From the moment our lungs first fill with air, we become burdened with expectations. We are expected to smile when we dream as infants, learn to say “mama” or “dada”, and start walking at a certain age. Then the expectations grow. Standardized testing in elementary school. Actions that reflect well on the family. College. Career. Marriage. In. That. Order.

I decided to break that expectation order at twenty years old and marry before graduating college.

We could have waited an extra year to get married. We could have held off until I graduated and had a career lined up. But oh how we loved each other. How we were confident that the Lord wanted marriage for our lives in this moment. That He wanted to work through us together as one at this moment. 

It wasn’t confidence that we could do something well. It was a confidence that He was commanding us to walk forward. And so we did.

Austin had three side jobs and a little beat-up manual Ford Escort. I had a part-time internship. He had to sell his trumpet to buy the ring. Even still, He was asking us to walk forward.

He was faithful to provide. He provided assurance in our own hearts, a monetary means to become married (not a ton, but enough), along with affirmation from our most trusted disciplers.

Yet while the Lord was providing deeply, the enemy was seeking to destroy the assurance we held. That destruction often flooded my mind in the aftermath of some sweet, well-meaning phrases I heard…

“What’s the hurry?”

“Don’t you want to be established first?”

“Marriage is hard, girl! Give it some time.”

“What if you get pregnant before you graduate?!”

I would be lying if I told you that some of these concerns don’t still resonate in my head when the going gets tough. Don’t get me wrong, these burdens do have serious merit. Marriage is not something we should just rush into. For the believer, it should only be considered when Jesus is the center.

But all along, there was a quiet whisper reminding that when I was formed in the womb, I was assembled for this relationship. I am most effective for the Kingdom of God with Austin Groves by my side.

So these words are for you, sister. You who are either married young despite the opinion of oscreen-shot-2017-01-26-at-3-17-52-pmthers, entering into that season soon, or even feeling called toward that direction. Because guess what: the doubts don’t go away. And they will eat at your marriage. They will turn a productive, kingdom-seeking relationship into destructive opposition. Rest, my fellow kingdom builder. Rest in this sweet, sweet blessing He is giving you. Rest in His promises, rather than the world’s superstitions.

Yes, you might miss out on a traditional experience, but yours will be just as sweet.

Friends, if our longing is for Jesus, He will stir up His desires within our hearts. For some, He has prepared a young-adult life filled with singleness and discipleship. For others, He has prepared a young-adult life centered upon partnership with another.

While the heart may be pure behind the words of warning we so often hear, our experience must be guided by Him and Him alone.

Before He called me into this marriage, I found my joy in spending time with the church as many evenings a week as possible. I thrived off of the encouragement from sisters in Christ.

Today, my first passion lies in spending time discipling younger believers with my husband. I find tranquility in encouraging him, doing life with him, and growing closer to Jesus through our relationship. I have found more delight in living this life than I could possibly find in singleness because this is where Jesus has placed me right now. Love the life He has given you. If you allow Him, He will grant you immense joy because of it.

*To my single ladies reading this: same goes for you, sis! Check out last week’s post for some more insight into your heart in this time.

Listen closely to the wisdom of others–even if you don’t initially agree.

“Marriage is not for the faint of heart,” I heard often. But rather than really digging into what that meant, I assumed I was being told, “marriage is not for you.” My heart is not faint! I thought. Even in the first weeks of marriage, I wondered how it could possibly be that hard. Then Austin started having to drive an hour to work and back every day. He was tired, not as lively as he was just a week before, and my insecurities set in. 

15078626_10207710392454727_4860694219943418279_nI wondered if it was me.

I wondered if I was falling short

I questioned whether I should be his wife or if we really did rush into it.

But he was simply tired, and I was neglecting to find my strength in the Creator.

What I should have done was prepare my heart to be completely enveloped in another person. I should have sought council on how to pray for strength when both he and I are weak. Marriage is not for the faint of heart, and had I taken that wisdom rather than pridefully acted as if I knew exactly how to enter this kind of companionship, I would have called upon the Lord’s strength rather than struggle to find my own.

Hold tight to Jesus’ promises, not this world’s opinions.

Some “advise” will be simple ramblings of the world. And that is okay.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-3-20-27-pmWhen the world tells us that we won’t aren’t yet ready to take on that kind of responsibility, we lean on, “my grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When the world tells us that we will set ourselves back by not shooting ahead independently, we rest in “For I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11).

When we are told that one can’t be content in marriage because it means relying on another, we remember “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) and know that if Paul can be tortured for the Gospel, even the hardest days of marriage will be possible, and even joyous, with Jesus’s provision.

When the world declares that we are too young to know anything about anything, we have confidence in His promise that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ).

Sisters, let us continually remind ourselves that He is the only one who can make this work.

He will sustain us when we have no idea what we are doing. He will be our foothold when the world crumbles around us. He will strengthen us when our husbands are weak. He has already blotted out our sins with His blood and is making us new from each day to the next. If we are leaning into Him completely and allowing Him to sanctify our hearts, we will be much better wives years down the road than we can ever imagine being now. Yes, marriage is hard. No, it is not for the faint of heart. But boy, our God is faithful anyway.

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