Friday, October 22, 2010

City on Our Knees

Twelve days ago Jesse's cousin John Lockstein passed away after a long battle with cancer. Johnny was just 33 and one of those guys that no one ever says a bad word about and is remembered for his bright smile. A week ago today was his funeral, and in the last seven days my life has changed in a huge way.

My husband and I have been together for almost eleven years, married for eight, and like most couples, the romance had worn off. Yes, we loved each other, but most of our conversations revolved around the kids, the house, and money. We rarely ever went out, and when we did it was to Wal-mart to do the grocery shopping and grab some food from McDonald's. Life had become boring and uninspiring. Every night I would get upset with him for his snoring (despite the fact that he can't help it). We both were easily angered by little things.

But then Johnny died, and we spent a lot of time talking about our pain and what his wife and family was going through. Jess took a couple of days off of work for the showing and funeral, and we spent all of that time together, and somewhere in the times we spent holding each other through the tears, we both realized what a gift our marriage is and that we've been wasting it.

We greet each other with a hug and a kiss when we walk in the door now. At night when he snores, or in the morning when he wakes me up getting his clothing out of the closet for work, instead of getting angry, I thank God that I have a husband at all. I am blessed to have this man in my life. Despite that we are still mourning and tears spring to our eyes over small things because our loss is still raw, we're smiling more. There's a sparkle in his eyes that I haven't seen in a long time.

Money has always been a source of irritation between us, and I know that we aren't alone in that trouble. A few days ago, we had a discussion about money in which we were both a little short with each other. As soon as we were done talking, I immediately regretted my attitude, and I wanted to make it right, but before I could even begin, Jesse was reaching out to me, and we were both intent on making it right again.

We've discussed the changes over the past week, and because it's only been seven days, we both have the fear in the back of our minds that we could forget and go back to the way it used to be. But I'm not going to worry about it. Now, we are both committed to the renewed love and affection between us, and at the first hint of trouble, we're both ready to fix it. If we do start to slip, I know that because we've made it right this time, we can do it again.

Johnny is gone, but he's left Jesse and I with a terrific gift that we could never repay. I'm not saying that his death is a good thing. I miss him too much for that. What I am saying is this, that God is making my life verse true yet again. Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. God has taken the terrible thing of Johnny's death and worked it for good within my marriage. And I am truly grateful.

City on Our Knees by TobyMac is a inspiring read for anyone wondering how they can make a difference in the world. TobyMac is well known within the Christian community for his years in the back dc Talk and more recently his time as a solo performer. His recent CD and song, with the same name as the book, inspired him to put together this book filled with anecdotes and quotes about stepping up and making your life matter. The stories range from centuries old tales of revival and the power of prayer to recent stories of children starting charities or miracle rescues. The chapters are titled by lines from the song with stories relating to that theme in each. TobyMac also heads each chapter with a "blog" giving the reader an taste of the ideas within. I loved the many quotes from Scripture and famous theologians that give depth to the chapters and spent much of my time reading with my journal nearby so I could jot many of them down. The book is truly inspiring and gave me an answer to a question I had asked the Lord. Who knows how it will touch you?

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book for review!

Today's pic is Mia's entry into the elementary school's annual pumpkin decorating contest. She made it with her dad and grandparents. It's a dragon guarding her egg. You can see the head next to Mia's cheek.