My Beloved Siestas,
Today is Keith’s and my twenty-ninth anniversary and my mind has been awhirl all day long. I wanted to share a few things that are on my heart because many of you are married and more than a handful of you could probably use some encouragement. I’ve had such a sweet day but, strangely, not with Keith. He’s out of town – yes, again – but don’t feel too sorry for me. I am a well-loved woman and he and I will celebrate plenty when he gets home. And, anyway, this is what I get for scheduling our wedding day during the best part of hunting season. I was with him out of town until last night and he’ll be home in a few days.
In many ways, it’s appropriate for me to occasionally spend my wedding anniversary alone with Jesus. After all, this day is as much about He and me as Keith and me. Two more messed up people have never converged into one household. Talk about the double portion of dysfunction. Neither one of us were strong people. Neither one of us had our head together. We absolutely did not have what it took. God alone did it. He required a whole lot out of us a whole lot of times but He alone could have empowered us to give it. The rest was just a stinkin’ miracle.
I think Jesus just wanted me to spend this day in deliberate grateful reflection about His part in my marriage. Conspicuously, none of the people I usually sit with were at church this morning. All my young girl friends were out of town and many of the families that I usually sit near were also in absentia today. I have many loved ones in that worship service so, certainly, I could have gotten up and taken a seat by any number of people but, by that time, I was onto what I believed God wanted from me. He wanted me all to Himself…and after I got it, I was tenderly flattered. I sat alone, worshipped alone, listened to the sermon alone, then had lunch alone. And, except for a few minutes when Melissa came by, have spent the day alone. But so very much un-alone. I had an invisible Date for my wedding anniversary. One who wanted to remind me that He’s the only reason why I’ll have a visible date in a few days (late). One gray at the temples and tan and weathered of skin, but just as handsome as the day I married him. And a whole lot sweeter. I like him better these days. He does me, too.
Some of the things God has taught Keith and me are not for public consumption. Others are meant to be shared. These are a handful of things God has helped us practice along the way that led up to this particular day:
*We try more often to live by the law of kindness. In the old days, we’d figure out one another’s weakness then aim that direction with arrows of harsh words on purpose. Most of the time these days, we avoid the targets that we know good and well are the other’s Achilles’ heel. We just don’t like to be mean much anymore.
*We snuggle a lot. We have a big, long couch in our den but a whole lot of times we sit in the leather chair that’s almost not big enough for one hind end. Let alone two. Or three when Beanie gets jealous.
*We still talk a lot – over coffee, walking dogs, or bubble baths – and try to be interested in the other one’s world even when we don’t get it one iota. When you have a mix like Beth the Librarian and Keith the Barbarian, you have to try extra hard.
*We’ve had to choose to put stuff behind us. We have had no few problems, no few differences, and no few conflicts and, if we wanted to keep a record of wrongs, we could have a list long enough to trip over for the rest of our lives. Neither one of us thinks highly of letting the other run all over us nor is either of us likely to keep an opinion to ourselves. We still fight. But then we get on with living and make a choice not keep punishing each other with yesterday’s stuff. Life’s too short and a house too small. You have to forgive – and be forgiven – a ton.
*We just keep going. This isn’t going to sound profound but it’s actually one of the biggest things God has used to turn a rocky start into twenty-nine years. We just kept getting through the night till the sun would come up and we’d made it another day. Before we knew it, the next anniversary rolled around. And we’d be so glad. And little by little, we just got happier and happier. Hard times have always come calling but so have good times. God just gave us the wherewithal not to quit before the next sweet season came. Oh, that He’d continue to.
I am so tender to those of you who have endured the pain of divorce and I plead with you not to let this entry invite you to destructive feelings of condemnation or failure. I know how hard marriage can be. I know what a miracle it takes at times and how willing both parties have to be to receive it. But, with your blessing and your security in Christ, I also need to be able to say to those who may be on the edge of giving up, please, I beg you, don’t. Just make it through the night and see the sun come up tomorrow morning from your knees. Fight your battles ferociously with your face to the floor. Give God time and room. Wives, quit being the husband. Fire yourself. Let God take it over. Get counseling if you need it – even if your man won’t – but don’t quit. Even if you don’t love him…or like him. Even if you hate him. God can soften a heart of granite if you’ll let Him. Wait it out a little longer. Laugh a little harder. Snuggle a little tighter. Love by faith. Not just by sight. As the Apostle Paul says, all that matters is faith expressing itself through love.
Yep. Some anniversaries are more about God and you than your spouse and you. Like this one. Gotta go. My cell phone’s ringing and it better be Keith.
Or he’s had it.