Several days ago, my 13-year old daughter and her daddy were having some special time together. At one point, she asked my husband how he proposed to me. This is that story.
There is a place called Lake Serene that was near to the town in which we were living. One night, he took me there and we talked about our relationship and shared our hearts with each other. We also talked about the significance of the place where we were, and I will get to that in a moment. Then, he got down on one knee and proposed to me. With tears in my eyes and tremendous joy in my heart, I accepted his proposal. We were married in September of that year.
Lake Serene…the name says it all really. At least that is what it came to mean to us–peace and serenity. Not the shallow and fleeting peace and serenity of this world, but the peace that comes through Jesus. A peace that is so indescribable. A strong, deep, confident, assured peace. Earlier in our relationship, we were facing some opposition. We had been very hurt by some individuals in the singles group at our church, people we thought were our friends had turned their back on us because they took up someone else’s offense, an offense that was totally unnecessary at that. My husband was at that time facing a situation with his first wife’s parents, and it was also greatly troubling us.
We were driving around one night, listening to music and talking, and we decided to go to Lake Serene. There’s just something peaceful and soothing about water, you know? Now I realize that we didn’t decide anything. God was leading us there for a reason. We got to Lake Serene and walked to the edge of the water. As we were looking at the water, we both noticed something. The water in the area in front of us was perfectly still and calm, but the waters around it were not. The wind was blowing, the water had waves, but the area in front of us was calm. It was really amazing. My husband and I both realized what God was telling us: There was definitely a storm around us, the winds of pain and adversity were blowing, but he was giving us peace. He was the calm and the peace. The same Jesus who centuries ago spoke to the wind and waves to be still was the same Jesus who had stilled the water in front of us. God was painting a beautiful picture of how safe and secure we were in him. He wasn’t promising to end the storm, but he was promising to give us peace in the midst of it. The water perfectly illustrated the story as God whispered it to us.
That’s why my husband chose Lake Serene. It was special to us because it was one place where God had made himself very real to us. We knew that our marriage and life together would face storms, but we also knew that Jesus was right there with us; and just as he was in control of the waters at Lake Serene, he was in control of every situation and circumstance.
I had no idea at that time JUST how significant the events at Lake Serene were. Lake Serene, however, was only one of multiple times that God really showed up and showed out throughout my husband’s and my dating relationship. God gave us so much confirmation about our relationship that it was unbelievable! Little did I know how important Lake Serene and all the other confirmation would be seven years later.
When S was committing adultery, I was in the storm and fight of my life. What we went through while we were dating was nothing in comparison, but that doesn’t mean lessons I learned weren’t important. At a time in my life when it hurt to breathe, when I wanted so desperately to stop hurting, when it took all I had in me just to survive, God brought the events from seven years earlier back to my mind. When I agonized in prayer over whether I was supposed to leave my husband, God brought the confirmation back to my mind. I became so thankful that God, in his goodness and mercy, gave me those nuggets years earlier. The confirmation wasn’t for nothing. It had a purpose, and God had a plan.
When the waters of my life became dangerously choppy and the wind blew so hard that it seemed I could not withstand it, God gave me peace. In the midst of the most epic storm in my life, one that threatened everything dear to me, God calmed the waters of my soul. Just as he was in control of the stormy waters and winds over 2,000 years ago, and just as he was in control of the waters of Lake Serene, he was in control of the hurricane my life had become. The storm blew fiercely for two long, hard, and tiring years, but it was well with my soul. Wow!
As my husband and I have talked about his affair and the problems and blessings (yes, there have been blessings out of something so terrible) that have come from it, I still choose to say “Yes,” to accept his proposal anew every day. Because you see, those storms–all the heartache, all the anguish, all the suffocating darkness of those two years, they had a purpose. I chose to fight for my husband and my marriage then, and I make that choice every day…to continue the good fight. Is it always easy? No! It is, however, always worth it…time and time again.
The song “Shine On Us” by Phillips, Craig and Dean was sang at our wedding. That song still brings me to tears because I realize that for S and myself, that song wasn’t just a prayer, it was also somewhat prophetic. In our darkest night, God gave us life and light. He has given us amazing, powerful grace to face even the toughest storms.