Journey of a Lifetime

I had two photos in my purse. Pulling them out, I slid them across the small table. She smiled. No doubt she could see the similarities in the couple, but also the unmistakable changes. She'd been pondering her upcoming wedding. Her sparking engagement ring didn’t quite match her pensive eyes. She was worried that she was too young to make a choice that was supposed to last a lifetime.

Marriage is a journey—taking you some places you plan to go, some places you’d never expect to visit, and some places you’d wish you’d never heard of. Marriage takes you way beyond the ceremony and the change in relationship status on Facebook. I'm thankful I started young when I was filled with energy, hope, excitement, and love.

Now for the marriage journey itinerary:

About all those places you plan to go—you’ve probably already had long talks with your fiancĂ© about these things—careers, kids and where you’d like to live. For us, none of our plans went the way we imagined. So look at the possibilities in front of you, make some new plans, and move on.

About those places you never expect to visit.... We once thought we’d be famous rock stars traveling the globe. Instead, we lived in eight different cities within the same state. Learn to trust God. He directs your path—even when it takes you places you hadn't planned. Every place you live becomes a new chapter in your life. You learn to love being right where you are because you're doing it together. You can't see what's ahead, but you have one another. Love grows deeper in the rich soil of faith.

Then there are those places you wish you’d never heard of—for us it was a neonatal intensive care unit for our firstborn, or scary words like cerebral palsy for our second one. We’d never choose to visit those places. Hard places need strong, loving hearts. You learn to hold on tighter and it makes you stronger and love goes even deeper into your heart. Those desperate times became our most inspirational ones.

And that brings me to the final place to go together—church. During our honeymoon years we didn’t “need” church. But church is a place to grow up spiritually and the best marriages are the ones growing spiritually. We didn’t go, so we didn’t grow. God blesses marriages because it was His idea, not ours. And God knew we’d get it eventually and He was always there—waiting.

So get married and start your journey. Plan the wedding and let God lead your marriage. Share your faith and your lives. The years move swiftly and you won’t see yourselves getting older; instead you’ll see yourselves getting closer.  And that’s the best feeling there is—to be loved, to be wanted, and to share a lasting journey.

Pointing to the photos, I said, "Someday you’ll have two pictures like these, and you’ll know exactly what I mean."

She smiled as I put the pictures back in my purse.

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