This morning I was finishing my devotional reading before taxiing to school. I was excited to have a bonus day off from the restaurant to work in my studio, make a real dinner, and have some time to write. Over a year ago I sort of made a commitment to begin more purposeful writing focused on the topic of marriage. Since I feel far from an expert in that field, I have procrastinated. How do authors write books on parenting when they are in the midst of parenting? Just as none of us are perfect parents, none of us have perfect marriages. Some of us are far from perfection. But Jesus didn’t calm the stormy waters before He asked Peter to step out if faith. He took his first steps on a choppy sea. That’s kind of what this will be like. I’ve taken risks to be transparent about my own life. Now will I try write about our life while respecting my husband.
So, this morning I noticed the date… September 10. It is appropriate that I’m going to start this expose´as many of us contemplate where we were on September 11, 2001. We were headed for a divorce.
We separated the summer of 2000. I was tired. He was oblivious.
Sometimes folks marry someone just like themselves. Birds of a feather, flocking together, singing happy tunes. I’m sure that is what it is like– every night they crawl into bed after the children are fast asleep, snuggle together reading the same book, then decide to turn the lights out after simultaneously yawning. Did I mention they have his and hers matching pajamas?
Married couples may resemble Mike and Carol Brady but often times opposites attract… like us.
He was the oldest of a small, suburban family.
I was the youngest of a large, small-town family.
He was Catholic.
I was Lutheran.
He is an extrovert.
I am an introvert.
We have a 17-year age gap. Sometimes you barely notice the gap; sometimes it’s as wide as the Grand Canyon. Differences don’t have to be what separates a couple, they can be how you complete each other. You recognize the strengths and weaknesses in each other then compensate or encourage to make a solid foundation. In many ways, marrying someone who is unlike you is an ideal formula for a near-perfect marriage. It all sounds good on paper. The problem is, we are humans. Emotional, egocentric, and insecure– a gambit of characteristics that make each of us individuals.
How do we make it work if the odds aren’t in our favor?
Like many couples, David and I have made oodles of mistakes. We’ve probably gotten more wrong than we have right. We married in a church but God wasn’t the center of our lives or our marriage. We were strong-willed and independent. We kept much of our personal matters separate like roommates rather than husband and wife.
As I begin writing about marriage and our marriage in particular, I’m not sure where God will take this writing. I’m simply being obedient to finally respond to His prompting. Perhaps He has me journaling it out so I can think it through with the element of accountability that comes by publishing ones thoughts. Perhaps there will be someone needing the words who can relate and find encouragement. What I have discovered in a short time of writing is that my words are often jaded with justifications if I don’t start at the root to explain where I’ve come from.
This is what happened this morning as I began to write. I started to tell you of my meeting with the Literary Agent where we chatted over what I was passionate to write about. As the words started, I realized it was necessary to shed some weight I had been carrying. Without letting go of the resentment I felt, the words were supressed. As it turned out, there was another soul needing to hear what was on my heart. I’m thankful God uses my life in this way.
I am hopeful to have direction and purpose as I write about ‘Mawidge‘. So often my writing ends without a conclusion– a conglomeration of relatable revelations purely for entertainment. Maybe we will figure this marriage thing out together? Maybe, like in the clip from “A Princess Bride”, we’ll both want to skip to the end!
September 11, 2001
I was on my way to Chicago for business. I was a passenger in a car with a few associates. The Sear’s Tower was being evacuated as were a few notorious and well-populated landmarks. We listened to the news media trying to piece together the chaos of the morning. It was surreal– we continued toward Chicago and I wondered if I was ever going to see my little girl again. Since the car was silent, except for the news on the radio, I started a conversation with God. I felt compelled to justify my life choices since I thought I had time to get things right before I died. In an inaudible voice I heard in my heart, “You don’t have time to get it right.”
The following Sunday, in a study group at church, I read Romans 12:2 for the first time.
Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.
This was the beginning of delving into the Word for truth. David and I didn’t reunite for a few months– after Christmas 2001. It was beautiful reunion– we ran into each others arms through a field of poppies, intoxicated and blissfully IN LOVE. The end.
Yeah, right? There are no poppy fields in Wisconsin in December!
Truth is, we fought more than ever once we were back together. I’m going to wrap up this blog entry with that. A cliff hanger until we meet again. In the meanwhile, I will be contemplating what needs to be revealed to make the story meaningful to those who are engaged to listen. I’ll be in prayer and will write on the topic as the Spirit prompts me along.
At the Proverbs 31 Conference I attended last year, I met a woman who lost her son in the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Rather than internalizing my thoughts to recall my own ‘where were you’ moments, I’m going to recall the heart-wrenching conversation I had on the closing night of the “She Speaks 2014” conference to appreciate the sovereignty of God.