When i look back at old pictures of myself, this is one of my favourite pictures. It was taken about 4 years ago, at the farewell "party" thrown by my Toronto church. I think my face kind of sums it up. There's a few tears in my eyes... partially from being overwhelmed at the love shown to me from my church family, but also partially from the fear i felt about leaving home, and entering into the unknown land of support raising and moving (first, back to Edmonton, and then to Montreal.)
One of the greatest gifts God has given me is strength. It seems funny to say this, because well, He gives everyone strength, and is our strength, but i like to think that He's given me an extra dose of "strength of character."
It's true, there have been times, when i have definitely misused this gift, and have just wielded my strong personality to hurt and destroy, but in the past few years, God has also been teaching me that a strong character is best paired with a humble and teachable character. This is not to say that i am a humble person (VERY far away from that, i know), but i
think know that this is something that God has been working and developing in me (thankfully).
It's been raining a lot lately. Everything is grey, and slushy. Seems like February and March are just those kinds of months. Dreary and downcast. It's hard to believe that these are the months that kinda, in a sense, lay a foundation for spring. You can't get lush green grass and leafy trees without all of this wetness and dampness.
You'd think that this season of preparation for getting married would be full of excitement, just like you'd think the promise of spring would bring fervour and high spirits. But it doesn't, does it? I mean, eventually it does. But many days, when it's been dreary and blah for awhile, it seems like the days are stretching on forever, while the rain and hail and wet snow continue to drape the surface with whiteness.
And that's precisely what this preparatory season has been for Sam and i. i love this man with all my heart, but because of some circumstances, the days are a bit harder than they were in the summertime, when there was mostly sunshine with the occasional sun-shower. It's no cause to give up, and we don't have plans to do so...but external factors have meant that Sam and i are growing in, and needing an extra dose of humility.
Today, i found out that some people, who disapprove of Sam and i getting married, also have issues with my character, namely my strength of character. Without getting into details, i was initially really hurt by the accusations that they put forth. i called Sam and cried, and called my parents and cried. i felt ashamed about my character and wanted to hide myself from everyone. My sadness soon turned to anger, and it was all i could do to restrain myself from lashing out against them, and sending them a very hearty and harsh retort. i felt like an abused dog, just wanting to snarl and bite back. i wanted to vindicate myself. Show them how misguided they were.
But after praying and some time with God and His Word, all i could hear from Him was, "Don't say anything." i felt as though i died a little. i had been rehearsing in my head what i would write down. i wanted to prove to them that i'm not a monster. That they had made preemptive judgements about me without even knowing me. That they were the ones being unfair and judgemental. But God kept saying, "Don't say anything."
The story that came to my mind today is the one of David and Saul. The one where David has the opportunity to cut off Saul's head, and would have been justified in doing so, and yet doesn't...even though he was in the right, and Saul was in the wrong.
I've been reading (if you can call this slow pace "reading") a book called A Million Ways to Die. Let me tell you, tonight, whilst letting go of my rights, letting go of my need to defend myself, i really felt like i was dying. It hurt.
The more i thought about it, though, i realized that said persons were right about one thing. i do have a strong character. It is a character that has to be worked on and moulded. But it is not a character that i need to be ashamed of. After all, it is God who has shaped me to be who i am. When i look at the Bible, it is littered with stories of strong women. Deborah, Jael, Esther, Ruth, Martha...even my namesake, Lydia. It is strong women like Rosa Parks, who have changed the course of history, and it is strong women who survive and care for their families, even in times of crises. It is a gift that has been given to me and has enabled me to make it through support raising, battle through depression, and that will enable me to care for and love Sam and my family, no matter what.
Strength of character without humility is unwieldy and dangerous, but nights like tonight humble me and remind me that God is at work in my life, and that though i might have a strong personality, he is in the process of making me a more humble person.
Anyways, it's late, and i don't really know where i am going with this, except to say that all this rain and slush that Sam and i have to slog through can be seen through a rather depressing lens that says, "You're a sinner, and you have x number of faults, and your marriage won't work out because of who you are.", or, it can be seen as preparation for something beautiful: "You're a sinner, and you have an infinite number of faults, but your marriage will work out, not because of who you are, but because of the saving grace of an infinite God."
Spring is coming, my friends, and it's all rather exciting.