Having just celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary, made me reflect on some things.. in particular the faithfulness of God.
When we first got married, we were all of 19 years old. Totally unaware of the life that we had before us. The good times and the bad ones. The easier ones and the not so easy ones. The downright hard times. But God was faithful and while the first 15 years we did not hold on to Him, He certainly held onto us. It was His love that carried us through when we did not know what to do. It was His love that gave us direction and purpose and hope. It was His love that helped us to raise our 6 month old daughter and our two children following. It was His love that held us when we were too stubborn to hold each other. It was His love that fed us, when we did not know where our next meal would come from. It was God’s love that kept us.
When we got married, we could not afford to have the church wedding that I so wanted, so the pastor of the church we wanted to get married in, came to us. The setting: The steps outside of the backyard of our basement apartment (a converted garage). After what we felt was a slight by our landlord for asking for his rent, the morning after our wedding, we went to Atlantic City (which would be our honeymoon) and spent what felt like the longest night in our history together. We didn’t have much money and the little we had, we certainly did not want to give it to the landlord, so we got on a bus and took a trip hoping to ‘change our luck.’ But ended up spending up all of our little bit of “fortune” within two short hours. So the rest of the night, at least six more hours, we just sat around the casino, outside of the casino, falling asleep on each other’s shoulders, until we were told “you cannot sit there,” waiting for the announcement, “Time to board the bus back to New York.”
Years went by. More struggles came and went. And after two more kids and 15 years later, we were able to treat ourselves to what we called a “real” honeymoon, in the Poconos. And as I reflected on this, the Lord reminded me of our 25th Wedding Anniversary and the testimony He had given us, “From the Backyard to the Beach.”
God allowed us to visit beautiful Cancun, Mexico. It was a refreshing, joyous and momentous occasion for us as we basked in the presence of the Lord and in the presence of each other. I recalled there was a time when we couldn’t say that with peace in our hearts. For many years of our marriage, went wasting by because of our dissatisfaction with who we were (which we often thought was because of the other person). But God! We know Him to be a healer, a restorer, a giver of great gifts!
We visited Mexico and while we were there God reminded us of a time when we didn’t even have enough money to buy a magazine to look at a picture of Mexico and here we were! We were on the beach, in the water and God showed us where He had taken us. How many of you know that God will sometimes take you back to bring you forward?! And that is what He did. Then He reminded us of some really hard times. He reminded us what life was like without Him, and showed us what it was with Him.
At that time, He reminded us that 25 years ago, we were in the backyard of our studio basement apartment getting married and here we were 25 years later, standing on an exotic white sanded beach with crystal clear blue and green waters, along the shores of Mexico. (It must be something about 25 with God!) From the backyard to the beach! And then you know what He did? He showed us where He was taking us. He said that this wasn’t the end. It was only the beginning. A new one. Bless the Lord!!!!
And as I continued to reflect on that testimony and what God has done for us in our marriage, I can’t help but to take the time to share and to remember His faithfulness. His great faithfulness and that promise that He spoke to us. You see when God wrote that testimony He said, “This was only the beginning of the places where He would take us.” And since then, we have been some places. We have been allowed to travel. To see some things. To broaden our horizons. As a couple, as a family, individually. We’ve experienced some wonderful times!
God has taken us places spiritually. He has taken us places in our marriage. I loved the man that I married 30 years ago and he wasn’t my best friend when I married him, but he has truly become so. God did that! A new beginning, just as He said. And our marriage is stronger than ever.
God is faithful. I want you to know that today. If you’re single and He has spoken that He will give you a spouse, continue to wait on Him. He will! And she/he will be the one that God has personally shaped for you. And if you’re married, things are hard, and it seems like they are always going to be that way… don’t you believe it. Just continue to hold on and believe God to do a new thing in you (yes, you) and let Him take you (and your marriage some places).
Like from the Backyard to the Beach!
God is real. And He’s faithful!
A servant of the Lord,