I love this picture! It sums up the way so many of us look at life: if it’s too hard, give up. And more times than not, our marriages and families end up getting the short end of the stick. But what if we viewed our marriages as something bigger than just a marriage certificate? What if we view our marriages the way God views them: purposeful. This idea hadn’t occurred to me until my husband and I had been marriage for a few years and then the crap hit the fan.
I won’t go into the gory and private details of what my husband and I endured, but I will say this I learned that during the darkest days of my life, God was using my marriage for something way beyond me. My husband and I had started our marriage with a superficial understanding of God and what we thought was a “Christian home”. Just because we went to church on Sundays and said a prayer at dinner time did not make our home Christ-centered. Instead our flakey understanding of it led to us trying to make something work between the two of us when in reality it takes three to make a marriage work: God, husband, and wife. Thus we began to drift apart becoming two strangers in one house raising our son the best we could figure out. I was tired of having such a lifeless marriage. What was the point of being married? It’s not like we acted like we loved one another. In fact, at one point, I think we hated the thought of being with each other.
During that time, I sought the only one who I knew loved me: Christ. I read a book by Francine Rivers called “Redeeming Love” and the Holy Spirit revealed to me something so profound it shook the roots of my heart: it’s not about me. My marriage is not about me. This current hell I’m walking through is not about me. It’s about what Christ is going to do through me to heal my husband, heal our marriage, and heal those around us. When the Lord saw that I was ready to deal with the truth, He turned on the lights to the cancer that had plagued our marriage. And He healed it. He redeemed that hell. He conquered the pain. He set us apart, calling us by name, and giving this marriage a purpose.
In the following years, we have grown stronger in our faith, stronger in our marriage, stronger in our families. It hasn’t been easy. The Lord has been transforming our notion of marriage since then, which has been humbling and hilarious all at the same time. The greatest purpose of our marriages is to honor God and we do that through committing our marriages back to Him.
God cares about your hurts, fears, and the hell you are walking through. He wants to walk through it with you. He said for us to cast our cares upon Him for He cares (Psalm 55:22). But there are reasons for our hurts and trials. James 1: 2- 4 states, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” And lastly, we go through things not just to edify us, but to encourage others. 2 Corinthians 1 promises this:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
Yesterday, Bobby and I celebrated eight years. While I know that is just a blink of an eye in time, in my current culture, and with what we’ve been through it is nothing short of God’s hand in our lives. He’s taken our marriage and has made it more than us. He’s using it to help and heal other couples and families. If you’re going through a dark time in your marriage, in your family, or in life in general, know that God can use it for His glory and goodness.
If you need prayer, let me know. I would be honored to encourage you and pray over you. Remember, God’s not done yet. Trust and believe that He will do what He said.