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Is there such a thing as happily ever after?
Yes and no.
Let me share with you an evening and a morning scenario that played out in our home.
One evening shortly after our wedding, I fell asleep in the arms of the man I love after he prayed for me, and the next morning I woke up next to the man I love, grateful through and through.
Also, one evening shortly after our wedding, I practically cried myself to sleep filled to the brim with worry and fear and stress and swirly panic, and the next morning I woke up after fitful sleep and tears began flowing within moments out of a sense of overwhelming helplessness.
Here’s the thing: these were both the same evening and the same next morning.
My point, sweet ones? My marriage is wonderful and it’s a better gift than I ever hoped or prayed for – a gift that God did not owe us but we are both so grateful for – but life is still so very hard sometimes. Though Richard totally did sweep me off my feet, he did not swoop in as my hero and make all of our ex-spouse-related issues, all of our children-related issues, all of our work- and logistics- issues disappear. There is light between us but dark clouds still hover off in the distance, ever so slightly encroaching in on our little world. There are battles that were in our lives before we got married that are still battles now, tears I cried before that still linger post-wedding day. He and I are good – so very good – and it is a gift to be together and we are partners, standing side by side, but life is still very much…well…life.
I feel like you need to hear this. Just like having a boyfriend didn’t make my life perfection, having a husband – even a good, good, kind, tenderhearted, loving, praying-over-me husband – has not eradicated my problems, and though my hope and prayer is simply to make that man’s life better and sweeter, I cannot eradicate his problems either.
And I need you to know this – it’s not about a new man.
And here’s why: because life will always be hard and you will always be your very human, sinful, struggling self, even at your best (and, by the way, that's okay…it's what Jesus came for).
I feel like culture has set out this equation before us that many of us women – Christians included – subconsciously take on as truth:
lonely girl + good man = needs met and happily ever after
But that's not the right equation. The equation should be:
woman (in any circumstance) + Jesus = the path to wholeness and beauty and meaning and joy and peace
So the goal is to ask God to help you become the most whole, beautiful, strong and yet tender version of you, and then lean into it, and embrace it, and simply become who God wants you to become, even in your mess. And follow him, even in your pain. And serve him, even in your loneliness. And worship him, even in your failures. And be a friend, even in your sadness. And take care of your children, even in your waiting. And shine, because this is your life, now.
No matter your hard or lonely current circumstance, you can become – right now – who God wants you to become. And no matter your pain or your failures, you can be – right now – a light.
Abusive man or no man or good man, sweet girl: God crazy-loves you, down to your core and all the way through and his love will never end.
Hard marriage or no marriage or good marriage, sweet girl: God can heal you and restore you and make you whole.
Pain or no pain or circumstantially peaceful, sweet girl: God wants to and will use you – if you let him – and it will be beautiful. Even now.
Reflection: Did you expect your remarriage to turn out differently? In what ways?
Elisabeth Klein lives with her sweet husband, Richard, in Illinois. Together, they are parents to five children, fifteen through twenty-six. They attend Community Christian Church in Yorkville. She fills her time with writing, speaking and mentoring women. She has written several books, all of which are available on her website (www.elisabethklein.com). She also offers e-courses and private Facebook groups for women in difficult marriages or those going through divorce. You may contact her at [email protected]. Elisabeth’s newest release, Second Time Around: Some Thoughts on Remarriage, can be found at www.elisabethklein.com/books.