Today marks the start of a new year. A new decade, in fact. When I look back over the past 10 years I can hardly recognize who I was then. Ten years ago we were staring out in our young marriage. I had no idea that my husband struggled with an addiction to pornography. I had no idea that this secret addiction would become part of our marriage and threaten to tear our family apart. I had no idea our recommitment to God and recovery would restore us and create a better relationship than we thought possible. I had no idea.

I have changed so much over the past ten years. I’m not the same woman I was, or the same wife, or the same mom. I’ve learned hard lessons and experienced hard losses, but looking back all of those hurts and pains have helped make me the person that I am now. A better woman, a better wife, a better mom. None of them were lessons that I asked for or wanted, but here I am. I survived them.

Ecclesiastes 3:9 says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

There were a lot of long, hard years for us over the past decade. At the time, I would have called them anything but beautiful. Miserable would have felt like a more accurate description. Looking back at the entire scope of these ten years, I can see how beautiful the pain and love and hard work were. I can see what a gift they were.

Each year has 365 days. If you are starting the new year and are in a dark phase in your marriage, remember  – a year is only 365 days, God will see you through them. If you are starting the new year feeling redeemed in your marriage, remember – a year is only 365 days, use them.

I’m not sure what the the new year will bring for you or for me, but I’m sure that God will use all these next 365 short days (the good ones and the bad ones) as part of His glorious plan. And I am sure that in time you will see the beauty in all of them.