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9 years ago today…

Greg proposed to me after a sweet Christmas service at an old antique church of our friends. Carols, family and the forging of plans for a new family. I took some time to reflect this morning on God’s provision and faithfulness and shaping of our character through this union of marriage.
There is something beautiful about what God does through the pain and frustration of relationships and life that brings an amazing joy and growth that we would never understand without the pain. The months before we got engaged, I stood fearfully before the thought of marriage. (I am not your typical girl who had the ceremony and everything planned before the engagement–I looked at the thought and commitment of marriage so soberly that I took the joy out of it.) Greg finally had to say–“Um, we are going to laugh and have fun together.” To which I said, “oh yeah!”
I look back at that time 9 years ago and laugh–I had no idea! I had no idea how much we would laugh and have fun and even invent our own vocabulary. I also had no way to predict how hard and life-shaping it is to live side by side in the midst of internal and external struggles…depression, disappointment, dreams unfulfilled. (Like Greg says–two porcupines in a box.) I had no idea how much I loved control and would stoop to unbelievable levels to try to shape Greg instead of entrusting Him to the Father. I had no idea how much God would grow each of us in intimacy with Himself–to learn that He is the fulfillment, He is the hope, He is the author and perfecter of our marriage and faith, He is faithful beyond belief. I often tell those who are contemplating marriage that Jesus is the glue that holds us together—period.
What a gift of richness of Himself that God has shared with me through this journey. I sat at a concert the other night where a couple sang a song about the deep pains of marriage and how, in the end, they were grateful for them. Tears brimmed in my eyes and a smile came to my face because they sang truth. In the midst of places where we cry and scream for circumstantial change as the pain seems unbearable, we do not fully understand. I think of the Potter who sometimes flattens the clay to make a beautifully sculpted vessel. The flattening does not feel good–but the end sings of the Potter’s plan and beautiful creativity. That is the picture of marriage that I am reminded of this morning. There have been times one or both of us have been flattened (and is it not the truth when one is flattened, both are?), and I have screamed and whined and not understood. However, when we are able, with God’s grace to see the formation of new character, new love, new care and a greater picture of His gospel–wow, what a Potter! I think of Joseph saying “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and how inscrutable His ways!” Romans 11:33
So, I guess you can tell I have grown in my love for God and Greg through this journey of marriage. With God’s favor and grace, this is just the beginning. There is no other place that I have learned more of God’s trustworthiness and sovereignty than this relational journey of marriage. He has used Greg to teach me about standing up for truth and boundaries. He has used me in Greg’s life to teach about giving grace to others. We are a beautiful mess–only because of Him! We are both learning that now as we submit to Him my womb and the future of children. God is not a genie that bows to our whims–boy have we learned this. He is the immortal, invisible, God only wise. He knows what He is doing and has faithful, shaping reasons for doing it.
I look back with thanks today as I remember staring at my new ring in disbelief 9 years ago tonight. Thank goodness He is in control of this ride–the joys, the pains and our destiny.

Snowshoe, WV where we went after engagement with my family


Some of the fun and laughter

Author:

40 year old Married Mom to 2 From Tennessee

2 thoughts on “9 years ago today…

  1. A whole-hearted, “AMEN, SISTER!” Marriage…what a means of sanctifying grace. Thank you for sharing your heart and giving us a peek at your journey. It encourages me in my own marriage and reminds me that “…it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13) Soli Deo Gloria!

  2. I remember that Christmas service so well! You were wearing a wool plaid skirt…and it was really cold. I was so excited for you – and you honored me so much by letting me have a small part in your wedding! Thank you for sharing your heart, Jen. I can’t wait until it’s my turn to take that journey and I’m so blessed to have so many people in my life that will be honest with me on how marriage really is.

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