Anyone who's said, "I do" will get it.
We've all either been part of a wedding or watched marriages unfold from there.
We've all experienced the roller-coaster pitching and tossing of giddy romantic excitement and resentful criticism from disappointed hopes. The media's portrayal of marriage keeps us thirsting for unattainable, contrived perfection or ready to throw out the whole institution in disgust.
Looking back at my wedding pictures after seven years, I can testify. The glamour of the bride and groom's first day isn't a promise that every subsequent day will look the same--just as beautiful and well-ordered and exciting. But that doesn't mean we should look askance at the purity and pomp and preparation of a wedding.
It's symbolic; a prophetic declaration of faith in the power of Love to endure beyond the obviously-beautiful. And the only way this is possible is through a deep, abiding, daily relationship with the One who is Love Himself!
We were married in September seven years ago on a breezy patio overlooking a NC vineyard. It really was a perfect day, the result of years of preparations coming to fruition and promises being fulfilled. We promised things we promptly forgot (save your vows) and drove off into the sunset completely secure in what we had done. But that wasn't all youthful naivety.
We were confident in the One who promised and gave, the One we'd both given our lives to before we met each other. He had bound us together, and He would keep us.
And He did.
What followed was akin to jumping off a cliff into a swirl of dark waters hand in hand. The attacks that came against us were relentless, taking the form of persistent physical trials, unexplained infertility, and gut-wrenching misunderstandings. We struggled to belong where God had led us, struggled to love like Christ, struggled to hear the Holy Spirit when physical evidence was missing from what He promised. The biggest struggle was learning to love parts of each other that weren't loveable. Parts that stayed hidden initially because everything was bright and easy.
Those darker elements only get squeezed out in trials.
It's been exhausting. But it's also been beautiful.
Though the mystery of all the pain remains, I can't bring myself to wish the years away. Because the moments that shove you into the floor silence the distractions, uncover your fleshly coping mechanisms, and present you with the choice you would brush past if everything continually went your way. Am I going to stand up and believe or lay down and die? Am I going to allow darker realities to cloud my vision or let God give me His. It's really my choice.
After all these years, I'm learning to get alone, bleed out all the questions I've never asked, and allow the Holy Spirit's voice to plow through the rocky ground of my heart. He always does. He's doing it when we're completely unaware, but everything changes when you ask Him.
And this doesn't just work with marriage. The longer I'm alive, the more I look back and see the layers of what God's taught me through every season, preparing me for the next one. If any of this is resonating with you, please receive this encouragement for the tumult of your season. Whatever it is. However it looks.
Picture an epic saga you love to watch or read. You appreciate and respect the complex, heart-twisting moments of a story's middle because you know what it's all leading to. You know the end.
The seasons of your life have just as much purpose and meaning to your story. You can proceed with confidence because you know the ultimate end is God's faithfulness. Your steps are laid out before you, and yet you also have a choice. How will you walk? Will you believe? Will you keep after the Lord? Or will you go your own way, deciding that things have gone too haywire?
Whatever your season, choose well. Because everything you're wading through in the present already has an answer in Him. And the future you yearn for is only possible one way--FORWARD.