When our daughter announced on January 1st of this year that she had become engaged, I thought things were moving way too fast and her boyfriend and her needed to slow down. They had dated over four years ago, and although I do not have anything personal against him, I didn’t feel only dating for a few months would be enough to accept a marriage proposal. It took me some time to realize that they were serious and I could get on board or not. And then I realized that our baby girl wasn’t a baby anymore.
She has a child of her own. And many couples get married in their twenty’s so why was this so hard for me? I have many reasons, but I know the biggest reason is I want to make sure she is ready. It’s one thing to date someone and fall in love with them, it’s a whole other thing to commit to be married to them for the remainder of your life and since her father and I have struggled with that in our own marriages, you hope and pray better for your children, that they won’t face the same struggles.
Last week our daughter and future son in law informed us that they don’t want to wait to get married. They want to get married this summer, nothing big or fancy, but they don’t want to wait. Life is too short. When you know what you want, go for it. And once again I am bowled over by all of this. I can’t stop them and I can’t blame them, but I can say I am more frazzled than I have been in a long time. I’ve always dreamed of planning her wedding with her, but I had assumed I would have more than 4 months to do so. And since they are living with us and have not planned on a place of their own or have the budget for that, that is another concern. How much will their life change and how much will stay the same?
Whilst we do not need to worry about a wedding gown, as she is not a frills type woman, there are still many things that must be figured out. A shelter has already been reserved for a reception/party for after the nuptials, a theme for the party, and a very rough draft menu decided on, but that’s it. And now as we get ready to spring our clocks forward later tonight, I am reminded that time is of the essence.
His parents live in Florida and will be coming up and his mother will be officiating the ceremony as she holds a license for marriages in our state, but trying to plan things and coordinate details has been a little difficult. Our daughter knows what she wants, but can be very indecisive if given too many choices. Her fiance has had some input, but is leaving the details up to the bride to be and myself.
Today as we sat down to determine a rough menu of the types of foods, and planning on how to pull it off without a huge expense, I will say Pinterest has many helpful ideas and suggestions. I want this day to be a day she will look back on and smile, holding in her heart the memories of friends and family gathering to celebrate the love of two very special people.
Lord, I ask that you grant clarity and wisdom as we move forward with these plans and that you will bless this couple and strengthen them as they move forward towards the next step of their journey. Allow the love they have to continue to blossom and give me the patience needed and peace to help them in any way I am able in making their dreams come true. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Life is short. Savor every moment you are given. Love extravagantly. Be thankful for the blessings in your life, no matter how small they may seem. Jesus Loves you~right where you are in this moment and always.
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
When I read that verse above, it reminds me of my marriage to my husband, Michael. And it reminds me of how far Jesus has brought us from where we once stood. We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary yesterday; had we never divorced two times prior, we would have celebrated twenty one years this year.
Yes, you read that correctly. We have been married to each other twice before and both times ended in divorce (for about 1 1/2-2 years in between) because we did not have God as head of our home, our lives or our family. We tried to make both previous marriages work, but it’s difficult when both of you don’t have the same beliefs and values. There were illnesses and addictions involved in making the first two marriages crash and burn. It took a lot of soul searching and seeking guidance and prayer to make it to number 3.
Many of our family and friends thought it was ridiculous to marry twice, so sharing with them that we were going to do it for a third and last time seemed too difficult. So we only shared it with one close friend and our children (from our marriage). Our son was ecstatic, our daughter was wary. She was old enough to remember how the first two times worked out and was skeptical, this time would be any better.
This time was different. Why and how was it different? My husband had always believed in Jesus, but he had never really given his life to Jesus. Totally surrendering all to him. He had proposed several times and I had politely refused, even though my love for him was still very strong, citing past history and the emotional turmoil it created in our lives. I was sure I didn’t want to head down that path again. I shared with him that I had started attending church again and I was alive for the first time in a long time. I had come back to the Lord and would not remarry him if he did not have the same passion about Jesus that I did. That was the one and only time I have ever given him an ultimatum in the 23 years that we have known one another. I knew this was not something that I would feel right about in my heart and God knew that too.
For all intensive purposes, we had a “probationary” dating period of 6 months. Anyone can say that they are a Christian and profess to love Jesus, but I wasn’t taking any chances this third time. I needed to know in my heart of hearts that this was what God wanted for both of us and our families. He said I’ll try going to church with you, but I’m not too sure about all of this. As it turns out, he loved going with me and got involved in the Men’s Group and Celebrate Recovery groups and on June 9, 2008 we were married for the final time.
We had planned on telling his two older daughters (from his very first marriage) and the remainder of our families slowly. Not wanting to cause undue stress on our lives or hear many bitter opinions as why is was not a great idea. Unfortunately, the best laid plans of “man” are not the same plans God has for our lives. Within two months of being remarried, Michael was diagnosed with colon cancer and knowing that it would be up to me to make any decisions if he wasn’t able to, telling all of our family became a priority.
Our parents weren’t really surprised and only wanted what was best for our family. The older daughters were more agitated about not being invited, than not knowing. Our siblings had quite different opinions, but because siblings love you no matter what, everyone dealt with it.
After the diagnosis, we prayed harder, enlisted prayer warriors, cried, worried, and then I said something to the effect, “If the Lord wanted us to be back together, than he will carry us through this and whatever is necessary, we will do together.” Part of living out your faith in Jesus, is “living” it out, not just saying you have faith and then when something comes along that takes your breath away, sink into a pit of despair and not do anything.
I am pleased to say, my husband is a cancer survivor. He had a major part of his colon removed in 2008, but never required any type of Chemo or Radiation treatments. Praise God! That moment in time, strengthened his faith in Jesus. He was so overwhelmed that God would answer the prayers for the surgeons to get it all and he wouldn’t have to have treatments, just yearly checkups. His first words upon hearing, they had gotten it all and the lymph nodes looked good, was I can’t believe Jesus loves me this much! Tears of joy were shed that day. Tears of thankfulness to a Faithful Savior that is always there.
In the past 8 years, we have had many tests as husband and wife, but the difference now, versus the previous 2, is that we have God at the center of us. God has taught us what mercy and grace are all about. He has taught us what it means to truly love one another .
Mike, used to get upset with me when I would share our testimony with others, always saying it was in the past and that’s where it needs to stay. For me, sharing Jesus and what he has done in my life and how far he has brought me, are part of my story. It took a while for that to be okay with Mike. We have two totally different perspectives. Mine is if I have gone through something and learned from it, healed from it, or grown from it, than when the time is right, I need to share with those that need to see how the Lord works in my life. Mike’s perspective has always been, it’s no one’s business, my life is my life and I like to be private. If people like me, they like me for who I am now, not who I used to be.
It became a major topic for a long time, until he realized that everything he has been through in his life, has made him the person he is today and when he stops and thinks about it, he also realizes that Jesus was and will always be with him.
2 Corinthians 1:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Being married means you have to be able to love and accept all the quirks and flaws you perceive your husband/wife to have. You have to be able to realize that there will be many valleys and mountains to climb, that not all days will be smooth sailing, but that God will direct the sails if you trust him.
We continue to attend church together and are involved in the Women’s and Men’s ministries and continue to grow in the Lord. Being married is work, hard work, but well worth it when you finally realize that God has to come first or nothing will work right in your lives. God has plans for all of our lives. And he will use any mess, any mistake, anything that is not of him and he will use it for good according to his purpose and his plan.
I look back on the past 23 years of knowing Michael and I can say without a doubt that God has grown both of us and stretched our faith in many challenging times, but in the end grace always wins.
Remember that Jesus Loves You! No matter what you are facing or where you are in your life right now, He is always just a prayer away.