I remember the first few months of our marriage like it was yesterday. We were married in July, pregnant by September, and then all this crazy stuff started happening! We had some intense hail storms and our roof started leaking and we ended up needing a new roof. Alana was hospitalized with pneumonia complicated by her asthma for the third time. Then our washing machine, which had been jumping out of the closet for months, decided not to wash clothes anymore. Next there were bugs in our house!! Oh the bugs. This about drove Glen crazy because no matter what we did, the bugs prevailed. When the bugs arrived we began joking of the similarities to the 12 plagues of Egypt and we knew we just had to have faith and keep pressing on. Glen made plans for me to attend my first UGA vs. GA Tech football game that November and we all ended up with such as extreme case of the stomach flu that we couldn’t even watch it on TV! We were blessed with an incredible Christmas and then came January. In January came the very surprising and frightening loss of Glen’s job And the plagues didn’t seem so funny anymore.
January brought two trips to the emergency room for me from dehydration from the stomach flu! One time the night of the Super Bowl and I relaxed and got renewed and made my husband go watch the game somewhere. There are just those things that you know your husband loves. Football was definitely one of his.
We made it through that weekend and we kept pressing on, we kept believing that the Lord would provide. Our love grew to depths I didn’t know were possible in such adversity. Then the next plague, snow in Georgia! In March!! As if the snow wasn’t enough, our furnace decides to go out. So 7 months pregnant, with a 3 year old, we make the trek to Glen’s parents for a few days. Somehow manage to pay for a new furnace although Glen still hasn’t found work and not for lack of trying. He had spreadsheets of all the jobs he had applied for and all the steps he had been through. Then to top off all the plagues, my well intentioned idea to garden at nine months pregnant results in poison ivy!! Not just poison ivy in a few spots but ALL over my body, including my huge 9 month pregnant belly. Poison Ivy resulting in cellulitis (staph infection) in my leg and so widespread that it required huge amounts of determination to not scratch my itchy body. I had been to the doctor and was taking all the medication I was allowed to take while pregnant, with very little relief. I continued to take the medicines and then one day I realize that the baby is not moving so much. The baby. Is not moving so much. This is May 12th and I’m due the 23rd. We go in and do a non-stress test and all the baby’s (Cameron’s) vitals are okay but he is not as responsive to the juice, food, etc that they give you to see what the baby will do. So the mid-wife comes in and looks at us and says tonight’s the night. Go pack a bag and be at the hospital at 6:00. Shock. I’m not ready, who will teach my kids for the next 2 weeks, who will do their final report cards, who will…nevermind, “I’m having our baby!” So we go to the hospital, get induced and the next night have an effortless birth of a completely healthy baby. Relief for me in two ways, the baby is healthy and well and now they can give me all of the steroids and medicines for the poison ivy that they couldn’t give me before.
And despite Glen not having a job, we were able to use part of his 401K to make all of our house payments and we are not behind on a single bill! And then another turn for the better! 2 days after Cameron is born, Glen started a new JOB. In hindsight, by the grace of God, I was able to go through much of my pregnancy with my husband at home. He was there through my sicknesses and Alana’s hospitalization and every day when I came home from a very stressful day at work he was there to greet me at the door. Glen also did daddy day care for Alana and their bond grew even more solid. So you never know, sometimes the things that seem like the worst plagues of your life are actually His blessings in disguise!
On Sunday, Pastor Kevin Queen, taught on manhood and “what makes a man?” I wept many times in this service because Glen was a man and he was solid in his manhood. The first year of our marriage was testimony to the type of man he was. There were a million different things challenging his manhood, pushing him to the limits of quitting. But he didn’t. Not once. Even though I know fear wavered it’s way through his mind at times, he never allowed it to question his manhood. He continued to invest, to secure, and to lift his relationships and to love his life despite all that was going seemingly wrong in the first year of our marriage. He kept our marriage in the “honeymoon” phase despite the steady and unrelenting occurrence of events that could have been the demise of a new marriage. Pastor Kevin said that God gives strong men ->strong convictions-> to keep life from spinning out of control. Well if this is not a testimony to Glen’s strength as a man, I don’t know what is. He took responsibility for the three things Pastor Kevin mentioned. He took responsibility for his faith. Responsibility for his character. And responsibility to back the messes in his life and work hard to clean them up. He kept our life from spinning out of control. Strong man -> strong convictions -> living life to the finest and fullest of what God planned for us.
In all the books I’ve read on being a widow, they say to be careful not to elevate your deceased partner to sainthood. So let me say that I am in no way attempting to do that. Glen was not a saint, we all have weaknesses and are imperfect people. However, our marriage was amazing. And in the moments it wasn’t wonderful, Glen desired better for us and made it happen. Fought for it to happen. All marriages have struggles. The question is what are you going to do when they make their appearance?
This brings me to what started the idea for this whole post. Phil Stevens, a blessing to my spiritual life and friend who I met through church is doing some incredible work on marriage. From his website –
Pressure Points ‘A Marriage Series This project is a series of about 10 films [maybe more, no less] showing the individual brokenness we all bring into our marriage.
This series has been named ‘Pressure Points’, as a pressure point can be extremely painful and/or fatal. Individual brokenness may launch an attack on a marriage’s pressure points causing family pain or ending in divorce.
This first video is Phil’s explanation of the project. The quote that speaks to me,
“I want you to feel, I want you to feel what it’s like to experience a marriage that’s so healthy that there’s grace between the two of you. Grace, grace from God that can not go wrong. That can face the test of times.”
Glen and I had such a healthy marriage, full of tests, and so full of grace. And I understand when Phil so emphatically says the above statement. A healthy marriage is an amazing thing. I know I am blessed to have had the years with Glen that I did. Being in a healthy marriage stirs your soul, makes you want the same for those around you. You will see that in Phil, when you watch.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/42935738″>Pressure Points Promo</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/getyerphil”>Phil Stevens</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Please watch this first film in the Pressure Points Series called Anger. It is so deeply emotional and moving.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/41007578″>Angry.</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/getyerphil”>Phil Stevens</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Please go here http://www.indiegogo.com/pressurepoints and consider donating to see this project continue to serve marriages in need of healing and restoration. It has begun already…
From Phil’s Facebook -
True story. Yesterday I was in a Boulder Creek Coffee and a 20 something year-old guy approached me. I assumed he recognized me from acting/choir at 12Stone. However, he knew me from the buzz of the marriage series. He asked me if I was the guy that created the series. He explained, “I am engaged to be married and watched your movies. After watching them I hope and pray I will do right by my new wife. I think your films are needed in this era. Thank you.”
Thank you Phil. Thank you for taking the time to make a difference. I am fully confident Glen is behind you %100.