Guest Author - Derrick S. Slack
On November 2, 2007, I rededicated my life to God, fully accepting Him into my heart and desiring to be a new creation, leaving behind my past. I immediately felt the awesome power of God that resonated throughout my body, mind and spirit that provided me a personal strength I had never felt in my life. I knew that I was more than what I believed myself to be, more than my actions, more than how others perceived me, more than my mistakes. I turned my obsessive personality into a passion for Christ. I was dedicated to fasting, prayer, studying His Word that began to give better meaning to my life. I wanted nothing more than to discover my purpose, to utilize my natural and acquired abilities to lead people to an amazing place where God is head of their lives.
God allowed me to open myself up again. Completely. God gave me permission to set my fears aside and discover what love had in store for me. I was ready to love again. Ready to potentially be that fool for love and fall deeply for someone that loved me just the same. God made me ready to love again. Ready to accept me wholly and give of myself to someone, accepting them for the perfect imperfection God uniquely placed within their heart. I was ready to discover what it felt like to want to give your life to someone, entrusting them with your all. I wanted to know the feeling of falling head first and the prayer that God's outstretched hands are there to cushion the impact. I prayed only that I had the strength to overcome my pain and that He forgave me for all that I had done.
And it happened. All of a sudden it happened. I was in the midst of being obedient to God’s calling on my heart by serving His children with the Youth Ministry at the church I was attending. We had organized an all night lock-in for the youth to run freely, listen to inspirational teaching and get closer to their peers as they took on the awesome challenge of building a better relationship with God. I was one of the four adults there. Two of them were married. The other was a gorgeous representation of sunshine. She had a smile that lit up my darkened soul. She carried a beauty with her like an expensive purse full of riches. When she spoke a cool breeze traveled up my back and made my spine tingle. In her presence, the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up like a frightened puppy in the midst of his master. We introduced ourselves to each other and did not cease the conversations until the dawn of the next morning forced us to part ways. I said a prayer that very night, “Lord, thank you for all of Your infinite wisdom and wonderful ways. Thank you for all that You continue to bless me with. Lord, if it is Your will, show me the path to matrimony. Reveal to me my wife. Show me with whom I am to spend the remainder of my life….” She called.
A year and half later, we held hands in front of two hundred of our friends and family and proclaimed for the world to hear that we would not let anyone or anything put asunder what God had sanctioned and put together. We swore in the presence of God that we would continuously bind and rebind our connection with the strongest glue of His Word. That we would make sure that the institution of marriage would be tougher than any situation or circumstance that would arise. That we would pray the hard times away. Read our love into a rock that could shatter any spirit that comes to attack our union.
The minister said something very poignant at our ceremony, “Not all marriages are in trouble, but every last one of them is in danger.” Meaning that all marriages are constantly being attacked by forces that attempt to break it up. It is constantly being bombarded by external powers that take the form of ex-lovers, co-workers, strangers at the Mall, in-laws, unmarried friends, talk show advice, magazine columns, research statistics, and un-Godly people. More at work than ever in a marriage is the amplified internal struggle that once again shows its hideousness resemblance to past mistakes that you believed you had gotten over– or at least forever repressed. It takes the form of unresolved insecurities. It brings to light a flawed and faulty upbringing. It conveys messages that confirm your deepest fears. It frustrates you to no end because you begin to overestimate the power you have to change the other person, while underestimating the power you have to change yourself.
You develop the tendency to hold on and dig in to protect yourself from losing yourself. From being stripped of what you believe to be your ideal self-image that you are too afraid to give up being with someone that demands compromise. No one says that marriage is easy. As a matter of fact, nearly all that have entered into this institution insist that it is difficult. Some do not make it, balking at that pressure that it seems to conjure up. Some treat it like a commodity, an article that can be traded for advice from a relative. That can be bought or sold at the solicitation of a stranger. That can be thrown away because the interest is lost. But love is supposed to be stronger than that. It is suppose to support you in these times of trouble. It is supposed to conquer all. Be all. Love is faithful and forgiving. When you truly love someone you are patient. You take your time and give the benefit of the doubt – not doubt the benefits. I love being married – in spite of how hard it is. I truly enjoy the ability to open myself and share the inner most regions with someone I love, even though she often has to pry it out of me. I did not enter into this institution lightly and will strive to be with her until the end of my days.
I have actually, finally matured to the point where I do not desire to return to the walled-up child that was too afraid to explore and express his feelings. I am ready to be strong in the face of adversity and accept responsibility for my portion of the difficultness that occurs in my marriage. I am willing to not give up when circumstances seem impossible to mend. I will give my problems to God and pray He empowers us to seek Godly counsel, remain steadfast in our prayer regimen and daily devotion. God has already provided us with the tools to repair any hole in our soul to make us whole again. He has already given us exactly what we need to get us to the next level. This is why I got married: because I believe in her and the beautiful spirit she has to make me want to fight for her love. Because God has sanctioned our union and blessed us in a tremendous way. Because I love her. With all my heart. Even though I know that love by itself is not enough to keep us married. It will take the hard work and conscious choices to work through the hard times – no matter how hard. It will require the two of us to believe in this endeavor and desire to give our all.
But we cannot allow our doubts to be our traitors or let our ego rule over us. We cannot allow fear to forge a path to an exit. That which is fear is everything love is not. We must not let our thoughts wander carelessly into an unrealistic fantasy that perfection can be achieved. We must hold fast to our vision and never allow our passion to wane. And we truly must know that God is in control and all things are possible with Him. With God all things work to a greater good. And believing in this very fact, we realize that problems are a part of solutions. Pain is a part of healing. And sorrow is a part of joy.