I always tell people that marriage is a great way to be sanctified. What is sanctification? To put it simply: the process of becoming holy (becoming more like Jesus).
If we follow the rule of marriage as stated in Ephesians 5:25-30 —-
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body” –
—then most of my waking moments of everyday, I ought to be loving my wife as Christ loved the church. I ought to be living a selfless kind of love, sacrificing myself in many different ways, and leading her to the path of sanctification as well. Of course I fail at this everyday. Yes, everyday.
But I have been exposed to my selfishness, my non-sacrificial thoughts, apathy towards her growth, and every evil thought at many points in our four year marriage. It’s not her that has caused these things – it’s her merely exposing what was already inside me.
I can’t say enough good things about her. God knows exactly who we need, so trust in His timing (for you single men/ladies).
All this to say, the daily discovery of my sneaky sin hiding in every crevice of my body, has enabled me to grow and be sanctified by the mere acknowledgement of my present sins. I still sin everyday, but I can confidently say, I am not the same person and look forward to the rest of my life growing in love with my wife and with God, trusting His promises towards me that what He has started, He will continue to the end.
If four and a half years of marriage and life has got me this excited about sanctification, I can’t imagine what a baby will do!
“The inconvenience of parenting – the self-giving, the prayer, the dependence upon God, the growth – can be an experience of sanctification like no other.” – Disciplines of a Godly Family (Kent & Barbara Hughes)
Oh, I believe you, Kent & Barbara. I am depending upon God and your book to help me in this alien process. I only have 6 more months before this is truly a reality!
Here he/she is:
He doesn’t know he’s upside down. Isn’t he/she cute?
And when did we first find out, you ask? Great question. It was January and a few months after we quit “trying” and timing everything. We just gave up on the whole process of checking, rechecking, logging, timing, checking, and logging…. it really stressed us both out and we weren’t obviously seeing results. So soon after, after hearing a close friend’s advice, we asked God to take the wheel and decided to trust God in his timing for a baby. What a relief that was! But it wasn’t too far after that we found out that we were pregnant (according to everyone, babies are somewhat unplanned. Same for us!) A few weeks after deciding to stop trying, Susanna had, out of sheer curiosity, decided to check a pregnancy test and sure enough, there was a faint line. She told me after I had returned from my photography class one Thursday morning by pulling me into the bathroom to show me the test. I was so stunned I couldn’t say a word. Actually I did say some words after seeing the positive result “What do you mean? What do you mean? What do you mean??!!”
From that point on, preparation for pregnancy took over. A few weeks after our pregnancy we had scheduled our first OB appt. There we had a first ultrasound. Upon seeing the ultrasound, I was first of all, relieved he had a heartbeat. Second of all, I was relieved to feel love for it. For some reason, up until the point we had this ultrasound, I realized one of the biggest fears I had was not being able to love him. Perhaps these feelings arise from my father leaving us. Regardless, I cried and instantly felt a bond. There are no words to describe it! In this second ultrasound picture above, we heard the heartbeat again and laughs just came out of my mouth. Laughs rising from pure joy. It was another unexpected feeling which I know comes purely from love.
In the first trimester of worry, anxiety, stress, and fear, I have learned to trust God no matter what happens so far. Then I was reminded how ultimately our lives are a constant test of trust. After all, He created us. He created this unborn child. He holds the world in His hands. There should be no other reaction than to trust in the Creator of all things. So may this child be a child we continue to surrender to God daily and praise Him who is the giver of all gifts. Thank you Lord for this great gift you are giving to us! I am so excited for our future and what God has planned for now, the three of us!