Celebrating twenty four years of marriage this week; how is that even possible? Time goes so fast, sometimes I feel that it is a thief. It slips up in the night and takes away all that you know and the people that you love. And just when you think it might slow down and befriend you, it goes even faster and you find yourself hanging on with both hands to keep up.
But, then again, time provides the window that enables us to live out our story and in the end that’s the greatest gift of all. So maybe it’s not such a thief, but a gift giver instead, I guess it all depends on one’s perspective.
It was a long time ago, but I still remember clearly the first time I saw my husband, he sang in a college group. They would travel around and sing in churches in hopes to create some interest in the college and potentially gain some new students. He was blonde and handsome and I was young and wearing the most hideous flower covered dress you’ve probably ever seen. I wish I had a picture of it so you would know that it is not an understatement when I tell you it was awful.
But, somehow he noticed me in spite of the dress; a small miracle.
My dad was the pastor of a small church in Florida and there might have been eighty people in attendance that Sunday. Each came to hear the college singing group that came all the way from Iowa to perform for our small congregation. He was blonde, did I mention that already? And he had blue eyes and was perfectly dreamy as far as I was concerned. I was at a point in my life where I was looking to attend a Bible college and this one had my attention for obvious reasons.
After that Sunday service, all I needed to know was where to sign up.
Not too much later I found myself a student at the same small college in Iowa. This might be no big deal to some, but to this Florida born girl, it might as well have been a foreign country. We didn’t travel much growing up so going this far across the United States felt so brave and exciting. I had gone to a college previously and because of my immaturity and lack of funds, I had dropped out and come home. After working in the shoe department for a year and a half at JC Penney, I finally had it together enough to try again.
I’ve never done things the easy way, it seems.
Well, it didn’t take long for me to officially meet the man of my dreams and future father of my children. He stood out in the crowd with those blonde locks. We were friends for a while first, meeting in the student center to play foosball or we’d sit at a booth and drink a coke while talking about anything and everything that came into our heads.
Young love is so fun.
I remember the butterflies when we would sit together at dinner or pass each other on the way to class. I looked forward to our “not so accidental” meetings around campus. It took some time and patience, but we finally decided to give this thing a go and it’s the best decision I ever made.
Choosing my husband was easy, but being married was another story.
I would like to talk to any young person who will listen to me at this point in my married story.
It does have a happy ending. But, you need to know that you don’t go into a forever commitment and think there will be no work involved. And, don’t think for a moment that because you’ve found your special somebody you’ll be walking on easy street. No more troubles, no more sorrows, and just romantic bliss until death do you part.
It doesn’t work that way.
Jeff and I spent the first few years of our marriage butting heads. I am a strong willed person and I like to have my way. It’s one of my many charms. We would argue and go to bed mad. I know, exactly what you should never do in a healthy relationship, but we were young and foolish. But, because we WANTED our relationship to work and we COMMITTED to seeing it through, we kept trying.
I can remember one time in particular when we’d had such a huge argument, I decided I was just done. I was tired, we had three children and I hadn’t slept in years (that’s how it felt) and I just wanted EASY. Now that is a laugh. Once you’ve had children, you give up easy for a lifetime. But, that is another blog for another day. Anyway, I was just so over trying and compromising and hoping for better, I just wanted to relax on the beach and forget about everything and everyone.
I recollect standing in my kitchen at my wits end, one baby crying, another throwing toys, one on the hip, with dirty laundry spilling out of the laundry room, I cried, “Lord, I need a trip to the beach. My life would be so much easier if I could escape it.” Oh how I whined. I look back now and I want to say to my younger self, get over it girl.
I’m so thankful the Lord is patient with us, He gives us circumstances as we are able to handle them. That is so important to understand. He gives what we need as we need it, not a moment sooner, but never a moment too late. No matter how it may FEEL, He knows exactly where we are and how we’re doing.
Don’t lose sight of that.
But, at that moment in the kitchen, I really thought I might drown in all of the work and tears and “lack of” that comes with raising children, but you know what, I didn’t. It wasn’t pretty much of the time, but I made it. I didn’t know much, but, thankfully, because of my Godly parents, I did know where to turn when I needed help; which was pretty much all the time. He came to my rescue and He will come to your rescue too.
But you have to make up your mind.
You have to DECIDE that you’re not going anywhere. DECIDE that you’re going to be the person God has called you to be, that come hell or high water, you’re going to see this thing through. (Of course I am not talking about any type of abusive relationship here.) When things get messy, and they most certainly will, DECIDE that you will get on your knees, your face even and cry out to the ONE who is GREATER than ALL of your hardships and HE will dry all of your tears.
He will see you through.
And one day, like me, you’ll look back and wonder how in the world you made it. But even as you wonder, in your heart you’ll know, it was because of the ONE who loves you the most. He stepped in and walked the road with you, even if you didn’t recognize it at the time.
Trust me; I know what I’m talking about here.
Through the young years of marriage and through the rearing of three precious souls, he has taught me a million lessons. Some of them I learned and others I’ve had to be reminded of time and time again. He’s constantly working in me and refining me to be the person HE knows I am capable of being. And He’s doing the same in YOU. It’s so easy to get distracted with wanting to have our own way or wishing for something more than what we already have. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we ALREADY have right at our fingertips.
There is so much potential in you; so much potential in your marriage, your home, your children, your life, in everything, not because of you, but because of HIM.
Hang in there, don’t give up!
Keep pressing on!
Time will march on and leave you wondering at how the days turned into months and how the months turned into twenty four years. Your children will be adults and your parents will be aging and you will look around you and thank GOD that you stuck it out because HE DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
And THEN you will wish you had kept that ugly flowery dress, because it held a million priceless memories.
“Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.”
“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” ~ Max Lucado