I am sitting here.. Instagram open scrolling through my feed and I stop… and stare… The loving, heart fully open and in love with the moment kind of stare, at a video post of a couple exchanging their vows.
It’s nothing new, you might think.
People post their wedding vows online all the time for family and friends to watch.
And they do….
But this is different.
For one, I don’t know them personally. I’ve just literally, sort of, stalked the female. Kind of… In a good way.
The couple is quite known in our Christian world. Lysa Terkeurst and her husband Art, were and are people that I will always hold dear and close to my heart. She wrote many books that held me together in my darkest moments.
She just wrote another one that I have just started… and it is even better!!!! You can feel God in-between the pages! That good.
So here I am, watching her exchange vows with her husband… and tears are running down my face, because I remember sitting in this same room watching her on a video explaining that her marriage was over…
My heart hurt so badly for her at that moment. I remember my husband, peering over my shoulder as I heard him gasp in saddened disbelief.
We literally just weeks before that video had watched them both on a video talking about being Christian…. Together… married… Of course it was taped prior to all this.
But this moment… this current, today moment, isn’t a heart hurting moment. My eyes are filled with tears because of the restoration, the forgiveness, the power of living with a mighty God that leaps out and shines of His love for this couple. This couple that has plastered across social media for all to see… for all to see the love and compassion that only Christ can bring! My heart is celebrating with them.. in this series of video’s that I am watching. Of their family. Their vows. Their love. Christ at work. God glorified.
The courage it took to live their lives in the spotlight of the world… the good and the bad…. the judgement of others…
This is courageous my friends… this is living life for Christ… right here!!!
And I am met with sadness and sorrow at the very next moment.
Because I realize that WHAT I am watching is how we as Christians SHOULD be living! We should be living in pure view of the world. So unbelievers and believers can see how God works. How forgiveness happens. How love restores and faith is real! This is how we are supposed to live…. Throw the doors wide open and let me show you inside my self… the pain the hurt the damage…. And I will lead you along the path for you to see how God Himself restored ALL of me… into a better version of what I even thought was possible!
Let me walk you through the moments I couldn’t speak.. The friends that sat next to me and finished my sentence’s. The pastor that spoke to my soul…. Not caring about my feelings.. but took the courage to speak into my soul to save me!
Let me tell you about the Christians that stopped and prayed for me. That text me verses. That loved on me when they didn’t even know me! The one’s that crossed their comfort zone to tell me something they believed God needed me to hear…. They were always 100% correct….
But that isn’t how they live where I live.
That isn’t what people in my part of the country know/do.
And the words that followed in my brain were filled with hurt… and pain…
“Tabitha, we just don’t air that kind of stuff in public.”
“We just don’t talk about that stuff around here.”
Or the Pastor I spoke to…. Sitting in his office, his wife next to me… as tears are pouring down my face as I am explaining what has happened and asking his opinion/guidance.. and as he is silent with no words… He finally says “You know, we have some things occurring here, we just stay silent. It doesn’t do any good to bring it up, eventually it will settle down…”
He went on… and here I am mouth gapped open as I realize I have just massively thrown open the doors to a world of evil… and a pastor is telling me that sitting silent and letting it pass is what we should be doing!
This moment is when it hit me…. How insane I must have looked to all the locals when I moved here being so open about my past.
How utterly insane…..
But this… the video of their vows.. of the forgiveness and restoration that God is in the middle of.. this is what it is all about.. and if we don’t share this in real life for the world to see.. in real time.. to be allowed to pray for us.. to help us.. to come along side of us and offer encouragement how will people know how to find the hope when they are going through this?
No one escapes hard times on this earth.
I used to think this beautifully green part of the country I live in was amazing and set aside from the rest of the world. Because nothing bad happens here. In fact, I was told that when I first moved here.
“Nothing bad really happens here.”
But I later found out how untrue that was. Bad happens. Devastation happens… It just occurs in the darkness. There is no light to expose it. There is no hope, no forgiveness, no healing.
There is shame…. As the sharpie marker is pulled out and you are touched by it…. A swipe across your forehead, forever marked as the one who was divorced, or filed bankruptcy, or…. No plan for restoration back into society… Just a mark… and the gossip mill starts. And people turn away from you.
No hard conversations while confronting someone for understanding. No light being let in to bring in healing and grace and forgiveness.
No pastor to offer a safe place to bring all parties together to facilitate in restoring relationships or confronting evil.
I remember a young sweet girl that came to see me one day… When I asked her why no one speaks up. She replied, “We all have to live with each other.” It says a lot, that statement.
Yes, we do. And rather then holding each other up to high standards and calling out the evil and requiring the less then honest people to live in an upright world.. we allow them by our silence to prey on those that don’t know.
Yes, we all have to live with each other. But we all have a choice to make. Do we want to hold each other up to be better people and citizens? Or do we want to continue hiding the evil and letting it slither around destroying people… one by one.. till it reaches your door… and there is no one left to speak up for you.
Because you were just living with everyone.
Sometimes, the peace we think we have…. Really isn’t a peace at all.
Sometimes it’s a prison cell holding us back from the full reality of God and His love that He has for us…. Waiting for us to step out into the light.. to embrace His son.. Jesus Christ.
John wrote: …The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” (John 3:19-21)
If we truly believed that Jesus is the light in this world, that He came and died for our sins… wouldn’t we follow Him in exposing the darkness for what it really is… Evil? Wouldn’t we throw open the curtains and fling open the front door and honestly expose the darkest crevices in our life and how God came in and healed us? In the hopes that it could help just one other person come to know who Christ truly is….?
Wouldn’t that be worth all the pain and judgement and persecution that satan could ever heap on our heads?
We have a saying in our house… “Evil hides in darkness”
We choose to live in the light.
It takes courage to live in the light.
The light that you can only find in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save the lost…