Anniversary Musings

In two days I will have been married to my husband for 20 years.  I met him when I was 18 and we dated 7 years (and two cancelled weddings) before finally tying the knot.  So I’ve basically been in a relationship with this man far longer than I was without.

It has been a long time since this date has been remarked on or even celebrated by us.  This is not the “hubby forgetting about it,” kind of thing. It’s just not important to him. Investing in our relationship to him equates with spending money so he will not invest. We have no money. He doesn’t understand emotional currency.

Now, I cannot say that marrying this man was a “mistake” or something I “regret” because to do so would be to reject all the growth that has happened in my life because of the challenges I have faced in this relationship. And it would be as if I were saying that my three children were also an error.

I don’t look at this date with fondness. The calendar moves forward without any change in our marriage for the better. In some ways in recent years it has gotten WORSE!  Happy? Not anywhere close.

So it is simply an “anniversary.”  Not one I celebrate. I remember and reflect that in my attempts to follow and obey God, and still respect my husband as a person, has not wrought the “happy.” But I remember that God is up to something far bigger than my happiness.

I was reminded this past weekend, listening to Andy Andrews talk, that one life, one choice, can impact millions. Every single thing we do has the possibility to impact the world for eternity. But how could you possibly know what that choice or action will be?  Here’s the key (from me, not from Andy): Walk in step with the Holy Spirit and seek to be obedient to HIS leading every day of your life.

Sounds so much easier than it is. Not because the Holy Spirit is difficult. He is not!  However – I am. My stubborn, rebellious heart often doesn’t want to let go of my sin to bend my knee before God in repentance. When this does happen though, the Holy Spirit has free reign to lead and guide me. When I give up my “rights” to happiness – I can find joy in following Jesus, even when the path is not easy.

He never promised it would be easy. He never promised roses and flowers and candelight. He promised that He would walk through life with us. The hard days.  The painful nights. He captures our tears and holds us in the palm of His hand.  Psalm 17:8 says “Guard me as the apple of your eye (daughter of the eye); Hide me in the shadow of your wings. . .” (HCSB). Wow. Love. Protection.  God’s eyes light up at the sight of me. I am precious in HIS sight and His affirmation and love are far more important in span of eternity than my husband’s.

So how will my choice to stay in this marriage change the world?  I don’t know. Really, it doesn’t matter as long as I am following God’s leading every day of my life. Day by day, He can lead me to  bring glory and honor to His name, for eternity, as I submit to His leading. I wish I did this better, but I’m a work in process and I’ve grown so much. I am not the same woman who walked down the aisle 20 years ago. I’m certainly not the same size!

I may not celebrate a wedding anniversary, however, I can celebrate a God whose love and faithfulness have sustained me and molded me over the past 20 years into the woman I am right now, today. That’s a good place to be and something to rejoice in. To have a happy marriage at the expense of missing out on God’s best for me? Well, my human side would choose the “happy” every time. The longings of my heart can only be met in Christ and will find ultimate fulfillment in His presence. That I can celebrate.

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