Life Under the Dead Wood

It is funny…yet not really…that the 19th was a rough marriage day.

It marked 3 1/2 years of being married but the day was mostly full of me feeling out of control of life’s circumstances and clammering in my attempt to get my clammy hands around all the pieces that weren’t in sync.

Suddenly, Scott felt like the enemy.

Wait, what? If I remembered nothing else from the FamilyLife marriage conference we attended as an engaged couple I got this: your spouse is not your enemy. The Enemy is the enemy.

Thankfully, I married a steady man who, more often than not, leads us into working through our stuff before we get to bed. That night, he led us to read the devotional together before bed (can I say how much I really didn’t want to?).

When we got to the questions at the end the dark cloud lifted off my heart a little as I saw God’s pruning shears pointed my way, lovingly coaxing growth. So very obvious.

The questions?

“How have you reacted to storms in your life? Have they drawn you closer as a couple or have you allowed them to drive you apart?”

It was comical. I actually laughed and said, ” I have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.”

Dead wood has been blowing off me this week. It’s not pretty when the rough edges go flying, but the end result is.

A friend once told me about walking down a road after a thunderstorm and stepping over dead limbs that had blown off a row of mature trees.

“It was as though God was giving me a personal object lesson of what ‘storms’ can do in our lives,” he said.

“In the middle of the storm when the wind is gusting, the lightening is popping and the storm clouds are getting darker, it’s difficult to believe that our troubles are purposeful. But God may allow a storm in our lives to clear out the deadwood so that new growth can occur. Isn’t it interesting how fresh the air feels after a storm is over?”

As my friend shared his parable with me, I couldn’t help but think back and reflect on the deadwood, several cords of it, had has been blown from my life over the years. One of the most important things Barbara and I have learned from these storms is that God is interested in our growth. He wants us to trust Him in the midst of the storms and to grow together as a couple and not fall apart.

Lord Kelvin was lecturing his students on an experiment that failed to come off as planned. He said, “Gentlemen, when you are face-to-face wtih a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.”

How much better for family members to allow life’s storms to enable them to depend on each other and discover new strength.

–October 19th entry from the devotional Moments Together for Couples from FamilyLife.

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