Sunday, August 26, 2007

In The Hands Of The Master Carpenter

It is very tempting to start this post as if I had not disappeared for the past few months. Here's my latest piece, see it here on blogger, see it over there on Etsy, have a nice day. Goodbye.

But who would I really be serving? I believe God is calling me to a deeper walk during this time in my life then ever before. He has told me very clearly in one way after another over the past few months to trust Him. Trust His soveriegnty, trust His will for my life, trust Him with my reptuation, my finances, my children, trust Him with my marriage.

I hear Him saying be transparent, be vulnerable, let others see His work being done in my life.

So here I am, back to share with you, in all the humility I can muster, the place that I am in and what God is doing with me here.

I am learning to trust you Lord. As I loosen my grip on everything that I knew to be my security. As you gently pry my fingers from all that I held dear and say to me "trust me".

"My times are in your hands" psalm 31:15

Who am I? Wife, mother, step-mother, child of God.

Seperated from my husband, my lover, my best friend.

How odd that I can still say he is my lover, my best friend. He is my other half, a gift from God, a literal answer to a prayer whispered on the edge of my bed 7 years ago. But he, like me, came to this marriage with brokeness and baggage from the past and no idea how to deal with it, but to stuff it down and pretend it did not exist.

Have you ever stuffed your emotions? Tried to hide how you feel? Do you wear a mask when you go to work, in front of the kids, when you go to church to hide the pain?

I have been to my knees for this man over and over in the past 7 years. My lover, my friend, please God, please God, please God. Please help him, please help me, please come Lord Jesus.

My hearts cry and my deepest desire is to see him free, to be set free with him, to see our entire family free from the grip of a broken past. From generations of brokeness and bondage.

The past stuffed so far down comes out, like it or not. For my husband, for a lot of men, it comes out in a rage. A rage so strong and so overwhelming it is blinding. Not a physical rage, but an emotional rage that can be just as damaging. Like a hurricane it blows through scattering everything in its path.

When you live with a spouse who has issues with anger, you learn a sort of dance. You learn to control the environment around you in an attempt to keep things calm. But life presses in and the storm blows through again. You cry, you pray, you take a deep breath and start all over again.

And there are good days. God knows there are so many good days. Because he is really a good man. A hurting and broken good man. And I tried, God knows I tried to help him. To "fix" him. To make it all better. But I couldn't do it.

Who has the power to transform a life?

There came a day when I knew there was nothing God honoring about staying in that place. I heard God say that for Him to do the work that needed to be done I would have to step out of the way.

For a time, with a heart for reconcilliation. Not to divorce him, but to let God do the work and to focus on my own healing and to have a time of peace.

I thought that it might take months before he let go of his anger and acknowledged this problem. But it was only days before he had broken and God swooped in and began his transformation in some amazing ways.

He has sought counseling for his anger, joined together with a mentor and good friend to study John Eldridge's book "The Way of the Wild Heart" and begin a journey into discovering where he is broken and how to heal and become the man that God has called him to be.

He has swallowed his pride and tells others about his anger and his desire to be set free and shares how God is working in his life to do just that. For the first time I see a hope in his eyes that is truly the light of God shining through.
No more mask, no more pretending to be okay when he's not.

But he will be. We will be.

Out of the ashes....we went to a marriage conference at our church a few weeks back and one of the speakers shared a beautiful analogy of marriage being like a finely crafted piece of furniture. When two boards are joined together with the carpenters glue they can never be seperated. If you were to take a sledge hammer to the piece it would break, but not at the joint where it was glued. He wanted to illustrate that once married, two people would never be the same if seperated.

As I listened I began to feel the weight of condemnation. I am a Christian! What had I done leaving my husband!? I read the bible! I know what Gods word says! I should be ashamed to be sitting here among all these couples trying to work out their problems while staying together!

But as I squirmed under that condemnation, I heard God say to me, "Yes, two people joined in holy matrimony should never be seperated. Put together the right way, the glue is too strong. But sometimes a piece of furniture has been hastily made, or time has taken its toll, or abuse has caused damage and it has begun to fall apart.
To the average person, to the outside world, there may be no worth left in this piece. They say 'Throw it away! Toss it out! Start over!'
But in the hands of The Master Carpenter, the piece can be saved.
It has to be gently taken apart and cleaned up before it can be put back together. It can become something even more beautiful then before.
Do you trust me?"

Yes Lord, I trust you.

"You are my hiding place,
you will protect me in times of trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance." psalm 31:7


  1. Crystal,

    My heart, my love and my prayers go out to you and your husband. Your love, understanding and willingness to know our Lord is very humbling and encouraging. Many of us, myself included wear masks, out of fear, out of self control, out of ignorance among others. Praise God for friends and mentors like yourself. I wish I could walk in and take all of your pain away but only our Father can do that. So many times I forget that. Way too many times. You're a light Crystal, a true blessing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. You have found a true treasure...that deep growth happens not in asking God to take our circumstances from us, or us from them, but that He would be our strength through them and He would be glorified. How awesome and edifying is your testimony!!! Thank you!
    Michele :)

  3. Crystal how strong you are to share what you are going through. Your creations are gorgeous-be sure to take care of YOU too through all of this. Your in my thoughts!

  4. Anonymous10:34 PM

    Hi. My name is Lara Berch. I have just launched a new website with step by step art tutorials. I was wondering if it's possible to exchange links with you.
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  5. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Dear Crystal,
    I hope your time of peace is helping you to heal yourself, for (apart that from you wholly need and deserve this time to yourself, to heal), without that you cannot help those around you. I could not help seeing the similarity in your description of your husband's moods, and what I lived through for years with my own husband. Does this sound familiar..some time ago he used have times of being very, very, VERY happy, then there would a strange period of irritibility, where he would fight with a fencepost if it looked at him wrong, and then a time of depression? And over time, have the very happy times grown shorter, and been replaced with more irritable times and more depression times? You never see this pattern until you turn around and look behind you.
    If this sounds familiar then your husband needs to see a doctor, as it is very likely that he has a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder. These problems afflict far, far more people than we ever know. Leaving them untreated is dangerous but fortunately there are several excellent treatments. With the help of good doctors you and your family can regain a the calm, peaceful, "normal" life that you have probably forgotten in the stress of what you have been through. My heart goes out to you and I hope that you will be able to achieve the outcome you so much need.

  6. I am speechless.
    I am not sure what to say.
    I am in awe that you expressed these feelings here.
    I am hoping and praying that you are not always so hard on yourself.
    I am not of your faith and dont quite understand some things you said, be that as it may I am glad you have such faith - please look after yourself.

  7. Crystal, I'm so glad your husband is studying John Eldridge's excellent book. I think it has a profound effect on some men and it will really speak to him. Your faith is an example to us all and especially to your husband. Psalm 30 has been speaking to me lately and it's along the same lines as God, He is our refuge. You're in my prayers!

  8. Crystal, thanks so much for sharing your heart, emotions and faith. Anyone reading your blog would learn so much about who God is through what you express about Him in your own life. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers. You keep growing more beautiful all the time, refined by fire. I know your relationship with Our Comforter will see you through.
    Many Blessings,

  9. Cindy Ericsson8:23 PM

    I don't know if you are familiar with the books by Neil Anderson (especially Victory Over the Darkness & The Bondage Breaker), but I think they could help get to the core issues, so that God could heal the broken parts. I think these two books have been combined in a new book called Beta that is appropriate for either group or individual study. If you have a local Christian bookstore, you might be able to find it there. You might also think about speaking to someone involved with the Freedom in Christ ministry. I know there's at least one in Palatine and a man& wife in Moline. I pray that God will continue to renew you and your husband, and your marriage, and to bind you together with Him.

  10. strength and courage you have Crystal... and your faith is what has gotten you this far... all my thoughts are with you!