Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, and now am found,
was blind, but now I see!
This has always been one of my very favorite old hymns and the words played over & over again in my head as Bernie & I celebrated 33 years of marriage last Saturday, November 1st!!
I felt compelled to share a little bit of our/God’s story with you all…enjoy!
I don’t ever remember ‘not knowing’ Bernie! We grew up together in a small farm town in South Dakota. We lived within a few blocks of each other (although in a town of 500 people, everyone lived within a few blocks of each other!!). Bernie’s parents and my parents were good friends. Bernie was my BFF (best friend forever!) all through jr high and high school. We hung out together all the time with a group of our friends. I was shocked when Bernie asked me out for our first (alone) date. I was shocked again when he asked me to marry him (a year later!).
We were just kids and didn’t know much. I was 18 (just out of high school) and Bernie was 21 (legal drinking age) and in his second year of college when we ‘tied the knot.’ I can’t even imagine how our parents must have felt!!!!
The first seven years of our new lives appeared to be going well, but I knew that I was working hard to try to push down a growing restlessness building within me. More & more I was sensing a deep emptiness and I had no idea how to deal with it. We had 2 small children, 2 good jobs, a nice home…what more could I want??
Well, those of you who understand that gnawing pain I’m talking about…know that you can’t just ‘push it down’ or ignore it…so I tried to explain to Bernie (as best as I knew how) what was going on inside of me and then I moved towards making a list of things that I would ‘edit’ out of my life in an attempt to bring about ‘real happiness.’ I changed jobs, we moved, and changed everything else that was within my control…to no avail.
Still empty. Still unhappy. Still restless. Still searching.
I remember clearly thinking that if none of these things worked then the only other thing left to ‘change’ was my husband. I soon ‘edited’ Bernie out of my life.
The downward spiral. Entered into an emotional affair that progressed. I had to drink away all the guilt I was feeling to live with myself. The party lifestyle soon became the very dark lonely life I was living. My 2 small children were forced to live the nightmare I had created.
One night I cried out to my childhood, distant, ‘now I lay me down to sleep’, God…I was desperate. I had become someone I hated. I had become someone I didn’t know. I was sickened. I remember telling this distant God that He was my only hope. I was quickly destroying my life…and my children.
Amazing grace. How sweet the sound. God spoke to me through the works of a Christian book that I just decided to buy (right??). This distant God came up close and talked to me about a relationship….right where I was!!...dark, dirty, and in much need of forgiveness. He made sense of the cross. I understood my sin and my need for a Savior. He lifted me up, dusted me off, and woo’d me into a relationship. I very quickly responded with “I do”…and His amazing grace went to work in my life!!
That was 26 years ago and my life has been rich beyond measure. Jesus died for me. He set me free from sin and death. I owed Him everything…my very life!
I am still today humbled at God’s fingerprints on my life. I understand the ‘fear’ of the Lord, as I know what I am capable of and I don’t ever want to go back to the ‘me’ without Jesus.
God healed our marriage over time and much hard work…and many tears. He restored us and our family. We both know that God had a plan for our lives way beyond what we could imagine…and He was determined to save us, despite us!!
I am continually amazed at God’s love for me and His mercy over my life. I will always remember where I came from and Who bought me out!!
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!