When I was little I would go to bed fantasizing about my wedding. About the man I would marry and the four children I would have, 2 boys and 2 girls. I even had their names picked out. I started a wedding binder, collecting all the things I wanted to use for the planning of my wedding. For the beginning of my marriage.
I am not alone in this fantasy, as girls many of us dream of being swept off our feet and carried away into the sunset by our prince charming.
My love story was wonderful… He certainly swept me off my feet. He dazzled me with a stunning engagement ring, the actual asking was pretty spectacular as well. Eight years ago we married, among our friends and family. Vowing to love each other through sickness and health, as long as we both shall live.
Three years after that what I thought was truly the greatest love story, began with the first breath of our daughter. I thought, this…. Now this must be the greatest love story, as my heart overflowed with love. The kind of love I didn’t even know existed until that very moment.
Two years later, just when I thought there was just no way my love could double, sure enough when Henley made her grand entrance, my heart exploded. And when Halen came to the hospital to visit her new baby sister, I thought this...now this is the greatest love story.
One year after that, we were devastated by a breast cancer diagnosis. Our vows rung loudly in my ears as my world seemed as if it was crashing all around us. But my man, stood firm. We prayed and intentionally re-centered our marriage and family around Jesus.
Two years later we watched as one of our favorite couples, who were family in all sense of the definition, fall in love and become engaged.
On the day of their couples shower, my husband and I reached a breaking point. We were facing yet another obstacle from my cancer diagnosis. Cancer had taken such a toll on our lives that it was like being caught in quicksand. Our pride kept us from speaking up, hoping something would magically make the nightmare go away.
My heart sunk as I walked into the party, I tried to cover up the fact that our family was facing such suffering, while watching this beautiful bride and handsome groom… dance, laugh and be in complete bliss. I couldn’t help thinking… if they only knew. I wanted to yell out and warn them about life’s harsh realities. I wanted to stop them in their tracks and prepare them for what they could face.
Part of me yearned to go back to our wedding week. Completely and utterly smitten. Oblivious to any negativity. It didn’t matter what was going on around me, I had zero interest in anything but the love radiating in my bubble.
I hated that feeling that day.
I am a perpetual romantic. I am a fairytale believer. I am a forever optimist.
But life just gets so hard.
Then I realized. Marriage as wonderful and blissful as it may seem is not the greatest love story.
Even when we become mamas and think, there couldn't possibly be love greater than this. Even that, isn’t the greatest love story.
The greatest love story is Jesus. The greatest love story is about a man who walked among us. He faced temptation, He was ridiculed, He was rejected, yet He performed miracles, He lived His entire life blessing others and bringing humanity closer to God. He filled the gap. All knowing He would be the lamb. He would be the ultimate sacrifice.
After my cancer diagnosis, I realized a harsh worldly reality…and that is Evan cannot be the one to ultimately make me happy and bring me joy. As much as I want to put that gigantic weight on His shoulders, that is not how God designed our world. He wants us to receive absolute fulfillment from Him and Him alone. Even my children, should not be given that responsibility…what a hefty burden to carry.
Can others add to that happiness and joy? Absolutely! Especially when we keep God as our center.
Can you imagine a love so unconditional that He was brutally whipped, had nails pounded into his wrists and ankles, hung on a cross and crucified all by the people He was trying to save. Can you imagine this love?
Life is incredibly hard... marriage is hard, motherhood is hard, work is hard, relationships are hard. There is constant hardship whether big or small. People face the worst devastations that many of us cannot even grasp. And even when we think our life is practically perfect and nothing will ever come our way... sadly that is just not how the world works. Cancer, trauma, grief, hardship, rejection, doesn't discriminate.
Can you imagine a world that didn’t have this love story? That didn’t have this sacrifice to save us from death?
The victory of Jesus, the fact that God robbed the grave gives me that everlasting hope and peace that my cancer is overcome. That every single thing that happens here is about God’s ultimate plan to bring us to together and give us everlasting perfect peace.
Because one day all of the tears, frustration, rejection, shame, cruelty, tears, cancer, tragedy and death will be erased. Don't you want to be part of that great love story? I know there is no way I could face the day without knowing there is something wonderful at the end to greet me.
My marriage and family may be living a beautiful worldly love story, but Jesus is the greatest love story.
To all you newlyweds, hold tight to your person. Love them with all your might. Make God your center, when you do that blessings will overflow. That hole in your heart will be filled. God’s pursuit for us is endless. Find a church that resonates with you, find a community to do life with that helps support you on God's fulfilling path.
Let all the trumpets sound, for today was truly the best. day. EVER.