Years of marriage
Incredibly blessed life.
Have you ever thought about your life and how it adds up? Are you where you thought you’d be five years ago? Ten years ago? Are you somewhere completely different? Someplace you never could have imagined?
Five years ago, I just started dating this pretty awesome guy. And I knew he was the one for me. I knew my life would be different the moment we first met. Let alone in five years.
And now, sometimes I find myself playing the comparison game. Comparing myself to other mothers. Younger couples. Or even our parents. Both sets of whom were in very different stages of life than we are at our age.
When my parents were my age, they had an 11 year old (going on 20)(that was me) and a 6 year old. They uprooted their family and moved to Galveston so my dad could be his own boss and run his own pizza joint. I can’t imagine doing that now. It’s so far beyond where I feel that I am. Emotionally or spiritually.
Sometimes I feel like my twenties were such a blur they must not have happened. Like I must really only be 27 and this is all a big mistake. But then I remember. Sometimes with great regret. Sometimes with much fondness.
I am who I am today because of the life I’ve lived. The choices I’ve made, good and bad. The things I’ve experienced. I know I can’t change them, but sometimes I wish I could talk to my 18 year old self and say, “HEY!” and slap me around a bit.
Then I’d sit her down and say “You know, that Campus Crusade for Christ is a really cool place to be. Those really are awesome people. You want to be friends with them. Not the kids that love to party and drink and stuff. Those kids look like they’re having fun, but really, they’re all searching. They’re all empty inside. You need Jesus, Jen. Not another Shiner Bock. You know Jesus. He’s the one you met when you were 9. He’s still there. Even though you’re trying really hard to go your own way. Even though you hated church in high school because the kids were all little hypocrites. But so were you, you know. It’s okay though. God’s grace is sufficient to cover your hypocrisy. And your mistakes. But it’s better if you just stick with the CCC people, mmmmkay. Trust me on this one.”
But then I remember the years when I was so close to Jesus, because I was single. In spite of the mistakes I made in college and my early 20’s. Or maybe because of the mistakes I made then. My single years were not lonely years. They were more like training years.
Years when I would turn on some Caedman’s Call or Third Day or the latest Passion CD, light some candles, open my bible and just lay on my living room floor in worship to my King. Loving the free time and going on a “date with Jesus.” Those were years of incredible spiritual growth and healing. Years that God used to help me be satisfied with who I was and who I was in Him.
And today, I am a wife and a mother. I don’t have the luxury of spending an entire Friday night devoted to worship anymore. The responsibilities of marriage and motherhood have taken that spot.
I have two incredible children that try my patience while making me laugh. And they give me so much joy. Tonight, as I tucked my son in after reading* his bible, he asked to sing songs. When I asked which one he wanted to sing, he said “Jesus.”
Oh that he would always want to sing Jesus.
(*reading consists of him looking at the pictures and me summarizing the stories and best as I can these days. He won’t let me actually read it anymore.)
I don’t want my children to experience the heartache. The mistakes. The broken road that I walked. That their father walked. I want them to know that there is a lot about my life and my experiences and the stupid things I did and poor choices I made that I would change if I could. That sometimes haunt my memories. And I absolutely hate that I can’t.
I want them to know there is a better way. A better life.
I want them to know life with Jesus.
And I want them to know him. Not just to know of him but to know him. To know that they can have a real relationship with him.
And that experiencing life with Jesus is SO MUCH BETTER than that other stuff.
I want them to know that they can trust him with their lives and their fun and their mistakes and their hurt and their hopes and their dreams and their future.
Most of all, I want them to know that he loves them so much that he died for them to have that life. Because he wants their lives on earth to be abundant and full and he wants to spend eternity with them even though they don’t deserve it.
I want them to know that they don’t belong in heaven. None of us do. Only Jesus does. But praise him, when we know him and trust him with our lives, he shifts our focus and redefines our purpose on earth. And then when we leave this world, we are covered by his blood and welcomed into the kingdom. Oh, for the magnificent grace of God.
I want them to get that.
To understand that.
And I want them to love him back.
So while I would love for my kids to have great marriages and lots of kiddos themselves, the one number I want for their lives most, is this…
Decision that will change their lives for eternity.
And even though I fall short a lot, I will do my best as their mother to lead them to Jesus.
With a lot of help from Him.