John and I Two Years Ago
Everyone has a love story – some of us have many.
It might be a story of a love lost or an unrequited love. Maybe it’s a love of deep friendship that covered us like a home sewn quilt on a chilly night.
But every one of us have experienced love of some sort.
The deepest love story of my life is the story of John Iobst and myself. It’s an unlikely story. We met and married 17 ½ years ago. We’ve talked about that time in our lives and both of us agree that we each wanted to find someone so badly. Desperation colored our love story in hues of rush and foolishness. At the time we didn’t care but celebrated that we found someone.
After we married, life changed. Our love story surfaced surprising truth and ugliness. We both lied to each other in an attempt to replay those months of pre-wedding joy. We lied to try and hide the truth of who we really were. The lies bloomed into quiet denial and buried anger.
For the first 7 years of our marriage, our patterns grew furrows in our lives. Well worn paths of hurt, fights, tears and denial continued until they were our regular routes in dealing with anything. Noah came in year 3 and for a while we pledged to be those parents – the ones who raise children in the love of Christ – simple and clean and honest. But the roads of communication were already paved in unflinching asphalt.
11 years ago, tomorrow, I left John. I took Noah and I dropped him off at Gamma Joani’s house, a woman who’d become an adopted grandma to Noah and a true friend to me. I then went to my friend Desha’s house and fell apart. The word divorce surrounded me with its neon letters blinding me.
The Father whose sovereignty baffles me, saw John and me, knowing the kind of marriage we’d built, and reached down with His mercy and grace. He gently gave us both a choice. Work with Him and those He sent to us and repave our lives or divorce. Take our love story to a different, new level that we’d never experienced or leave each other. The work would be difficult and painful. SO PAINFUL.
In the same kind of desperation that began our love story, we both, individually, said “Yes God!” We worked hard to dig ourselves out of those deeply engrained furrows of denial and lies. We worked hard to make new paths that honored God and each other.
A new chapter in our love story was written. Honest love came. A deep friendship and passion was born.
11 years ago.
I have moments that I wish I’d had a different love story. One of those where two young kids find each other and grow at the same pace for the rest of their lives. Or one of those like in a romantic comedy where the frustration with each other magically turns to love, complete with music in the background.
God had other plans for me. He led me to a divorced man with three girls. He led me to a man that was in the same place I was. So desperate to not be alone that we made foolish choices. Was it foolish for us to get married? We both agree that it was not God’s best. But that’s the thing about God and His baffling sovereignty. He saw John and me and He loved us completely. Enough that He allowed our desperate, foolish choices, knowing that we would be desperate again for Him to save our marriage.
I love John Iobst more than I’ve ever loved anyone in my life. Last night I woke him up at midnight because I was burdened with something. We spoke in whispers and then ended up shaking in laughter. A few moments with a man who is my soul mate and I am his. Didn’t start out that way. But God knew that if we let Him be Lord of our marriage, He would give us a gift that we tried to manufacture but could not. The gift of a love story.
11 years ago, we let Him take His rightful place. It’s a wonderful anniversary to us.
The anniversary of our love story.