The number of years I moved from a child to a young adult in school. K-12. Big changes came in that time. The caterpillar crawled, was in its cocoon and then bled and spread its wings to fly. Greg and I have been married the length of that time, now. We have moved from….
Snapshots do not tell the whole story, do they? No. They give highlights. Just as our grade school pictures remind us of points in time, there is so much more that is formed behind the scenes (even in this day of the 24 hour picture cycle). All of the above pictures were taken in ideal situations–Snowshoe, West Virginia on a ski trip. Fripp Island, South Carolina on a glorious beach trip. My sister’s beautifully tended yard in a photo shoot.
Our marriage has been tended in these places, but the real work and the real growth have occurred in the day to day. The times where we have felt abandoned by one another, and we have realized our fault in the matter (in time) as we take a step back and regain perspective in Christ. The times where we have faced the sickness and death of those dear to us–most don’t take snapshots of those. The 40th time we looked at yet another negative pregnancy test and feel crushed and numb at the same time. The time we crumbled in each others arms when we receive the confirmed diagnosis of a chronic illness and plot what the next 40 years will look like. The times we binged watch shows that become iconic in our memory–those usually doesn’t make Instagram. The times we did impromptu skits on road trips and appreciate rocking out to a fun 90s playlist–the modern mixed tape. The hundreds of students and young adults who have moved in and out of our lives with their stories while we still remain. The fads that have come and gone in culture and in ministry while we still remain. The lines and the gray hairs that grow as we hit middle age. The risk and the beauty of trusting God praying for the possibilities of our John Benjamin and Luke Christopher and seeing those possibilities become real boys with personalities that we are entrusted to love and shepherd even when we are tired, discouraged and bruised.
Marriage is not the path of ease. In fact, true life is not the path of ease. It is hard to accomplish things on our own, but sometimes it is easier than working with someone. Yet, there is something to be learned from this relationship with people who are completely different–personality, sex, desires, understanding. We learn to give grace and to receive grace (unearned favor). We learn long-suffering (patience) alongside someone, and they learn alongside us. We see the deeper picture of God, our Husband, who bears with us, enables us to grow, and who shows us patience yet again and again all in the heart and intent of love to present us pure and holy as His Bride. Marriage makes sense in the truth of the Gospel–it does not make sense apart from it.
I am thankful that each snapshot of our marriage is covered by God’s grace. I am thankful that every behind the scenes, everyday, mundane moment is covered by His grace. As we look forward, I pray for both of our hearts to be cultivated by God’s grace. I pray for wisdom to grow and laughter to always be present. I pray for perspective that the days are fleeting that we may seize the opportunity to do good to one another, to champion each other as children of God and as parents to our boys. I pray especially for those moments in time that are not snapshot worthy but that are the shapers of our hearts and our marriage. Happy Anniversary, Greg.