“I do.” In sickness and in health. Did that. Check.
“I do.” For richer or poorer. Did that. Check.
“I do.” Till death do you part. This part became a bitter pill during our very tumultuous marriage. I still was able to make that check mark on my life list; I just figured that one of us would kill the other in order to keep us faithful to this vow. We didn’t kill each other but after 19 years of marriage, my husband had enough. That began a marital separation that lasted for several years.
It was, by far, one of the most painful experiences of my life; but with that pain was a tremendous amount of growth…and grace. Remember those teen years? Bodies being stretched, at times several inches in a year, sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally, depending on your gender. It was painful and awkward. Often, you didn’t feel like you belonged in your own skin. There were many times during those teen years when I didn’t want to look at my own reflection in the mirror because I just didn’t like what I saw.
During my time of separation, I often felt like that insecure, awkward teen. When I looked in the mirror of my soul, I didn’t like the woman I had become. But God, full of grace, used that time to stretch me, to grow my faith, to smooth out the many rough edges that I had accumulated over the years. Just as every teenager has to go through some growing pains, physically and emotionally, to become young adults, I had to go through my own growing pains to become the woman God wants me to be.
It was during this time that I also learned what it meant to show grace towards others, to offer the same forgiveness that He had offered to me, to choose beauty over ugliness. It wasn’t easy ~ it isn’t easy ~ but then I think of all the ugly that God has had to look beyond in me to see anything of beauty.
It is amazing what our great God can do when two people are willing to surrender their own selfish desires into His hands ~ when they are willing to lay down their hurts for His healing, their right to be right for His mercy and justice, their own paths for His. Miracles can happen. Marriages can be saved. I know because mine was and yesterday we celebrated our 30th anniversary.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9