Sunday, January 10, 2010


Remember when you were a kid, and you lost at a game, messed up the punch line of a joke, were totally annihilated by a friend in some sort of competition (skipping, hopscotch, thumb wrestling), and you called a do-over? You declared a fresh start, demanded a clean start and hoped you'd do better the next time around (and if not, call a do-over!).

Do you still call do overs if you're defeated, or come up with results less then you hoped for? Or do you accept defeat, and label yourself mediocre, and just deal with it? Which way sounds better?

I'm calling a Do-Over in my marriage, that's essentially what this blog is all about. We didn't get it right the first time, not even close, we came up with much less then we hoped for and dreamed of, and for a while there it looked like we were going to accept defeat and walk away, with "Failure" or "Loser" stamped across our foreheads. But then God called a Do-Over, well, he called me to call one, and I did, and thank God he seemed to plant the same seed in Elvis's heart, and we started one together.

But Do-Over's aren't necessarily easy, nor do they guarantee you'll triumph the next time around. No, there's still much work to be done, and many sacrifices to make, and plenty of pride to swallow, and really ugly "big girl" pants to put on (or "big boy" if you're a man, sorry to be exclusionary, if that's even a word). Its hard work to get up the nerve to try again where you've failed before. It takes some courage to put yourself out there for everyone to see, and to have your closest friends and family watch as you try and piece together what you broke (you being the married couple, not any one individual). I can honestly say that it feels like the "world", our world, is watching and waiting to see if it can be done, or if we'll fail again. Its nerve wracking wondering who's on your side and who thought you were better just cutting your losses and walking away. Its intimidating knowing that some people are hoping you'll fail, or at the very least, they're not helping you succeed one bit.

It takes big nerve to try again, and to do with your head held high and your faith placed in God, and to do what you know is right even when many don't understand it or support it. I didn't see it this way when I was a kid, I thought kids who constantly called Do-Over's were poor losers, or spoil sports, but maybe they're just kids who will grow into adults who refuse to accept defeat, they refuse to just walk away from a challenge when it means so much to them.

So this Do-Over of ours, its not easy. Its messy and scary and feels sort of like walking a tight rope, so afraid to mis-step and fall. We've been going to counseling, Christian counseling, which is sort of like commissioning God to fashion a safety net for us, and we're just now testing it out, and are hoping that it works. We know we need to trust it will work, but that fear is built in and hard to rise above. There's so much more to be said and so much more to be done before our confidence and security in us has been renewed and we feel like our Do-Over was a success. There are so many bumps in this road and with each one we go over and don't break down I'm relieved and hopeful that we'll handle the next one just as well.

But I'll tell you again, sticking it out, challenging some societal beliefs that its best to just cut ties and cut losses and better luck next time, its harder then it seems. Its not easy to boldly carry out God's will when it doesn't make sense according to man's selfish will, but its far more rewarding in the end.

Is there some area in your life that you need to call a Do-Over in? Something you've failed at but are too afraid to try again? Have you been burned by a past disappointment but feel called to give it another shot?

Why not? Be bold, be brave, have faith and just do it, call your Do-Over and declare yourself clean slate! Reach out and take your second chance. No one will stop you. Chances are a lot of people will gather to watch you try though, so be prepared for onlookers, cheerleaders and naysayers alike. And no matter what they say, do it anyway.

I was never willing to let my marriage crumble to pieces and wash away with the tide like a fallen sandcastle. Not ever. But fighting for it seemed futile and scary and humiliating. But that passes. We weathered a storm, first separately and then together, and now those storm clouds are receding with the presence of the Son (note I said Son, not sun, not a spelling mistake!). It didn't feel good to be separated, like two halves of one being, torn apart, and the healing together again has been pretty uncomfortable at times. Healing is like that sometimes. We'll have scars now, no doubt, but we'll call them badges instead, outward declarations of our private (and sometimes not so private) struggle to hold on two what we are and what we have, and what God wants us to have. These scars, um, badges, will have purpose, they won't be in vain, they're battle scars achieved in a noble fight. Marriage, good marriage, God marriage, doesn't come easy, its a constant battle to keep it real, keep it honest, keep it noble, keep it fresh, keep it grounded, keep it reliable. I don't think you ever stop fighting for love and trust.

And you can call as many Do-Overs as you need!



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