I went into full-time ministry making the deal with God that I would be married before I turned 30. Not because I desired marriage that badly but because I was so tired of being a single and cute pastor and the accusations from church people that came with that. I’m still tired of those accusations. If I was married people wouldn’t have assumed what they did thus it was in God’s best interest for me to be married.
Turns out, of course, the reasons for marriage are a whole lot bigger than that. Which is why I wasn’t married when I turned 30 or for some years after that. Thankfully my vanity kept me from just saying yes to anyone. Thankfully I waited for my love for a lifetime. I’m so grateful!
But in year 30 of my life I was angry with God. He broke the deal. I learned a lot in that season.
I made another deal with God when he brought my boys into my life. If I did the painful work of loving them, working with their birth families, bringing the hope of Jesus to such broken lives, these boys would have good adulthoods. We would be defying generational curses with the glory of God!
Now 25+ years later prison is still a large part of my life. It has been a painfully long journey (some stories are shared here at Bravester). My life has turned out far from what I originally thought. Pain has been my beginning. Such pain I’ve grown to not be afraid of. I really like my life as I hardly recognize it.
Part of that pain has been disappointment in God. I thought we had a good deal. It was a reasonable one to expect.
I can definitely say that God’s promises are wider than my supposed-to’s.
Because this happened.
Never never never in all of my dreams and plan B’s did I imagine the day I would be watching my son teach my grandson how to play basketball. I have spent hours and hours watching my son play basketball. I just never imagined the day that he would teach his son to play basketball.
There is such joy in this moment that words can hardly describe.
Or this cup overflowing moment. My daughter-in-law (whom I love soooo much!) sending me this picture of my superhero waiting for me as I make the hour+ drive to their home. (Your heart melted too, didn’t it?)
Joy and pain are perfectly matched together. I get to have both in such large proportions.
As James 1:2-3 gets quoted often, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
I am muscled in perseverance. My faith is large.
Not just because I say I believe it to be so. But because I have had to persevere through such disappointments to find out the big truth that God is still good and still for me. My muscled perseverance has been painful. But I never never never imagined the day that childless and unmarried me (I got the boys before marriage) would be watching this God-given son teach his own son to play basketball.
This is so much wider than my supposed-to.