“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
As I begin to write today I am reflecting on the business of the season our family is currently in and the busy season ahead. So much anticipation and excitement for each event ahead that will change our family dynamic in a positive way.
Our first exciting event is the arrival of our second grandchild due to arrive November 21st, just in time for Thanksgiving! Then we have the celebration of our fourth daughter’s wedding on January 3, 2019. Finally, the expected arrival of our third grandchild in mid-February. Each of these events have other special events that will happen as we wait and prepare. Such an amazing season of life for my mother’s and grandmother’s heart but what I want to focus on today was something I realized as my daughter prepares for her wedding day. It is a significant lesson of faith that I need to share with all of you.
A few weeks ago my daughter and her fiancé brought a pre-wedding questionnaire home from their marriage counseling. The questionnaire was for us as her parents, asking our advice to the couple in all possible areas of marriage as well as a few final questions asking us about our own marriage.
The significant truth that I realized came from the following question. “Share the most memorable moment in your marriage and Why?” This question gave me pause as I have been married 32 years this November. I actually said out loud, “How can I possibly identify one memorable moment after so many years of marriage?” As I continued to think and then pray about the most memorable moment, God reminded me of an event that happened in my life and I KNEW it was the defining moment in my marriage.
It was February 2003, and my husband had orders to attend the pre-command course prior to our move to S. Korea in June. This is a course that the Army highly encourages spouses to also attend. I was excited for the opportunity to participate and gain more wisdom on how to support my husband and military families as he became the commander at the battalion level. We decided that our whole family would travel to Ft Leavenworth, Kansas as my husband and I completed the two-week course. It would be a wonderful experience to reconnect with old friends still in the area and a necessity to take everyone as our youngest daughter was an infant and still nursing. As a home school family we had the flexibility to travel together and still accomplish our core classes even as I literally ran back and forth to class each day. It was a season of winter wonderland and the girls were very excited as the weekend approached to sled on the amazing hill just outside the historic building we were staying in. My husband got excited too! He was ready to conquer the tremendous hill outside on inner tubes! I was a bit skeptical. I am a native Wisconsinite and I grew up sledding countless hours but never on something filled with air. As we ventured into the cold winter weather our girls could hardly wait to get started. My husband gave his words of wisdom and was the first to go speeding down the hill catching a little air time as his inner tube left the tiny dip in the middle of the hill. Our girls laughed and off they went with the same enthusiasm as their dad. I stood on the top of the hill and enjoyed their fun and laughter, watching out for our nine month old baby. After numerous trips down the hill, my husband insisted I give it a try. He knows I am adventuresome and he did not want me to miss the fun. I slowly got positioned on the tube and then my husband handed me our three-year old Katie, who had been his sledding buddy the whole time. We took off slowly but soon found ourselves in the air as we passed through the dip in the hill. My mother’s reaction was to grab my daughter who had left my lap. This was a mistake as I lost control of the inner tube and Katie and I ended up tumbling off the tube, crumbled into a rolling ball. I remember purposely shielding her body and head with mine. I do not remember anything else about that day. The following is the account of my husband who watched the whole thing. He has told me after a few moments at the bottom of the hill, Kate and I got up and brushed off all of the snow and made our way back up the hill. I came to stand beside him and appeared fine until after a few minutes of watching the girls sledding and playing with the baby, I asked him a question. I said, “How did we get here?” He thought I was having second thoughts about him accepting a command position as he began to talk about our decision to attend the course together. I interrupted him and asked him this question, “Who are all of these kids?” Our seven daughters were in front of us, sledding, and My husband told me he then asked me this very important question, “What do you remember?” My response is the heart of my message today. I responded with two answers. The first was that I knew he was my husband and the second was the fact that I loved my Jesus. I did not recognize any of my children. Children that I had carried nine months each and then labored, birthed and cared for over the last sixteen years. Eventually, after a few hours I remembered my family but I never regained the memory of the moments on the sledding hill. But what I did remember was significant. I remembered the two most important relationships in my life. Relationships that I had entered as a covenant. I had made a lifetime commitment in my heart to marry my husband until death parted us and when I accepted Christ in my heart it was also a lifelong commitment except this bond was so deep it would last into eternity. As God reminded me of this event in my life, I realized this truly was the most memorable moment in my marriage and in my life. I realized for the first time how God intended my marriage to be. It was not meant to just be an agreement as husband and wife to love and take care of each other but rather a covenant made with one another with God in the center, entwining itself around my heart. My heart forever transformed as I entered a relationship with Jesus, God had linked me to Himself forever. This would be the most important relationship I would ever have, never to be forgotten or replaced.
My sledding accident helped me realize these truths but I hope my story will encourage you to seek God for more. Make Him a priority every day, loving Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. If married, I encourage you to be purposeful and look for ways to strengthen your relationship with your husband. Knowing God’s intent to build a bond so strong in your marriage, no matter what happens you will remember the importance of this relationship in your life.