A few months after Edy turned four, she walked into the kitchen and threw this one at me: “Mommy, I’m pregnant.”
I admit. It caught me a little off guard.
“What does ‘pregnant’ mean, darling?” I asked.
“It means I’m a princess.”
I carefully (and very briefly) explained the actual definition of pregnancy, and she quickly realized her error.
“Oh,” she said, “I mean, I’m married.”
“And what does married mean?”
She made a gesture that indicated that she was wearing a beautiful ball gown and said, “It means that I’m a princess, and that I go to a prince and we dance.”
She had been watching a lot of Cinderella.
It was a few weeks later when I realized that she was misunderstanding another major aspect of marriage.
We were talking once again about Cinderella, and she said something to the tune of how her favorite part was when the princess went to the ball and danced with her daddy.
It took a minute before it dawned on me what she was saying.
I realized that for my sweet E.J., walking into a ball and seeing her daddy waiting for her (and dressed as a prince!) was not only the perfect ending to a wedding tale like Cinderella, it was also the only ending that made sense.
I didn’t bother to correct her that time.
Last Friday, we left the kids with their grandma and went to a wedding.
It was an evening affair so we got to dress up nice and go to dinner with friends beforehand, which was lovely. But I will admit that over the last several years, I have gone to a quite a few weddings and the feeling I have come away with is sadness.
And, no, not sad for the people getting married, but sad for my own marriage.
Sad for how it didn’t compare.
(But before you go feeling all sorry for me, let me explain.)
Watching a couple at their wedding, you get the notion that their lives together are going to be blissful.
They’re kissy and giggly, googly-eyed and silly.
And why wouldn’t they be?
Their marriage has started off Day 1 with a beautiful bang of gifts and gowns, ceremony and celebration.
They repeat romantically worded vows, exchange expensive pieces of jewelry, and dance under lights while cameras flash.
Then, after they leave the best party anyone will ever throw for them, they head to a restful honeymoon on a beautiful beach away from it all.
It all seems perfect and fabulous.
But then they come home…to real life.
Somewhere between the time when I learned that Josh required a particular name-brand mayonnaise (which cost nearly $4 a jar! As opposed to the $2 off-brand, which is clearly a better deal) and when he discovered that I considered popcorn for dinner a perfectly reasonable option, we lost our googly eyes.
Vacations on the beach are still fun, but mostly spent monitoring how much sand the baby has eaten.
And certainly no one takes pictures of us dancing anymore, unless it’s so they can have good laugh later.
We are not like the newlyweds we once were, and it used to really make me sad.
But, thankfully, it didn’t this time.
At this wedding, the guests were seated around tables, a beautiful picture of the Biblical marriage supper of the lamb.
The couple took communion, symbolizing that this wasn’t all about them. Their lives and marriage would be in service to Christ and in thankfulness for his death on the cross.
In their vows they pledged clearly and for all to hear that they would never divorce each other.
As I watched from my seat near the back, I realized how it was all so different.
Their eyes were googly, of course (as they should be), but everything about their wedding was actually about Jesus.
It was incredibly beautiful, and I couldn’t help but begin to compare.
This time, though, I wasn’t comparing their newly wedded-ness verses our decade of married-ness.
Rather, when Josh and I got married all those many moons ago, our wedding and subsequent marriage had very little to do with Jesus and everything to do with ourselves.
We thought things would be blissful and easy because of our love for each other.
We hadn’t yet discovered our spouses’ deepest deepest flaws, but that was coming up fast too. Our “love for each other” would, at times, barely hold us together.
We needed Jesus, but we didn’t yet know how much.
So as I sat there, both thrilled for this precious couple and mournful over how long it had taken Josh and I to realize that Jesus was the answer for our everything, something beautiful came to mind.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6 ESV)
No, we didn’t love Jesus that day we were married. We weren’t using that day to bring Him glory. And we sure weren’t offering Him much to work with, but (praise God!) that didn’t affect the work He was doing in us.
And it continues.
As long as long as we are living, He is not finished with us.
Despite our mistakes and horrible flaws, He is not finished with us yet.
Despite where we started, He is not finished with us yet.
Because God is fiercely faithful to complete what He starts.
Just like a daddy is faithful to his Cinderella.
Just like the sweet vows of a couple promising to never abandon the marriage.
God is faithful.
Take heart, friends.
If we are still on this earth, we are not finished.
God is working something good in us, and that means the best is yet to come.
P.S. And I give about the mayo. Josh was right. Hellmann’s really is worth it.