I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
|The Surprise Gift|
Twenty years ago, soon after Michael’s and my engagement, I received a phone call from my soon-to-be mother-in-law. She was cooking up a surprise for us, a wedding gift which she hoped would become a family heirloom, and she needed to know if a particular Bible verse was significant to us, to our relationship at the time.
Immediately, I knew the answer I wanted to give but hesitated to share. I had one of those verses in mind. You know, one of the verses that gets so overused that it becomes a Christian cliché.
Even Oprah claims it as her “life verse.” How was I supposed to sound super spiritual and impress my future MIL with a verse embroidered on thousands of throw pillows across America?
Nonetheless, no matter how “overused” it was, I wanted that verse to be the one on our family heirloom. Feeling like I had just picked “C” on a multiple choice exam, I hesitantly told MIL what I wanted. To make sure she understood just how deep and, more importantly, not-cheesy I intended my selection to be, I qualified my answer by explaining the significance of the context.
I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Phil 4:12
I quoted verse 12 and explained things about the Apostle Paul’s life that I’m certain she already knew. Then I explained how Michael and I wanted a marriage built on the rock who is Jesus Christ. We knew there were good times to come as well as difficult ones. As man and wife, we were sure to experience seasons of being abound and times of being abased. We were entering married life confidently, not because we believed in ourselves or imagined life would be perfectly rosy, but because we were confident in Christ and that come-what-may He would be our strength.
Even though I was probably trying, in part at least, to impress my future MIL with my Biblical prowess, I really did mean what I had said. But, as much as I really and truly believed, I didn’t quite understand what I was saying… not as fully I thought I did at the time.
For nearly twenty years, Michael and I have been constantly learning more on the subject....
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