We have been married twelve years now…twelve! I don’t look that old right? I look back at our wedding pictures that sit on a table in our home and think, “We were babies!” And we were! We were twenty and twenty-one. Married in the middle of college. We somehow managed to juggle the whole newlywed thing and still finish our degrees. I’d say that was an “only God” thing in our lives. We have a lot of those…
As I think back on our twelve years I like to sum up each year or group of years in a word or two based on what God did in our lives in that season. Years 1 and 2 were new, fresh and fun. Years 3-6 were our coasting years, tough but that's how we thought it was supposed to be. Year 7 was our hardest, our REDEMPTION year! Years 8-10 were growing years full of new babies and a new home, living out our new normal and thankful for a redeemed marriage...fun and exciting. Year 11 was our risk year. The year we decided to leave all that we knew to be comfortable and move our family of five from Texas to Tennessee. And year 12…I’m not sure what this year’s word is yet. I won’t really know until it’s over. But I promise you, there will be a clear word that will define this year and tell a story…God’s story in our twelfth year of marriage.
Today I want to talk about our most significant year thus far, year seven, our Redemption year. This year sticks out most to me for many reasons. Year seven was the year my world felt like it fell apart. Year seven was the year my heart was broken. Year seven was the year I had to fight hard for my marriage, for my family. Year seven is when Jesus became tangible and more real to me than He had been in a long time. Year seven was the year I fell in love with my husband all over again. Year seven was when God showed me how He is a God who redeems.
If you’ve ever walked through a broken season in your marriage or are maybe in one right now you know that it can feel very lonely and confusing. I remember sitting in my bed just days after multiple heartbreaking conversations with my husband thinking, “How did we get here?” I remember wishing I could go back to before it all crashed. I wanted to feel “normal” again. I felt so alone. Like no one would understand how I felt because their marriages weren’t falling apart. Let me tell you, my friends, this could not be further from the truth. No, not everyone’s marriage is falling apart. But, everyone struggles.
Relationships are hard! Many are working through small things or still trying to figure it out but some are fighting for their marriages. It’s more common than we talk about. But here’s the thing; we don’t have to fight alone. There’s a couple we often share about who walked this journey of healing and restoration in our marriage with us. This couple sat with us when we were weeping. They held our hands when we wondered if we’d ever feel normal again. They held us accountable as we did the work. And they celebrated with us (and still do) when we came out on the other side. Our marriage, our family legacy, would not be what it is today if we had tried to do it all alone. God has this beautiful way of placing the right people in our lives to walk out the messy stuff with us. He works through his children. And what’s even more beautiful is He weaves hearts together in it all. My husband and I want to be available to others who need friends like we had. We want to be available to walk out the tough stuff with other couples and help them to know they aren’t alone. We want to share hope.
I fully believe that it takes humility and hard work to get through the most difficult seasons in our marriages. And I want couples to know they have someone on their side, rooting for them, as they walk through it all. I also believe that when we confess our weaknesses or sins to one another healing can happen. In James we are told, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” (James 5:16) When we confess it breaks the power of the sin in our lives and is the “next right step” in transforming our hearts and minds in whatever darkness we are pushing through.
I have always been in awe of the way God can use our broken stories to bring hope to others. This has been our prayer from the beginning. That His story would pierce through the darkness of such a painful season for us. And in true “only God” fashion, He has done just that. In ways I could never plan. I’ve found that we don’t have to push our stories out into the world to make a difference. We need only to sit back and allow God to be God and He always creates something beautiful.
He always redeems. It’s who He is. When we look back at the Old Testament we see how even in the most painful, rebellious, sometimes scary moments in history God is always wooing His children back to Himself. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33
He draws His children in close and redeems all that sin has taken from them. He desires His creation to know Him. To be close to him. He doesn’t want us to be broken. He is always mending, fixing, healing, restoring, REDEEMING.
“He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
Its not easy to share our stories. I question if my story really matters. Everyone has a story, right? So why share mine? Because its ultimately not my story. Its His. I’m just along for the ride. But, my hope is that our year seven will be a testament to how we have a God who fights for us. We are never alone. If you are in a tough season in your marriage, I’m here and would love to pray with you. You do not have to fight alone.
Heather Williamson, a native Texan resides in Franklin, TN with her husband Steven and her three girls Kayley, Kaidence, and Kaitlyn. Heather and Steven celebrate that God rescued them from a broken marriage and redeemed their relationship with one another and their Savior. They have a passion for walking along-side couples who are struggling in their own marriages praying God will use their broken story to be a testament of hope. Heather also loves sharing life around a table with other women as they enjoy the God given pleasure of a good meal. Speaking of food, she loves the gift of a good taco, queso, or guacamole…really she just loves Tex Mex.