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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

how did I get here?

Unequally yoked: when a husband and wife don't share the same faith.

It was quite by accident that I found myself in an unequally yoked marriage...well, sort of.

I began dating Justin, my now husband, when I was 16. Sixteen and selfish...rebellious...immature in many ways. I was raised in a semi-Christian home (that's another story for another time), but stepped away from my faith when I was about 14. I began to make choices that caused me much heart ache, and I'm sure hurt the heart of my Father even more. As a teen I was desperately seeking love and acceptance, from all the wrong places.

And so I shouldn't have been surprised when I found myself 19 and pregnant, but I was. Surprised, confused, afraid... So I did the only thing I knew to do: I married my then-boyfriend.

I loved Justin from the beginning. He has the most gorgeous green eyes, an infectious laugh, and a grin that makes you feel as though you've known him forever. I knew I wanted to marry him pretty much from the start, never mind the fact that he wasn't, nor did he have any intention of becoming, a Christian. I didn't care. I wasn't really acting like a Christ-believer myself. So I jumped in head first. I was looking for love, and he was there to give it to me.

The first year of our marriage was...tumultuous to say the least. I found myself running back to my mom and when that didn't solve anything I began to run to God, realizing that I needed Him and had made a grave mistake in thinking that I didn't for so long. Justin continued to live as he always had, with no interest whatsoever in things eternal. I can't tell you how many times I showed up at my mom's house with my bags packed and a big pregnant belly, or eventually with our little daughter in tow. But it wasn't all Justin's fault. Yes he was making choices that conflicted with what I believed, but I made my fair share of mistakes as well. I was filled with resentment, hurt, confusion, and loneliness. I felt completely lost, truly not knowing what to do. I mean, I was only 19 years old, I wasn't prepared to make such huge life decisions regarding a marriage and the well being of a child...I was still a child!

Somehow we made it through that first year. Barely, by the skin of our teeth. I know it was God's grace. I never expected us to last and at times wasn't sure that I even wanted us to. But here we are, nearly seven years later. And I can say God has redeemed our marriage. He has grown a love in me for my husband, and is teaching me how to forgive and show so much grace. I fail daily, but I'm learning, always a work in progress.

A big game changer for me was Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian. I learned about the many mistakes I had been making, like trying to be my husband's holy spirit. I learned that it was so much better for everyone involved if I just prayed for my husband. And slowly I started to learn that I can be happily in love in an unequally yoked marriage. Is it hard? YES. I absolutely feel lonely down to my soul sometimes. But there is also unexplainable joy in knowing that I am a part of my husband's redemption story.

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