365 days ago I was married to my husband Corbett. Corbett and I met at a church in Ankeny, Iowa. We had been paired to lead worship together at a leadership networking day for ministry workers. I was late to the church that day as there was a pretty good ice storm. Truthfully, it is likely I would have been late even without the ice storm, but at any rate, we had about 15 minutes to run through some songs together and then we winged it!
Oddly enough, people thought we were married. “How long have you been married? How long have you led worship together?” My response was… “Um. Ooooh, no, no, I just met him a couple of hours ago…” Of course I chuckled and probably told some little joke to ease the remark, as that is what I tend to do in awkward situations…you know, crack even more awkward jokes. I must admit, however, that I haaaaad in fact alreeeeady checked out his left hand and happened to notice that it was very bare.
It is crazy to think about what God knows…this thing we call his omnipotence. He is sovereign, so, so sovereign.
Our Sovereign Maker had to have been chuckling in anticipation for what He knew He was going to do with us when the time was right…what he was going to do in us…what he was and is still going to do through us by the power of his Holy Spirit. I stand in awe at how crazy good God is. On that day, God knew that two very broken people –who both lost marriages in devastating ways- who were both in a season of waiting, who were both in a season of hope, were both being prepared to do life together. Two very broken people were being prepared to once again make vows “to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, till death…”
If any of you have read my blog before you know that a theme in my life is that of redemption. Believing that God’s entire plan revolves around redeeming his creation…redeeming little old me has and will always be a promise that I cling to.
365 days ago, in God’s sovereign plan, I saw a beautiful glimpse of his redemption when I was blessed to be Corbett’s bride. In those 365 days God has been near and present. I am certain that I can list 365 things I have learned, 365 things I have done right, 365 things I have done wrong, 365 tears, 365 laughs, 365 you name its! But in all of these 365 days of this new family there has been ONE sovereign God who has walked each day with us in all of our greatest joys and our deepest cries.
Both Corbett and I have recalled many times the season of singlehood neither one of us ever anticipated and the extreme loneliness that naturally accompanied it. I will NEVER EVER forget a very brief conversation that Corb and I had that first day at the church when we met.
I remember him very casually inching his way over to my corner of the room and into my space which I totally welcomed! We entered into chit-chatty talk about how nice it was to lead worship together, and then he very sincerely went out on a limb… “You know, Bep, I heard you mention that you lost your husband. Gosh, I am so sorry…” I went on to very carefully (as to not make him run away) tell of the details of my late husband’s passing. He replied by naturally jumping into pastor-mode of course, “Well, it sounds like God has given you a lot of grace and strength through this. You know I have two kids, and I am actually divorced. One of the things I’ve learned in recent years being divorced is that I have had to seek God in the silence…you know when it is sooooooo quiet, in the loneliness…especially when my kids are not at home with me. I really hope that you can feel God surrounding you in that part of your life too…God will continue to care for you in this. I just really believe that.” His arms were crossed and he was standing tall, and if you know Corb and his heart, these words oozed out of him with such kindness that I about melted and swooned right then and there. My future husband had just reiterated the truth of God’s Holy Word that I had been banking on for so long! God cared. God was concerned with the details of my life, and longs to redeem!
“Sovereign in my greatest joy, sovereign in my deepest cry, with me in the dark, with me at the dawn. In your everlasting arms, all the pieces of my life, from beginning to the end, I can trust you. In your never failing love you work everything for good. God, whatever comes my way I will trust you.”
To the reader- Perhaps you are in a season of silence, a season of quietness, a season of extreme loneliness and your deepest cry is “Where are you God? How long? How long must I wait?” It sounds pretty reminiscent of many of the people we read about in the Bible. My heart tends to identify with Hannah in 1 Samuel chapters 1-2. Hannah cried out to the Lord in a season of loneliness. She yearned for God to redeem her deepest hopes and desires. And when the time was right God put his plan of redemption into action in Hannah’s life…and all the pieces of her life…the season of waiting… seemed to be put together when she bore her son Samuel.
Whoever you are-whatever journey you walk, whatever shape and size the last 365 days of your life have come in… I pray that you will have peace that surpasses your human understanding that God is indeed sovereign in all the pieces of your life. There is not a single piece of your life that he does not see or that he is not concerned about. God cares.
God knew who you were from the beginning of your life and he will know who you are till the end of it. God holds every single one of your joys, your tears, your dreams, your fears, your “wrongs” and your “rights” in his everlasting arms. People, please know that I do not wish to speak a prosperity gospel where all your woes will disappear. Life is still hard for Corb and I on some days…believe it or not, we do not live a fairytale every single day! Surprise, surprise! But God has indeed been faithful and we totally trust that God has and will continue to work for our good!
Trust that 365 days a year God sees you, God knows you! Seek God in the silence of this season of life as you wait. Even when you can’t possibly see how God will take all the pieces and redeem them. Corb and I could not have possibly seen this life together. We could not have possibly seen the beauty in marrying one another a year ago today, but God did! Trust that even if you can’t possibly see it now, God is chuckling, smiling down on you, just waaaaaaiting for the moment, like Hannah, like me, like Corb, when He knows it is right to bring all those pieces together for your good. Trust in his sovereignty. That is the hope that I hold out to you today, Beloved One.
May God bless and keep you always, Bep
Chris Tomlin’s song “Sovereign” cover by Bep Bousema-Reeves