40 years ago I married Ed. He wasn’t the man of my dreams then. Ed and I knew each other since we were teens. Our parents were best friends and my brother and Ed were friends so we encountered each other occasionally. I didn’t give him much attention because we both had other important people in our lives and he was a drunk. After my first husband, Dan, was killed in a car accident Ed’s family helped me a lot with my kids and situations. Ed didn’t pay much attention to me because I had 3 little kids (they were 3, 2 and 8 months). Around the holidays my brother, Chris, didn’t like seeing me so sad so decided we would all go bowling. This was Ed’s and my first date. From there we spent hours talking or I spent hours talking about Dan and my feelings and Ed spent hours listening. Skipping lots of details one Saturday we decided to get married the next Saturday, April 15. It was a crazy decision and no one tried to stop us but took bets as to how long the marriage would work. I was a widow of a few months and he was a drunk. We were 24 and 23 and sure we knew what we doing. Right or wrong we went forward with it and was determined to prove everyone wrong.
Ed had not drank at all for the 4 months we datedJ. But 3 weeks after the wedding he started up again. I knew nothing about a drunk. I figured if I could go forward after the death of my husband no one had problems enough to drink. But his mind didn’t think like that. After a few months I became pregnant with Adam. What a joy when he was born. Ed did lots of drinking but only at the bars. He was a legend up and down the mountain. I stumbled through my days taking care of babies, trying to please Ed, dealing with hidden grief and trusting the Lord. When Adam was 1 year old the doctor found a mummer in his heart. Within 3 months Adam was in Children’s hospital having a patch put on the hole in his heart. By then we were broke, losing everything – including our house – and was without insurance. But the Lord was with us, we saved our home and vehicles and Ed quit drinking. Adam came through with flying colors even though Ed and I went through many emotions. A year later Tim was born and Ed had been sober for a year. After he quit drinking we were involved in Mountain High Chapel and learning from our pastor. We still struggled with LOTS of communication issues and just didn’t know how to be married. We had lots of selfishness and were exhausted most the time from trying to make ends meet to taking care of 5 little ones. After 10 years of marriage we were baptized together and Ed let go of all the jealous feelings he had about Dan. That was one step towards us being able to be closer. At about 18 years of marriage we learned about different behavior styles and love languages. That is when our oneness started to form. That was the beginning of a real relationship. Ed had been that everything was about him and for him. I actually was the same way but in a self-condemnation way. I was all about me and everything I did wrong and caused to go wrong and how I was useless and had no value. That too was selfishness.
The last 20+ years have been a growing and learning process. We have learned so much about our identity in the Lord which transfers to our marriage and oneness. There were times we could have easily split but I was scared to be alone again. I knew who Ed was when he wasn’t drunk and on the inside he was a wonderful man. We had rough, tough times. I almost gave in and almost gave up but we came to a place we decided to listen to the Lord. Ed had the septic business for years and 24 years ago this June we became the full time pastors at Mountain High Chapel. Being in ministry isn’t as glamorous as some think. It is hard work, emotional and a day to day walking with the Lord for provision. It effected our kids in some negative ways. We also lost a couple of them to the world when we were in the 1st few years of ministry. Going through those times were hard. Our children came through our mistakes and are very wonderful adults. We are so proud of them and how they are in their marriages and raising their families.
Ed still isn’t the man of my dreams. He’s above and beyond what I ever thought a husband could and would be. He has worked on his heart issues and taken responsibility to change and trust the Lord. I knew he was a great man inside 40 years ago but never knew he could be this wonderful and loving. He’s amazing. He is patient with me, an encourager, my greatest fan. He believes in me and in us. He hears my heart, lets me dump on him and doesn’t preach back to me when I am struggling. He loves me unconditionally and I love him beyond what I can express.
I believe the next 30 years will even greater. Each day is an opportunity to see His love, hope, joy, peace and favor that is already in our lives but we don’t always acknowledge. This has been our marriage verse:
“Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We want to acknowledge all He has given us that we don’t always live. Marriage isn’t just gushy – mushy stuff. It is included in our oneness. It isn’t getting my way or Ed getting his way. We are one – we have one way. We may see things different but how our differences work in our marriage - in our oneness – looks totally different than either of us had wanted. It’s amazing how His ways are higher than our own ways. We are one with God. His way and His wisdom becomes our way when we are one with Him. Oneness is an amazing truth, it’s His creation. Marriage is God’s creation and His idea. Living together or being together can happen without Him. Marriage cannot happen without Him. Marriage is a mystery. His love in the oneness of marriage stirs us to go forward. It is gentle and it is soothing. It’s a promise. His resurrection power is so beyond what we think. It’s His resurrection power that gives us the grace to be married and love. Our marriage was designed by the Lord and is more than we ever dreamed possible. His resurrection power takes us to the higher place – the high road. Our marriage is taking the high road. We want to experience the very depths of what God created marriage and oneness to be. It is knowing each other so well and loving in the mist of hard times. We cannot afford doubt and fear in our relationship. The Lord has called us to go and share the grace of the Lord and our oneness is to be an example to others and the power of the Lord.
In our oneness we are in a new season. Our 40 years of marriage has had many seasons. Season with children, season of losing our parents, seasons of losing other people, seasons of caring for parents or loved ones, seasons of believing we were in lack, seasons of knowing we are prosperous. There are seasons of difficult decisions, seasons of hearing clearly. We don’t know what lies ahead in our lives but we know that He prepares the way, He prepares the table in the mist of our enemies, He encourages, He directs, He loves and He always cares. We will have challenges. We have our moments of fussing with one another and selfishness. Those times are more about moments now instead of days. We get in doubt and fear. We get in places where we have attitudes that are hard for anyone else to live with. But these times are shorter lived than they used to be. We encourage each other. When one is down we lift the other up. Trusting the Lord is one of the greatest weapons against the doubt and fear that try to get us down.
We are excited that the Lord has given us a story to write and tell. He has chosen our marriage to share with others His love and grace. He has chosen your life, relationships and marriage to demonstrate His love to others. Take time to ask the Lord what your ministry and purpose is for your life, your marriage, your family. He has a plan for every person and every relationship. Let Him guide you and ask Him what this season is for you.
Trust Him and let Him gloriously transform your relationships. He has done that with us. I am so thankful we have trusted Him to work in our lives. I am so blessed and thankful for my wonderful husband who has given his life to love me and our family. In my devotional it says that His love is heavenly, mystical and magnificent. That is what our love is to be with others because He is in us. That’s how I want my love to be for Ed – heavenly, mystical and magnificent. He is my awesome guy and I am thankful 40 years ago he decided to take on me and my 3 little ones. He’s amazing!! I am blessed!!!