winter reads + a woman named jane.

“What if God didn’t design marriage to be “easier”? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place? What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

Gary Thomas | Sacred Marriage

My good friend/mentor, Becca, called me up one day, practically screaming, she says, 
“I met a woman at Second. AND SHE IS SO GREAT.” 

She explained to me how she had awkwardly gone to a woman’s small group or meet & greet and happened to meet Jane. This woman with a radiant passion for discipleship leads a woman’s group about every three months and is a part of another ministry that teaches on the beauty of Biblical hospitality. Her and her husband also lead a Sunday School class at our church, Second Baptist. 
Becca and I meet once a week {as a part of Lightbearers, but honestly I’d spend time with this lady no matter what} to drink Dr. Pepper icees from Kum & Go and to learn more about Jesus through studying Scripture and how our lives can and should look different because of His sacrifice for our sins. At the beginning of the semester she told me that she would love for part of our mentor time to be spent with women who have been married – from the newlyweds to the goldens – since she has never been married. So after she met Jane, she immediately called me. 
Jane and I corresponded through email and we organized a meeting time at Panera.  I was so nervous. One –  I had no clue what she looked like. How will I know it’s her? Two – What if she’s like really old and only wants to tell me to stay in the kitchen all day and have five million kiddos? And the biggest one…three – What if she doesn’t show up and I sit around Panera looking like a fool for thirty minutes? I am pathetic. 
All that worrying for nothing. Jane and I’s first meeting was as smooth as butter. We just talked. Talked about life and our loves. She married her high-school sweetheart, Harold, to whom she has been married to for forty years.  They have the sweetest little grandbaby and they have a desire to do full time overseas mission work in the future. But the greatest part – she’s flawed. As all humans are. This woman that I hadn’t even met but was holding as an idol openly, honestly, and graciously spilled her shortcomings to me. Not to flaunt them in a pride-seeking way, but to show me that after forty years, marriage isn’t a picnic. To Panera she brought with her two copies of Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage. One for me, one for her. Week by week we’ll go through the book and continue to talk about life and marriage. 
Already I’ve noticed that this book isn’t the “traditional” marriage book on the roles of husband and wife. While those will certainly be read as well, this book focuses on the reason for marriage. Why did God create this unique relationship between a man and a woman? “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

Constantly I am reminded of how blessed I am to have women in my life, like Jane and Becca but so many others, that are pouring out their lives to serve those around them in whatever way they can. Their faithfulness has changed my life. 

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