First, the turtles get married...
My 9-year-old son had a science project due last week. He had to pick an animal, create a diorama of its environment, and do a short report. Part of his report needed to include the life cycle of his animal.
Lincoln chose the Woodland Box Turtle. Please don’t ask me how he decided upon this particular animal. He said he wanted to do his project on a species that lived in Virginia. Clean and simple.
He completed his diorama and we made his turtle out of clay. Then we moved on to the report. We were talking about the turtle's life cycle and he said he didn’t need help. When I went over to proof read his report, I couldn’t help but chuckle at his innocence.
“The life cycle of a turtle is pretty cool. First, 2 turtles get married. Then the female turtle gets pregnant...”
I laughed a bit and then told Lincoln he needed to change it because it wasn’t correct. He didn’t understand why it was wrong. We went back and forth for a bit about how animals don’t get married and he was dumbfounded. His understanding was that you had to be married in order to start a family.
The conversation ended positively and he changed his report. Although I thought it was adorable, as far as a science project goes...it wasn’t going to pass.
It did get me thinking about how I was raising my children and what they saw as “right” was no longer the norm. We are living in an age where cohabiting is the norm...even among believers. So often, young people are living together, buying houses, and even getting pregnant before walking down the aisle. Somehow the dream of getting married and then doing life together has switched to testing out the waters, seeing if you’re compatible, saving money for “The Big Day,” and sometimes having a baby.
What about these marriages...do they work?? Just like any marriage today, some do and some don’t, but statistically speaking, people who live together have it harder than couples who wait. An article in The Atlantic states, "On an average, researchers concluded that couples who lived together before they tied the knot saw a 33 percent higher rate of divorce than those who waited to live together until after they were married." I believe there are several reasons for this statistic, but one reason is that couples who move in together before getting married have made a decision to do things their way...not God’s way.
After 21 years of marriage, I can attest that the enemy of my soul wants my marriage to fail. There have been tests. There have been trials. At some point in time, every marriage goes through the fire. It is only with the strength that comes from Jesus that we are able to stand, fight, and come out on the other side. This takes commitment, both to God and to each other.
For us, the only thing that has brought sustaining life into our home and family has been a commitment to go God’s way. We have not always made the best decisions. We have often found ourselves at a crossroads between God’s way or ours. Sometimes, we have made wrong choices. Thankfully, God has always been there when we returned.
This is not a condemning post, but one of hope. No matter how you started off your marriage or your family, God is always bigger. You don’t have to be a statistic. You don’t have to fall into the pitfalls of not having Jesus as the foundation of your marriage. He wants nothing more than to take our relationships and restore them to what He designed and created them to be.
Philip and I had been married for 10 years before we realized how many things were off in our marriage. We had left Him out of so many decisions and we were hurting. It took Godly people surrounding us and speaking truth to our hearts. He wanted us to be set free and He wanted to become the center of it all. I can honestly say that I considered leaving. I was angry and broken, but when we repented for sinful decisions and asked God to be our foundation...our lives completely changed. We grew both in our relationship with Jesus and with each other.
I am thankful that our example of marriage first before children has impacted our family. I am hopeful that our commitment to go God’s way will influence how my children date, marry, and start families. I am thankful for God’s forgiveness and grace for the times when we have gone our own way. He has restored us.
My prayers for my children are that they will live life putting God first. If marriage is their desire, I pray that they will marry first before setting up a home or starting a family. My hope is that God will be the foundation of everything they do and that they will follow God’s ways. I also pray that when they chose poorly, God will call them back to Him quickly and that they will serve Him all the days of their lives.
For now, I will take delight in the innocence of my children...the days where they think their parents never made bad decisions and that everyone gets married first.
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.