Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mosaic Review Continues

I have so enjoyed receiving your emails and hearing about your memories that involve songs and experiences with Amy Grant. She is someone that the Lord has used to bless countless lives over many years. I believe her book will bless many more. An interesting fact I discovered was that her editor had told Amy that she needed to include a timeline history of her career in the back of the book. The reason being that someone just picking up the book and reading might miss the fact that she even had a career because the book is such a personal revelation of her life as a mother, daughter, friend, wife, and child of God.

In conversations and emails, some of you have mentioned being disillusioned with Amy as she went through her divorce. I want to offer some thoughts on this subject. One thing we can all know is that this was a very painful time for Amy and her family and this was not a sudden decision. We do not know the whole story or even the reality of the pieces of the story that we have heard. Anyone who has followed Amy’s life over the years heard on numerous occasions that there were struggles and very hard times in her marriage. She was candid about that. When she made the decision to follow through with the divorce, she felt the terrible impact of this decision and she shares her heart about this in Mosaic.

I remember hearing Amy say in an interview, in response to a flood of criticism, “I would challenge anyone to work as hard on their marriage as I have on mine.”

I remember a couple of things going on in my own life as these things were unfolding for Amy that caused that statement to resonate deeply in my heart. I had been a part of a mission team. We had made a commitment to serve in Benin together for a period of time. Our commitment was sincere and we had every intention of being with this team for as long as we served in Benin. It never entered our mind that events would unfold any other way. Very painful events and circumstances took place which no one knows or understands except for those of us who lived it out. It became an unworkable situation, deeply painful for all of us involved. Many tears were shed sitting face to face with one another. And even in the midst of doing the best we knew how in order to make it work (not to mention under the heavy stress of living cross-culturally), we all suffered criticism from afar and trite comments like “why can’t you just love each other and try harder?” We did love each other and we did try for years. Randy and I received wise counsel from many trusted mentors and finally it resulted in a very painful conclusion.

The separation felt liberating but also brought with it shame, embarrasment, and to this day, I suspect there are people who question our decision. There were many obvious consequences with which we lived. In the year following the separation, my husband and I both went spiraling into emotional depression. The outcome of our choice brought about needed change, but the effects of the decision left us personally with unhealed wounds and loads of grief that we were not prepared to deal with. In Amy’s life, she mentions in her book going through such a dark time when she felt she could not even pray with her own kids at night. I know Randy and I both experienced similar disconnect from the community of faith and even a bit distant from God Himself. Shame will do that to us.

Rebounding is only possible with the reality that God’s grace is perfectly sufficient to cover a multitude of sins, errors, and all of our shame (sometimes mainly self-imposed). God’s love is great and all we ever need. When the events of life and subsequent choices leave us faced with decisions beyond our own comprehension, we can trust Him to resurrect the lifeless and bring hope for the future. While the decisions people make often label them for life, or pidgeonhole them with the permanent scarlet letter, God’s mercies are new every morning. We can be confident that God doesn’t categorically write us off. But in the Christian community, we are often not described in the same way.

“We never really know what is going on inside of another person. It’s a good reason to be gentle.” (Mosaic, 168)

Tomorrow I plan to post some of your responses and announce the three winners. I hope you will keep coming back because I received so many responses over email that I am hoping to share more of them next week on this blog. This weekend my family and I will be heading to Abilene for Homecoming. It is my 15 year reunion!


Brooks Inc. said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts and emotions...they give me such perspective....and I love Amy's quote about being gentle as well.

"I do not see Him in the North, for He is hidden. I look to the South, but He is concealed. But He knows where I am going, and when He tests me, I will come out as pure gold." Job 23: 9-10

I remember all of those long, tear filled conversations as hearts everywhere were breaking...I remember crying out to the Lord by myself and with many, many others on your teams behalf...It is a sweet gift to me to see in your testimony as well as AG's the pure gold He produced...So thankful.

Love you so...


Cheryl said...

Great, great thoughts, friend.
Your testimony so reminds me of our Redeeming God. I'm unbelievably thankful He is in that business...the redeeming one...

Courtney said...

What a beautiful analogy of the unknowns sometimes in play in those enormous decisions so easy to judge from the outside looking in. It is an amazing part of God's character that, while He uses and blesses our obedience, He never requires our perfection in order to use us for His purposes! I believe He has much more use for us when we are humble, broken, and seeking, as it appears AG is, than when we "have it together" and are under any disillusion that we are responsible for it! I'm going to keep checking in for the stories!

Anonymous said...

I also reviewed this book. Also I went to two book events and have photos on my website.