marriage

Day 16: Married

31 STORIES OF FAITH ADVENTURES

DAY 16:  MARRIED - MY BEST FAITH ADVENTURE

In December of 1996, James took me for a walk down Polk street and asked me to marry him.  I said, “Yes!”

At the time, I didn’t know about sweet story of that engagement ring.  It’s a story that James’s sister Anna shared at Don’s funeral, years later.

It had only been 9 months since Don’s transplant, and the Lane family was still struggling financially.  James had been working at Discount Tire for several months, and he and Donnie would construct walls, repair plumbing, and repair the facade on the dilapidated building when they weren’t busy with school or work.

James had picked out the engagement ring at a small jewelry store on 6th street.  He had been making small payments on it with the bits of his Discount Tire paycheck that he didn’t give his parents to help keep his family afloat.  It was nearing the end of the school semester at WTAMU, and James was anxious to propose before I went home for Christmas break.  He was adding up the paychecks he had left, and was discouraged that it wasn’t going to happen.

Don saw how heartbroken James was that his efforts were not enough to have the ring paid for before Christmas break.  He decided it was not good and to do something about it.  He rounded up cash all afternoon from various sources, including the pawn shop, and he went down to 6th street and made the last payment.

Then he headed to Discount Tire.  I wish I could have seen the scene in the tire bay, with James covered in grease and soot hugging his dad with tears in both their eyes.

We had a simple wedding.  I knew my parents couldn’t afford something super fussy, and I was shy.  The thought of having something that big that was all about me was terrifying.  So even though I wanted it to be acceptable, I didn’t mind if it was as simple as I could get away with.  We honestly may have spent more on my daughter’s sixteenth birthday last year than we spent on our wedding.

James had planned a little honeymoon to San Antonio.  And when we got home from those few days away.  We moved into an apartment I had found a few months earlier.  I was so thankful to not be living in the dorms anymore.

We were only 20 years old.  We were just babies.  We had dated three years, so we knew each other well and got along really well.  We still do.

It is still quite a big deal to merge a married couple instead of just two kids.

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
— Genesis 2:22-24 ESV

In the King James version, it uses this word “cleave” instead of hold fast.  That word seems to add some drama to this business of marriage.  And if new marriages can be defined by anything, it might be drama.  

Some days it didn’t feel like James was leaving his father and mother to “cleave” into me.  We were still in those beginning years of ministry at Citychurch.  Our lives were very involved with James’s family’s life.  After a few months at the apartment, we had to move in with James’s parents.  I was still in college and working part time as a secretary for an accountant, and James was working full time at Discount Tire.  We both were helping build Citychurch in our free time.

If I’m honest I wasn’t fully “cleaving” into James yet either.  I had grown up in a financially stable home because of the fact that my dad is a hard worker.

As James and I struggled financially and emotionally as a young newlywed couple, I know I had it in the back of my mind that I could always just leave and go home to my parents nice, safe nest.

One day, soon after moving in with James’s parents.  Something happened, and I decided that I had hit my limit.  I started packing a suitcase, and I said I was leaving.  I looked over at James expecting him to be mad that I had finally played this card.  He was getting his clothes out of the drawer.  I yell, “What are you doing?”  I was mad he wasn’t fighting right.  He said, “If you are leaving, I’m going with you.  I don’t care about anything but you.”

That was a turning point in our married life.  We both knew that we had to put our faith fully in each other for it to work.

After about six months of married life, James was given a full time job at Citychurch with a very small salary and a parsonage to live in.  That was a huge blessing to have privacy again and for James to be able to concentrate full time on the ministry.

I continued to work part-time until after Lucy was born, and then I just went to school and took care of her.

James was able to find a way to make extra money by doing video work several Christian camps during the summer, a few video projects, and some filming gigs with friends in town.

When Lucy was 3, we were finally had enough money together to buy our first house.  James continued to do extra video work.  He would make a little extra money in the spring filming ballet recitals and selling DVDs.

The year that the church was able to give him enough of a raise so that he could just concentrate on Citychurch’s summer ministry instead of being gone to camps and having his attention divided was really good.

God has been faithful to take care of our family throughout the years.

This story of putting my faith in my husband and in God to provide for our family or my story yesterday about moving to Amarillo might seem small.  Compared to what my friend David is about to do, it is.

Our family get the New York Times.  I don’t have a lot of time to sit and read it, but my son Andrew is using it for school reports this year in his home schooling.  I flipped through the Sunday paper and saw a report about assassinations of villagers by the Boko Haram in one of the countries in Africa that James has visited.

Later this week I saw a news report that President Obama is sending troops to that African country to help protect communities from the Muslim extremist group that has moved in.

Our friend David has a trip planned to that country.  He is going right into the bees’ nest of Boko Haram to carry the hope of the gospel.

That type of trip takes extreme faith, but God has proven himself faithful to my friend David over and over again.  God’s sent angels to protect him.  He’s changed men’s hearts right in front of David.  God’s kept him from being put in prison for evangelizing muslim communities.  God’s delivered babies in huts during breech births.  He’s led David’s steps over deserts, and He has led his boats over dangerous rivers and lakes.

Maybe you are at a place of simple steps of faith, putting your faith in God to provide for you or putting trust in your husband.  Or maybe God is calling you to something bigger.  The good news is that God will be there to lead you right where you are at, and God will provide the faith and the wisdom just as you need it.

 

 

I like to share a song with each blog post.  There are a dozen different songs that I could have chosen to go with this blog post, but I'm going to go obscure on you.  This song isn't on YouTube or even iTunes.

Just click the skip forward button and listen to TRACK 8 - FOUND SOMEONE.  It is a sweetly written song.  Andy and I made friends as fellow Ben Kweller fans.  I really like track 1 'Round the Bend and track 7 Evening Sun off this album.  If you want to purchase a track, click here and you can name your own price.

DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

How younger siblings can really help you make that love connection.

Since yesterday's post about birthdays, I have been thinking about meeting my husband, James.  We met a week after my 17th birthday so I always think about it when I'm thinking of birthdays.  I remember that I was wearing a brand new outfit that was a birthday present.  I remember I was totally wearing a vest.  Vests were the thing in the mid 90s.  I got all my style ideas from Helen Hunt's character Jamie on Mad About You.



Or maybe I was trying to dress like Paul Reiser, because I found only one picture of Helen Hunt in a vest, and I found 3 pictures of Paul Reiser in vests.


At any rate, it was the 90s and I was wearing a vest.

There was a couple in our church named Jerry and Ida.  They were friends with my family, and they also had become good friends with James's family as well.

On the cusp of this brand new church youth group movement called True Love Waits, Burleson, TX held a city-wide rally.  James's church was going, and Ida and Jerry invited me to tag along.

So that was our first meeting - going to a rally for sexual purity.  

Our poor kids.  They don't stand a chance trying to pull shenanigans when they start dating.

To make things fun for the teens, everyone met at the local Pizza Hut before the rally.  (They changed owners and it's now the Burleson Pizza Company.  This is the building were it all started.)



I'm pretty sure my parents dropped me off.  James hadn't arrived yet.  He had been working on his car all day.

His younger sister Anna was there though.  She proceeded to tell us that James was running late because it took FOREVER to dry his jeans, and that he was SO BIG that he could take up a whole laundry load with one pair of jeans.

She was laying the ground work for our instant attraction, for sure.

So here's the deal.  James and I are both shy.  We are both pretty shy now, but back then we were excruciating shy.  We met that night, and we spent the next three months getting to know each other at church events and outings.  We met in February, and it took until May for James to get the courage to ask me for my phone number.

Neither of us had game.

The night he finally asked me for my phone number, I had brought my 12 year old brother Jason with me to his youth night.  After the Bible lesson.  Here's how it went down.

     James:  "So I was thinking I might ask you for your phone number."

     12 year old brother Jason:  (yelling, quickly and excitedly.) "4473148!"

     Me: Dying of embarrassment.

So if you are out there in internet land wishing you could meet the love of your life and you've got a little bro or little sis, you're going to want them there.  Keep them with you where ever you go.  It worked for me!  And James too!

Here's the thing about our lack of game and our True Love Waits meeting.  It was nerdy and not smooth at all, but I'm completely thankful for our circumstances.  And I'm so thankful for my husband.  He's my favorite person.