I remember driving home from college several states away on a whim once, to surprise my dad and see him perform a lead role in a church musical. When I arrived at a rehearsal in session, I was asked to join the closing prayer. I remember the pastor asked a pretty lady to lead the prayer, and when she spoke, her voice was filled with such sweetness that I thought, “I’d like to get to know her!”
Fast forward a few weeks, and I arrived home for the summer between college semesters. I met a handsome boy who loved Jesus and whose voice could melt butter, and I was smitten. Not long later, I knew without a doubt that this was the man God had chosen for me. (And if he didn’t, my dad informed him!) Imagine my sweet surprise when the mom of this handsome boy (MAN!) was none other than the pretty lady I had heard pray that rehearsal night.
Fast forward a few weeks, months, and years, and lots of life changes. There have been moments of life-happenings in which each of us (my husband, his in-laws and mine, myself, and eventually our brood of five arrows!) have shown clearly how awesome were the gifts God has poured into us, and how He has drawn us together to make a beautiful tapestry of love and service. There have also been moments, though, when the innate human-ness (read: sin nature!) has been glaringly evident! Both my sweet husband and I have had to make adjustments and grow through personality differences groomed in part by our upbringing and life experiences, and along with us, our families have done the same. There have been moments when I am sure each of us has thought of the other, “What in the WORLD??!!”
Recently my mom-in-law came for a visit, and we did some “adventuring” together. I’ve been going through major life changes as I build a business and try to maintain excellence as a home educator and wife, and her visit was a welcome break to “go play” a little bit more than lately. It was in the midst of a couple of days without my hubby, and I had a chance to just enjoy her for who she is as we played with the kids.
I took a photo of her that made my heart melt – she was laughing at a crazy antic of my littlest, I think… or she might have been giggling at something I had said. In that image, through that giggle, I remembered again that lady that I had longed to get to know. My Papa reminded me that when I married the man of my dreams, I gained a whole extended family, and a significant part of that is his mom, a woman who is in many ways so different from me, and in a crazy number of ways, very similar. I know, for instance, that part of why he loves me is that I am strong and a “go-getter,” a trait illustrated in his momma. I also am reminded that so many of the traits I adore in my man (after almost 14 years, I still melt when he cries at weddings!) were gifts from her.
Looking at this image reminds me again that marriage is a culmination of two lives, and a beginning of one… and that one combines and weaves together two distinct units, but ones the Father wanted together. With “the in-laws” come challenges, to be sure, but more, come the blessings. Thank you, Papa, for the chance to remember through my lens, the first sight I had of my husband to be, as I was drawn to the heart of his mom.