Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Walking Toward the Light

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."
Psalm 32:8

I can't believe that, if God spares time and our lives,
in a few days, we will celebrate 25 years of married life.
Married bliss.
A peaceful co-existence.
A union of souls.

I used to hear the term "soulmate" and wonder about it.
Is there really another person on the planet who God created especially for the purpose
of completing the puzzle of one's life?
Someone whose spirit is completely kindred...
whose ideals are entwined....
whose very existence and nearness fills the void of another's heart?

I used to wonder about it.
I wonder no more.
Now, I know.
By heart.

The events of my life led to that day.
I can see it now.
In retrospect, God's finger was gently guiding, nudging, directing...
both of our lives...
to that pivotal moment.

I struggled for weeks.
Weighing my options.
On one hand, the door had come open for me...
to leave my family and everything familiar,
move to the other coast of Florida,
and go to Bible college where I didn't know a soul.
On the other hand, my boss, Dan, was offering me a promotion.
It was pretty tempting.
He told me I would move into a brand new department
into a supervisory position.
Who wouldn't want to stay...
where it was safe...
locked into what appeared to be a bright future and a promising career?
It was what I wanted.
I had worked hard.
He knew it.

"Why don't you take the weekend to think about it?
You can let me know next week."

Soon, I found myself driving towards my favorite thinking spot....
contemplating...not what I wanted, but what God did.

I reached the parking lot and parked the car.
The beach was pretty much deserted.
I found a rock....sturdy...steadfast....strong....
made my way to it and sat down.

The sunset was breathtaking, as usual,
on the quiet, Naples beach.

I was torn.
Not knowing whether to stay...or whether to go.
Things weren't so great at home,
yet, home was known.
The fear of the unknown is what held me back.
I wrestled...with so many feelings.
Guilt over leaving Mom and Dad...in not the best of circumstances.
Trepidation over going back to school after being used to working full-time and being independent.
Fear of the regret I may feel for passing up the promotion.
Sadness about leaving my sisters and their families...we were so close.
How would I stand being so far away from them?
A hundred "what ifs" played in front of my mind like a moving picture.

After a battle, I finally gave it all to God.
I told Him I would absolutely do whatever He asked me to do.
No matter how much I cried.
Regardless of risk.
Disregarding human wisdom.
Determined to shut out every human voice.

"God, what do You want...for me?
I know what is easy.
I know what would be most comfortable.
But, is that the path You want me to take?"

I felt the weight.
Like this decision was monumental.
Direly important.

To stay or not to stay.
To go or not to go.

"I want you to go."
His voice was clear...as crystal.

"I'll be with you.
Don't be afraid."

Peace washed over my soul,
like the ocean's waves washed over the sand.

I just knew.

I had to go.

God's hand was upon me....leading me...
filling me with the assurance...and courage....this was going to take.

I walked in my boss's office Monday morning.
His assistant, Becky, met me.

I told her the direction my decision was leaning.

"Cheryl, as much as we hate to see you go,
you will never regret getting an education."

It turned out, getting an education wasn't God's true motivation in leading me to the other coast.
Going to Bible college was only the first step....towards His goal.
I ended up attending Bible college only one semester.
God had other plans.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

A mere three weeks or so later, I found myself walking in the front door, 
as he rose from his desk to walk across the bank lobby.
Young, naive, scared-stiff from being away from home for the first time,
knees-practically-knocking-nervous about starting a new job,
terrified about handling all of that cash,
self-conscious and conspicuous.
All I really wanted...at that moment....
was to somehow blend myself into the wallpaper that covered the far right wall,
as I entered the bank....
and never be noticed or seen again.

I knew my Head Teller was going to be a guy.
The Teller Trainer who had been overseeing my training class for the past two weeks
had given us the names of our supervisors before we left her department.
I knew his name was Kevin Smith.
I knew he was really special, because of the kind compliments she had paid him
while telling me who he was.
What she didn't tell me,
what she didn't know,
what no one could have ever predicted,
is that I would walk into that bank on that Monday after class,
see him for the first time,
and my heart would go out of rhythm in the most unusual of ways,
and feelings I didn't even know I was capable of would come to the surface,
and I...or my life, for that matter...from that moment....
would never be quite the same.

He didn't see me right away.
He was busy...caught up in what he was doing...
on his way to another part of the bank.

Finally, our eyes met.
He introduced himself, as I reached where he was.
Somehow, I managed to mumble through doing the same thing.
He took me around, 
introduced me to everyone else,
showed me where to clock in,
where my teller station would be,
where the vault was,
gave me my combination,
helped me sign on my computer, 
the whole nine yards.

I don't know what it was.
I can't really put my finger on it...exactly.
But, it was just there.
From the start.
Although, we didn't identify it completely....
for several months after that.
The first spark of chemistry was there....
on that first, nervous afternoon in March of 1987.

Once we figured it out, we never looked back.
We began the journey of becoming one.
Always walking toward the Light.

Keeping our eyes on Him every minute.
Allowing Him to direct our every step.
Always mindful of His presence...and His guiding hand.

I think the most important thing a married couple could ever do
is to walk towards the Light....never away from it.

The Light of life must be the central point.
If you are each looking to Him,
you will always be looking in the same direction.
Your interests will agree.
Your goals will correlate.
Your mission will always unite.

Your house will be undivided.

When one is walking toward the light,
and the other is walking away from it,
unity is severed....
and brokenness ensues.

"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them....
every....house divided against itself shall not stand..."
Matthew 12:25

When you make Jesus Christ the Center...the Hub of the wheel....
the Crux of the relationship....
when you are both equally committed to Him....
the house will stand.
The marriage will thrive.
The love will deepen...with every storm of life.

He makes it all possible.
It is all thanks to Him.

Kevin told me he started seeking God's will for his life when he was very young.
So did I.
God was number one...in each of our lives,
and He remains in that position all these years later.

No other relationship ever felt right...or complete...for either one of us,
until God led us to each other.
I learned early on to beg God to close every door...
except the right one.
He was faithful.

Today, I sat and thought about the years we've lived...
since that day in June of 1988 when I pledged my heart to him forever.
We have seen the best of times...and definitely the worst.
We've enjoyed moments of abundant blessings....and overwhelming grief.
We have held on to each other....clung white-knuckle-tight...through it all.

Mom and Dad used to tease us about "the glue" that holds us together....
because they got a kick out of the fact that, while walking,
we always insist on waiting for each other,
just so we can hold hands.

Holding Kevin's hand is still one of my favorite things to do.

The fact that both of our hands are within the grasp of the One Whose hands
 were pierced for our salvation is what makes all the difference.

He is in control...of both of our lives...individually, and as a unit.

In retrospect, I wish I would have stressed less over the past 25 years,
and trusted God more.
I wish I hadn't wasted energy on worry over the future that has so quickly turned into the past.

Because God was there with us...all along.
Even on the darkest days...of sickness, grief, and uncertainty.
He never failed.
He promised us a child of our own.
He didn't say how long it would take.
We didn't hold our sweet Zachary in our arms until 12 1/2 years after we said "I do",
but, God sent Him to us and kept His promise...just the same.
He has placed within our hearts an abiding love...one for the other...
that touches every, single part of our daily life.

If only we could see things from His viewpoint...
looking down...
upon us...
on the ocean of life.

We are never alone.
No matter how forsaken or abandoned life can cause us to feel.

He is always directing the winds,
calming the waters,
whispering, "Peace be still".

If we could really realize this,
we would never fret or worry over anything...at all.

If we would only keep sight of the Light,
and keep walking towards it...
we would never need to be afraid.

We are sometimes asked how we do it.
How we are still holding it together...
after all these years....
in a world where it is sometimes easier to give up...and give in.

The truth is, we aren't.
HE is.
With everlasting arms, He constantly enfolds us.
With tender love, He continually fills us.
With gentle mercy, He daily covers us.

He has seen us through, my friend.
We stand...united...together...after all these years...
through no merit or worthiness of our own.

God is the secret ingredient...to a happy, peaceful marriage.

It takes three.
God must remain at the center....
at the core.

He must remain priority.
When He is, it is amazing how effortlessly everything else falls into place.
Loving God with all your heart,
makes loving each other the easiest, 
most natural thing in the world.

Kevin still opens my car door.
He still goes the extra mile and hands me my seat belt...
often buckling it, too.
He shows his love to me in a thousand different ways...
no matter how tired he is or how many hours he has worked this week.

His life isn't easy.
Yet, he makes mine as easy as it can possibly be.
That's what you do when you're in love.
That's what you do when you are following the Light.

Thank God for shining it...continually on our path....
illuminating the next step we are meant to take.

I pray you see it, too.


  1. Wrapped up in a comfy quilt ... exactly the picture I used to teach our precious girls about God's love!

    Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip onto goodness.



    1. Hi, Sarah, Thanks so much for stopping by! It is a delight to meet you, too! I just checked out your wonderful blog and linked up to your site. Have a God-filled day. Love, Cheryl