Monday, February 13, 2012

National Marriage Week Real Love Stories

Romans 8:28 : And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJ)

I was lead to find this wonderful blog: The Purpose for Pain. I was immediately drawn to the writer. Her words but also her story, her life, speaks to me. Through her pain her Love for God still shines.

I am sure that her Love Story will speak to you as well as her Love and Trust in God.


After graduating from college with my nursing degree I headed to a land of great beauty and intense suffering—Uganda East Africa. God called me to serve as a missionary sharing His hope to those with a chronic illness, HIV/AIDS. Little did I know that four years later I'd be battling my own mysterious illness. I joined a doctor and his wife, and I took the position knowing I would most likely serve my term without any other young teammates. This was scary for me as an extrovert used to living with roommates and socializing on a daily basis, but I trusted God would provide the companionship I needed.

The first six months in Uganda were extremely lonely. I remember waking up wanting to vomit because I did not know how I would make it two years in a foreign country, but God gave the grace to press on. Nine months later I found out a young single guy would be joining our team. My teammates teased that he would be my future husband, but upon his arrival his shy and sometimes awkward personality assured me we would only be friends.

As we got to know each other better I began to see a different side of him.  We began talking online, and I learned he was a great communicator and had a love for God’s word.   I was interested in a guy I had met a few months before going overseas, but I was thankful for the new friendship. However, I began to have a change of heart when he volunteered to cook dinner and run errands to help me when I had a volunteer team from the States staying with me. I learned he was considerate and helpful and had a lot of the qualities I wanted in a husband.  

In the past I had dated guys who said they “loved” me, but they did not have the love the Bible speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13 or the love a husband should have for his wife (Ephesians 5:25-28).  Because my heart had been broken in the past I was not interested in dating.  I had been praying that God would bring me a man who would pursue me with intentions and not treat my heart lightly.  I set my standards high because I had given my heart away too easily in the past to guys who were not honorable.  I decided I would rather be single my entire life than settle for a man who was not God’s best for me.

The more I talked with my teammate about God and the Bible I saw that he possessed these standards, not to mention others that I was attracted to.  I also came to see that some of the qualities I had been attracted to in other guys were not important. As I became more attracted to him I prayed for several months that he would pursue me if he was the man God had,

Finally after months of getting to know each other and praying, God confirmed my feelings when my teammate took me aside and told me he loved me and wanted to pursue me in a relationship toward marriage. It was amazing to see God work to bring us together. Soon after he revealed his intentions, I moved back to the States while he stayed in Africa to complete his assignment. Thirteen months of intercontinental romance was difficult to say the least, but God sustained us and we were married only five weeks after my husband returned to the States. 

We spent our first few months of marriage dating since we spent such little time together in person while "courting".  Our promise to love and care for each other in sickness and in health was quickly tested when I began experiencing a rare type of pelvic pain a month before our first wedding anniversary. We were blessed with a little girl during our second year of marriage, but little by little the life we once knew was turned upside down as my physical pain became debilitating. Virtually every aspect of our young marriage, which is now four years old, has been strained. The life of travel and “doing” that we loved so much is no longer possible as the pain often confines me to my home. We live in a town where we never wanted to live and my husband works a job he didn’t plan to work only to come home and have to help care for me, the house and our daughter. Despite seeing some of the best doctors in the country my pain remains, and we do not know if I will regain a better quality of life this side of heaven.

It is easy to feel like our situation is grim, but we know and trust that God in His loving providence is orchestrating the events of our life for His glory and our good, and it's only by His grace that our marriage has endured. Jesus is the flame that keeps our marriage alive, not love, or sex, or common interests, or children, or memories, or even friendship.

So what do you do when the realities of life and marriage come crashing down? How do you ensure a loving, lasting marriage in the midst of chronic illness or intense suffering or just normal everyday life? What do you do when you wake up and you don’t feel like you love your spouse or you hate the life God’s given you?

·       The first step to a loving, lasting marriage is Jesus. We love because God loved us first by sending His Son to die for our sins. (1 John 4:7-11) Do you know Him?
·       Pull hard from your roots (Psalm 1:1-3) and lean on God’s grace and strength, not your feelings. In order to find this strength you must follow Him.
·       Remember your God ordained roles (Ephesians 5:22-33). If a husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church then the wife will gladly submit to her husband and vice versa.
·       Put your trust in God and his sovereignty, not your circumstances. (Romans 8:28-32)
·       Find your joy, satisfaction, and purpose in the Lord and not your spouse. It is inevitable—our spouses will frustrate us, but God will never disappoint us.
·       Remember the purpose of marriage—to be a living testimony of Christ and his church (Ephesians 5:31-32)—and keep this primary.

Marriage is a gift, but it’s temporary. We are not promised an easy marriage full of the blessings of intimacy, children, dreams, and friendship. It is not ultimately designed for our enjoyment or for procreation. God designed marriage from the beginning to be a picture of Jesus Christ and His covenant with the Church, those who have trusted Jesus for their salvation, which He purchased through his death and resurrection.

While our current situation is not what I would have ever dreamed would happen when my husband and I married, I trust that this is God's perfect plan for us and that our suffering allows us the opportunity to glorify God more than if life had followed our plan. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband who is extremely patient, caring, and understanding. He tells me again and again that he would still marry me had he known the suffering our marriage would endure. Our prayer is that the world would see that nothing can sustain us or our marriage but Christ.

Read more from the author as she strives to trust God daily at “The Purpose of Pain” . She can also be found on twitter or on her Facebook page

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