The only way to avoid the complications of relationships is to have none. We human beings need each other, so God created us with the capacity to love, to have friends, to get married, and to live in community with each other. But, as Facebook would attest, many of us would simply say of our closest relationships in life, “It’s complicated.”
My own marriage illustrates this well. When Angie and I married back in 1997, we were 19 and assumed life together would be fairly smooth sailing. A decade in, we were discovering and doing battle with the monsters lurking within us (especially me). Things got… complicated.
What saved us? I attribute the turnaround to at least five factors.
- Jesus died to redeem and heal us from sin and his Holy Spirit finds ways to actively draw our hearts back in line with his. It’s his power that heals.
- My wife made repeated decisions to show grace and extend love to a sometimes unlovable, undeserving husband. She’s amazing!
- We both decided not to walk out, not to give up, and to pray desperately and repeatedly that God would change each of us according to his will.
- Our small group at Saddleback Church taught us about opening up, getting real, and struggling in community with others.
- Our Grace Hills Church family taught us that nobody’s perfect, we’re all broken, and there is always hope when God’s amazing grace invades our hearts and our circumstances.
So… this coming weekend, we’re wrapping up our Margin series with a message on how to simplify complicated relationships, and Angie is joining me on stage to teach. Her years of counseling others, helping families and marriages, and putting up with me have made it pretty apparent that she has much more wisdom to share in this area that I do.
If you’re in Northwest Arkansas and aren’t part of a church family, we’d love to meet you Sunday at Grace Hills, which meets in a local movie theater! Or you can shoot me an email if we can help or serve you in any way. Here’s the messy, funny video we made together to give you a preview…
And if you really want to help us spread the word about this weekend and invite your friends in a non-threatening way, go to THIS Facebook post and click “like” and “share”!