We’re talking marriage this month at Facets of Faith, answering the question: how is God helping me bloom through my marriage. Tracy and Jen shared already, be sure to check out their posts. Today it’s my (Kim’s) turn, so here we go!
He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me . . . he loves me not.
Last week was the 20th anniversary of my first wedding for a marriage that lasted fourteen years. Fourteen years of holding my breath, slowly plucking at each flower petal as I wondered and waited. He loves me. Chaos and crisis defined most of our years together, until like the failing rose in Beauty and the Beast, the remaining petal shriveled and died. He loves me not.
Marriage scared me. Or more accurately, intimacy did. Could I trust someone with my whole heart again? Was I willing to take the risk of allowing someone near? There was so much pain and sorrow, I wasn’t sure.
A little more than four years ago, in a burst of courage, I signed up for one of those dating websites. Yep, that was me. My divorce was final and I wanted to meet new people. Nervously, I filled out my profile, trying to determine how much to share and what to keep close.
Simple questions like listing the number of kids sent waves of anxiety over me. Who will want to deal with that, I wondered. I decided to stay vague. Vagueness protected. Vagueness kept others at bay.
Emails started filling my inbox. One by one, I hit delete. Until I saw his picture. Peering close, I noticed a child’s hand on his shoulder. Intrigued, I clicked on his profile. There wasn’t much but something in his picture stirred something in me. What the heck, I thought. I hit reply and a tiny shoot broke through the earth.
God had been doing a tender work in me throughout this dark season. He compassionately pulled up weeds of pride and bitterness. He whispered words of love and hope nurturing my soul and restoring the nutrients I so desperately needed to heal my broken heart.
Forgiveness. Compassion. Grace. But I didn’t see the rest of what He was preparing for me, not right away.
Through a series of emails we began to learn about each other, this man and I. We found out we graduated the same year from rival high schools and liked the same cars. We both loved kids and each had a few of our own. Then came the surprise, the one thing I couldn’t ignore.
We both lost a child.
In that moment as I read his words, it looks like we have something else in common, I tasted the grace of God’s goodness. It was as if I were infused with oxygen and could freely breathe again. Not because of this man, but because of how God chose to use this man. That tiny bud began to reach toward the sun. It had been so long . . .
His son, Timmy, died when he was four. He drowned in their swimming pool. My daughter, Emma, died when she was five in a fire that destroyed our home. I remember writing to him that if nothing else, we were going to be good friends. We shared a bond that most, thankfully, do not. We tasted the bitterness of sorrow so deep that changes our very soul.
I often think about that moment, that first bit of connection we felt before we ever met. I tasted hope that day and it was refreshing and good.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19, NLT
One email led to another until we finally talked on the phone. Eventually, we decided to meet and last month we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. A day, quite honestly, I never thought I’d celebrate again, but only for God’s mercy and grace.
This may sound a little cheesy, but let’s face it, this entire post has that flavor . . . but I feel myself coming alive each day I wake as Russ’s wife. I experienced so much sorrow and death that I became accustomed to its weight around my shoulders. It was like the comfortable sweatshirt I know is ripped and torn, yet feels so safe and warm. Being Russ’s wife helps me learn a new way of life as we embrace the dance of living with grief because he knows it, too.
I never knew being married was like this. I understood the hard part – the in sickness and in bad times. But this good part? The laughter, the fun, the encouragement, the genuine enjoyment? It’s new and like a refreshing rain nourishing the soil God tilled and prepared.
He hugs me at night and whispers I have the best wife ever. It doesn’t matter if I was grumpy or frustrated, if I disciplined his kids or forgot to make dinner. His whispered words of love saturate my mending heart with hope. Hope that marriage is what I thought it could be, hope that two people could not only love each other, but like each other, as well.
My husband stands up for me and protects me. He remains firm when I feel rocked by the waves of fear and anxiety. He longs to provide not only for my needs, but even some of my wants. And he tries to make me smile and laugh every. single. day. Almost to a fault, but it makes me love him even more.
He offers me a glimpse of the love and protection God has for me. I feel safe and secure as I learn more about him, about Jesus, and about myself. I’m beginning to take risks where fear would have won and I’m stepping toward dreams because my husband loves to encourage me on.
Our marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s ours and it’s good. We brought some carts of baggage to our marriage, but somehow we ended up with a beautiful matching set.
No, God did that . . . that’s how.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.” Joel 2:25, ESV
How does God speak to you through your spouse? In your marriage? Join the conversation by sharing a comment below or on our Facebook page.