Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chapter Four: Called, Loved, Kept.

I was starry eyed for the 22 year old young man I met when I was sixteen. He was a gifted musician who loved the Lord and spoke confidently of his hope in Jesus Christ; He knew the Word and could defend it. I trusted him to lead us spiritually, guarding our family with Truth. When he was performing on stage, singing his original songs and skillfully playing his guitar, I was enamored. From the moment I accepted his proposal of marriage, I imagined a bright future for us. I dreamed of supporting him as he rose to fame and worldly success in the music industry, having a house full of children, and being deeply fulfilled and happy. I had never imagined supporting him through the death of his mother and my friend. I had never imagined how the instability of the music industry would affect our marriage and our finances. I had never imagined depression or financial ruin entering my household.

We hadn't followed the logical, practical path for success. The American dream: the college education, the career, the house, the car, the vacations, the stuff, was not happening for us. The more we depended on ourselves, the deeper we struggled.

Finally, in my despair, I had turned to the only One who could provide a way out of this land of famine where we lay. I imagined Shane getting royalties from a hit song, money in the mailbox, or Shane finally getting a record deal. I prayed, and the God of All Creation had heard me and answered my cry...

Shane picked up the phone and his countenance changed. He was joyful. Moments later, he hung up and shared with me God's sweet provision. It wasn't a record deal, money in the mail, or news of a hit song...Some new friends we had met in a parenting class only a couple months before were calling to offer us a free basement apartment for a year so that I could come home full-time right away and so Shane could focus on fully providing for our family. We knew that God had answered our prayer in His perfect way.

Two days later, we learned that another baby was on the way. While our families mourned over this poor timing and the horror of us moving into a one bedroom apartment several miles away with two babies, the doctrine of God's sovereignty that we held so dear made us confident that God was working in our lives and providing for our needs.

We moved into that apartment with a walk-in-closet turned kitchen with our baby girl and my pregnant belly, thankful and humbled. We were thankful for God's grace to provide, but our pride was humbled by our inability to provide for ourselves. How it appeared to the world outside was humiliating. God hadn't used my solutions to provide (a hit song, money, or a record deal). He had not used ways that would give credit to me or to Shane. My God is not a tame God, but His mysterious ways are holy and perfect and He is jealous for His glory.

We believed that God "knows the plans [He] has for [us]...plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). We had to believe He had called us to this place. As the next year passed, He would love us, yet keep us in a state of dependence upon Him and .....there He keeps us still. We were -and are- called, loved, kept.

Today, I leave you with the lyrics to a beautiful song my husband wrote. I wish it was recorded so you could hear the beautiful melody God gave him.

Called, Loved and Kept
Shane Martin

This world hates me
Like it hated you
Lies surround me
As I hold your truth

But it’s only by Grace and Sovereignty
I can suffer with You


I’ve been called by God, from death to life
I am loved by the Son who bled
I am kept by a grace that preserves to the very end
I am called, loved and kept

Infinite mercy
Love that has no end
Before the beginning
You took away my sin

And it’s only by Grace and Sovereignty
I’ve been drawn to You
©2002 Ninety5 Songs, ASCAP

I also want to send love to Chris & Hannah who so graciously responded to God's prompting of their hearts. That precious apartment was a gift.

Stay tuned as I fill in the gaps and connect the dots for His perfect story of my life....

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