12 years . . .
That's how long we've lived in Wisconsin.
My husband joined in with the scores of suburban commuters, on that long-ago day in August, 2004.
You see, for the other 26 years of our marriage, we often lived on the edge. College gave way to Children's Pastoring which gave way to Self-Employment which gave way to Temp-ing which gave way to traveling with a Drama Ministry . . . and life was seldom . . . predictable.
After all, hadn't God given us Isaiah 55 as one of our Life-Verses, fresh out of high school? I, for one, was eager to sign up for Excitement. I was the quiet one, yet I longed to be part of a Grand Adventure. And if you know my husband . . . you know the adventure part of our relationship comes from him, and not from me. (Think Roller-Coaster Theme Parks!)
I grew accustomed to those years filled with adrenaline, and expected my life would stay that way. But of course, God shakes up our man-made ideas of structure, even if they include a view toward "non-structure!" And I knew that when my husband agreed "to sign-up with corporate America" as a way of living, a great deal of surrender had occurred in the heart of my adventure-loving-man.
The first Christmas we lived in Wisconsin, I gave him a set of photos with that Isaiah 55 verse hand-lettered on the mat. I was acknowledging that I understood the irony of "going out" only to settle in behind that desk.
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8
Truly, there can be no Joyous-Going-Out and Peaceful-Coming-In, unless we have surrendered to the Sovereign Will of our God, who does not move in the ways that men might move. His thoughts are not like ours.
But oh, how much higher and sweeter and wiser are His ways!
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!" Romans 11:33
In this very place, God set aside a home for the quiet that I would need, and the beauty that my husband would seek as well. Because "Going out" doesn't always require a physical movement. Sometimes the going is by way of the heart, by diving in to the depths of the riches that Jesus wants to plant in that softened soul soil.
As I watched my husband pushing the limits on that stresss-test-treadmill today, and I heard the Cardiologist say the words "Good!" I realized I had been holding my breath for a very long time. Because this man has cared for me through my own weakness and pain in a way that I could not have envisioned before the Corporate-Surrender time. And my own trials had softened this heart of mine to be ready to take up the waiting, if this was the path required.
But we rejoice over the report that the valves in his heart are sufficient for what is required! And as we prepare now for the original surgery to be rescheduled, we can say with open eyes that sometimes a new place happens in the place where you've been all along.
"Instead of thornbushes, pine trees will grow, and instead of briers, myrtles will grow; and they will be a sign for the LORD, and an everlasting name that will not be cut off." Isaiah 55:13
When we first moved into this home, we spent months clearing away thornbushes and briers. Little did we know that God was clearing away the tangles that had rooted in our hearts.
He was preparing the way, then, for this Season in life, today. For the hearts that are HIS, we bear HIS everlasting name.
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