If you have held on for this long then You. Are. Awesome. This is my final installment over the book Beyond Ordinary: When A Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough by Justin and Trisha Davis. I hope y’all have enjoyed this so far! As I said, I’ve learned a lot from this book.
Up until this point, we have seen Justin & Trisha speak on how it is possible for our lives to slip from extraordinary and into ordinary. We saw the couple turn against each other, suffer from using the other person to fill God-like holes in their lives, fall into discontentment, face an affair, and choose to find healing. They learned to never stop allowing God to work in their lives because the most important thing we can do is to pursue Him and allow Him to change our lives.
Looking back at the discussions in Part 5, we see the lives of Justin & Trisha take an interesting turn. After the affair was exposed, Trisha did not desire to see Justin. Justin was planning on pursuing a relationship with Trisha’s best friend. Trisha packed up Justin’s things and filed for divorce. The couple was close to going their separate ways. To choose to face their mistakes, live with the consequences, and simply find the silver lining in the process. Yet instead of moving on and living with the hurt and bitterness, the couple chose forgiveness.
Like all of us when we face distressing situations, Justin & Trisha had to acknowledge they had been wounded. They were placed on a path of brokenness they had never expected to come to in their lives. They had to learn to walk the path of brokenness toward healing. More importantly, while they walked the path separately they chose to find healing with each other.
No matter our distress, we all need healing in our lives. Your healing will probably look different than the healing of your neighbor, but healing it still absolutely necessary. Justin had to overcome the ways he hurt his wife but also understand how he allowed darkness to penetrate his heart. Yet Justin notes in the text that even though Trisha was completely overwhelmed with her own healing of pain, loss, and depression, she still daily chose to fight through her wounds to love her husband. This is dedication. This is what it looks like to love like Christ.
During the healing process, it is important to understand apologies do not make everything go away. Making promises to do better and be a better person cannot take the pain away, but this does not mean it is not possible to overcome the pain.
Pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die.” I came to learn in the same way as the author’s that complete and utter destruction of the person I was and the life I had was completely necessary for God’s work in my life. As stated before, God does not desire to fix us or make us better, He desires to heal us, complete us, and make us new. The healing God worked in my life only came when I allowed my old life to die. The day I reach rock bottom, the lowest valley of my life, whichever metaphor you wish to use, was the day He picked me up and began to rebuild me. He brought me back to life.
I find it funny – while Justin was separated from his wife he met a friend at Starbucks one day. This man told Justin he was praying a Lamentations 3:16 prayer for him. Like Justin, I had NO CLUE what the verse said.
“He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust.”
An odd prayer to pray, right? But at a closer look, we, along with Justin, see what this man meant. For us to find true and complete healing in our lives, God has to destroy us first. Only when we face our destruction can God recreate us, for it is during the recreation we find the changes in our hearts (see how we’ve come full circle?).
The couple explains they had to learn to be healthy again. How a truly healthy relationship isn’t a relationship void of all conflict, but instead a relationship void of unresolved conflict. They had to learn how to trust each other again. Justin had to go back to the college kid who took on the challenge of wanting to date Trisha. Trisha learned to stop viewing Justin as someone without human weakness. The couple chose to pursue each other mutually and fight for each other. This led to extraordinary.
Healing is a process. While God recreates us, we have to overcome the darkest things in our hearts He will undoubtedly dig out. Speaking specifically about myself, I have spent the past couple years overcoming two major fears in my life – the fear of never being good enough and the fear or losing my ex, followed by a multitude of other things. God showed me how overtime I allowed these two fears to overtake my life and become the driving force for who I was. I became what priest and author Brennan Manning would call an imposter. I lived in fear, became preoccupied with my acceptance and approval, and attached value to things that in hindsight REALLY did not matter at all.
God refined my heart to submit my fears to him and let go. I realized along the journey while I loved God, I was not living in the fullness of his love. As the author’s state – When we do not live in the fullness of God’s love, we are incapable of loving others fully. This is what became applicable to my life. I did not live in the fullness of my Father’s love and because of this I was incapable of loving myself and showing true love to those around me.
While fear still likes to creep it’s way back into my life in lots of different disguises, I came to realize my identity in relation to my Father is the only identity that matters. We are transformed to the image of Christ as God continually transforms us into who we can become. Transformational change requires surrender, vulnerability, and transparency, but it is possible. While my transformational change along the path of brokenness was not the one I desired for my life, it is a journey I will always smile upon and be thankful for.
Over the summer I read the book A Warrior’s Faith by Robert Vera recounting the transformational life of Navy SEAL Ryan Job. In the book, Vera often quotes the verse Job 23: 10 “But he knows the way I take; When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” This verse deeply resonated with me. I immediately wrote it on my bathroom mirror and even included it in a letter to a friend undergoing a truly transformational summer. Justin & Trisha as well chose to use this verse concerning their journey. God will always refine us so we can come forth as gold.
God is still writing our stories (just like I learned when I chose not to start my blog because I wanted God to finish my story first). This is not how it works. He is ALWAYS writing our stories. God fights for our minds and our hearts so we can reach extraordinary. Don’t stop fighting. Don’t stop praying. The best is still ahead and every day is a day to find joy in our journey.
Extraordinary is daily choosing to become who God created us to be.