Tales from an Imperfectly Perfect Union…Part One

As My Man and I quickly approach our 25th wedding anniversary, I suddenly felt that nudge to celebrate that fact on my blog. Because a 25 year marriage is something to celebrate and talk about and share stories from. It’s something to honor! Not because we’ve done the past 25 years so perfectly and y’all will learn so much from how we’ve so grandly done marriage. But sorta the opposite! We’ve been so IMPERFECTLY perfect at most things over the past 25 years that someone is bound to see a bit of themselves in us and think “Shew! I think we can make it too!” Because as lovely as marriage is, it’s just hard at times.

So I’ll start from the beginning…because why not?

Valentines Day 1994 found me drinking a glass of champagne with a ring in it. Because I’m NOT the romantic one in our relationship, I had actually forgotten this detail of our engagement . Shocking, right? How could I forget any details of my long awaited engagement? Even though I longed for this moment when My Man would finally pop The Question…for real this time…I was probably so exhausted from single momming our seven month old son and my two young daughters that this memory likely got caught behind night time bottles, diaper changes and homework !

Hey wait a minute! Back up a second!! Hold please while I rewind this a bit…….

Late November 1992 found me not drinking a glass of champagne. It found me drinking nothing but water. Because I was pregnant. And not married. In the early 90’s, being unwed and pregnant wasn’t as hip and socially acceptable as it is in 2019…at least not in my church going, Jesus loving, God fearing mind. As a 29 year old divorced mom with two young children, I was still not fully grasping how big and deep and enormous God’s love for me was. So while I fully accepted and already loved the baby I was carrying, I felt shame for doing things backwards. I knew I needed to be married…and soon. So when My Man and I digested the news that we were going to be parents together, it was just sort of decided that we would get married. No grand gesture of a proposal was made . There wasn’t even a ring. There was just the decision that we’d get married over Christmas break. We invited my family out from Texas and we’d have a small, intimate ceremony…somewhere. But it didn’t happen quite like that.

My family did come for Christmas that year. But it was mostly to help me lick my wounds from the broken engagement that really never happened in the first place. My Man wasn’t ready to get married. And while I saw ALL the reasons TO be ready to tie the knot, somehow he was able to see the wisdom in not getting hitched right then and there simply “because we had to.” He had no raging hormones coursing through his body at the time to make him feel the false urgency I was feeling! Pesky old hormones!!

Sometimes God tells us “Not yet”. He stalls us with a “holy hold on” because HE sees the big picture! And He simply loves us too much to urge us down a path we’re not quite ready for. There was so much for us to grasp and learn in the journey to the day when the love we had for each other was true and real and not forced because we had to. There was so much God in the journey that got us to that Valentine’s Day in 1994 when I almost drank my engagement ring in a glass of champagne!

We trusted the journey and in the process we learned a valuable life lesson. One we’ve clung to many, many times in our 25 years.

WAIT ON THE LORD!!

Isaiah 40:31 tells us “They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”

If we had run ahead of God and gotten married too soon, I can only imagine the added heartache we would’ve endured. We both feel certain we would’ve ended up divorced after just a few years because we would’ve married for the wrong reasons. If we had gotten married too soon, we would not have built up the strength to endure the inevitable hard times. We would’ve fallen short of making our marriage fly. We would’ve grown weary of doing the right things because in the back of our minds, we would’ve always been doubtful that we had even started with the right thing.

Our marriage is certainly a mix of questionable decisions mixed with some excellent ones. Whose isn’t? But I have to say that NOT deciding anything in the heat of a moment and truly waiting to hear from God has been one of the excellent things… something we’ve gotten good at. We may have gotten off to a slow start but God took that…our humanness…and He made something beautiful.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

I have more to celebrate and I’ll do that here over the next many weeks leading up to our big day. So until my next tale…

Advertisements

A Beautiful Mess

My life after childhood turned out exactly like I thought it would.  I graduated from college at the top of my class.    Found the love of my life and the perfect job immediately.     We had children quickly and they were all the picture of perfection….never cried  or spit up and they slept through the night from birth .  They always minded us and  did all the right things always.    My marriage and job and our finances and ALL.  THE.  THINGS?    Magnificent!   Dreamy!   No worries or complaints.

And why wouldn’t this all be true?    I mean, I grew up  a good Catholic girl.   I loved God and even wanted to be a nun for a while.   Surely I had found all the favor and would have the picture perfect life.    No problems.  No stress.  All the things in line.   

And as I dreamed all these things, I imagine God was getting a good chuckle.   Because He had some lessons for me that could only happen outside the box of my little perfect dream.

“I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me , I’ll listen.  When you come looking for Me, you’ll find me.  Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.  I’ll turn things around for you. “…The Lord (Jeremiah 29:11-14, The Message)

Well, very few of the perfect dream things actually happened.    My reality has looked  a bit more like this…

  1. I completed 90 hours of college and had to quit before I could graduate.   Life got in the way.
  2. I had a beautiful, small wedding and married a man I wasn’t completely sure was “the one”.   We divorced in less than 7 years.   God lead me to  “the one” several years later and we have been married now for 24 years.   But we’ve still had struggles.    Lots of them.
  3. I have dealt with one unsatisfying job after another because I never clearly decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.  The nun thing never panned out!   LOL
  4. I did have perfect children.   Five of them to be exact!   But they did spit up and cry as babies and they didn’t always make good choices in their pre-teen or teen years! 
  5. I’ve dealt with single parenting, job loss, lack of income, the loss of loved ones, disappointments, broken promises, fears, insecurities, doubts and the list goes on and on….

My BEAUTIFUL  , messy,   complicated reality. 

Every tear.  Every sleepless night.   Every cringe worthy moment. Every doubt and fear.   All of these moments needed to mix with the joyful moments and the heart bursting moments of love and the deemed perfect times.   

Every ingredient in the mix of my life has been needed to get me to where I am now.    And that’s a place where I can so clearly see the blessing of my unanswered prayers for that elusive “perfect” life .  Where  I can clearly see God’s mercy and His grace poured out all over the place.   Where I can see the perfection of His plan coming to be.   

I love the blessing of hindsight.   I love to look back on  times in my life and imagine how things would be different now if I had made other choices.   Or if things had gone according to MY plan instead of His.  And honestly?   Things would’ve been different.   But  I’m not sure anything would’ve been better.    And I know I would’ve missed out on SO MUCH!  So as the old Garth songs goes, “I thank God for unanswered prayers”! 

So if you’re in a weird place right now and you feel you’re  many shades away from perfect, hang on.     God will use these moments in your life.   But He won’ t leave you there because it takes way more than what you’re going through now to achieve the perfect life He has planned for you.     He’ll mix this moment  beautifully with the good times and the in-between times.

He WILL turn things around for you.    You won’t be disappointed.  

orange white and pink smoke digital wallpaper
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

.