It’s Ann here, writing from a sunny Auckland.
I’m smiling because this past fortnight was a treat seeing Lynn, Ian, Martha, Tiffany, and Dineen all take trips down memory lane to write about our community. Mirroring that, it was super encouraging to read the comments. Thank you!!
We celebrate the work of Jesus in these spiritually mismatched marriages. At points, we have seen some astounding things happen here. He really can bring beauty out of anything!
The past fifteen years have also shown, however, that it is a deep work that Jesus does in these marriages. And, a ‘deep work’ seems to require longevity. We can now see that from each other's testimonies. That longevity often leaves us writhing in pain wishing for a quick fix. As Lynn said in one of her books (Marching Around Jericho), she would entertain thoughts like 'If you would only turn to Jesus, my life would be a thousand percent better'. Well that one totally makes me laugh because, yep, I can relate. But Jesus wants us to know it's a seed that slowly grows into a tree. It's a work that asks of us a hefty amount of patience. Not just patience but longsuffering. For we do suffer as we walk through the complexities of a spiritually mismatched marriage. Who knew there were so much to it?
I think at this point my mindset is, 'Let's get some proper hiking boots and pack our backpacks with all we need, for this SUM journey is a trek of kilometres and milestones!' It is our ‘process’ that God is taking us through, not just a destination. The journey is one that causes celebration when we look back, but the days themselves can feel wearying.
Jesus has not left us stranded. He’s given us help in the form of each other. And, with that, I say Happy birthday, SUM community! The verse below captures how I feel about you. You are a gift from God to others in the same boat, a help from the sanctuary, and that will continue as others join us:
"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion."
Psalm 20:1-2 (NKJV)
That wraps up our celebration series. Fifteen years: What an adventure. Tiffany will be back on Friday, and then we'll do something new next week -- Not sure what yet, I'm praying about it.
Love to you all,