I am learning to find Him in the sweetness. These days, I don’t have to simply trust the goodness of God in the dark, but I get to see it on display in the light. The lines have fallen to me in very pleasant places. My circumstance are ones I love, filled with abundance and gifts and blessings. It’s a different season. It’s wonderful, but I’m not used to it yet.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been good and precious times in years past, because there have been. The communion I shared with my Lord in those years when it was just Him and I was immeasurably sweet. And the circumstances were often good ones, too. I was blessed with dear friends, fulfilling ministry, close fellowship, many loved ones, and abounding opportunities.
But always there was a certain emptiness and loneliness, a feeling like I was missing something. It didn’t affect my joy or my purpose or my fulfillment, but still, it was there. I learned to be content and even to love the life I’d been given, but it never quite erased the longing to be covenantally loved by a man, to be a mother to my own children, to have a home I could call ours.
Romantic relationships were either tumultuous or non-existent for me. It was guessing games of “he loves me, he loves me not”. It was blind dates where the guy never showed or wasn’t interested. It was ending things before it was ever official. It was one-sided interest. Or it was nobody on the horizon.
I tucked away the dreams and thought they would probably never come to fruition. I couldn’t even envision what it would look like if they did. Hope never quite died, but hope deferred makes the heart sick, and so I tried not to hope too much.
God was close to me in those hard days. He was my Comforter in the dark nights when the pent-up tears flowed, and He gave me the joy I needed to walk through the next day with a smile. I saw His care in the little details of my day, the unexpected words of kindness, the brightly blooming flower, the passage of Scripture that was just what I needed. I knew I was fully known and fully loved and fully safe with Him. He truly was my Lover and Friend. And perhaps, the lack of lover and friend in the husband I hoped for only made His love and friendship all the sweeter.
Somehow it wasn’t hard to find Him in the dark. The unknowns drove me to find my security in the God who knew. The longings made me crave the One who would ultimately fulfill every longing in Himself. The bitter places were sweet when they led to such intimate communion with my Lord.
I look back with no regrets. In fact, part of me misses those days. Strangely enough, even misses the lacks and loneliness and hard, because of the sweet fruit they brought forth.
This is not to say that everything about marriage and motherhood is easy, or that somehow all my troubles have been magically whisked away. There will be plenty of hard times ahead, far harder even than the longings and barrenness of singleness. Suffering is promised to us as followers of Christ. And there are even simple realities like the fact that loving more means an increased capacity for pain.
But today is sweet. Today I am covenantally loved by that man I prayed for and hoped for over so many years. He loves me well. There are no games; from the very beginning he has pursued me with intention, and he pursues me still. He is passionate and kind, strong and gentle, faithful and safe. I can rest assured of his love. He is not perfect, but he is a physical picture of Christ’s love for me. His commitment is real and he intends to keep his vows. Though we have the adjustments and learning curve of any couple, I am so blessed and so grateful to get to do them with him.
It’s strange and unfamiliar to me. I am not used to being loved and wanted. I still have a hard time believing that he actually finds me beautiful. It boggles my mind, that he would know me as he does and commit to me still. I don’t deserve his love. I wake up in the morning at his side, usually by him pulling me close and kissing me, and I marvel at the gift I have been given in this man.
As if that wasn’t enough, we were granted the gift of conception on our honeymoon. I get to be a mommy. That, too, boggles my mind. That God would entrust a tiny person to us, and give us the honor and responsibility of raising him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? How, God? My son moves in my womb and I marvel at what God has done. A new life, from our union. It’s a miracle.
What has surprised me, though, is how different my relationship with God is. He is calling me to learn new things about Him, showing me different aspects of His character, teaching me a new rhythm of relating to Him.
Will I still turn to Him when my life is full and sweet? When I am overflowing with thankfulness instead of struggling with unknowns, will I nonetheless recognize my need for Him and worship Him as the fount of every blessing? Will I grow complacent, or will I stay hungry for more of Him?
The lessons are different, in some ways. The temptations aren’t lesser, but packaged differently. It’s so easy to take things for granted. Pride is sneaky. Circumstantial joy fails quickly. Abiding in Christ still requires commitment and effort and intention.
The responsibilities are different, too. This marriage-thing is weighty, absolutely worth it but with elements of significance far beyond any relationship I experienced before. Till death do us part is likely a very long time. I’ve heard it said that a good marriage is a piece of heaven on earth, but a bad marriage a piece of hell on earth. I dare not allow myself to get complacent, to take advantage of my husband’s love and get sloppy, or to ever think that I can do this on my own without the Lord. I am trusting Him now not for the hope of a future marriage, but for the reality of this current marriage.
Children, too, bring a great responsibility. I must seek His face without ceasing, long before the problems become big and I feel the desperation of my need for Him as a mother. This sweet, quiet season is one of preparation, of being deeply rooted in Him before the challenges of motherhood increase.
I will never need Him less. I will never stop having to grow. The lessons learned in the dark must not be forgotten in the light. My God hasn’t changed. Who I knew Him to be in the dark is still who He is in the light, and what I learn of Him in the light must be remembered in the next season of darkness.
I haven’t much to “take away” from this in terms of a devotional or lesson. I don’t know your life circumstances, if you are walking in a season of lack or abundance, of dark or light. But I do know that He is faithful. I do know that we can do nothing of ourselves, that we are all just sinners saved by grace, that He is strong in our weakness.
Whatever your season, keep finding Him. Keep seeking Him. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. He alone is worthy.