I was born to unwed parents, both of them were young and made plenty of their own bad choices. I was raised by a single mother, who worked hard everyday of her life to make sure we ate, and sometimes we barely did. I've seen my mom beaten more times than I can count. I saw my dad for two months out of the summer. I had one set of grandparents, unlike most kids, but I rarely saw them either--although they were wonderful enough to make up for the other two I never knew.
I was a statistic...waiting to happen.
I was saved by the blood of my Lord and Savior at 19 years old. I had a good pastor who directed me my walk, encouraging me to serve the Lord with all my heart and soul. Still, there was so much I didn't grasp. I knew I couldn't live life my way but I still had this strong-willed flesh to contend with. That pastor later moved after having losing his precious wife.
I married young-- to my first husband. We thought we wanted the same things but looking back, we were never on the same page although we both were Christians. Because I grew up unsheltered to many things, I wanted protection for my kids--from instability, from the abuse I've seen, from the poor life I'd seen enough of. Because my young husband and I never fully put God first, the marriage feel apart just after my son was born. I then struggled to raise two kids (8 years old and 6 months old) on my own. I went about the seperation the wrong way, and perhaps someday God will have me tell that story.
I knew Chris, my current husband, since he had previously worked with my first husband and later helped him find a job with my employer. Chris had never been married, nor had any children of his own at the time. We had so many issues of our own that together our issues had the potential for an atomic bomb. He and I fought terribly, worse than I did with my first husband. But ultimately we agreed that neither of us never loved anyone else the way we loved each other. We grew closer, and married a couple years later when he was 31 and I was 32.
Just before we married, God spoke to me one day as I was driving alone. He pointed to the issues we had using some then recent circumstances and said to me,
"Knowing all this, do you really think you can make this marriage work on your own?"Although all the pieces didn't come together in that moment, I knew that if I could not make my first marriage work, I could not make this one work without putting Him first. I can honestly say, I've never truly had that realization before that moment--not even in my first marriage.
The first year was hard, just as to be expected. But we had more junk than a "normal" couple. We had blended families, insecurities and a level of selfishness I'm embarrassed to admit. I had junk from my childhood and my first marriage and then of course he had his own. Things were bad. There wasn't a weekend that went by where we didn't fight. The more we fought, the more urgently and frequently we began to seek Him. Although the realization had been made that I couldn't do this without the Lord, it was sinking in faster than I could manage keep up.
I don't think I've ever before had that much of a sense of urgency over any other situation. It's amazing how many times we humans will try to do things on our own, knowing our ways do not work and knowing just how limited we really are. In marriage, two people bring their junk, and then God brings them together in a way they never could have done on their own, if they let Him. If they don't it's all a gamble.
Tempers, selfishness, insecurities--we have them, but things are nothing like they were. Add a blended family to the mix and POW, what a concoction. We've had things to contend with that normal families never face. And on top of it all, we've both had family members from one side or the other threatening to force us over the edge at some point. Things got really bad...
About a year ago, after Juliette was born, we started coming together on some things. Then, just as the seasons change, God started making changes in each of us so subtly that neither of us noticed for a while. I think I speak for the both of us when I say this: When we looked up to see what God had done for our marriage, it seemed nothing shy of a miracle. And it was...as it continues to be.
The things He continues to do in me and my husband continue to humble me. Neither of us could have survived this marriage with our old ways in place. True changes that come from within, MUST involve Him, or our old natures will always threaten come back up.We don't argue near about as often, and when we do those arguments are rather mild in comparison. We're both more willing to put ourselves aside for the other, and in turn our love has grown a thousand times more. We've struggled through a lot of things, both my issues and Chris', seeking the Lord and His way.
Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing or even how to seek Him, I was just reaching because I just knew I needed Him. But that's just where He starts his work. Before this point in my life, I've never had so many answered prayers. He renews me and my life everyday, as though none of the past counts against me. Because of Him, I am not a statistic, and neither is my marriage.
Once upon a time. my life was an absolute disaster. I was a statistic. But God (renews broken hearts and lives.)