I know the pain and shame of divorce and have experienced the consequences of quitting, though unfortunately, Erik lives with the impact of that sin much more. However, we got a second chance when I married John. Things were going to be different I was sure, though I had no idea what the difference was that we would need the most, but God did. Between 2011 and 2013, He was teaching me the importance of surrendering to Him through parenting and shortly after, He did the same for John through ALS. Though our marriage was pretty good, five years in, with two hearts totally submitted to God, it began to fulfill the primary purpose of marriage; though imperfectly, we were glorifying God by depicting the mysterious and beautiful relationship of Christ and the church. Two years later, I experienced the end of another marriage as John took his last breath with me by his side, but this time, there was peace, purpose and beauty.
Two years ago today, I made a commitment before God to my third husband. Again, things would be different, though this time, the changes weren’t as exciting. Often, our relationship seems much more like the tumultuous tug-of-war of my first marriage. However, my first marriage was based on a lie. I believed marriage was about me getting what I felt I needed, wanted, or “deserved.” With John, God showed me the truth. Marriage is not about us, but about Him. Marriage is about spouses giving each other what he or she needs most when it is least deserved, not in a self-righteous way, but out of obedience to God’s command to submit to Him and to each other. That type of love and sacrifice honors God and shows His character to those who are watching. When both partners do that, the resulting intimacy and joy is so much better than the conditional and fleeting happiness of having expectations met (and unmet expectations lose a lot of their power). At this point, it’s impossible not to make comparisons, especially when my marriage to John was just so much easier, even with ALS. However, the most important aspect of my marriage to John exists with Tom. You see, two years ago, we didn’t just make a commitment to each other; first and foremost, the two of us completely surrendered our plans for ourselves, our marriage and family to God, and fortunately, God keeps reminding us that it is about Him.
Our marriage doesn’t reflect God’s original design, which consisted of only one man and one woman. Sin brought death and divorce into our lives, and our family is far from perfect, but God is full of grace! Our family isn’t nuclear, but it is new….because of Jesus. Our marriage can still honor Him and fulfill His plan for marriage, and He will work through our family in mighty ways. I don’t tell Tom often enough, but I am so grateful for his loyalty, persistence and determination. I can’t imagine and wouldn’t want to walk through this new life with anyone else! Happy Anniversary, Babe, and Merry Christmas, everyone! May you each be reconciled to God and be able to truly celebrate the birth of Jesus, through whom we can all receive such incredible grace.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:16-21