A story of love, hope & redemption

September 12, 2016 marked 6 months I have been married to my wonderful husband, Jeff. In commemoration of this, this week I wanted to share a little of our love story and some of my journey in going from a single mom to a married woman. 

When I look at Jeff and my love story I see a story of hope and redemption. We both come from a background which has some difficult things in it and many people may turn away from (and have turned away) and feel is too “messy” for them to deal with. We both made, and continue to make mistakes, plenty of them. We are not perfect, we never will be. But God took two imperfect people, with a messy past and brought them together to create a beautiful love story to tell of a greater love story, and that is of God’s love, hope and redemption.

 

If you feel your past is too messy or complicated for God to ever make anything beautiful out of it, just know you are wrong in your thinking. Your past does not determine your future. Do not compare your story to those around you (even if others try to) who you may think have done everything the “right way” and never messed up. Or maybe you did do everything the “right way” and things suddenly took a turn for the worse. Now you find yourself in a situation you never thought could be possible. Rest assured, God does make all things new and gives beauty for ashes, and my life is a living testimony to that.

I love this quote from page 46 of the book, The Smart Stepfamily by Ron L. Deal , which I highly recommend for single adults (with or without kids) and those in a stepfamily. You can find it here on Amazon.

“And what of your story? Does the story you tell of your past include any perspective of a redemptive present? What if remarriage and this new family is the present-day portion of God’s redemptive work in your life? When you seek to demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit, you partner with God’s activity to move your family story out of the past and into a redemptive present. And here’s the amazing outcome of the far-reaching power of God’s redemption – when God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) it doesn’t change the past, but it does change the story we tell about the past.

When light is directed on the dark, it casts the dark in a new light. It changes our understanding of it, our interpretation, the meaning we give it, our role in the story, the outcome we see for our lives, even how we live in the present in light of the past. The past is, therefore, redeemed. Your family story, even the part that is embedded in the past, is not over. You are in a process, God’s redeeming process. When you walk with him in faith, your story, even the worst parts of it, is caught up into what He is doing to redeem all things to Him. There are more chapters to your family story yet to be written, some in this generation and some in the generations to come. Walk in faith and watch in awe how God authors a new legacy.”

Married life is great. Yes there have been a lot of adjustments and will continue to be. I have learned the Bass Pro Shop Flyer is not to be considered “Junk Mail.” Jeff has probably learned vacuuming a house with two women who have long hair is not the same as vacuuming a house with just two guys living in it.

All kidding aside,  Jeff and I both had been single parents for about 13 years. We both had our own way of doing life. You put two people together to now make a family and it’s not going to happen over night. As Ron Deal discusses in the book I mentioned above, he compares the process of forming a step family to a crock pot. You take all these separate ingredients and put them together in a large pot. It is a process over time for all the ingredients to come together to make a delicious meal. We are not looking to be a microwave family, but a crock pot family and that takes time.

When I was a single mom I think I had heard every single cliché you can think of. “When God writes your love story…” “You will know when you find the one.” “It will happen when you least expect.” When you are single (well maybe not you, but I sure did) I LOATHED these sayings. Major eye roll moments for me. I dreaded going to weddings, engagement announcements, wedding showers, even baby dedications. Because inevitably a remark was made to me…. It’s gonna happen to you one day! There is still hope for you! (as though all hope was lost) Are you dating anyone? So… how’s your love life?

It seems, particularly in religious circles, if you are not married by the age of 21 or 22 people honestly think there is something wrong with you and feel it is their God-given duty to “fix you.” Or they feel if you are single, you are not “right” until you are married, as though you have some sort of plague/disease about you. There is nothing wrong with being single. Marriage or finding love doesn’t fix anyone, it can actually create an entire host of problems you never anticipated. You have to be whole & healed before in order to bring to marriage what God destined it to be. As my dad always told me, “It’s better to be single than to be married to the wrong person.” If you are looking for a mate or marriage to fix you, then you need to do some serious inventory and figure out what is going on on the inside.

Ok off my soapbox now.

In all honesty I was quite content with my life as a single mom. I have always been incredibly independent and I had being a single mom pretty much down to a science and had an awesome support system in place. Yes it’s a lot of work, but you just do it.

It is human nature to long for companionship but I had accepted my fate in life that I was to be single and married life was for everyone else. But as the cliché goes, when you least expect it, it happens. Never thought it would be me saying that.

Meeting Jeff came totally unexpected and I honestly did not think anything would come out of it. Just another guy someone was trying to hook me up with, let’s just get through the process so I can find something wrong with him and turn him down. I had and still do in some areas (it’s a process) have a lot of trust issues, particularly with men.  But when my matchmaker friend told me about him and after my parents and I both checked out his Facebook profile, we came to the conclusion he wouldn’t be too bad to at least meet up for coffee or lunch. I later discovered his Facebook profile did not do him justice at all. Much better looking in person! But I told my friend, sure I will give it a shot.

So on July 19, 2015 I received a Facebook friend request from him. I accepted and we began talking. I don’t know what it was but something honestly clicked (no pun intended since we first started talking online). We talked for about a week and a half, then we met up for lunch during my lunch break one day. He was and still is quite the gentleman. He showed up with a yellow rose on our first meeting. He opened all the doors for me (and still does). He treated me like a queen (and still does). From that day forward he began to slowly break down so many of the protective walls I had built in fear of being hurt or rejected.  It was just so easy to talk to him. We shared everything about our past. The good, the bad, the ugly. We were very transparent with each other. Take it or leave it was the approach we both took.

Even though we lived about an hour away from each other and on opposite sides of DFW (with traffic it can honestly feel like opposite ends of the world some days) he found a way to come see me at least once a week, if not more. This doesn’t include the continual all day texting and hour plus phone calls each day. He always found a way to see me or talk to me no matter what our schedules looked like. And let me say this to my single ladies…. when a guy likes you, he will find a way to talk to you, pursue you, meet up with you. You should not be the one chasing after him. If you are chasing after a guy, just stop. It’s not worth it. From personal experience I can tell you it is just a bunch of wasted time and tanks your self-esteem.

By October / November 2015 we were talking about a future together. Our families spent Thanksgiving together. He spent Christmas with my family and my daughter and I spent Christmas with his family. On December 31 at midnight on an outside observation deck at the Reunion Tower in Dallas he asked me to marry him. It was the best night of my life. We were married in a small private ceremony on March 12, 2016.

For those who might be thinking, WOW!  That all happened really fast! Let me tell you, it did! But when I look at other relationships, in particularly my parents, perhaps it’s not all uncommon. Or maybe I should say, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  My parents met in February 1977. They started dating in June 1977. They were married November 25, 1977. That’s 9 months from start to finish. They will celebrate 39 years of marriage this November. As the cliché goes, when it happens, it happens!!

God took us both through our own journey to get to where we are now. It hasn’t always been easy, there have been many dark days in his past and mine. But I can look back now and thank God for every piece of brokeness in my past because those broken pieces have now formed a beautiful mosaic of God’s redemptive work in our individual lives and in our lives together. And He is not done yet, the best is yet to come!

Here’s to a cake face smashing successful life together!

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6 thoughts on “A story of love, hope & redemption

  1. Such a great story, Margaret! I’m extremely happy for you and Jeff. You found a great guy and he found a great girl! God truly knows how to work the puzzle! =) Amanda Bunch

    Liked by 1 person

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