Steve and I sometimes wonder how we made it this far along the marital trail, when so many others have dropped by the wayside. But as we sit and reflect, we can look back on our life together and see God’s handiwork at so many junctures amongst the Family Circus maze of our wanderings. We can see His fingerprints on both our good and bad experiences and the gaining of wisdom that it afforded us. Most importantly, he placed so many providential people along our path at critical points to guide us in our inexperience and naivety as a couple.
We are especially thankful for two couples in those early years. Whether they saw themselves as mentors, we don’t know, but they definitely sidled up next to us to pour into our fledgling marriage and parenthood. They were essential in helping us begin to form the foundation of our marriage. At the time, we couldn’t understand WHY we had to be so far away from home, but now looking back, we credit those early years for building the root structure that would allow our little family tree to weather the storms that would come later. I’m not sure that we could have done it without these couples or these experiences.
Steve enlisted in the Air Force and we moved away immediately upon our marriage. It was during those first years away from family and hometown friends that our foundation would begin to form. We first found ourselves as strangers in a strange land, in England. We felt like fish out of water, culturally and emotionally, as we were also brand new to this marriage thing with only each other to depend on. Before long we met a couple that took us under their wing. The thing is, in the military, rank is everything and you normally don’t fraternize with those under your rank. But this Captain and his lovely wife, farther down the marriage road than us (and much higher in rank), did just that. They stepped gracefully over that demarcation line and enveloped us into their family and became a lifeline of advice and support. We admired and respected them as a couple and as parents, and carefully observed their interactions with each other to help us navigate ours. We don’t know what we would have done without them. They became an invaluable touchstone. We don’t see them near as often as we wish, but our hearts will always be connected in a bond of thankfulness.
The second couple found their way into our lives in South Dakota, again far far from home. History repeated itself in that the lines of rank had no meaning for a young doctor and his precious wife as they embraced us. At the time, since we were also new to the military way of life, we didn’t see this for how outside the norm it was. Looking back, it stands out as a very rare occurrence and the fact that it happened to us twice is not a coincidence. We have no doubt God placed them there….for us. They were drawn to our youth and inexperience as parents and they reached out. Their guidance came in the guise of sharing meals and including us in their family gatherings. We gained so much wisdom from watching them parent their children. During this season of our lives, I am sad to say that Church had been on our back burner. The wife, in her compassionate and caring way, encouraged us to give our children a spiritual foundation that they could take with them and build from. It was sage advice that we took to heart as we slowly tried to implement her words throughout the years, and have never regretted her gentle nudging.
Now we wish to pay it forward. That is where our passion for pouring lies…with young couples. We have landed in this city of young people at this time in our lives for a reason. I think God is placing us in providential proximity to others that are just like that young version of us. We are prompted to move in that direction, as our dear friends moved toward us. We believe that is why we are given our difficult experiences….to share…to support….to help others over the hurtles. What providential people are there in your story that may prompt you to pour in a significant way?