Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Choose Us

I went to Arkansas a couple of weeks ago and as I landed at the Little Rock National Airport, I couldn't wait to see what God had in store for the few short days I would be there.  I wondered if it would feel like home when I got off the plane, and whether or not I would be ready to return to California when the time came. What I found was a conflict so great I didn't know which way to turn, so I prayed and I've never stopped.  I've since discovered that although I thought for a time I was meant to return to Arkansas permanently, I'm not.  California is my home and it's where I'll stay for now, but oh what a journey of discovery with God it has been along the way.  There have been ups, downs, turnarounds, and roundabouts where I made both progress and mistakes, lane changes, and even missed some streets.  I have prayed, cried, and sought the Lord perhaps more fervently than ever before, and as always, He has been faithful to provide resolution, peace, and comfort.  Though I don't have all the answers, I have more of Him than I've had in the past, because with each new experience we go through with God, we grow.  Or, at least we should, but this growth often involves difficult choices.  What choices are you faced with today, and will you choose God?

I went to Arkansas for a job interview, upon completion of which I was told "we want you on the team," but interestingly enough the very same day my husband was told he could have the changes he had been wanting in his California.  "Okay, God, what is this about?" I questioned from my increasingly confused state.  We both seemed to be getting what we wanted, but we would either have to accept our offers and live 2,000 miles away for a time, or one of us would have to sacrifice the immediate achievement of a goal to support the other.  Because Sam makes substantially more money than I do, it made sense for me to be the one to walk away from my offer in support of him, but unwilling to accept defeat, I began knocking on every door of possibility I could find. In the meantime, our responses to the perplexing circumstances fluctuated. "I'll make a career change for you if I have to," he vowed, and to which I replied with "no, I'll give this up for you," but no matter how selfless we both were on day one, two, and three, the enemy persistently whispered into my ear all the things I needed not to meditate on.  For a brief period, he even looked primed for victory as I toyed with the idea of a long-distance marriage, but it wasn't long after I determinedly crucified my flesh for what seemed like the one hundred and twenty-seven thousandth time in just a few days that God finally spoke to me through Amos 3:3.

In the NIV this verse reads "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" and as I read it the first time God led me to it, my response was "God, I don't get it. What is your point?" yet as I continued to pray over it and ask for His wisdom, I realized that as Amos warned the Israelites of the imminent danger that was all around them at that time, God was warning me of imminent danger to my marriage if Sam and I weren't walking together, and from 2,000 miles away it's kind of hard to walk together.  Could our marriage survive?  With God's grace, sure, but I'm not so arrogant that I assume we wouldn't encounter temptation, testing, and heartache, so at the end of the day the question became - is it worth it?  The answer was no, it wasn't worth it, and in my concluding sentiments, borrowed from Tea Leoni in the movie Family Man, I said to Sam last night "I choose us," and in that moment, I actually felt the breeze of a door shutting as the enemy fled from our presence.  Not only that, but I could almost hear the heavenly rejoicing from the angels who encamped around us for every day leading up to that decision.  God won, and as He did, Sam and I together, won.  We not only grew individually and collectively in the Lord, but we grew in love for each other and what a sweet victory it has been.

The road getting here was far from easy, however, because it involved incredibly selfless love, seemingly great personal sacrifice, and fierce determination to stay the course with God, but through the test of our love, not only for Him but also for each other, the Lord has stretched out His hand of favor in ways I wouldn't be experiencing had I chosen anything but "us."  Don't ever let selfishness or pride rob you of the profound joy God has for you.  What you perceive in one moment to be a sacrifice of what you want might actually just be a test to show you that what you really want is right in front of you and not somewhere else.  When you give something up to honor Him, He gives back to you in ways you can't even imagine, so whatever you're going through, wait on the Lord to reveal His will, and at the end of the day, make sure you're able to say about your relationship with God - "I choose us."

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life (God), so that you and your descendants might live!" - Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)

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