I strive to live a real and transparent life in the hope that what I have gone through can help someone who has been through something similar and finds courage in reading my posts. It never fails to amaze me that people constantly complain about the superficiality of social media and how everyone paints a false, rosy and perfect picture here. I have time and again mentioned that we are not the perfect couple, written so often about the struggles that we have had and yet there are still the insensitive comments of us being a “made-for-each-other” couple or “all is well that ends well”. These well meant comments however diminish the struggles, destruction, heart break, hard work and efforts that have been needed to be where we are today.
The road to healing for us a couple began when I moved to Stockholm eleven years ago thanks to someone who saw the potential and believed in me. This move brought turmoil since this set me on the path to discover who I really was and to get rid of the role that culture and religion expected of me. It meant shutting out all the voices of false teachings about forgiveness, reconciliation, Christian marriage or the ideas of what a Christian woman should be. Years of unrest, pain and destruction followed but in hindsight I see that this destruction was needed so that God could rebuild something new but at that time everything in my life just fell apart.
But God brought new friends into my life – women who encouraged me to find out who I was; women who were role models, whose words helped heal deep wounds and who helped me on the road to discovery of God’s unique calling for me (and I am still on that road).
Healing has come in many unexpected forms, unusual ways and when I started to listen to that small inner voice which was often drowned out by other louder voices. Healing came through warm and real friendships, words spoken unknowingly by friends and strangers, when family looked the other way or remained silent but friends stood up for me and spoke out, a trip that we finally made to meet the pastor who baptised me (this had been on my heart for over three years), a trip to dear friends who have a beautiful homestay in the mountains that I used to see when I was a child (something that I had been planning since about seven years), setting up healthy boundaries against “well meaning” family, cutting off or minimising the contact to toxic or hurtful relationships.
Learning to trust when trust has been broken time and again is a very painful and difficult road. But I was learning to be obedient to what He laid in my heart since I could see that when I followed that inner voice it not only led me to healing but also to new wonderful and supportive friendships.
And so I listened to that inner voice and flew halfway across the world to celebrate my fiftieth birthday with seven adorable senior dogs who had been rescued and given a forever home by a wonderful person called Lisa. I still do not have the words to express the tremendous healing that this trip brought and how these beautiful senior dogs with abusive pasts inspired me through their lives to put the painful past behind me and to take a bold step of trust. What I learnt from each of these dogs is the topic for another day and post.
On a beautiful summer day last Saturday, I reclaimed and renewed my vow to love and honour the man I had married over twenty five years ago. What made this occasion even more special was that we did this in the presence of dear friends who have supported us through these difficult years at different phases in our lives; we were led in this ceremony by an amazing couple who were our pastors when I lived in Stockholm and who we are blessed to call our friends today. That they happen to be in Europe this year is another one of those “coincidences” that I see as part of God’s master plan.
Unfortunately not all our friends could be there – some were traveling and others couldn’t make it since we had the ceremony in Stockholm, the city that has become homefor me.
So twenty-five years, three hundred and sixty one days later we celebrated our silver wedding anniversary, just in time before our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends who were there- in person and spirit- for their circle of love, protection and support.
I am especially thankful for Bernd, who walked the very difficult path that led him back to us. As he put it in a post recently – God takes the broken pieces, puts them together and makes something new.
Joel 2,25: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you”.