I had a heart that wanted to share Jesus with others, so I was sure that God would send me a pious Christian leader on the "straight and narrow" path who desired to evangelize the world.
|Can you read his shirt? Perfect for this post.|
He was a risk-taker, a rule-breaker, a challenge-maker...and he made me laugh.
He had no intent of being a pastor or a missionary.
I fell hard and fast.
For years, my Christianity was bogged down by a list of "good intentioned" rules.
If I had married a missionary who was "spiritual" in the way I had been taught spiritual should look, I think I could have coasted along on HIS faith and "black and white" way of looking at the world for years to come.
But God had others plans for my life (funny how that works).
Clay was a "gray-area" kind of guy.
He challenged my polarized thinking...and was just what I needed to grow in my faith.
Someday soon, I will blog about "how" God put Clay and I together (because it was definitely God who did it), but today I am sharing part of "why" I think God put us together so many years ago.
In the early years of our marriage, I wrestled with the way Clay approached the world.
I judged the way he approached his relationship with God. I questioned him. I tried to change him.
Then something beautiful happened...and God changed ME.
I quit trying to force Clay to lead me in my faith...
and took responsibility for my own walk with God.
I quit trying to convict Clay to be what I thought he should be,
and started loving him for who he was.
I looked to the Holy Spirit for guidance in my life (and left it to Him to guide Clay's life too)...and my eyes were opened.
I saw how Clay's faith gave him patience when I would urgently rush in (sometimes causing damage). Previously, I had seen this quality as apathy...but God was using it for our good.
I saw how Clay's faith helped him hold his tongue when I would speak with venom.
Previously, I saw this quietness as a subtle attack of his own...but now I could see it as our protection. (I could never have handled harsh words from him.)
I started to intentionally look for ways to respect Clay and learn from him rather than tear him down...
and everything changed.
As I focused on learning more about God in my own life, God began powerfully moving in our marriage. Clay began leading me in the ways that I needed to be led.
I think some of the change in leadership was God blessing my obedience...but some of it was there all along and I had never allowed it to flourish.
Over the years, we have both matured in our faith (independently and together).
We have met in the middle in areas of contention.
We have challenged each other - and agreed to disagree.
And we have loved each other deeply through seeking God's perspective in the conflicts.
I still want to show the world the light of Jesus. Clay still wants to have a lot of fun.
It's powerful (and beautiful) how God has merged those two paths.
Today, we hoot and holler at the silly little things of life while we share the reason for our joy with everyone we meet.
I've learned that leadership doesn't have to meet a certain criteria. And while talking about our love for others and our desire to serve, Clay has been known to give a mischievous grin and say, "Beck, you might just be married to that missionary after all."
It is good to step back and praise God for not always giving us our way.
It's good to acknowledge how unchosen paths often make us better people.
It's helps to remember that even today's frustrations may be used for a bigger purpose than we can imagine.
Thank you Lord that the path has not always been easy.
Thank you that You will always use it for Your glory.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.