A God-Sized Marriage

Photo by Nancy Ray

Dancing around the room, my heart beat quickly imagining my Prince I would one day dance with. Blue tattered tutu, plastic princess heels, and hair curled from my pink sponge curlers the night before, no dream was too small for my mind to imagine. And dream I did. For years I dreamed about my future husband. Then with the discovery of princess movies, my world was filled with ideas of my prince who would come and whisk me away on his white horse. I continued to dance for years. Dancing may look different as the years add on to life, but a beautiful dance it is. The dance I danced was to the melody of a deep love for Jesus. The melody was filled with hope, dreams, and expectation. In middle school, I made a decision about the dance. I wouldn't dance with anyone other than my Savior and the one He had planned for me to marry one day. This may seem small, but to this heart, it was life-changing. And so the dance changed a bit to one of waiting and tarrying. But it became even more beautiful.

When I committed to wait on Jesus in the 7th grade, I embarked on a journey of singleness and learning. At the time, in my feeble mind, I figured that my commitment would bring my future husband to me in the 8th grade. Instead, each year went by, filled with tears, unfulfilled longings, depth, and letters. I wrote letters to my future husband and sealed them with a kiss. These unopened letters served as a constant reminder to me that God is faithful and will fulfill His promise. The promise wasn't for a future husband. The promise was that as I waited, Jesus would fill my unfulfilled longings like no man ever would be able to. As a little girl dancing around the room in my blue tutu, I could have never imagined the fulfilled promise would be Jesus Himself and not a man. Such are the ways of the Lord. He always knows better and His love reaches deeper than we could ever dream.

Photo by Nancy Ray

Ten years after I committed to Jesus to wait on my future husband, I met Greg Saffles, through a series of God-ordained circumstances. The beautiful thing about God-Sized love stories is that God gets the glory from them. Imagine with me the insides of a clock. If you've ever seen what your watch looks like behind the glass, you would see a series of moving parts, some small and some big. They all work in tandem for a greater purpose. Each piece must be in place and moving the correct direction for the clock to work perfectly. As you wait on God, you can quickly think that His timing is taking too long (I felt this so many times during those ten years of singleness). When the tears are flowing from your eyes and your heart aches, imagine this clock - every piece moving perfectly to keep the clock moving in perfect rhythm. God is moving in the same way in your life. He is doing small and great things that you may never realize to get you to the point He longs for you to be.

The rhythm of the clock is the dance I danced to - waiting, seeking, hoping, praying, dreaming, and praising. In the Lord's perfect timing, Greg Saffles came into my life. (Read more about our story here as well as lessons I learned from our first year of marriage here). Within one year of meeting, Greg and I dated and were engaged, only to be married five months later. Today marks two years of marriage for us, 760 days, 18,240 hours, and 1,094,400 minutes. Each moment we have continued to dance the dance I danced when I was single. The melody is still the same. We dance to the beat of the love of Jesus that runs deep in our veins. 

What I have learned in our marriage is that in singleness, dating, and marriage, the circumstances may look different, but the dance doesn't change. At all times we are daughters of the King, waiting on our Prince, Jesus, to come for us again. The more we learn to dance to His music, praising Him in all things and for all things, the more we truly live in satisfaction, joy, and the gospel.

Photo by Nancy Ray

My heart in our God-sized love story is that Christ would be exalted. Through our waiting, dating, engagement, and marriage. The point of life is not marriage, it is not children, it is not our job, it is not our appearance - it is Jesus in all of this. I sit here, writing about our marriage two years later, and my heart just keeps going back to Jesus today. Why? Because He is the cord that ties us together. He is our hope, our purpose, and our sustainer. Without Jesus, my marriage would be in shambles. But with Jesus, our marriage is strong, gospel-centered, and filled with joy.

Our marriage is about more than us. It is not about our own satisfaction, though that is a byproduct of it. It is about making much of Jesus. Serving one another and serving with each other. It is hard. But worth every minute and every effort. It is worth laying down my own desires for Greg's to be fulfilled. It is worth waking up early to have the coffee going when Greg goes to get his morning cup. It is worth stopping what I am doing to love my husband. It is worth letting go of my pride and self-centeredness to embrace the joy in sacrifice and receiving from another. But you want to know the beautiful thing about this? It is just like our walk with Jesus. With Jesus, we wake up early to spend time with Him. We lay down our desires for His. We give up our self-centeredness for His joy and fame. And in doing that, we truly live. We truly dance the dance of joy!

Sister, whether you are single, dating, or married, my challenge to you this day is to remember your First Love, Jesus. On our wedding day, Greg and I wrote our own vows to each other. In my book, A God-Sized Love Story, I wrote vows to Jesus. I created a printable for you (Vows to Jesus) to hang somewhere or place in your Bible. I am going to start praying these each morning when I study the Bible. And in doing that, I will pray for you. I pray that Jesus would be your soul's satisfaction and your heart's delight. He is all you need.

Vows to Jesus

He is my Beloved. He is my Best Friend.

Gretchen