WHEW! What a year. 😊 But it’s over now, and we got through it. God’s faithful forgiveness, gentle goading, confirmation and approval, specific directions, healing, plentiful and accessible resources, and reassuring comfort brought us over some mountains, through a couple of caves, passed some plains, across some rivers (upstream), beside a few hills, and round about many valleys. But we made it. And it really doesn’t matter whether we crawled through it, got catapulted over it, jogged across it, or sauntered into it. The point is, we crossed over into a new today and WE ARE HERE!
I’m not sure about you, but all of that journeying has really etched some valuable lessons down in my soul. I learned things Spiritually, academically, and globally. Some info I learned for the first time. Other stuff has become stratagem for future navigation, because I know that I’ll face similar situations again; for God doesn’t eradicate everything. Deuteronomy 7:22 teaches us that He doesn’t wipe out every enemy, because then we might become too self-reliant; self-aggrandizing. But the fact that there’s still danger and evil out there should remind us daily of two things: (1) to seek God and (2) to know that He’ll always be right there as we do.
I praise Him for simply waking me today. I get to see a new day, a new month, and a new year with all of my mental faculties, with full use of my limbs, and with a strong, prayerful, and mostly obedient spirit. (Tell the truth!) These qualities are true blessings. The car crashes that happened in 2017, didn’t take life. Wrong foods and drinks consumed in 2017, didn’t kill or yield detrimental harm to the body. And every argument, misunderstanding, and disagreement of 2017, didn’t dissolve those unions. HALLELUJAH! Practical as they may seem, those are the real victories.
In the latter weeks of December 2017, I believe the Lord placed and kept a song on my heart. It was a pretty popular song (at least I think so) when it was first released twenty years ago, and Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count” has once again gripped my attention. The first few days of listening to it I thought God was just giving me permission to once again enjoy a safe assignation: a familiar secular song, lol. But don’t forget that God is deliberate and strategic; and therefore EVERYTHING He does or allows has specific meaning, value, and assignment. What I’ve been able to glean thus far from listening to the song this time around, is a reminder to be committed. Brandy repeatedly sings: “Almost had a . . . Almost made you . . .” and concludes her first stanza with, “You can’t get to heaven half off the ground, for everybody knows that almost doesn’t count.”
In the fall of 2017, I began my third book - appropriately titled - “Committed”. The sentiment of my book and certain lyrics from this 1998 song, seem to play off one another. As I listen to Brandy sing, “I can’t keep on loving you one foot outside the door; I hear a funny hesitation of a heart that’s never really sure. Can’t keep on trying if you’re looking for more. . . Gonna find me somebody, not afraid to let go. . .” I hear God reminding me to reaffirm my marital commitment. BEFORE HIM. As I catch those words, I’m being gently reprimanded to “beef up security” around those vows that I once made – some 21 plus years ago. Almost like a gentle but steady intravenous fluid drip, His instructions drop into my soul; that gritty part of me that His Soul literally loves to death (James 5:20). Soft and subjective as they are, these lyrics (that seemingly now have become God’s words) are sure; suggesting that *I make sure. That I become certain, rigid, and that I allow them to influence my validation to commitment.
Marriage is not all fun and games, all of the time. Some days (some weeks, and some seasons), are really tough. And those challenges can truly seem magnified when there’s little-to-no similarity in goals, needs, ideas, thought processes, conversations, tastes, pleasures, and the manifested efforts of you and your spouse. But you and I both have to decide for ourselves the level of commitment that we’re willing to stand on. We have to earnestly ask ourselves some questions.
Am I needing (and/or looking) for more than what the other can give me?
Are they giving it to me, and I’m just not seeing it?
Am I missing it?
If that answer is no, then why can’t they give ___ to me?
Is there a physical impairment or limitation involved? In other words, do they not have the ability? Perhaps it is that they are simply unsure of how to give ___ to me.
Have I not communicated my needs properly?
Or, are they simply unwilling to extend themselves in this area to meet my need?
I stopped making resolutions a few years ago. But today, January 1, 2018, I resolutely say that I know that in this day, this month, and this year I must be committed to being committed. I must decide a thing, and decree that thing. Because when a thing is decreed, everything connected to the decree must work in alignment for the decision to be established and manifest as a solid thing. I must make a determination. Do I want this marriage? This job? This ministry? This business? This responsibility? These adopted children? This special needs animal? Are these the entities that God wants me to be committed to?
If His answer (and mine) is Yes and Amen, then I’d better get His heart for these things. And because *I know that I can vacillate at times, I must be committed to seeking my Lord daily for the right attitude, fortitude, wisdom, strength, and commitment towards them. So help me Jesus.