Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there were two teenagers. These teens decided that it was a good idea to set out on an adventure. So they did.

They packed up their few boxes and bags and said “I do” and off they went. Life was grand for a minute or two. They enjoyed the freedom of being young and in love as well as being very broke. Now don’t get too worried the two teenagers made sure they had food, electricity and of course, dialup internet. Time passed and they resolved that they needed to each have their own money to spend as they pleased; and so they set aside $40 each month. They were allotted $20 each and they could spend this grand amount of money as they each saw fit.
And they lived happily ever after.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our lives were a fairy tale in a book with beautiful drawings and happy endings every day? While the above account is true, yes even the dial-up and the $20 each, it didn’t feel like a fairy tale. In fact those first years were tough! I might not have jumped in with both feet had I known how hard it was going to be but rather waited until we were a bit more mature and stable. But, I am glad that I did and here’s why. When I look back I can see that even in the really hard times we held fast. When we had grass growing up through our living room carpet, (true story) we grew too. When we had to endure our heater being
stuck at 95 degrees and had to open all the doors just to cool off in the dead of winter while we played cards with our friends, we enjoyed the company. When we sat up late into the night questioning if getting married so young was the best decision, we relied on God’s wisdom. During the times of holding our breath while opening bills and comparing them to our bank account, we prayed for provision. When I get a call late at night that my other half has been in a horrible accident and he is amazed that he’s alive, we thanked God for His protection.

We’ve often joked about how many times Pastor Paul prayed during our wedding ceremony, but just maybe he knew how much we’d need it. This December we will celebrate 18 years of marriage, not all of them easy years. In these 18 years a lot of growing, stretching, changing, apologizing, compromising and loving has happened. As we look back over these years we can see a single thread that has woven itself throughout our lives, this cord is God’s faithfulness. He has never abandoned us or let us fall. Though we fail each other, disappoint and cause heart ache; He is always there.

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12

While writing this I am reminded of an episode of The Middle. The mom has accidentally purchased an eye cream that is an exorbitant amount of money and has to confess this to her husband. In the end they laugh about how after all their married years it takes $200 to cause a fight and not $20. This is us! I’d like to think that we are far from the crazy 18 year olds who thought they had it figured out but we’re not. No matter how old (or mature) we get we still mess up and need God’s grace and direction daily.

If you’re just starting out remember this; cherish the hard times just as much as the easy ones, be patient with each other. Every choice we made, good or bad has shaped us and grown us and made us rely on God. I love looking back at our tiny house and laughing about the grass in the carpet or the time I almost burnt down the kitchen making pop corn! These moments are dear to my heart because I have been able to share them with the love of my life. And God has seen fit to bless us with so much more than I could have asked for. In the Bible Jacob prays a prayer that I am inclined to adopt;

“I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps.”

Genesis 32:10

Many days I feel unworthy to have been blessed with so much. We started out with so little and yet in God’s graciousness He has blessed us in double. Faithfulness on God’s part is not a reflection of our cheap effort at perfection but on His extravagant grace.