When I share our story I like to start it by saying, “Be careful what you ask for”….
Twelve years ago, when Jon and I were dating long distance we would stay up late at night talking and dreaming on the phone. We would share our deep desire for giving hope to broken marriages. We both came from marriages that defined us – good and bad – so we knew the importance of them. Our heart was for marriage ministry and we proclaimed that one day we would write a book and speak at conferences…..on marriage, something we thought we knew, but knew nothing about. I have no doubt God was laughing from above and saying “Oh, you naive 23 year-olds. You think you have so much to share….I am going to let you live a story worth sharing”
And so 3 years into our marriage we found ourselves separated twice and hanging on by a thread. That’s right, our dreams of an inspiring marriage were shattering right before us and we were searching for someone else’s marriage story that would inspire US to hang on. The first 7 years (yes, SEVEN!) were the hardest years of our lives. But somewhere in the midst of all the pain and loss, I remembered that deep desire giving hope to marriages that we had in the beginning….and I chose to believe that we hadn’t misunderstood God’s calling. I trusted that calling and chose to believe it was God’s way of saying….
“BELIEVE…..I’ve got this, and this is your story….embrace it, trust it and lean into it. The power of the Resurrection is the SAME power that will resurrect YOUR marriage…trust Me. I’m writing the story you will tell.”
Oh was it hard…so hard. And there are still hard moments, but they are fewer and farther between. As we began healing these last few years, we chose a year ago to start ReGen at our church – a year long program that challenges us to face and deal with the hurts, habits and hangups in our lives. We believed that this was part of the work God needed to do to prepare us to share. And just like clockwork (ie. God’s perfect timing), we both finished our year long program this week and have been asked to share our story along with 5 other couples on a marriage panel this Saturday.
It will be the first time we publicly AND together share what the Lord has done in our lives….Our full circle moment. We sat in church yesterday, hand in hand as our pastor, Todd Wagner, talked on marriage and our hearts were full….full from experiencing the resurrection power in our marriage. This quote from Todd resonated with us so deeply: Love is Hard, scripture defines it with a cross.
If you are in the Dallas area this weekend we invite you to join us with other amazing and brave couples who will be sharing their stories.
This is (the beginning) of our full circle moment.
-jon & jenn