Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Seasons, Chapters and Choosing Love


I recently wrote about our old oak table and the memories which surround the table. My time of reflection brought me to conclude we need to hold on to our table. The table has actually since undergone a makeover.

Trips down memory lane happen frequently for me these days. And those trips take me back to the different seasons of my life. Like different seasons of the year, God takes us through different seasons throughout our time here on earth.


A while back, my friend Holly sent me a Voxer message after reading a post I had written on the book I dream about (every writer’s dream, I believe). The book would likely be a collection of stories from my years of marriage. Holly suggested the chapter titles simply be a particular year of my marriage. Her suggestion resonated with me.

Basically, the different seasons of our marriage would become chapters.

I don't imagine the book would be a chapter for every year of my marriage but it could highlight the years when I believe God did something profound, grew our faith and trust in Him or prepared us for a new chapter.

My book choices lately are ones written by Shauna Niequist. I loved her book Bread and Wine so I decided to continue with a Shauna theme by reading Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. I completed Cold Tangerines and have a hundred pages or so left to read in Bittersweet.

In the chapter titled “Sea Dreams” of Bittersweet, Shauna writes, “Sometimes we have to leave home in order to find out what we left there and why it matters so much.”


Her words speak to a chapter in my marriage; a chapter when I left my husband and home. This chapter would be titled "1999." Whenever I reflect on this chapter I try to do so without regret. Of course, it breaks my heart to recall the hurt I caused my husband. At the same time, I do believe the act of leaving allowed me to discover what I had left and why he mattered so much.

Thankfully, 1999 ended with God having grander plans for the next chapter – 2000 – a chapter which included a fight for my marriage.

We appear to be on the edge of another chapter ending. It too relates to the words written by Shauna. The second part of those words may end differently though. I tread lightly here because this chapter ending doesn't relate to my marriage. On the other hand, it impacts our family and lays heavy on my heart.

As one chapter potentially ends, God teaches me how each chapter matters.


In a video series, Living Life Together featuring Shauna Niequist, Shauna says in the second video of the series that “our stories are stories of who God is.” God is love. And God calls us to love. We love no matter what the future may hold for a relationship. I have the choice to look back with regret for years spent loving someone and now consider it as time wasted. I also have the choice to be grateful for the chapter they were a part of. And I can be more like Christ by choosing love amidst the sorrow of their loss.

Every chapter matters because whether it’s a chapter filled with joy or sorrow we have the opportunity to glorify Him. It’s another chapter of our life which tells of who He is.

The year 2015 would surely be another chapter in my book. It's shaping out to be a profound year of God awakening us to His love, faithfulness and every day graces. The year has been full of good and hard moments and we haven’t even made it halfway through the year. Yet, we experience God’s love and faithfulness, maybe even greater so when He walks with us through the hard.

While 2015 may include a less fortunate ending for people we love, the marriage between my husband and I, which came close to an end back in 1999, will celebrate 25 years in October. All praise and glory goes to God.

This reflection reminds me not to limit what God can do. His ways are not our ways and many times far exceed our understanding. So I will choose to love through what may be an end of a chapter.

While I might guard my heart more closely, I will not close my heart to choosing love again no matter how this chapter ends or the next one begins.


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26 comments :

  1. Ah, Beth. The seasons of life - the joys and the sorrows - and through it all, the consistent hand of God weaving His story. My chapter "1999" was also not a good one. It too brings me much regret. But, praise His name, though the plot of my life changes, and there are some chapters that are full of pain, the Main Character remains the same.

    I am asking God to be that steady Presence in your heart and life right now. I know the grief you are feeling, and the helplessness, but God knows about it, too. We can guard our hearts, but He has saved them - and He will wrap His arms around them when we are hurting more than we know how to feel.

    Love you, dear friend.

    GOD BLESS.

    (And, write that book! I just KNOW that many would be touched and inspired by your marriage's story! It's very inspiring!!)

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    1. You know how much I always love your comments here, Sharon, right? Yes and Amen to the Main Character always remaining the same. I'm just forever grateful for His presence in our lives. I am grateful for your friendship too. Love you. xoxo

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  2. Hi Beth! What a great grace that this year is such a blessing to you and your husband. You have worked hard, and you are being rewarded. I like the idea of the chapters being the years too. How exciting that a book is taking shape in your mind! So exciting!!
    Keep wandering around your memories my friend. They will inspire and teach others...
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Ceil. xoxo

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  3. Your life is a beautifully woven tapestry of His grace! Love you my friend.

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  4. This is beautiful, Beth. :) Thank you for sharing.
    I watched that video series with Shauna Niequist on "Right Now Media" not too long ago.
    Funny, your quote is a part of one of the quotes that I wrote down too. :)
    I just started reading her "Bread and Wine" book.
    Good luck with your book ~ sounds like you have a great start with some awesome ideas.
    ~ Best to you ~

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    1. I really enjoyed her video series on Right Now Media. That's a great resource, isn't it? Thank you for stopping by. It's so wonderful to connect. Blessings.

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  5. Such beautiful words here, Beth. God has knit together something incredible in the intricacies of those years, the stories behind them, and the power of His work in and through you. Just like your family has done on that table, He has made His mark on you. And...I'm thinking a lot of people would love to read it. Thank you for sharing a piece of it here with us. Congratulations on your milestone with your hubby - in joy and triumph might we always praise Him. #tellhisstory

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany. I have so appreciated your kind comments recently on my posts and look forward to getting to know you better through your blog. Blessings.

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  6. I love your story of grace and am always thankful for how you honestly share what matters most. Your stories always point to how God has made a difference in your life and you arrant afraid to share the messy with us. I personally can't wait for your story to be written because I will be first in line to buy it and read it. Love you friend!

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    1. Thanks friend. I so appreciate you and the ways you love and encourage. (((hugs))) xoxo

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  7. Chapters of life...I am in one that I did not foresee, but who does? God knows the ways in which we should go so my husband and I are praying that we would hear His voice clearly and know. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in any chapter. The Book is open and I know God is right here with us.

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    1. Saying a prayer for you right now, Linda, and sending hugs your way. Blessings to you, dear friend. xoxo

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  8. Love love love!!! So glad that you are still considering the book. Love the way you and Scott love one another and wish you another 25 years of joy! xoxo

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    1. Thank you, friend. And thanks for that awesome chapter title suggestion!! Love you much. xoxo

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  9. Your testimony and heart for the Lord encourages me. Thank you for taking the time to see God's hand in your story so you can share it with us. Praise God for the work He has done in your marriage and for the clear image He has give you to bear.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words of encouragement, Karen. Blessings to you.

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  10. This is beautiful, just like you, just like your marriage. Goodness, your words offer so much hope, friend. I am looking forward to seeing them bound up in a book one day. Love you dearly.

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  11. I love the idea of tagging chapters with the years. I would certainly buy your book, my friend. My husband and I have had similar paths as yours. Thankfully God kept us together even while I tried to end it. Grace is a beautiful gift.
    I will have to read something from Shauna Niequist! I've been hearing about her for the past few months. I think God is trying to tell me something ;). XO!

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  12. Beautiful and inspirational reflection. I was on retreat once where we had the practice of reviewing our life by chapters, naming each chapter for our whole life. Sort of an outline of a spiritual biography. Your post reminded me of that practice and one that would be good to do again. Blessings, Beth

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  13. Sweet Beth, I'm sorry for your loss, but so very thankful for what God is doing in your life. Our family has had loss this year too, some unto death and some like what you are experiencing. Both losses are to be grieved, I love the idea for your book - keep the dream alive, God will reveal His will in His time. Are you going to share your table makeover :) Have a blessed {and safe} weekend. Thinking of you and your "men" and being thankful for the sacrifices you all make for us all.

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  14. Beth,
    Better late than never...so glad you see your writing out in the blogosphere again. I have been thinking of and praying for you...so many seasons and milestones to celebrate!! I've had company, but you've been in my thoughts...
    Love you girl,
    Bev xoxo

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  15. love you!! You're such a joy to me dear friend. Nice Shauna references, too:).

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