Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Heart of Marriage

This design is "Become One" and is frequently ordered as a wedding gift. I've made it in many color combinations, and I love the design. I completed this particular version yesterday and mailed it off today.

It is my practice to pray for the couple getting married as I build these panels. Even if I don't know them, I pray for them as I choose and cut glass, as I put the pieces together, and as I solder the lead together to make a whole. I pray for their marriages and their relationship with God.

I have built two "Become One" pieces in the past couple of weeks; it's a popular gift item. And in addition to praying for each of the couples, I have thought a lot about my own marriage as we near our anniversary. My husband and I met on August 5th, 2007, and got married on October 16, 2007.

Yep, really.

Yes... only ten weeks and two days.

I would do it again in a heartbeat! I have never regretted our somewhat unconventional courting-time; we are very happy together. But more than that, we are a good ministry team. And that was God's plan, not ours. I had no intention of becoming a missionary on a Native reservation; I was a teacher. I didn't feel so much that God had called me to be a teacher, but it was my life's work.

When Brad and I married, I knew he was in seminary to become a pastor. I was willing to go with him to wherever God called him. I figured I would teach in the school system. My trust was in God, that He had a plan.

And He did.
                    A good one.
                                         Just not the same one I had!

First, God placed our youngest daughter in our home unexpectedly. We didn't anticipate parenting together, but it has enriched our marriage and our lives. Second, God called me to teach, but not in the public school system. He called me to teach our daughter... at home. Homeschooling our youngest has been one of the most rewarding (and most challenging!) things I've ever done.

And third, God called us to an altogether different ministry than we expected. We are truly missionaries, even though we are in the United States. We love it here, but it truly takes both of us to minister here. And this morning I read something by Henri Nouwen (from In the Name of Jesus):

"Jesus did not send his disciples out alone to preach the word. He sent them two by two."

I've read that line multiple times today. It's so very true for us. Neither of us could do this work alone, either the parenting and homeschooling or the ministry here in the Jicarilla Apache Nation.

God provided for His ministry to our daughter and to this community when He made us husband and wife. He provides in rich fellowship, in gentle leadership, and in sweet relationship... every day, in every way.

Which brings me back to glass work...

The heart of a marriage is its anchor in Jesus Christ... in the cross... in the complete work of grace which gives us a perfect example of love. That's where marriage starts,

and that's where I start soldering when I build this piece... at the very center of the cross... it's the only way to make the piece whole and stable...
...just like a marriage.

I am so very glad that God took this twice-divorced, parenting-weary, only-slightly-committed Christian worker, and grew me into a happily-married, parenting-treasuring, and deeply committed Christian worker.

Amen. And amen.

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