I couldn’t afford to go to my only sister’s wedding.
I’ll never forget my sister calling me up, telling me the date of her wedding, and how I was to be her maid-of-honor. My oldest daughter, just a toddler at the time, was going to be a flower girl. There was just one problem: we lived in Pennsylvania, and my sister was having her wedding in California. I would have to buy a plane ticket — two of them if I took my daughter. Then there was the dress and food expenses, and . . .
“We can’t afford it,” my husband told me.
“I don’t care if we can’t afford it, it’s my sister’s wedding! We’ll put it on a credit card!”
We didn’t do credit cards. We lived on a tiny budget, one that was afforded to us by my husband’s job installing heating and air conditioning systems. I was a stay-at-home mom. We had one vehicle and school loan debt we were working diligently to pay off. We didn’t even own a credit card.
He was mad at me that I couldn’t see the reality of our shaky financial situation, and I was ticked that he didn’t understand that OF COURSE I needed to go to my only sister’s wedding. We weren’t getting anywhere with each other, so we decided to call an older couple to give us advice. They came over, listened to each of our sides, and in their wisdom, told us they would not give us their opinion but instead would “pray that God would align our hearts.”
For the next few days, I cried and prayed, feeling so torn about the whole situation. My husband came to me and told me I could go, that we’d put it on a credit card, but I knew how he really felt. I knew he was only telling me to go so I wouldn’t be mad and resent him. There was no blessing or joy in this “permission.”
One afternoon I took my tender heart up to my bedroom during my daughter’s naptime, and I sat down and cried out to the Lord. What to do, what to do? I knew how my husband felt, and I knew he cared about me and our family but was worried about how he would take care of us financially if I put us in more debt.
As I prayed, I decided I would not go to the wedding. I would honor my husband and I would not, by God’s help, hold resentment towards him. I would trust God with this situation, with my hurting heart, with my sister’s heart, and with our now fragile marriage. I would, by faith, somehow trust God to do something with the pain.
So, I did not go to the wedding. And by the miraculous grace and work of the Holy Spirit, I did not hold resentment towards my husband, and neither did my sister. I know it hurt her, but she graciously understood.
Something in me, some bondage, was broken, and I was able to move forward through the pain and believe that I could trust God when it didn’t seem fair. He had heard my cry, and He had comforted me even when I didn’t get what I wanted. He was with me, and He held my heart and sat with me when the grief hit. And eventually, the grief moved along. I was okay. We were okay.
God inclines His ear to those who cry out to Him with a surrendered heart. He desires to comfort us, to sit with us, to listen to us, and to gently lead us into a deeper trust and relationship with Him, our kind Father.
Whatever it is today that is causing you to ache, or whatever seems unfair or confusing or not the way you thought something would be, cry out to the Lord. He knows your heart, your mind, your soul, and He knows what you need. Maybe today just sit and let the pain be what it is, and let the Lord be your Light in the dark.
Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
you understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
you are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord.
You have encircled me;
you have placed your hand on me.
This wondrous knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.
Psalm 139:1-6 (CSB)
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