Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
Years ago, on television, I watched a wedding take place in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. And isn’t that how every little girl once pictured romance? The bride, groom, white horses, and the perfect sunset to ride into… Wasn’t that our definition of love?
In this culture, we seem to get caught up in the picturesque images rather than be present in the reality of two hearts. Thoughts tend to focus more on the wedding than the marriage. We see the beginning as the best rather than the raw, naked, art of a pure ending.
It’s my opinion that most can’t focus on the end, because few know the real definition of love that will take us there. It’s commitment.
Commitment keeps us from letting it all go when “for better or worse” turns out to be much worse than we imagined. Commitment is an exercise of discipline that uncovers true love one painful moment at a time. Commitment is what makes every moment the unseen glorious right smack dab in the middle of all the muck and mire. We know that real life isn’t standing in a white gown in front of Cinderella’s castle next to the man of our dreams. The image of that fairytale is just the starting point of something that, with commitment, can only get better and grow deeper.
My beginning is the story of a young woman, only eighteen years old, who stood before God pledging forever to a handsome young man. They were both so full of love that they didn’t think twice about tomorrow.
And then tomorrow came…
Less than two years later, they found themselves on top of the world with a healthy baby boy. They had little money but it didn’t matter because they had each other. Soon after, commitment took hold refusing to let go. They needed it more than ever.
She had one miscarriage, and then another. She hurt. He hurt. He wanted to fix it. She knew he couldn’t. It took commitment to press through.
She became pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. At 35 weeks gestational the baby’s heart stopped beating and, in many ways, so did her mother’s. She wept. He wept. She was done with life. He wouldn’t allow it. It took commitment to press through.
it was three long years before they would conceive again. She lost that baby early on. She asked why and hated the prison she felt she lived inside. He convinced her to keep going. It took commitment to press through.
A couple years later she saw two pink lines again. And then she hemorrhaged, almost lost her life, and the baby was no more. Two months later it happened again. Her family and friends were having more children. She experienced anger propelled by pain. They yelled and screamed at each other because she couldn’t find joy and he couldn’t lead her to it. It took commitment to press through.
She loved her husband and son but grieved the tiny souls missing. She changed. She wasn’t the young woman in the white gown anymore. But love covered her and commitment lead them both, even when they didn’t realize it.
Contentment began to mingle with grief while faith gripped tight. Hope became present again and joy came from ashes. And then after injections, hormonal breakdowns, physical pain, and negative results came new life and freedom. it was commitment that brought them there.
The commitment of a Savior picked up that girl in the white gown and that boy in the black tuxedo. Commitment carried them when they couldn’t even find the strength to get up on their knees and crawl forward. Commitment told them yes when their own hearts screamed no.
Love disguised as commitment, is really a Savior who makes Himself present in every circumstance and forces hope into hearts. When we make vows, most of us say, “For better or worse.” However, if we listen to the still, small voice of a God who is love, then we can hear those same words deep down in what we thought were the hollowed out portions of our souls. He says, “For better or worse, I will carry you. For better or worse, I will be there. For better or worse, I won’t leave. Even if he does, or she does, or they do. I won’t. I love you. You are mine.”
The greatest love stories end with the raw, pure love of a God who continues to speak, “I’m the one who loves you. I’m committed. I’m whole. I will pick up your broken and make every piece fit again.”
You are loved, Friend. And don’t you ever forget it!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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