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  • Ashley

When the Best Story Line Seemed Like an Ending

As a little girl, I dreamed of marriage. I wondered what it would be like to be loved. Fifteen years ago, Eric and I stood before each other on our wedding day and began to live the dream.

It didn't take long to figure out that life isn't a fairy tale. Most of what I've learned about love has come from hard lessons - things that don't seem to belong in a good love story. There could be no way of knowing what sacrifices are required for the betterment of the other. We couldn't imagine the lonely places or painful valleys. Nothing could prepare the heart for how impossible it can seem to keep the promise of "no matter what." Sometimes it seems like the best story line would be an ending.

But God.

There is an account in Luke 7 of a sinful woman at a dinner party. She came as an outcast to Jesus weeping in brokenness but full of adoration. When others saw nothing but her sin, He saw her. Jesus reached down to this shameful woman, generously lifted her up, and restored her to a place of honor.

That is the story I think of when I recount the journey of marriage so far. That woman is who I have been and who I want to be as the years continue - someone whose love reflects Who greatly loves her. Realizing the depth of my sin and the magnitude of Jesus' forgiveness began an ongoing process of change within me and our marriage. As He said of the woman at the dinner (and I hope He will say of me), "Her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much."

I used to think the beauty of love was being the recipient.

Now I know that love is as its best when you give it away.

Today Eric and I stand together and remember. We remember where we began, where we have been, and then look to the One who holds us.

Happy anniversary, Eric.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11

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