Our offices will be closed for the next week as Sara and I take a long-planned week away to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. So there may be some delay in answering emails or filling orders during that time. We apologize for any inconvenience that might cause.
We are really looking forward to this time away. The last two years have brought continuing transformation to our love for each other and spending some time celebrating that will be fun. I have so treasured the gift God gave me in Sara and could not conceive of navigating the past 39 years without her love, wisdom, integrity, and partnership in the life of Jesus. In every way she makes my life more—more joyful, more gracious, more engaging, more beautiful, more focused on Jesus, more settled in what’s real, more complete with wisdom and wonder. I’m so glad that we arrive at this season of our lives in growing excitement in knowing each other and still learning what it means to love another person the way God wants them loved. Marriage is a great place to learn that, because you cannot pretend to be what you are not when you’re together all the time. And when you truly find that the one who knows you best loves you most, you no longer have to be guarded.
When two young college kids fell in love over forty years ago neither of us could possibly imagine where life would have taken us and where our spiritual journeys would have gone. Every anniversary is a reminder of how much further we’ve come on this journey and what grace God has given us to keep tracking together.
I got an email the other day that expressed this joy of recognizing progress in her life by reading one of my books:
Wayne, I just read the Jake book again for the 3rd time and realized how far I’ve come on this journey, without even realizing it. The 1st time I read it as someone who felt stuck in the institution, not knowing there is life outside of it. 2nd time was more of a lonely time in our lives, thinking our we doing it right? Maybe we were wrong for leaving. Doubting ourselves every now and then. I read it for the 3rd time this past week and realized we are now on the other side of that, confident in this path that God has taken us on. And realizing it’s only going to get better, even with all the ups and downs of life. Thanks so much for writing and sharing what God puts in your heart! Our lives are changed because of it!
Isn’t that a great journey. First she recognizes the pain of disillusionment and feeling stuck not knowing how to find life beyond it. Then she read it during a time of transition where you’ve left what’s empty but comfortable unsure of what lies ahead. Finally she read it when her and her husband are finding life in the new creation, confident of God’s work in them. The journey to gratefully dislillusioned needs all those points. Waking up to the emptiness of negotiating life our own way or with religious systems is painful. Breaking out of that and watching people you love mistrust your heart for God only adds to it. But then finally you come into a wider space and realise that it has alll been worthwhile. Having some touchstones that recur in our life enough to help us measure our progress are incredibly encouraging.
I have that with Sara, over the past 39 years. I also have it with Scripture. Because I have read it constantly for the whole of my journey I ca
n see progress in my own life when I see how differently I perceive Scripture than how it was originally taught to me. Passages that used to confuse make more sense inside the new creation of his love, and Scriptures that used to destroy my trust in God now expand it. It has been a joy to learn to read it as a story of God’s redemption and not as a rule book for self-effort. (If you want to know more about that, don’t write me, check out The Jesus Lens. It’s free!)
I hope you, too, have some familar places that help you see what God is doing in your heart. It helps to see progress and know that he is moving in us even if that seems slow and the circumstances that surround us are a mess. And if it feels like you’re not making progress, don’t be discouraged, just lean into him. You’re probably trying to do too much on your own, which doesn’t help. Ask him to show you how to find his grace and his pace in your heart.