Who Am I Part 3

That too good, God-sized love–that freed me right in my parent’s living room, that I’ll never comprehend while I’m on this earth, that is still changing me from the inside out, that is wrecking my world–also provided what you see in this picture, but not before He worked out a couple million details. I’ll just share a few here.

Just three days after I crumbled at the feet of Jesus I suffered a miscarriage. I was eight weeks pregnant. It was painful and difficult and even as I wrote this, as I relived it, I had to bury my head and cry again for the life I lost in the middle of night almost a decade ago.  The tiny life inside of me served an important purpose; he brought me to my knees, to Truth, to reality, to freedom. Thank you, precious child. I am so grateful for you.

When we were at the hospital sifting through questions and feelings, guess who was there with us waiting and grieving? My entire family. They opened their arms of acceptance and understanding again to bring comfort and hope, to share tears and prayers. Something I may have missed if I would’ve waited to tell them I was pregnant.

The following week Mickey proposed.  I said yes and we were married five weeks later. That was 9 years ago. Our extended family has known the truth of our relationship for many years and they’ve forgiven us for that too. They’ve showered us with grace and love. Showered us. They’ve cheered for us and helped us heal.

While the revelation of the saving grace of Jesus is an instant and overwhelming experiencing, living outside of those chains is a process and it takes time to navigate freedom’s waters. There was so much that I had done wrong, so many people that I hurt, so much destruction that had come from my choices and those choices had consequences. I had to rebuild trust in some of my relationships; I had to walk away from the people that wanted me to stay who I used to be, and I still made a lot of mistakes…I still do. But once I started learning who I was I began behaving differently.

That first year of marriage we just hibernated in God’s love. Then one night, a year or so after Mickey and I were married, I was driving home from Bible study. The Lord was working on me and showing me how I had lost my identity in Him for all those years. Ever so gently he said,

“Erin, I know you don’t want to go down that road again, so find yourself in Me. As you take those steps toward me you will have the marriage you desire, you will be the woman you want to be, the mom you want to be, the wife you want to be and you and Mickey will grow more and more in love.” 

I surrendered and cried in my driveway that night. We had already welcomed our first child by then and I was beginning to fear that I would fall into old ways as I struggled in my new role as a mom. I was desperate to live my life openly and honestly but I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know what it looked like to live my life without my own agenda, without being in control, without my boxes to check.

I began to search the Bible for answers on how to be a wife. What I found was love. All of the verses of love in the bible start with God’s love and end with loving others. The only way I could conceivably love my husband and not make a mess of things again was if I loved God first. So that became my priority, my calling, my first mission. It still is, and it is Mickey’s too.

To remind me of what the Lord was teaching me I re-phrased one of my favorite verses (Matthew 6:33),

Let God reign first in your life, surrender your ways and pursue His right way of being married. Then all the Godly things you desire in your heart will be given to you.

So that’s where I started. I surrendered my thoughts and actions to the Lord, everyday and all the time. I would question my motives and ask if what I was doing was honoring the Lord, was it honoring my husband? It has been the most humbling journey. I still mess it up. I still get it wrong.

But my failure as a human being doesn’t leave me feeling hopeless anymore; because the Holy Spirit living inside me reminds me of my eternal hope in Jesus Christ. He reminds me that I have been rescued and this life here on earth is meant to be lived surrendering my fears, my failures, my gifts, my talents, my joys, my pain, my journey so that I will receive His grace again and again and have no other option but to pour it out, to share and send it, post it and like it, until it goes viral, until  every person He’s assigned me to reach hears me say, “He loves you.”

As I began to live this out, this surrendered life, all of those desires that were deep in my heart (and I’m not talking about cars, a successful business, big houses or huge bank accounts rather for a marriage that serves God and each other, for children, for children that love the Lord and desire to hear His voice, for opportunities to use my gifts for Him, for wisdom, for freedom) were seen by God and He has given us abundantly more than we could think or ask.

That’s the real God you need to hear about. Don’t you want to know about a God that doesn’t withhold gifts from His children? What kind of Father would he be otherwise? Who puts coal in their kids’ stocking at Christmas? No loving parent would do that even if they’re kid was having a rough year. A parent blesses their kids even when they haven’t earned it, even when they don’t deserve it. And that is what my Father has done for me.

Mickey and I, together and separately, have had many  moments of repentance and surrender, just in writing this the Lord worked on us in a whole new way. Thank you, Jesus!  The process of healing and restoration and repentance happens over time. I’m grateful to tell you that through all of the healing we have remained devoted and faithful to each other and the Lord through our entire marriage. Honestly, not a single moment of indiscretion. Jesus changed me; He changed my life.

On days like today when I’m trying to comprehend all that He’s done, when it’s so overwhelming that I get weepy and can hardly speak because I can’t understand why He would do this for me, I pray this verse and I thank Him for calling me His.

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign LORD, you have even spoken over our future.”

Who am I? I finally know. I only know who I am because I know whose I am. I know it deep in my heart, I know it in my mind and my actions declare it (mostly, I hope…but hardly ever in the mornings I’ll admit). I am Erin. I am loved. I am His child. I am blessed. I am highly favored by Him. I am known by Him. There is nothing that I could ever do to earn that.

The same things He’s done for me He also desires for you. You are not outside the reach of His mercy. If I wasn’t, you aren’t. Mickey and I shouldn’t have made it this far. We shouldn’t have the life we have or the children we’ve been given. I certainly can’t take any credit for it, He brought us here, it’s all His.But I wouldn’t want any of it if it meant being without my Lord and Savior. I’m all in.

Mickey and I often say that we can’t believe that was us, living the way we were. It doesn’t seem like us. I’m so thankful for that. I pray that each day we would look a little more like Jesus and a little less like ourselves. I pray that’s what you see when you see us too. When you read or hear our story, I pray you see Him. I pray that all that I do will bring Him praise and honor and glory for He has done great things and is worthy of all praise!