Walking with Your Spouse through Uncertainty

I got the honor of writing over on MarriageRoots.com today about walking with your spouse in uncertain times. We are in that season now. I hope you are blessed by the words and how God is always, always, always working (even when it seems quiet).


 

Our relationship started wrapped in mystery; I was doing a research paper debunking the science behind online dating and came across his profile. He lived five hours away, but he was cute and his picture was clearly of him on a mission trip. That’s the Western Christian Girl’s aphrodisiac. A quick message sent, followed by emails and late-night phone calls.

Walking with Your Spouse Through Uncertainty

I was wondering. Should we meet?

It was like You’ve Got Mail but without AOL and dial-up Internet.

One day a month later, we met face to face. I disguised my nervousness behind half a Xanax and some gold-rimmed aviators. If Tim was nervous, he covered it up in romantic gestures. How do two thirty-two year olds “date?” It was like high school but much more awkward. Much more…uncertain.

I do not do well with uncertainty, so a whole two hours after we met, as we got in his car to drive to dinner, I blurted, “Is it just me, or are we clicking? I just need to know.”

Give it to me straight, buddy. I don’t have time to waste worrying. Tim looked surprised, then confused, then happy. “Of course we’re clicking.”

Certainty. Sigh of relief.

We got married six months later.

When you take two people who lead relatively uncommon lives (both work-from-home/self-employed entrepreneurs in the faith and arts), uncertainty easily turns to combustible chaos when combined. I followed Tim around the world as he captured videos for NGOs, Tim followed me around the US selling my books at events where I was speaking.

Last summer, our travel schedules collided: Tim would be in Nepal while I spoke at a conference in St. Louis. A week apart was no big deal, but the work God did in Tim’s life while he was in Nepal was life changing. We both arrived back to our newly purchased home in Nashville and Tim said, “I want to put down the camera and just minister to people.” He uploaded his resume to be a youth pastor and sold a decade’s worth of videography equipment. We thought it would take a year, maybe two, to see where God wanted us. Until then, we would wait.

Uncertainty.

I went on walks praying for God to give me a sign. Show me a license plate with a different state and that’s where we’ll move! I looked for hidden meanings in songs. Tim and I played rock-paper-scissors with churches who were interested in him candidating. Alabama? Arizona? Texas?

Texas. Not even three months after Tim returned from Nepal, we chose Texas. All the puzzle pieces fit together. We could afford it. It was near where I grew up, close to my family. A young church with passionate people (and free coffee for staff families on Sunday mornings) offered him the role of a youth pastor. Perfection.

And it was bliss. Total bliss. West Texas sunsets. Friday night lights and thirty or so teens and families that we fell in love with.

Until…uncertainty.

Differences in leadership values, theological misalignments, structural conflict. Was this a season of perseverance or were we out of place?…

[[CONTINUE READING HERE…]]

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8 thoughts on “Walking with Your Spouse through Uncertainty

  1. This is so what I needed to hear! I feel like my spouse and I have been living in uncertainty for years… and it terrifies me. Especially since I struggle with anxiety myself. Thank you for sharing that verse. The passage that always comes to my mind is from Matthew 7: ““Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

    He wants to give us good gifts! I plead with God for what I want, but He knows best, and will give me what is the best for me. I have to remind myself of that all the time when I am afraid of the future, and now I will remember that He goes before us… and He is our rock.

  2. Anne Marie, I’m so sorry you’re in such a time of uncertainty. I will be praying for you. As a fellow phone-thrower and anxiety-filled girl, I feel for you! I love your honesty and your faithfulness in the midst of the chaos.

    I went through a similar experience only it involved the church I had grown up in since 5th grade. After reluctantly taking a staff position, I went “all in” for three years in that position, Then, out of the blue, in a matter of three months, a 30 year relationship disintegrated and left me wandering like Abram in search of the place God had for me. It took time (more than I would have liked) and it involved some acting out toward God (temper-tantrums, door-slamming, and angry fist-shaking) before finally settling into submission to just follow him. But oh how sweet the blessings have been. Hang in there, he does have a plan for you and Tim and it is to prosper you and not to harm you.

    And if you visit Central Texas, I’d love to grab a cup of coffee or lunch! I’m in Georgetown (just north of Austin).

  3. Yikes! This sounds uncomfortably familiar, sweet Anne, in way too many ways. As bad as it sounds, that church doesn’t deserve another minute of y’all’s presence. I’m sorry, but when “God’s Church” starts acting ungodly, I truly don’t care how any other person feels about “negativity.” They had Tim by His grace, and their response showed just how little they care about His grace.

    The really annoying thing about God is that He does what He wants to do, not what we want Him to do. As you’ve written elsewhere, when we beg for relief, He gives something else. We don’t get to know why when we want that, either.

    Please know that you two are not alone … that you two and God are not alone, either. While I’m worn out with my own uncertainties right now, you both are in my heart and prayers.

  4. Wow! Anne, we will be upping our normal daily prayers for you two. And one of our prayers will be based on Isaiah 43: 2-4 (Living Bible, capitalization mine: “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I WILL BE WITH YOU. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown … You are precious to me and honored, and I love you.”

    I could give you several examples of how God kept his hand on us and guided us through those “deep waters,” times when we needed him to do miracles for us (and he did); times when we wanted to do one thing and he closed door after door until only one was left – and that turned out to be what he wanted and things we never expected! But I think the verse says it well.

  5. My husband and I had a chance to meet your husband this week. Speaking with him and now reading your blog has stirred my heart on many levels. Perhaps we will have opportunity to met you at some point, but if not I thought the two things I wanted to share are that just recently a church leader from our past traveled across the country to personally apologize to us for not defending us for a wrong done to us a long time ago. We had not seen this person in over a decade and the Lord had moved us on to new things, so completely took us by surprise. But the healing it brought to a painful time in our lives was unbelievable and it was also miraculous timing because of other things in our lives currently. Kind of a personal message from God that we were not forgotten and He is our defender. Second thing that came to mind to share is something a church planting mentor once said to us. The closer you are to the God’s target the more you come under enemy fire. My husband and I have experienced increased enemy fire at different times in our lives. Recognizing who the true enemy was as the enemy of the soul and the mission made it easier to stand our ground and stay focused. Wounds were still painful, but resolve was stronger because of the ones we knew we were close to rescuing and the lives that were at stake if we got off course. Psalm 23 is the most precious Psalm to me along with the verse in Romans that nothing can separate me from the love of God. Praying for you and Tim at this time and whatever God has planned for you next, for it is obviously significant in the Kingdom plan. Blessings to you from a fellow wounded warrior who will get her tears wiped away one day by the Savior personally

  6. And yes I still love His church and even those from the past. They are all precious people who He plans on uniting in answer to Jesus’ prayer someday. I love how you have no desire to spread ill will towards His bride, even in the face of uncertainty. It is beautiful.

  7. Hi Anne,
    You don’t date your posts, so I don’t know how old this one is. I suspect that as the previous comments have all been dated 1 month ago, that your post is at least 1 month old.

    Feel for you and your husband but am confident God has inscribed you both on the palm of his hands and has not forgotten you. When my husband and I went through a period of uncertainty a good few years ago the scripture I stood on was Psalm 37:5-7.
    My best wishes for your future.