Posts Tagged forgiveness

Two Years

Our family - Gerald, me, & pug Chloe

Our family – Gerald, me, & pug Chloe

Two years ago today, we were heading off to Kemper Lakes Golf Club to celebrate our marriage. So much has happened in that short amount of time. This second year of marriage was by far the most challenging so far (even though I know we don’t have much to compare it to, but it was hard for various reasons). Not only did we go through more major life changes (buying a house, getting a dog, getting pregnant, etc.), but we had some unexpected things come up that we had to deal with and begin to heal from. That’s a process in itself, but I believe we’re headed in the right direction.

If I could choose one word to mark this year of marriage, it would be grace.

We had to learn to give more grace to one another and we were reminded of and experienced God’s grace more deeply. Grace is a hard thing to give. You don’t want to give it because of the circumstances, but you know it’s what Christ calls us to if we’re to follow His example. That’s what makes grace and forgiveness so powerful. They’re both so undeserved.

So my prayer for this third year of marriage is that we will continue to grow in grace and forgiveness in our love for one another. I’m sure we’ll need it in many doses when Baby Stroud comes along later this year, but we’ll also need it as we continue to heal from the past. We’re grateful for the love and support of those who witnessed our marriage two years ago. We still covet your prayers as we journey in this life together and I’m looking forward to seeing how God will work in each of us individually and as a couple in the years to come.

So, happy anniversary, Gerald! I am blessed to be able to do life by your side. If we could get through this tough and stressful year together, we can get through anything! I love you!

Our family plus Lexie (pug on the left)

Our family plus Lexie (pug on the left)

 

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White As Snow

There's a road back there somewhere.

A week ago today, I was holed up in my apartment, keeping nice and warm as I waited out the Blizzard of 2011. Even as I settled in for bed and heard the snow and wind whistling outside my windows, I had no idea what I would wake up to the next morning. We got about 22″ of snow overnight with even higher drifts because of the high winds during the storm.

I got a snow day at work, which was a nice break in the middle of the week. Someone wrote on Twitter that sometimes it’s like God brings us this type of bad weather to force us to rest. My life has been busy with all the wedding planning, youth group stuff at church (we’re planning for our youth retreat right now), family things, and trying to stick to my work out plan. So I welcomed the “rest” day. 🙂

I wasn’t going to go anywhere the day after the blizzard, but it would’ve taken a major effort to get there anyway since I had to unbury my car out of this:

The snow was also about 2′ deep and 2′ out behind my car. Luckily, one of our maintenance guys with a little bulldozer came by and saw me trying to shovel out my car. He helped me by moving all the snow out from behind my car (which would’ve taken me a LOT longer).

Snow makes everything so much brighter. Even when I went outside to first look at my car, it was difficult to see because it was so bright outside. It reminds me of this verse from Isaiah 1:18 NIV:

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;

though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

When I think about how nearly blinding snow in sunlight is, it’s even more amazing to think about how Jesus Christ has made me “white as snow” in God’s eyes. Then as I think about all the times I’ve sinned against God and how He has still forgiven me and taken my sins that are “red as crimson,” making them “white as snow.” The snow is such a great reminder of God’s amazing love for us. You can even take this analogy even further to say that when all the snow melts (even though now we wonder if it ever will), it washes away all the dirt and new life (spring) is not far behind.

So if you’re like me, living in a frigid, snow-filled climate right now, take the extra time you spend indoors these days to reflect on the beauty of the snow (pure, untouched snow) and remind yourself that in God’s eyes, your life is as pure and clean as that snow. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are holy. And as the snow melts away in the coming months, remember that you have been washed clean from your sin and now your new life–a life free from sin and full of holiness as you become more like Christ–begins.

“Jesus paid it all.

All to Him I owe.

Sin has left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow.”


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