Can you remember the friend you have had the longest? I sure can...and she is still one of my dearest friends today! We laid in cribs next to each other in the church nursery. I bet if you can remember a friend like that, you will remember her mom, too! She was like my second mom and I was at her house as much as my own. I am thankful to have Glenda, my childhood friend's mom on the blog today! I am watching as many women are walking through what she faced many years ago. So, I asked her to share her story and she did so beautifully!
Hopes and dreams of an 18 year old bride:
1. A home like my parents
2. A husband like my daddy
We married young; it wasn’t unusual in the 70s to marry right after high school. Ricky was the ripe old age of twenty and I was eighteen. It was ok because we knew everything about everything. At least, we thought we did. Enter reality…
I can’t even explain how naïve we were, me especially. I’ve always been a reader and thought my life would be like a Hallmark movie! Our first year was pretty rough because we each had our own idea of what wedded bliss looked like.
In my eyes, the home my parents built was almost perfect. I rarely saw any disagreement, any conflict or any strife at home. If it existed between my parents, I sure didn’t know it, and to this day, I believe in family life, primarily because of my parents. My daddy was my hero and still is. He was a hard-working, respected man, who put his family first. In our home, there was never any question of where we would be on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I never felt rebellious about it, that was just the way it was. Ricky also came from a church-going family, but he fell out of church when he was a teenager. He would tell you he only went back after we began to date. He gave his heart to Jesus when he was nineteen, but once again, he gradually got out of church. While we were dating, he’d go with me on Sunday nights, but that was about it. Of course, I thought I could change all of that once we were married! It didn’t happen.
I have so much admiration for any person who is faithful to attend church by themselves. Church, just like anywhere else we go, is full of people who look like they have it all together. That’s just a big fat lie that Satan tells us! But, in my eyes as a young bride, I felt like all eyes were on me and everyone was wondering what was wrong with my marriage because my husband wasn’t with me at church. Another lie...perception is not truth! The truth was this: Even though Ricky wasn’t with me at church, he was still a great husband and we were building a lasting relationship.
But, my perceptions and expectations caused lots of arguments when it came to Sunday morning. I became that nagging wife that Proverbs says is like a dripping faucet. My insecurities led to trying to “make” Ricky come with me to church. I thought if he came, we’d have a perfect marriage. Little did I know at this time, God had a plan. You see, up until then, I had lived a sheltered life. I had a great home life and a great church life. No one had challenged my beliefs. For the first time in my life, it was up to me to see if my faith was real, or if I was living off of my parents’ faith.
God was growing me. I can’t express how hard this time was for me; the tearing down of my expectations was so painful. However, what was being built up was far more valuable. The lessons God taught me during this time only caused me to love Him more, to step up and be the wife He would want me to be and the mom to our daughters when they came along later in our marriage. I learned to nurture the most important relationships in my life, the one with my heavenly Father, my Husband, and those that I need at any time and in any place. He is perfect and is always with me. He loves me unconditionally; He is the lover of my soul.
Our first daughter, Jessica, was born about three years into our marriage. I felt the responsibility of leading her in the path that would lead her to faith in Christ. That responsibility was doubled when Elyssa was born. It takes a village to raise children, a village populated with folks who love Jesus, who care about people and a have a passion for sharing their love. I found that in my church. We need each other!
Fast forward about twenty-two years into our marriage….Ricky was still not attending church with me and our girls are now nineteen and sixteen. Life started throwing some heavy situations into our lives and into our girls’ lives. They were the kind of situations that only God can control, situations that became wake-up calls.
Through a series of these events, my husband was drawn back to church. Not only to church attendance, but to church service. Oh my goodness, it got to the point where he wanted to go to church more than I did!
Just because couples go to church together, doesn’t mean all is good in their home. Our marriage was great, other than the church thing. I’ve seen church-going couples split up. Just because you go to church together doesn’t mean you have a perfect marriage.
I was so frustrated! I just needed help, help getting the kids ready and out the door. I needed companionship, a companion to sit with so I wouldn’t feel alone in a crowd. I longed for “couple” fellowship. I saw other couples from church hanging out together, and I wanted that. At the time, nothing much was offered for single ladies at our church. Even though I was married, I felt like a single person at church.
I’m so very thankful for the season in my life where God strengthened my walk with Him. I would have been so tempted to “piggyback” off of my husband’s faith, instead of seeking after Christ. I’ve learned God is good in every season, that He alone is my source.
The most important lesson I learned is this: I am not the Holy Spirit. I can’t be the Holy Spirit for anyone. Only God convicts. But, His promises are true. If I seek Him and His will in my life, He will bring it to pass. I wish I had known this when I was nagging Ricky to come with me! I think all I did with my nagging was to push him away. Once I let go and let God handle it, He gave me the desire of my heart, a Godly husband, who loves the Lord with all his heart.