Monday, January 12, 2009

Marital Moments Issue 18- The Rest of the Story

The last time I posted a Marital Moments post (before Christmas & our vacation) I wrote about "Perfect Love." Some of you have asked how my story of love and marriage continued is the rest of my story (at least leading up to the point of marriage.) Feel free to read the previous post by clicking here.

I left off talking about how I realized I could not compromise my heart by marrying the person I was dating at the time. I broke off that relationship and committed to take some time off of "dating." I felt the Lord was drawing me to Himself. Asking me to allow Him to heal areas of my heart that were broken and to delve into some of the hurts that I was "stuffing" and trying to just push past.

Wouldn't you know that this was the year that I was asked to be in FIVE weddings? (within 6 months none the less.) Talk about feeling like I was "always the bridesmaid, never the bride!" It was a tough year. I was so extremely happy for my friends and relatives and honored to be asked to stand with them, but there were a lot of tears in the shower and at bedtime. I was working through some of the emotions from the loss of my mom and still examining everything about myself to see what was wrong with me that needed to be "fixed." What I had somehow been missing but everyone else seemed to have...God did a lot of speaking into my life that year (Click here to read the Scriptures that I shared in the last post)

I talked with God openly about how I hoped it was not His plan for me to be single. I prayed some of the verses in Genesis about how woman was created to be a help meet. I began to pray that if it was God's will for me to be single that I would accept it; embrace it even. But He was going to have to give me the grace and strength to do it.

During that time I had met my future husband. We had met in the "Career" Sunday School Class at our church. He was actually in college and should have been in the other class...but he had decided to check out our class. ;) Our eyes had met almost instantly when he walked in. We got to know each other a bit on a "College & Career Christian Retreat" that our church held, but he was YOUNGER than me. I was sure he was NOT ready for the seriousness of a relationship that I was ready for. I was simply done with the frivolity of dating and hanging out.

Just before Christmas I was extremely busy. I was teaching at the time and had so much to accomplish before leaving school early to be in two back to back weddings of close girlfriends. I dropped my class off at art class (where my future husband's mom taught...) and she could see that I was unusually frazzled. She gave me the name & phone number of her son (who was home from college) to call so he could help me grade papers. She had taught several grade levels throughout the years and he had solid experience grading papers. I (of course) wasn't about to call a guy that a barely knew to come help me. :)

She ended up sending him over to my apartment and as he rung the doorbell I was giving my two very smelly class guinea pigs a bath. I went to the door with two dripping guinea pigs in hand. He helped me blow dry my class pets and grade papers. We talked and laughed and had a good time; but I still wasn't thinking about a future with him.

Following Christmas break my roommate and I began to run every day after school. My husband's mom told me that he had run track and would love to run with a group. (She says she never really meant to set us up, mind you, God was just arranging things without her knowing!) So he began running with us a few times a week. Then every day. Then he ended up coming over and having dinner with my roommate and I. Then he felt guilty for eating our groceries because we were poor Christian School teachers; so he started to buy groceries with us here and there contributing what he could. Then my roommate stopped running with us. (Sorry Pam! I'm sure we unknowingly made you feel like a 3rd wheel!) After a few months of this he finally stopped me before he was leaving one night and asked me to attend a play with him. I said yes and he asked if he could kiss me. Our friendship was blossoming into love (although I was still hesitant and actually told him he didn't know what he was saying when he told me he loved me for the first time!) He had to work to get through to my very guarded heart.

We got engaged in the fall. By springtime he was very sick. He has Crohn's disease and was having a pretty severe flare up. He had his first surgery while we were engaged. There was a whole new struggle for me to work through with God about marrying someone that I knew would have on going health issues-ones that could potentially be passed on to my children. I remember the night I was on my knees seeking God's face about marrying him and I realized that even if God only allowed for me to have him as my husband for a year, two years, ten or fifty that it was God's plan and I loved him enough to want to spend those years, vast or few as they may be, with him. I had no idea just how severe his health issues would end up being; but that was a God moment-one that He allowed so in the darkest of times I could reflect and remember that I had His peace to move forward and that I had chosen this path with my husband.

There is, of course, a lot more to our story; but that is the basic story. I'd love to hear yours!

I felt compelled to leave this post with a verse-one that God gave me and uses to prompt me when I am distant from His love. One that invites me back into His perfect love. Although God allowed me to marry and I truly do have a wonderful husband; neither of us are perfect-our love is only perfected through Christ. I believe some of you may be feeling distant from the embrace of Christ. Run to His open arms. Let Him fill you with His perfect love.

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me." Song of Solomon 2:11-13


Preston said...

I usually don't read really long posts but I am glad that I did. It sounds like your faith helps you a lot and I believe that God didn't really give you any direction with your husband. You already knew it in your heart. You just needed share it with Him before you saw it.

Anonymous said...

After reading this story I scrolled down and looked at the picture of the two of you. God really does have the perfect plan, doesn't he? And as you say, His love is perfect and "perfect love casts out fear."

Thank you so much for sharing this. It's a blessing to learn about this part of your life, Shanda.

Shanda said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to read all the way through this post! I do have to agree to disagree with you about God's giving me direction with my husband. It was because of His clear direction that I was able to fully invest the emotions and love that I did have for my husband-without reservation.

I believe that is why we have made it through all that we have as a couple. It is much easier walking through difficult times when I know that God's hand was in our union. I fully believe the vow, "What God has joined together; let no man (or woman) put asunder."