Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seasons of a Marriage

Recently, my husband and I had the privilege to share at "The Wave", a gathering of young adults in our church. They wanted to hear our story, and more specifically about our marriage.

The whole experience was a blast and has caused me to reflect more thoughtfully on our journey together as a couple. We have always considered ourselves extremely blessed. We didn't have some of the difficult hurdles that we have observed in other marriages, but we both carried into our marriage a measure of brokenness. Retelling our story caused me to see just how much God has done in our individual lives and marriage.

Being the amazing Shepherd that He is, God brought us in to healing in many of those broken areas. Sometimes our healing occurred simultaneously, sometimes separately, but the more whole that each of us became, the better we were able to love one another.

Having the advantage of surveying 33 years of marriage, I have learned that a marriage has seasons. Some of those seasons are joyful, surprising, adventuresome, and exhilarating, and others are trying, heartbreaking, and downright humbling.

In all of those seasons there needs to be an anchor. For us, that Anchor is Jesus. I can't tell you the number of times that we found ourselves up against a tumultuous season. Together, we faced financial crisis, health difficulties, shattered dreams, personal betrayals(not with each other), and discouragement, just to name a few.

Each of these hurdles tests a marriage.  When we are secured to our Anchor, we may experience pain, but, we go through these difficult tests with a deep security. Though the sea might be raging around us, we can rest assured that we are firmly fastened in Him and He will not let us go.

We made a decision before we got married that we would never use the word 'divorce' with each other. When we encountered a test, divorce wasn't an option. We had vowed that we would never throw the 'd' word up to one another in the heat of a battle.

Our security was in knowing that the Jesus that lived in each of us was big enough to work out any differences the two of us might encounter. When we encountered a conflict, sometimes we just needed to spend time alone with Jesus. After I spent time with Him, time and again Jesus would focus on my heart and my response. I'm sure Richard would attest to the same thing.

A good marriage occurs when we are willing to humble ourselves to grow, learn, say "I'm sorry", and follow the gentle promptings of the voice of the Spirit within us. And, it greatly helps if both parties are doing this! I can't imagine attempting a marriage without His help.

I'm so grateful for the winter, spring, summer, and fall's of our marriage, and for the amazing, (and very handsome) man that God saw fit to allow me to share my life with. I'm also eternally grateful for the grace of God that has helped to mold, shape, and form us into a marriage that can glorify Him. I am acutely, and humbly aware that our marriage is a complete and total work of His grace.

And even as I close these thoughts, the lyrics and tune to a song by Hillsong surfaces,

'All of my life, in every season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship'.

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