05 August 2008

the story of us~

For some time I've been meaning to write down the story of Glen and me. Even now, eleven years later, I am awed at the providence and hand of the Father bringing us together. Since today is finding me all alone and still not feeling well, here it is...

My entire life I dreamed of growing up to be a wife and mother. Like any other child I went through phases of wanting to be a teacher, a nurse, an orthopedic surgeon (that was after my back surgery!), but those were always over shadowed by what I wanted most.

When I was young, my parents thought the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing was normal, cute, and even to be encouraged. (Evidenced by my recent confession that my first movie date and kiss came at the ripe old age of ten.) They did not teach me to guard my heart. As I grew into adolescence, my father was too busy dealing with my mother to notice what was going on with me, and at the age of fourteen, I entered into a relationship that I still carry scars and wounds from to this day. Thankfully, it was short lived, but it ushered in a period of rebellion into my life that I am supremely thankful the Father led me out of with everlasting kindness and unconditional love. This period lasted for about a year and a half, until I was fifteen and a half.

At this point, I knew I did not want to do the dating thing. I continued in it for a time (the year my parents allowed me to go to public school,) breaking hearts and having my heart broken more times than I care to remember. Finally, I got to the point where I just wanted to find the man I was going to marry and leave all the other junk behind.

Soon after this, I developed this irrational fear that I would never be married and that I would never have children. I'm sure all girls wonder if they will find their Prince Charming, but this grew to be a fear that was unnatural.

Rewind a few years. When I was newly thirteen, I went on a missions trip to Eastern Europe with my church. Prior to our leaving, the leaders got together and asked the Lord to give a verse or passage of scripture to each person. Mine was Psalm 37:4 ~ Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." A nice little standard verse, I thought. But I hung onto it, remembered it, and pondered it. Little did I know how precious a gift from the Father this was to me.

One day I was sitting on my bed, dealing with this fear. I remember it so clearly. I felt the Lord speak to me, telling me I had to trust Him. Would I follow His plan for my life, even if that meant the loss of my dream? Did I want His plan, or my plan? I remember wrestling in my mind and my heart for some time. Finally, I broke down and said, "Yes, Lord. I will follow You. I submit to Your best plan for my life." Such peace I had after that. The desire of my heart did not change, but I was no longer tormented or afraid.

At this time I was around sixteen. I had one credit of high school left (yes, my senior year I needed all of one credit. Hmm...a little better planning in that department?). I was working at White Mountain Creamery, an ice cream store in Green Hills that several friends (including Glen's brother, Ben) worked at. This was the first of many doors the Lord opened in order to bring Glen and me together. Through my working there, I began to become friends with people in our church youth group that were several years my senior, people that I had known for years, but had always been just enough older than me that they were not part of my circle. I began to spend a lot of time with them as a group, and thus, began spending a lot of time around Glen. At the time he was in school part time and working in construction.

After a few months of this, Glen and I were counselors at Kids' Camp. We became better friends, and one day soon after camp, he came by the ice cream store and asked if I'd like to go to lunch sometime. The rest they say, is history :o)

Our first actual date was to the State Fair. As soon as we purchased ride tickets, it started pouring down rain. We ended up watching a movie at my house and making sloppy joes and french fries. We went to lunch at the park a few times, and within two weeks, we knew we would be married. Both of us were ready. I will admit, my parents' first reaction was nervousness as I was newly sixteen and Glen had just turned twenty-one, but they had known him as a youth leader for awhile and since we spent the majority of our time with my family, their fears were quickly gone.

I remember talking with my Dad on our front porch one morning and saying, "You know it's serious, don't you, Dad?" He looked at me with a look of complete understanding and seriousness (which is a little out of character for my Dad, he is a complete goofball.) and said, "Yes, sweetie. I know."

We were engaged two months later. I mentioned recently how the night we decided to be an official couple, we intentionally committed our plans and desires to the Lord. We knew from that first day we were moving toward marriage.

We did some marriage counseling at church, part of which involved taking a test that was supposed to show our strengths and bring to the surface potential points of conflict. Our counselor was amazed when our tests came back. He said he had never seen anyone so well matched on paper. My Dad marvels to this day at how well suited we are in our personalities and temperament. Even our points of difference in the test (for example, I thought the cooking, cleaning, etc. should be more my responsibility, whereas Glen felt it should be shared equally.) actually contributed to the strength of our relationship and the practical working out of our life. Our counselor didn't feel the need to meet with us anymore, but the thing I remember the most clearly from the two meetings we did have, was that he reminded Glen that I was just a child. That he would have to give me grace and room to grow up. He said we would be growing up together, and just to remember that.

Seven months later we were married. My high school graduation was two weeks before our wedding. I had been seventeen for all of two months when we were married, and my parents had to sign for my marriage license. Most people thought they were crazy, and I am so thankful they saw the hand of the Father in our relationship and were able to go against convention. Many of our friends were skeptical, but supported us anyway. I still have to wonder what they said to each in confidence :o)

Psalm 37:4 continues to be one of my life verses. My boundary lines have truly fallen in pleasant places. Through that first decision to allow the Father to be the Lord of my life, to author my days, in being willing to submit to His plan, blessing upon blessing has been given me and He has fulfilled the desires of my heart. Through seeing the blessing that came from that first submission to His will, it has made it so much easier to trust Him in every other area of life and submit again and again. I do not say this out of a place of pride. I am extremely grateful the Father has gently led me and loved me with a tenderness that has won my heart.

I am also thankful for the Lord bringing Glen not only into my life, but the life of my family. I grew up next door to my grandmother, aunt, and two great aunts. They were essentially my other mothers, and we are still very much in each others' lives. In various ways, they, along with my mother, have all been hurt tremendously by men in their lives, and it is sweet to see how the Father has brought some healing and redemption to them through my husband.

So here it is...the story of us.

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Valerie said...

I'm so glad that you commented on my blog. I am glued to your blog. I love the way you are so passionate about our Lord and your family. I can't wait to finish reading all about the births of your children. I'll share mine with you soon. Maybe next time, you can come be with me?
Your family is beautiful.

Lori said...

Oh, wow. I LOVE your new blog layout. I haven't read this particular post yet (will have to come back when I'm not so tired). I was out of commission ALL last week, so I'm just now catching up. Gorgeous. This is awesome, Shyla!

Valerie said...

I meant to add that I didn't even remember that you got married so young... wow, funny the things that we forget as time passes us by (and as little ones seem to eat our memory away quickly).

JonDavid and Karissa said...

What a beautiful story! Although, i did get a face to face version with you . It was great to read it in the poetic way that you write. you are an amazing woman and i wish i had more to time to soak up all that you are writing. I really freak out about not having another child soon and then i freak out about having one. Reading your blog would be very essential for me to go ahead.
So many people tell me that i need to write the story of Jon David and I in a book or something. Now, i feel inspired! Hmmm, taht is your big thing you know....to inspire!

Heather said...

I think I knew that whole story at some point, but reading it reminded of the time we went to lunch because "I really needed to meet Glen." And I think we even stopped by White Mountain first. It felt strange to be talking wedding dresses with you while I was shopping for prom dresses, or to hear about Anna's birth my first week of college, but obviously that path was the perfect one for you. And I think it is wonderful that Kyle andI share an anniversary with such a great couple!

"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

2012 November

2012 November