When John married me, I was an 18-year-old mom. Four years (and two more kids later) when I decided I wanted to be a writer John encouraged me to attend a writers conference. He listened to me as I told him about my book ideas. He watched the kids so I could write. He believed in me during times when I didn’t believe in myself. Years later when I started speaking, John encouraged me in that, too. He never said, “I don’t think you can do it.” Instead his words and actions shouted, “Go for it!”
Through the years I’ve also supported and encouraged John. I cheered him on when he went to college. I volunteered with him when he wanted to start a children’s church ministry. I listen to him and let him dream.
We’ve also made plans together. We moved to Montana and then Arkansas, following God’s plan for our family. We led mission teams to the Czech Republic together. We opened our home to teens, small groups, and others who needed us. Working together we lived better for God than we could do alone.
Through the years, John had made sacrifices for me, and I’ve made them for him. We’ve also discovered that instead of running away from our pasts, we can let God use those things for Him.
There is another aspect of life with John that I didn’t expect. God also used John’s weaknesses to mold me into someone more like Jesus. The way John dawdles on Sunday morning has taught me patience. They way he likes to talk through his problems has given me a listening ear and has helped me to be more understanding. The way he gets cranky when he is tired has helped me to be more compassionate. Author Gary Thomas says, “Marriage isn’t to make us happy, it’s to make us holy.” As I’ve lived life with another person with many flaws, I believe I have become more holy. When I turn to Jesus, He fills in all my weak places with His strength.
Of course for years I didn’t yield to the changes. I was impatient and I didn’t understand why John wasn’t perfect. I was not compassionate, and I focused on myself and what I wanted. Desiring a better marriage, I asked God to come to me and help me. Instead of changing John, God instead pointed out ways I needed to change. Like sandpaper over my action and attitude, John’s flaws have smoothed the rough ages, and I’ve done the same to him!
John and I are different people than when we first God married. Together we are overcoming our
weaknesses and growing in our strengths. We’ve banded together, with God as our focus.
We’re not only different. We’re better. And I’m looking forward to seeing what’s still in store.
Does this ring true for you too? What areas in your heart needs, or are getting, a good sanding?