Friday, April 24, 2009

::Pretty Packaging::

I went to a wedding shower last night, and left feeling like I had attended a Bible study. It was intense and moving. I hope that the ladies leave there with plans to model all future showers after this one. Not one gift was opened. It was a time of sharing the truths of our marriage. Offering them up to the bride-to-be as a blessing. We all were blessed.

I was asked to be one of four married women on a panel. Here are the questions we all answered, along with the answers I provided, although, in hindsight, I was the least candid of the bunch. Those older, wiser women, told their stories raw. The power of their stories came from the lack of pretty packaging.

1.We are all works in progress...and all marriages are works in progress...what piece of advice would you give a “bride to be” about marriage being... a work in progress ?

The "work" is in every moment. I have a choice to respond wisely, lovingly and well. Or I can respond according to my hormones, my fatigue. daily stresses... "Progress" is what I have seen when I look back on these daily choices. I see the results of choosing the better way more often than not. Yeah, sanctification!

2.What is something you wish someone had told you about marriage, before you entered into it?

I would have loved more examples of how to carve out a time for devotions as a couple. I had heard a lots about personal devotions, and plenty about family study, but what about study time as a couple? Aidan and I have discovered, on our own, the blessing of ending the day in shared prayer, and waking early to study the word side by side. It unites in a very special way. But it has been hard to be consistent. Perhaps it would have been easier to establish the habit had we begun on Day 1.

3.Please share one special time / memory from your marriage ...that would be instructive and / or encouraging the women in attendance at the shower...

Journal excerpt:

I fell asleep on the couch around 11:00, waiting for him to get home {safely}. When I woke up I found him nestled on the floor beside me. Unwilling to go upstairs to our bed without me.

I have many such examples, but this one really stands out as an example of the oneness of marriage. Even physical comfort gets left by the wayside for the sake of being together.

4.Life is made up of mountain top experiences and valley experiences...please comment on one or the other experiences in regards to your marriage...and share with the 'bride to be' what was helpful for you in that experience...

Mountain tops: Our mountain tops have been very related to God's open hand of blessing toward us. We have revelled in His goodness to us. He has provided us with health, children, comfort and ease. We have learned much about the blessing of taking the abundance of what we have been given and sharing it with those around us in the form of opening up our home, opening our lives and giving of our time. Serving where we can. Along with this comes a lesson in humility. We have not gained anything apart from what God has decided to give. Each precious baby. Each new friendship. Each scrap of food. We accept these things with many thanks, and then seek to use them well.

Valley experiences: Ironically, our valley experiences are also related to God's open hand of blessing. As is often the case, with ease comes neglect. Neglect of our relationship with God as we coast along, seemingly steering our own happy course all on our own. But then comes a growing awareness that we have strayed from the most excellent way. And we become deeply unsettled. We then must labour, as a couple towards reliance on God once more. We have learned about the need to be watchful and to exercise self-discipline or relationship is lost and it affects the whole family.