I have other friends as well, friends I've met throughout my time here in AZ. They are different than the friends I made in Texas, and different from your typical church friends. They wish me luck and try to offer advice, but when I talk about wanting to do it right, they never can quite offer their complete confidence... because of where they've been before.
It is pretty discouraging, getting so much negativity at work. Still, the friends outside of work are the ones who show me what is ultimately going on. They believe just like I do, and want what is best for me, but they know what could be lurking on the other side. They are scarred from their own experiences with marriage, and it has made believing in the institution that much more difficult. Many of my friends at work have not had Christ's healing in their lives, and so the wounds are still fresh. Every time I'm talking optimistically about marriage, those fresh wounds throb and they can't help but sneer. How could I know what lies ahead?
These wounds and scars... they run deep in our society now. In the church and outside of the church, people have been hurt and burned by those they were supposed to be with forever. When you step out into marriage, it's almost like "I've seen the one's who fell before me, and they were stronger than me." I wonder, sometimes, why I still have this confidence, or how I will ever get past my own scars, being the product of a fatherless home.
This is a time when all of those songs and stories finally make sense. There is a powerful confidence, a peace and strength, that come from knowing the Savior, and I will count on this strength and grace as I enter marriage, knowing He is watching over me even as the wounded stagger around me. I know this is bringing glory to Him, because in a way, I was wounded too. I've seen firsthand the devastation caused by a marriage falling apart... three times. My first waking memory is of my father telling me I couldn't see him anymore.
I wonder if, as me and my new wife go boldly forward, those around us will see my scars and find hope?
There is a difference, though, between wounds and scars. There is hope in scars, hope that lies in the healing that has taken place. In a wound, there is only pain. I thank God for turning my wounds into scars, for turning my pain into simple reminders of where I've been. It gives me hope for where we're going.