Shannon here: Jennifer Slattery shares insight into her real life romance, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Contemporary Romance, Her Small-Town Refuge. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Jan 29th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jennifer:
About six months ago, God used a painful encounter to remind me of the beauty He’s built into my marriage. Someone close to me had said something hurtful, something that made me feel rejected. What stung most was that, not only were their words true, but they touched on my known personality weaknesses. My tendency to become easily excited about ideas—like all the ideas, all at once. Or how my slightly obsessive brain can fixate on a topic long beyond other people’s patience level. And all of that fueled by an intensity that can be great when I’m tackling a goal but not so enjoyable when I’m engaging in otherwise light-hearted conversations over coffee.
I knew how each of those characteristics, at times, can function as core strengths. In the right settings, of which clearly my interactions with the individual were not. Yet, it wasn’t so much what she said that stung most. It was the recognition that our relationship could be changing. I sensed I’d need to remain more guarded, less relaxed and real, around the person.
I realized that we weren’t as close as I’d believed, and that grieved me.
That night I shared the discussion and my feelings with my husband. “She’s no longer my safe person,” I said. You know, that individual with whom you never have to worry if you’ve said something stupid or offensive—although you probably have.
He simply listened, and his face immediately softened with the look of compassion I’d grown so accustomed to over the years. Then, pulling me close, he said, “I like you.”
I gave a soft smile. “I know. You’re my safe person.”
To which he replied, “You’re mine, too.”
And yet, it hasn’t always been this way. That was far from the case early in our marriage, in fact. We both carried some pretty deep hurts into our relationship, scars that triggered distrust on both sides. Distrust that tainted our perceptions and provoked our ugliest defense mechanisms.
But then, as we grew closer to Christ and consistently yielded to Him, bit by bit and year by year He healed us individually and as a couple until now, some 26 years later, we’re both able to say:
You’re my safe person. The one who knows me better than anyone and yet is still my greatest fan. You’re my loudest and most persistent cheerleader who has seen me at my worst yet continually calls out my best. You know my insecurities, my fears and blind spots. You see and love all of me. Sometimes, like in joyful seasons or when I’ve behaved well, your love has come easily, spontaneously. Other times, however, it’s been a result of the will, a grace-filled display through gritted teeth.
But either way, you’ve remained. You’ve cheered and encouraged. You’ve prayed.
And you’ve loved.
My husband has been the closest thing to Jesus to me, and I can only hope that he is able to say the same.
Marriage is a lot of things. It’s hard, messy, often hilarious, but when molded by the transforming hand of God, it can be incredibly beautiful as well.
I don’t know where you’re at, if you’re maybe in a struggling marriage or celebrating years of continual growth. If the former, I couldn’t possibly understand your unique challenges, the tears you’ve cried and prayers you’ve prayed. But God sees every one, and He loves you even more than the most perfect spouse ever will. Seek Him, His heart, and His will each day, and however He leads, trust Him with your full surrender.
If you’re enjoying the latter, I’m praising God with you, because I know from experience that wasn’t an easy or quick journey. But I’m sure you’d agree, every mile, year, and tear was well worth it.
About Jennifer: Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries she and her team help their local, national, and global community experience increased spiritual and emotional freedom through an ever-deepening relationship with Christ. She cohosts, with Grace Fox, the Your Daily Bible Verse podcast and also cohosts, with her Wholly Loved Ministry team, the Faith Over Fear podcast. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her through her website to book her for your next women’s event. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Her Small-Town Refuge:
To secure the future she’s been wishing for, she must earn her boss’s trust.
Escaping to the Texas Hill Country with her daughter for a vet tech internship is Stephanie Thornton’s chance at a safer life. But when medicine goes missing from Caden Stoughton’s struggling vet clinic, all evidence points to Stephanie. With the new life she’s been searching for hanging in the balance, Stephanie must convince Caden to trust her with his business…and his heart.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win?
Interested in Jennifer’s other titles? Get your copy/copies now!
Question for Readers: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Come back Jan 21st for Part 2 with Jennifer!