I'm about to leave for a 10 day mission trip in Haiti with my church. I am so excited as I've never been on a short term mission trip and haven't been out of the country except for Canada, so I really don't count that. While I'm gone, my husband and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary - I'm sad to be gone but I decided to honor him today and we will celebrate when I get back.
As I thought about our anniversary I realized that if our marriage was a person, we would be having a "sweet sixteen" party and if our marriage was a person it would be excited to be able to get its driver's license. It's fun to put time into that sort of perspective. But our 16 year marriage doesn't quite feel like an inexperienced 16 year old. It feels a little bit wiser, although a text or phone call from my man still gives me butterflies and I still love to flirt with him.
Even though we are still relatively young and our kids our young, we've been through a lot. The only way you build muscle is with a workout and our marriage muscles have been tested. One of our favorite verses comes from one of King David's prayers of gratitude. 2 Samuel 7:18 says, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far?" David spoke this prayer after many years of hardships. Not only had David been chosen as an unlikely king of Israel, he had conquered a giant, ferocious enemies and was chased by a madman for years and narrowly survived. My husband and I look at the past 16 years with gratitude and say, "Who are we, that we would be brought so far?" So many relational attacks and grenades were launched into our marriage early on. By the 10 year mark, we should have imploded and surrendered by the world's standards.
But the love and forgiveness of Christ and the exceptional support from family and friends triumphed. In the midst of the most difficult days, my mother reminded me to "give thanks in all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and that the Lord's desire was for my husband to be whole and well and for me to allow God to work through me as painful as it was. We learned that with Christ, all things really are possible (Matthew 19:26). These verses aren't just nice platitudes embroidered on your grandma's throw pillows, they are eternal truths.
The thing about David's prayer of gratitude is that it falls smack in the middle of the account of his life. Yes, he had defeated Goliath and the Philistines. Yes, he had outrun crazy Saul who sought to destroy him. But he had not yet encountered Bathsheba. He had not yet committed adultery and eventually set up the murder of his mistress's husband. His son had not yet committed rape and incest. Some might say the future held far worse things. I think it's important to note this. I love my husband and know we are both new people because of the cleansing of Christ but life will still offer it's difficulties...Jesus promised us that. It's important for us to stand on God's promises, give thanks for where we have come but be wise and watchful in the future so that we are not ensnared by the Enemy who would seek to kill and destroy the covenant of marriage.
So I will celebrate like a giddy teenager and dream of my husband like a 16 year old dreams of her latest crush. I will thank God for where we are today and I will ask Him to protect us from future troubles. I will seek the wisdom of those who have gone before us in this marriage walk successfully. Most importantly, we will rely on Christ's love to be the bond between us.