehow "less than"...I always got the impression that anyone who struggled with sin wanted to sin. None of the "good" people that I knew struggled with sin, or at least I didn't know about it. I was very judgmental.
In my mind, there was a list of behaviors that were sins and if I could avoid things like dancing or drinking alcohol or dressing immodestly...and make it to church every Sunday...that my life was basically free from sin and I would be "saved".
So when I became old enough to know I was a sinner, for a while I felt like I was okay because I checked off the items on the checklist...but eventually things started going wrong.
I couldn't really understand why I struggled so much on a daily basis...it seemed like everyone else had it all together but I struggle so badly...every day. I just kept thinking that if I could just "get it together" that things would be fine. And as I watched Michael struggle, I was just as judgmental of him as I was of everyone else...and myself.
I kept holding myself and my marriage up to the seemingly perfect models that I saw at church and on TV.
I held onto my images of perfection for a long time. I probably would have told you that I let go...but I hadn't. It seems like God has been working really hard on me for the past couple of years. I spent the last year or two literally going through the grieving process as I came to terms with reality.
Because I WANTED to be the perfect Christian girl that everyone looks up to and tries to be like. I WANTED to have a marriage that is admired and sought after my all. I wanted what I thought almost all of the christians I knew had.
But I finally let go. It's for real. I'm not perfect, and I'm never going to be. I struggle with gluttony and self discipline on a continual basis. Michael is not perfect and he's never going to be. My marriage is not perfect and it's never going to be.
But you know what? I'm growing. And even in it's brokenness, marriage is good! God has developed a level of compassion that I never knew was possible. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to leave the wrong impression...as i said before, I'm not perfect...do I still judge sometimes? Yes. But compassion is becoming more and more of a trend in my life. Instead of seeing the sin, I see the struggle. Because I KNOW what the struggle looks like. I know what it feels like. And my heart hurts for anyone in the midst of it.
God's grace truly is amazing! It continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And I need that, continually.
It's like I'm a big, ugly, hard, dirty and formless piece of rock. I know I'm hideous and need to change, but all I can manage is to roll around in the dirt on my own. But slowly God chisels this ugly piece of rock. And every once in a while I see what He's done and I am overwhelmed with His goodness and awesomeness. God is working and His grace covers me! And His grace is truly amazing and sufficient!