Using the mall restroom has never been the same. Not since that day in June of 1997; three days out of high school and barely 18 years old. The instructions said it would take a few minutes for results, but those bright lines gave no breathing room. Instantly they screamed the truth I refused to believe- your. life. is. over. And then it was THAT LADY. The one dressed in fancy clothes voicing my options and encouraging me to take the easy way out. She was the professional; she knew more than me. Consumed by the unknown, my head spinning in a fog, baring nothing but worldly wisdom, confusion, and dread, he proposed.
It was a far cry from romantic and I can’t recall the exact conversation, but it went something like this: “James, I’m pregnant.” “Well, you know what I want to do.” I dreaded hearing what he’d want to do. I feared the worst- termination. But he threw me completely off my already unstable foundation “I want to get married.” Married? Did he really just say THAT word? He wants to marry ME? We’d barely been together for six months!
Nine months later I went from a carefree, young, vibrant, loving-my-life-teenager to a married mommy coping unsuccessfully with fat rolls, dirty dishes, piles of soiled, puked on, laundry, and a husband I barely knew. I sit here feeling there are many more women out there who CAN relate to my story than CAN’T. I share because my story is HIS story. On August 16th, 1997 the wayward Jehovah’s witness, and the naïve people-pleasing-teen walked down that isle, exchanged overpriced rings and meaningless vows, then attempted to play ‘the happy married couple with the bald, yet beautiful new baby.’ Most mocked and doubted our future.
Have you any clue what a stubborn teen does when doubted and ridiculed? She fights back and she fights hard. I refused to be the next statistic. However, as desperate as I was to prove them all wrong, my good intentions were nothing more than exhausting failures. AND IN MY WEAKNESS, HE IS STRONG. AND IN MY FAILURE HE IS GLORIFIED. AND IN MY DOUBT, HE IS FAITHFUL. AND IN MY DESPERATION, HE IS DESPERATE FOR ME. MY GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD!
He called me. He beckoned me to a small church and an even smaller fellowship. He showed me love and He taught me truth. He was patient and He was persistent.
In 15 years of marriage, we’ve experienced uncertainty as our time in foreign land expired, doubt as foster children happily returned to bio-parents, and fear when our home schooled kiddos were thrown to the wolves. We’ve had seasons of fruit, and seasons of drought. We’ve known abundant blessing and sudden loss. We’ve stood strong, we’ve fallen weak, we’ve savored sweet joy in knowing God’s will and hearing His voice, but we’ve also tasted bitter sorrow and swam in seas of doubt. Through it all, one thing has remained- WE. We are His, we are each others, we are vessels, and we are a work in progress.
The question is no longer- What good could possibly come from a wayward Jehovah’s Witness and his naïve-people-pleasing wife, but rather- What will God do with the willing heart of weak vessels?
Your. life. is. over. I may have been young, and dumb, and lost in a world of apprehension. I may have been over dramatic, self focused, and in need of a reality check. BUT, those words rang truer than I could have ever known.
My. life. was. over. Because He was calling me into death and offering NEW LIFE. A life of surrender. A life of love. A life of service. And a life of blessing with my best friend and hubby. It’s been 15 years! It’s been amazingly frightening and fulfilling! It’s been a topsy turvy roller coaster ride with nothing to hold onto but each other and our faith.
Happy 15th Anniversary, James! Thanks for the adventure! Thanks for your faithfulness, your unconditional love, and your devotion to our God, our children, our marriage, and our family J
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