I know I wrote about this a year ago, but today, on my 15th wedding anniversary, I cannot dismiss the stirring in my soul that tells me I must write about it again. And even if you’ve heard this story before, you must hear it again.
You see our marriage is a miracle.
Our 15th wedding anniversary is a miracle.
We’re talking about a dry bones, fish and loaves, parting of the seas kind of miracle.
Because 16 years ago I hated that boy. I’m so ashamed to admit it but I despised him, the father of my baby. I was determined to hate him for the rest of my life. And if someone would have told me that I was going to marry him, have three more kids and celebrate 15 years together, I would’ve said no way. Not me. Not him. Not us. Not a chance.
But God had other plans, and as I’ve come to learn over the years, He always wins.
Because one day, out of nowhere, he parted the Red Sea for us. He melted my heart for that boy and he melted that boy’s heart for me. And even though we would have chosen to spend the rest of our lives embattled and embittered in the name of pride and selfishness, God loved us too much to leave us that way. He had too many plans for us to let us have our stiff-necked, foolish way. And He performed the first of many miracles in our lives together.
I’d love to say it was all sweetness and hugs since then, but I’d be lying.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had so much joy. There has been so much to be thankful for. We’ve been blessed immeasurably. But it has been … So. Hard.
We spent years fighting over nothing and fighting over everything. It seemed like we agreed on absolutely nothing from the small to the big. And we did and said destructive, seemingly unforgivable things to each other that would have sent most couples packing. In fact, there have been days that I’ve packed my stuff. And there have been days that he’s packed my stuff. But God kept parting that sea, and in spite of ourselves, we kept on making it.
I’m telling you. Please hear me. The fact that we are together today to say Happy 15th Anniversary honey, I love you with all my heart is a miracle straight from God.
Because the fact is that God can take any man-made mess and turn it into something beautiful. And glorious. And redeemed. He’s chosen to redeem our marriage time and again when it seemed so hopeless and wrecked.
We are living proof that His promises are true.
Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
It doesn’t say God causes some things to work together for good, or only good things to work together for good. It says ALL things. Including our stinky, ugly, messes. The ones we make because we’re just plain foolish. He can take anything and use it for good.
Lamentations 3:22 and 23 tell us that God’s mercies never end and they are NEW each morning.
Ever wish you could start over? This says you can do it every day! And not just once. Over and over. Because we’re going to keep messing up. And God knew it. It’s not a surprise. So He’s prepared to bathe us in mercy every single day. And we need it.
God has changed our hearts and our minds so many times.
He says it Himself, when people hurt each other, it’s not easy to get past.
Proverbs 18:19 says, “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.”
Friends, I’m telling you we are proof. We are a miracle. We have offended each other. Big time. Countless times. And left to ourselves, we’d be sunk. Those gates and bars would never come down. But God shreds them for us.
And it’s not just our relationship with each other that He’s saved.
I started praying for my husband’s salvation when we were 14. And for a lot of years, he laughed at Christianity. He wouldn’t come to church with me and even mocked when I would read about Jesus to our daughter. It was a major division for us that caused significant fights and I eventually resigned myself to the fact that he just would never come around, and my faith would be my own, something we would never share.
And as soon as I got out of the way and stopped nagging at him to come to church, something strange happened. He started wanting to come. He even wanted to join my church.
Years later, we both would have a radical change that began with my husband asking me to come to a couple’s bible study (yes, HE asked ME) and would include changing churches, realigning our thought processes completely and giving our lives 100 percent to the Lord, something I NEVER imagined was possible with the guy who used to laugh at me for carrying a Bible to school.
But the same God who parted the Red Sea still works miracles. He’s given me a loving, Godly husband whom I am so thankful for and honored to walk through this life with.
And He’s been working miracles in me, too. Truth be told, I’ve been a terrible wife, the kind no man would ever want to have. I’ve been disrespectful and nagged endlessly. I’ve been self-righteous and religious (not in a good way) and judgmental and blind.
While it’s been an agonizing process, God has shown me all of those things and has been pruning me one painful bit at a time.
I can’t tell you the ways that we have given the enemy a foothold in our marriage by buying in to lies and holding on to pride and selfishness. There have been so many wasted nights spent going to bed angry. But God has been faithful.
Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
To say we’ve walked a tough road is a gross understatement. There have been days, we’d swear it was hell. And that’s no joke. But what satan intended for evil, God intended for good – to accomplish the saving of lives.
No doubt He’s saved ours. And that of our kids. Each one of our children knows the Lord, even our five-year-old who just a few weeks ago asked me at bedtime if he could pray that prayer asking Jesus to save him.
There is nothing that brings me more comfort and joy than knowing that I will be sharing eternity with my husband and children.
While it hasn’t been easy getting to this place, this perfectly imperfect place, I can honestly say I’m glad for what we’ve gone through, both the good and the bad. I truly understand why Paul says in Romans that we can rejoice in our sufferings, “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.”
Not because we’re good. Not because we’ve done anything right. I’ve screwed up big. We’ve screwed up big.
But please, I’m begging you – take my word for it. Better yet, don’t just take my word for it. See for yourself. God has worked miracles in our lives. Red Sea kind of miracles. And He can and will do the same for you, whether it’s in your marriage or some other area where you are desperate for change. Won’t you let Him?
“You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:14)
Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story — those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.”