At 41, I honestly did not think I would ever get married. Nearly a decade had passed since my last date. I chose to not worry about it though. If God wanted me to be a wife, then certainly he would send me a husband.
In early 2008, I partnered with two other singles at my church to start a small group. Our focus was to serve – each month we would put feet to our faith in our community. Our group leader gave me a ride to our first event – we would help organize the monthly clothing drive at our church’s homeless ministry The Refuge. On the way there, we chatted easily and laughed frequently. Was there a spark? “Lord, are you doing something here?” I thought.
At The Refuge, I ran into an old friend, Elizabeth. We had traveled together to Cuzco, Peru in 2004 as part of a team that distributed Evangelical literature in rural schools. At the time, we had both been single gals, but Elizabeth now wore a beautiful ring on her left hand.
“How is married life?” I asked Elizabeth. “So much has changed in your life.” Elizabeth smiled, and then she said the words that God wanted to engrave on my heart.
“Marriage is about serving my husband.” This was how Elizabeth’s spontaneous mini-sermon began. She expounded on all that she had learned as a newlywed, and I took it all in.
A few minutes later, the weekly service for the homeless began. We sat on folding chairs under a white tent in a parking lot. After some worship music, Pastor Jym invited us all to open our Bibles to Ephesians 5. He’d been preaching through the book, and his topic today was marriage. I am quite sure that my mouth must have fallen open. The Holy Spirit had my full attention.
Two days later, that nice group leader invited me to join him on what he called “an outing.” (Code word: Date) We exchanged vows a year later.
From the beginning, God’s message to me was clear. Marriage is not about me. Marriage is another way that I am called to bring glory to God, and my marching orders came on the pavement right there at the refuge: “Marriage is about serving my husband.”
Some practical ways to serve and make sure that it’s not about me include
· Praying for my husband daily
· Extending grace to my husband, rather than judgment (or nagging)
· Supporting my husband’s efforts to support our family in whatever way he asks me to
· Loving my husband’s extended family and making them feel welcome in my home.
· Encouraging my husband through purposeful verbal affirmation
· Respecting my husband’s role as the leader of our family
I am so thankful that God placed Elizabeth in my path that day. Looking back now, I see how God wanted me to understand from day one that marriage was not about me. Jesus came to serve, and as His ambassador in my home, I am called to do the same.
Check out the rest of the Not About Me November Series
Lyli Dunbar loves teaching. For 17 years, she mentored teenagers in the Christian school setting, and now she has serves as Associate Director of Curriculum at Trinity International University Florida. Lyli married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging young couples and singles in God’s waiting room. She enjoys road trips with her husband, connecting with women through Bible study, and reading way too many books. Lyli writes about life lessons and faith on herpersonal blog. You may also connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and Pinterest.
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