That was the closest he got to making me a true mix tape until 2006 when he ripped my heart to shreds and started his long difficult journey to recovery from addiction. This new one, he made during our 2-month separation...a compilation of songs that represented Us, and our struggle to figure out marriage in the midst of life's onerous trials. That's not how I imagined receiving my mix tape, to say the least; but I still can't listen to it without full-on crying. The songs ring truer and more deeply today than they did those long four years ago. Photo courtesy of Ani-Bee on Flikr
Track One :: Ginny Owens, If You Want Me To
The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why you brought me here
But just because you love me the way that you do
I'm gonna walk through the valley if you want me to
'Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise you're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire if you want me to
It may not be the way I would've chosen
When you lead me through a world that is not my home
But you never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone
So when the whole world turns against me and I'm all by myself
And I can't hear you answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering your love put you through
And I will go through the valley if you want me to
I remember after that first disclosure in May of 2000 feeling so confused, angry, disgusted, alone and in such a really dark place that I longed deeply for the Light. I remember listening to the car radio and not being able to change it from the cheesy Christian station, because anything that didn't fill my ears with pictures and words of pure hope and goodness was just too, too dark for me. My emotions were extremely fragile.
This is a song that was very popular at the time and it played every day. Every time I heard this song, I chose to believe. I made it my prayer. I just want to dissect a couple of lines real quick:
Heck yeah, the pathway is broken! The signs are unclear? It's like Dr. Seuss came in and redecorated my entire existence! I no longer know the man I thought I grew up with, fell in love with, married and had babies with. Which way do I go? What do I do now? In those first months and years, choosing to believe that God loves me perfectly (and He's the only one that ever will) and that He's completely trustworthy--choosing to believe this--gave me the courage I needed to keep walking forward through this valley. There have been changes in elevation over the years, but it has been 10 years, and I'm still hiking an incline. I thank God that He has given me more and more evidence of the mountain top, like a sunrise...taking a decade to begin spreading over the peaks.
I'm not who I was when I took my first step... Thank God! But what does that mean? That now I can handle more painful things? Do I have the wisdom to deal with this pain? I didn't feel like it. At the very least, these lines spoke to how I am changing still. I am growing into the person God wants me to be, and this is an opportunity within that promise of God to myself.
When you lead me through a world that's not my own... This was a welcome reminder that this heartache is NOT okay, it is NOT what God wants for us, it is NOT normal. I wasn't meant for this world...this is a crappy waiting room. But I am not alone. This is friggin' hard, but I am never, never alone here.
The last stanza... I can relate to all of it. There have been times when I felt so utterly alone with no one who understood, and crying out to God, only to hear my own echo in a cold, dark room. I don't think God left me, but I think sometimes I wasn't ready to be moved forward, so God had me wait. In retrospect, I believe much of my pain in those early years was because of my fantasy marriage-skin being ripped off of my flesh. I didn't even realize that this needed to be done in order to understand Truth and to live in it. So selfish! I'm sure I loved myself much more than I loved my husband then. But there is nothing that I can experience that could be worse than what Jesus experienced on (and on the way to) the cross. If I believe what Jesus accomplished on Calvary at all, then I suppose I can go through a valley when I'm told to go through a valley.
In the following performance, Ginny has tweaked it a bit from the recorded version, and added a verse...I love it! She has a wonderful story, including how being blind has caused her challenges that she chose to walk through with her Creator.