Arrows

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Free-falling from a fantastic high to a fierce low is never a fanciful feat. That is how Thursday found me.

By the daylight I was rejoicing in God’s goodness, celebrating His blessings, acutely aware of His orchestrations. In the early hours of the evening, I was filled to the brim with joy, surrounded by friends, and feeling God’s love in every way.

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I was in my element in its purest sense, captivated by letters, words, phrases, food, and deep conversation.

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But as twilight set in and I departed from my friends, the enemy attacked. An old temptation slithered in, unnoticed until the damage was done. And great was the fall.

How quickly was I reminded that the top of the world is still not quite heaven. We are not quite home, regardless of how close we feel to it.

There is little the enemy hates more than God’s children feeling His love and chasing His light. He knows that the closer we are to our Father, the less damage his weapons can deal. But he chooses his arsenal carefully, and sometimes he pierces our armor.

In this case, it was not my shield that was compromised, yet still I felt as if an arrow had punctured my chest. In a matter of hours, the darkness had seeped deep in and stolen the peace that I had relished earlier the same day.

How is a godly wife to react when she is attacked through her God-fearing husband? Had you asked me that night, I would have said, through tears, “don’t ask me!”

I slept little, licking the wound over and over again, as Satan resurged to attack my heart with the secondary sin of anxiety. I used my only defense, prayer, until I finally drifted off into a fitful sleep.

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The wound was not fatal, not even detrimental. But still painful. The morning light brought apologies and I truly wanted to forgive and move on.

But still the lesion pestered. I wanted him to understand the depth of my pain and the fear of my heart. I was pouring salt into the wound and wondering why it hurt so bad. All day I thought about it. Every second that I wasn’t engrossed in my work or engaged in prayer the memory flickered to the screen of my mind, the arrow stabbing through over and over again.

It being Valentine’s Day, he brought me beautiful lilies, which disguised themselves as thorns to deepen the lacerations on my wounded heart.

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If there is one constant in me, it is that I am a planner. And all week I had planned three decadent meals for us for our first Valentine’s weekend as husband and wife. And though my eyes were blurred, I carried through with my plan and directed my car to the grocery store after work.

I sat in the parking lot and cried in silence. The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart

Beloved, you are harboring unforgiveness. How many times have I forgiven you for trespasses far greater? Let me restore you as I always have.

I wiped my eyes and prayed for the power to forgive. As the glass doors parted and I entered the store, the arrows broke off. My wounds no longer ached and cried for attention.

Why now? I asked myself.

As I walked the aisles, joy was restored with each item I placed in my cart.

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As my smile returned, I began to see the people around me. Three different men told me I must have a lucky husband after eyeing up the delicacies in my cart.

As I danced out of that store, the orchestration clarified. Forgiveness was coming through gifts, in more heart than one. Even when we trespass boundaries and commit sins, God does not withdraw His gifts nor retract His blessings. He forgives us and pours His life into us.

And in a minuscule, human way, God had unwittingly led me to mimic Him.

Each meal I prepared filled not only our stomachs, but the holes in our hearts left by arrows. And whatever had been damaged was restored. The mended is stronger than the unbroken. 

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Is there any ounce of unforgiveness festering in your heart? Perhaps the wound is deeper than mine, and it will take more than a trip to the grocery store to stop the bleeding. But perhaps the journey will start over the dinner table, with sincere prayer and one of these divine recipes:

Sesame Seared Tuna with Roasted Asparagus and Lime Vinaigrette

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French Pork with Apple Cream Sauce

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Ryan’s Surf and Turf

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Shine On, beloved
February 18, 2016

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