woman praying

As a single person, sometimes I hear married couples say how their love for each other has grown through the years. It’s always made me feel puzzled. How does that happen? Don’t you see each other’s flaws ever so clearly? I didn’t understand what they meant until now. Until I see myself and my relationship with Jesus in the mirror and somehow, despite my sins and lack of love, I can only see grace.

After 16 years of marriage with This Man, I can honestly say that His love is ever sweeter.
I cannot fathom how He’s coped with me every day, every year of our marriage. When I think of our first years, after the newness had worn out, the many misunderstandings, the hiding away of my sins, and my strong desire to do what I wanted —it’s amazing how He’s still by my side and has never left me to myself.

I remember with sorrow how I used to try winning his acceptance by doing things I knew He loved, and spending time with people dear to Him. I remember my continual bitterness towards Him when His plans didn’t meet my approval. I would hold a grudge, not talk to Him for a while, all while questioning why He would take away the things and people I loved the most.

“Aren’t you good and powerful enough to keep pain away from me?”
What really bothered me was that I knew He was powerful and good, but also that His counsel would always stand. No.matter.what.

And I wanted control.
In some ways, I wanted out.

But then He melted my heart with his love. And has continued pursuing me again, and again, and again. Instead of him giving me what my sins have deserved, He gave me grace—more than I can ever understand! Instead of Him giving up on me, He’s drawn near to me, accepted my fists pounding against His chest and embraced me tightly until I can only weep and rest. Securely–safely.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he’s whispered. “I’ve made a covenant with you. I love you”
Yes, sixteen years have passed since we first met. They haven’t been perfect– it’s my sin that’s marred them. I still struggle to trust Him. Sometimes I’ve been very discontent with His dealings with me; I still don’t love Him fully or make Him my priority the way He deserves.

He’s the one who’s seen the deepest depth of my sin, and walked with me through the valley of shadow and death. He knows what I’m capable of, and still loves me. He’s provided for every one of my needs; he’s the guy who has seen my tears, heard my cries, cried with me, and quieted my heart. He’s patiently shown me how His ways are ALWAYS better than mine, and how there’s true peace in following Him and taking Him at His Word. He’s the one who knows my deepest desires and surprises me with unexpected little gifts to remind me, “Hey, I’ve got this”. When all my world has given way, He’s been my rock and my helper.

Against the backdrop of my sinfulness, His love and tender care over the last five thousand, eight hundred forty days shines brightly. I am so thankful for His holding me so closely, and so overwhelmed by His faithfulness. It makes me marvel and wonder and sing for joy.

To many more years, dear Jesus! You have won my heart.

I will gladly run with you.

By: Katherine Bautista

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