I grew up an only child in the country. I had barn kitties, a trampoline and (in my opinion) the best tree swing in the entire world. I remember singing my heart out on that swing. My family attended the local Methodist church in our little town. When I was a teen we switched to a nondenominational church. It was an unresolved issue between my parents. We moved into town and my parents divorced shortly after that.
I met my husband my sophomore year of high school in the middle of their divorce when my mother transferred me to the school she taught at to make things easier. I didn’t make ANYTHING easier. I have a lot of regrets.
I was instantly attracted to his uninhibited smile; his carefree, rebellious attitude. It made me forget I was angry. I was hurting. I was losing my family. He was exactly what I thought I needed. Side note – Isn’t it sad to see someone grasping at straws trying to fill the hole in their soul and find their value with someone or something other than God above – the only one that can satisfy? This was me.
I quickly became infatuated with this young man and we dove head first into a relationship. We did a lot of stupid things, hurt a lot of people, and made lots of mistakes. We danced around the truth to steal away together and intentionally got pregnant at 16. I remember the anger from my father, the weariness of my mother, and the heartbreak of my in-laws. We had forced our own will at the cost of hurting others but were aware and accepting of it.
Here we were starting our own family…and we had absolutely no clue what in the world we were doing. Our first major fight living together was on how to make the bed. We didn’t know how to communicate, sacrifice for each other, or balance our upbringings. I was a bad wife to begin with. I fought for my way. I disrespected him. I still craved attention from other men to feel special because, honestly, I didn’t feel of any value whatsoever. I almost ruined our marriage…more than once. My husband filed for divorce when I admitted to falling for a coworker. Our daughter was 2. Changes needed to be made but we knew something was still there emotionally so we decided to try a fresh start in a new town. I got pregnant with our 2nd child soon after.
A Saved Love
It was then we found the church that we would call home and really started to learn about growing our faith and marriage. Sunday mornings provided not only a chance to put 2 precious little chunky girls in ruffly dresses but also to hear someone talk of love, forgiveness, redemption, peace. The things my wandering heart longed for. Young married couples like us were living differently – actually thriving together! I wanted what they had!!
One morning I sat in my chair listening to the sermon and just felt this rush of emotion. I was done wandering. He drew me back to Him, the only love that would fulfill me. We got baptized when we were 21 and felt the amazing release of guilt. Not just guilt for wrongdoings but that condemnation that so stealthily convinces you you’re not worth love. I had grown up learning about Jesus, but it seemed more like a weekly social event or a family tradition. I began to grow by listening and taking notes on Sunday mornings.
We grew together as a couple with the help of a network of healthy marriages around us. We learned principles through Christian resources on marriage and living. God completely washed us clean and turned us around in a different direction. It’s been the most beautiful thing to experience. We still have issues. We still make mistakes. But through only the grace of God, we have learned from our mistakes, given up ourselves, and devoted ourselves to each other day after day, year after year.
I’ve learned lots of lessons and have today what I never could’ve imagine that young infatuation would turn into – an unconditional, unwavering love for the glory of the God that saved it.