She left me and our boys, jumped on a plane for Bujumbura, Burundi, Africa, and spent two weeks pouring her heart out to 10 children we have the HONOR of supporting at a powerful home of hope called the La Providence Orphanage, along with three others from Journey Church.
While she was there, I was … sort of empty. Just ask the staff. They can tell you how glad we all are that she’s back. I was down y’all; I felt like half of me was missing. The pain of her absence simply could NOT be healed.
“… and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” MARK 10:8 (NIV)
You know, that scripture is SO TRUE. The bond of marriage is something that cannot be explained. Two people actually grow so close together, it’s like they become ONE person. But I sincerely believe God wanted to take her away from me, as weird as that sounds, so that she could experience the birth of a dream.
You see, the moment captured in this picture has been a dream. This has been a dream in Missy’s heart since she was 16, where at an altar in a little Pentecostal church in St. Peters she was called by God to make a difference in Africa. And the level of joy in her heart shown in that picture simply cannot be measured to finally be living that out. I’m so happy for her.
And that dream is just beginning. I say beginning because we will be taking many trips to Burundi going forward as this is a major part of our heart and call in ministry along with pastoring our great church. How exciting!
Let’s go back to the ‘God wanted to take her away from me’ statement. I believe He took her away for another reason and that was to allow me to see that her dream carries equal value to mine.
Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not saying that my wife isn’t excited about the dream we are living in as pastors of Journey Church. My wife is tremendously excited to be able to pastor the people of this church with me; when she married me, she married my dream, and she made my dream her own. But in her heart, there is another dream. It’s been in her heart for 21 years, placed there by God. And I haven’t valued it as much as I valued my own. And that’s not right! It’s wrong!
God has shown me that marriage is a platform for many great things. One of the things he showed me was that being married is not just about MY dream, but it is also about the dream that is also inside the one that I married; a dream to make a difference in the lives of children who have lost their parents in other nations.
And God spoke to me (in her absence) that part of the purpose of my dream (Journey Church) is being a gateway to hers (Africa). It took the pain of her absence for me to see that. As painful as our time apart was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because of what it taught me. You know the saying, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ It’s weird what absence can accomplish in the context of appreciation.
Believe it or not, I’m thankful that she left me. Her absence taught me the true value of her presence, the true value of her voice in our marriage, the true value of her leadership at the table of the vision God has called US to pastor and lead. And the true value of her dream.
I’m thankful for that, and my heartfelt prayer is that I never allow complacency to get in the way of that ever happening again. When I read that scripture (Mark 10:8) now, I see it not just in the context of two people becoming one, but two dreams becoming one as well.
My advice: Value your spouse today, and every day God has given you to experience life together.
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