Never Give Up

I just came from a church service where the pastor preached to married couples on the topic “Never Give Up.”

But I’m writing to you because I was distinctly amazed by what happened after the sermon was over.

Normally, I assume that people hear messages, but don’t always put them into use. I imagined that married couples in the room experiencing seasons of dryness or near-divorce or hatred towards one another would have left the room and driven home together without addressing the depth of the message or even making eye contact.

But as hundreds of bodies flocked out of the building, sparing no time whatsoever, I noticed one lone couple still standing in the middle of a section of deserted seats. The man held the women close, and she slipped her arms around his waist as she gazed up into his face.

But she wasn’t the one talking. No, her expression was – thawing, maybe? You know, like she had been cold towards him for so many months – barely surviving – but now this man, her man, stopped her as she gathered her things after service and said, “We need to talk.”

Now she looked up at him, and he was saying very serious words to her. While everyone else was pushing to get out of the building, he was pressing into her heart, and she was melting, finally melting. She nodded to some of the things he said and  smiled like people do when they are trying to maintain immovable exteriors but are simultaneously stunned by the words of adoration being offered to them. That’s the best I can describe it; it was an incredibly sensitive and beautiful thing to watch.

Because I haven’t seen this part, when the husband takes the first steps to bridge the distance in his marriage. There was a sense of humility, shattered pride, and difficulty in their expressions, but there were having this conversation anyway, and they were not going to wait. They refused to give up.

I thought that was beautiful and worth sharing.

He’s Yours Forever

There’s a special significance in Hannah’s story. I don’t have to try translating her sentiments into a modern context; I don’t need to explain the cultural implications of her desires. Why? Because Hannah is easily you, and she’s easily me. Let’s jump into I Samuel 1 to get a glimpse of this woman’s life.

To those around her, she was a mockery. “Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same… Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat. -I Samuel 1:6-7

Maybe you’ve been teased, even if jokingly, by your friends for years because the Lord has seemingly withheld the desire of your heart. This could be anything: your dream job, a sense of independence… For Hannah, her earthly desire was a child. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll speak about our earthly desire for a spouse.

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My Marriage List: The Rollercoaster

I don’t actually know if “Riding a roller coaster” ever made it to my “Marriage List” (because, let’s be honest – I genuinely feared those things. Who gets flipped upside-down at neck-breaking speeds for fun?!), but a plethora of other potentially exciting things did.

Let me explain.

My “Marriage List” is a compilation of first-time activities that I wanted to reserve for the early years of my marriage. Do not go off on me about how STUPID this sounds, because I already know. (And no, “singing” the Songs of Solomon is not the kind of thing I’m discussing right now. Although, yes, you should definitely reserve that for the beauty of a covenant God-sanctified marriage.)

So here’s my list:

  1. Go to Spain
  2. Go to Hawaii
  3. Riding a roller coaster
  4. Lying on a picnic blanket at night and gazing up at the stars
  5. Go to California
  6. Get my first apartment/condo/house whatever
  7. Move out of state because of my career
  8. Skydive

And a bunch of other things that I can’t presently remember. You’ll notice that travelling is a big theme here. I have absolutely no explanation for that. The fact of the matter is that I’ve been robbing myself of a lot of experiences for the sake of a Dream Man who I’ve subconsciously assigned the occupation of fulfilling my existence. Did that sentence seem confusing? Let me break it down.

By saying “No, I won’t go to Spain alone or with friends. I’ll only  enjoy myself if the subject of my romantic affection is present,” I am implying that I cannot be whole and wholly be present without another person. That is a dangerous frame of mind to be in.

So I plan to go to Spain. If the opportunity arises, I’d like to spend a few months in California working with the Hispanic community and with victims of human trafficking. University housing isn’t cheap, so I may need to rent an apartment during my college career anyway. I’ve always said that I didn’t want to leave Georgia because it was familiar, and “what if my husband is here?” No more of that. Abba is sovereign and in charge of my love story. If He calls me to leave the state, I will. I love the stars, so I may just spend a starlit night in peaceful worship and adoration of my Heavenly Father – who created those beautiful things, by the way. And as for skydiving? …..That might have to wait for later on. Not because I want my husband there, but because I’m scared of what that will feel like. Come on, baby steps! I just rode my first coaster, silly.