Well, if you are at all familiar with me or this blog, you know that I haven’t been able to shut up about my recent move from my hometown into a near city. Besides getting married nine months ago, this has been the greatest transition I have experienced thus far.
In the past nine months, I entered into a life covenant with my best friend, I have watched him commute an hour to work every day, I have finished my last bit of school, and I have moved away from everything I know to start a new adventure.
If you were just looking at our life on a piece of paper, you might tell us we were crazy for getting married when we did–even absurd.
I had a year of school left. He would be working in a different city from where we laid our heads at night. Neither of us had much of anything saved up. Oh, and we lived in student housing on my college campus.
When we shared our plans with people before we got married, eyebrows would always furrow. The word “Huh..” became common to our ears. We were advised in every-which-way besides the one to which we felt called. In fact, one time I tried to google “the advantages of getting married young” and it said, “did you mean disadvantages?”
Now here I am nine months later. I am sitting on our new red couch in a new city waiting on my (still) new husband to walk through the door and tell me about his day. We made it through the student housing. We made it through the funny looks when I said I was still in school. We made it through the commute. We made it here.
It was one of the most joyous experiences I have ever held. It has also been one of the hardest.
You see, young marriage is no fairy tale. The whole world seems to doubt our capability. We are told that we’re just using it as an excuse to live together. We’re deemed irresponsible. So soon enough, we start to doubt our own abilities. But even more scary is when we start to doubt the creator who called us into this lifestyle.
Some are reading this and thinking, “marriage is the last thing on my mind.”
Some are reading this and thinking, “you’re crazy. I would never get married without all the answers!”
Some are reading this and thinking, “I want that. But God is not giving it to me.”
Some are reading this, cheering and snapping their fingers in agreement.
Whoever you are–whatever your story–oh, child of God, it is valuable. And if you are called to this kind of story, it is absolutely absurd.
But man, do I love absurd.
Remember that the world’s standards are not our God’s standards.
I never thought I would be the “type of girl” to get married before I was out of school. I always deemed that “irresponsible” or in Christian terms, being a “bad steward.”
Oh Christian, please recognize that the only “irresponsible steward” of what God has gifted us with is he or she who does not coat every decision made in abundant prayer–and I mean abundant. Romans 12:2 teaches, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)
The renewing of our mind is prayer. It is immersing ourselves in God’s beautiful word. It is pouring out our hearts to Him so He might pour Himself back into us.
Marriage is a big deal. It is a decision that will affect every aspect of every crevice of the rest of our lives. Therefore, the standard by which we decide to enter that covenant cannot be made out of convenience. It may be convenient. It may be perfect timing. But do not go there without prayer. Wait if He tells you. Jump all in if He tells you. Either way, renew your mind. Set your feet in His Spirit. Then and only then will the standards by which we make our decisions be perfectly aligned with His will.
Remember that what God is working together for good, the enemy is seeking to destroy.
Once we set our eyes on the Spirit, once we discover the direction He is sending us, the enemy is going to set up roadblocks all along the way. While God is working all things together for “the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose,” Satan wants nothing else than to “steal, kill, and destroy.”
He wants us to be blinded by convenience.
He wants us to seek others’ well wishes.
He wants us to want the approval of the world.
He wants us to look responsible.
He wants nothing to do with God’s standards.
He wants us to look safe–not absurd–because He doesn’t want us to stand out.
When Austin and I first made the decision to get married, we had nothing together. We did not know where he would work. We had no clue where we would live. We barely knew whether or not He would be able to buy a ring. But we knew what He was calling us to. We knew because He had been on His face in prayer in Kentucky and I had been on my face in prayer while working a camp in North Carolina. We knew because the other people who were interceding for us had peace about it.
Then the enemy stepped in. The enemy stepped in disguised as disapproving parents. He stepped in disguised as rolling eyes. He stepped in disguised as uncertainty. He told me that I might not want to follow in the way Austin was going. He told Austin that He might want to go in a different direction. That we both needed to live our own lives first.
I wanted to give up.
I wanted to give in.
I wanted to wait until it was more “responsible.” Then things might be smoother. We might not lose relationships. We might get to live our lives like the world said we should.
Young people who are thinking about marriage: seek Jesus. Only Jesus. That is how we discern. That is how we do the absurd thing.
Without His clear calling upon my life and Austin’s life, we would have buckled. We would have given into what the world was telling us was smart.
But we have reaped such joy, such blessing, from doing the absurd thing. We have joined our lives together before they have had much chance to take off on their own. We have learned how to pay bills and manage money together. We have stayed up hours on end talking about God’s Word and its implications in our lives. We are hyper-aware that this life–this life that started in a 600 square foot student apartment building–was set apart for us from the foundations of the world.
Beloved child of God, you may be called to this life. Embrace it. You may not. Embrace others who are. Pray for them. Love on them. Encourage them. Do not tell them they are being irresponsible unless it is abundantly and prayerfully obvious that they are.
I want to invite you into my first home.
I want to shout out to all my sweet young marrieds, whether you are living in that world, about to enter it, or looking back fondly. I want people to see that this is a blessing. This is something God has given us. There is nothing fancy about these pictures. There were boxes shoved in our closets and these are the clothes we had left after packing most of our other pieces of clothing up. Our walls are lined in scripture, not because we are super-Christians, but because we need to be reminded over and over again to speak with kindness and embrace one another with gentleness.
If you are going to do this absurd thing, coat it in Jesus. Get up early in the morning and worship Him together. Love Him more than you love one another. Give yourself to Him. Give your 600 square foot apartment to Him. Give Him your job and your commute to work. Give Him your life. It won’t be easy. It is definitely going to be hard. Your grip will have to be loosened. But praise God, it is worth it.