Dear newly married bride,
You probably don’t remember me. I was behind you in line at the County Clerk’s office the day you picked up your marriage license. I sat in the row of chairs against the wall of windows that let the June sunshine filter in, my three kids sandwiched between my husband and me. You heard that I was there for passport applications, and you kindly turned around to point out the paperwork on the counter. My husband asked if you were also applying for a passport, to which you cheerfully replied, “Nope! Marriage license.”
We later overheard that you would be getting married the very next day.
The picture made sense, you standing there with your fresh french pedicure and flip-flops, your long blonde ponytail tied back loosely with a turquoise band. You looked healthy and radiant, and ready to get married.
I mentally calculated the date, and it was then that it struck me.
Exactly ten years ago to the very week, I stood at the same clerk’s window, picking up the very same document.
Our marriage license.
I leaned over to my husband and whispered, “Do you think I should tell her that in exactly ten years, she’ll be looking like this?” My arm swept over the heads of our three kids, and my husband smiled and let out a silent laugh.
I wanted to tell you then and there that you might be sitting in that same chair ten years from now, telling your nine-year-old not to throw frisbees indoors, and asking your seven-year-old where his shoes are.
Your nails will likely be chipped and softened by then, from countless sinks full of dish soap and bathtubs of bubbly water and squirmy, muddy kids.
Your eyes will still sparkle, but they’ll look more tired then, the dark circles under your eyes a near permanent feature.
Now, your ring probably still feels awkward in its newness, and I bet you still drive with your left hand placed strategically on the steering wheel, staring at the sparkle as discreetly as possible while you drive. A decade from now, you’ll still marvel at the sparkle when it catches the light, but it will have become a regular fixture, a tan line on your ring finger when you slide off the gold at night.
You will have broken your vows a thousand times, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But if you hold on to His promises, He will take those shards and glue them back together every morning into a colorful mosaic cemented in grace.
You can’t possibly know the scars or the joys that will be etched upon your heart these next ten years. You might face pain and trials like you’ve never experienced before. Anything could happen, and everything could change — everything but this:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Cling to that truth, and you’ll be just fine.
Related Post: My Top Four Books on Marriage
Want to read more about my own story as a newlywed in South Africa?
Pick up a copy of my memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging.
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