Featured Post

Perfect Imperfection

Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Love for My Wife

I wrote this in the summer of 2005.
I think I have talked about this lesson in other blogs. This is when I first wrote about it.

It is about my growth and priorities in life. It is about receiving God's promises.
When we found Andrea had stage IV cancer we were overtaken with many emotions, after hearing the Doctor say, “I’m sorry but the cancer in her bones.” I found out a small fact that day. When the doctor is about to tell you bad news he gets a cassette tape out and begins to record the session. Why? Because he knows you are not going to hear nor remember what he says after the moment he says “cancer…” But Andrea and I remained somewhat calm as he began to explain the CT scans, pointing out the black spots in Andrea’s hips and lower back. I sat there looking at an x-ray of Andrea and there before my eyes was this simple looking black spot but it had the power to take her life. It seemed disproportionately small to the threat it posed. We left the office and drove home. I don’t really remember anything we said or if we even talked at all, but I did not want to go home. I knew that if we went home we would have to face what we were just told and I was not ready to do that alone. I drove to Lori’s house. Andrea sat in the car and I went in to break the news. All I remember is breaking down as I told her Andrea’s cancer was back. Ever since that day Lori, has provided a calming spiritual strength that we have relied on many times. After that it was time to go home and face this together, alone. All I remember is going to our bedroom and having a breakdown. I was lost in despair, fear, sadness, and grief. As I laid on the bed crying until I felt sick to my stomach, Andrea laid on my back crying as she was tried to calm me. She began to tell me not to worry, God is in control. I can’t describe to you what a woman of faith she is. There are not enough words to capture the faith of Andrea. The reality is Andrea was just told she had terminal cancer, and she is comforting me telling me it will be okay, and I’m lost in my despair.

As we began our journey, I began to look at my life. Of course you go through the expected thoughts, is this because of my sin? Is God punishing us? I did not linger on those thoughts too long, but I did begin to look at my life and my sin, not as a bargaining chip with God and not because I thought if I changed some things God would be obligated to heal Andrea, no I did it because I decided I did not want to live outside of God’s will for my life. I was ready to submit to Him. More than anything it was the fact that I was faced with a situation I had no control over. There was nothing I could rely on at this point but God. Even the doctor told us Andrea needed a miracle. And I needed God to be God and that started with my relationship with Him. Right now there is no cure for Andrea. Dr Atkins hope was to stabilize her condition to keep her alive long enough until a cure was developed. I’m not an expert but that is not good news. But it made it very clear where we needed to place our faith. As I told the doctor, “So you are saying there is no cure for Andrea, good then when she is healed you will know it was God.”

As I began to look at my life I quickly saw a sin I had to deal with. In fact God brought this to my attention during round one of the cancer but I did not deal with it. I loved my wife too much. That may seem like a strange comment so let me explain. Andrea is very strong in her faith, in fact I saw it the moment I first met her. It was something in her eyes. I saw all I needed; I saw kindness, love, and gentleness. I saw the spirit of God, and I wanted it in my life. Well I found it very easy in life to rely on Andrea’s faith. I think if I was at heaven's door and I was asked why I deserved to enter, I would say, “Well did I mention I know Andrea.” I failed to develop my own faith and my own personal relationship with Christ. Now it was time to face the fact that Andrea was an idol in my life. I had placed her above God. I worshiped her more than God. I put all my effort into building my relationship with Andrea at the expense of my relationship with God. And to be honest I was good at it. I received many compliments and praises that I found rewarding. So I found myself seeking the praises of men and before I knew it I was full into idol worship, and it was perfectly disguised.

As I began to step out from under Andrea’s faith and develop a deeper relationship with my creator, I was able to see my sin and repent. It hit me one night after Andrea and I had prayed, she said, “Jim what are you going to do when I’m healed? If your relationship is only built upon the intensity of this trial, what are you going to do when it is over? You need to have a faith of your own, a faith built upon your own relationship with God.” Andrea is a very wise woman of faith, and God used her that night to speak to me. When I was freed from my sin and I had God in his proper place I have found that my love for Andrea is deeper and more satisfying than ever before. God promises us life and a more abundant life. That is so true, what I thought was perfect love for Andrea, turned out to be as much about my own selfish desires as it was about loving Andrea, but now I have experienced a love for Andrea far beyond anything I have ever known.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I think in many ways we all idolize Andrea. Although she is not worthy of our praises as He is, she is worthy of His praise and I am sure that she is humbled that even He would wash her feet. I know that the first words she heard from Him were "Well done, they good and faithful servant."