No Ordinary Love Story

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A reader used the phrase “no ordinary love story” when they contacted me recently to tell me how much they enjoyed my book, Strong as Death. It got me thinking. Can love ever be ordinary?

Over sixty years ago, a fourteen year old girl caught sight of a sixteen year old boy.

“See him there, I’m going to marry him,” she told the friend standing next to her.

“Who is he?” her friend asked.

“I have no idea,” the girl replied.

Fifty eight years ago this week, seven years after she fell in love at first sight, the girl married the boy whose name she hadn’t known. Today, there are probably only three people in the world who remember that anniversary. I am one of them, my siblings the others. That boy and girl were my parents.

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My parents on their wedding day in March 1958

I grew up experiencing every day what it is to have parents who love each other. And I grew up knowing what it is to have parents who loved me, who would comfort me when I hurt, fight my corner when I needed someone standing there with me. I will be eternally grateful for that. There is nothing ordinary about a child experiencing unconditional love.

Death robbed me of my father’s love when I was twenty three and my youngest sibling was just fourteen. My mother’s heart broke, but still she loved her children through their sorrows and joys and triumphs and disasters until her death twenty two years later.

I remember my parents’ love every day. But it came to an end, because that’s what death does. It ends things.

Thirty four years ago, I met the wonderful man I married. He loved me every day, and I broke what we had. For the first time in my life, I learned what guilt really tastes like, how heavy shame is. We divorced.

And then something astonishing happened, a longer story for another time, but one that involves reconciliation, forgiveness. A slate wiped clean. A rebirth of love and a second chance at a marriage that will last until death us do part, because, though some broken love stories can be redeemed, death finally defeats even those that last a lifetime

But there is another kind of love, one that fills me every day with awe and wonder. It’s the love of a father who went through the unimaginable loss of his only, extraordinary son, so that the guilt and shame of ordinary people like me could be banished forever. So that death could never again have the final word, could never again write the end of the story.

No love is ever ordinary, but there is only one love not even death can break and I’m so glad to have discovered it. Of all the astonishing and undeserved loves I have ever known, none compare with the extraordinary love that was unleashed on the day Jesus rose from the grave, the day people all over the world, including this ordinary woman, who has been loved back to life by that same extraordinary God, remember this Easter weekend.

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17 thoughts on “No Ordinary Love Story

  1. This is beautiful, and I know that kind of love, from my parents and with my husband. And from the unending unconditional love my Heavenly Father has for me too.
    I truly believe love goes further than death though, I believe it survives resurrected like Christ throughout eternity.
    x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. And I believe you’re right – perfect love has conquered death and I don’t think we can even begin to imagine what that looks like on the other side of the grave. Amazing grace. Amazing and eternal love.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Timothy Price

    Wonderful post, Julia! Hard times is always a test of the strength of our love for one another, and it is surprising in times of trouble to discover where the bonds are strong and where they are weak, as we discovered in times of sickness, while standing at death’s door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are the second person I’ve come across this week to mention difficulties caused by sickness. Those times can stretch resources, including, and perhaps especially, faith and love. But adversity and trials can be the means of strengthening and increasing those very same things. Nothing precious ever comes without cost. Wishing you and Laurie a blessed and happy Easter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Carey

    Dearest Julia,
    How beautifully you write about love and loss…
    I am learning the hard lessons of loss, but continue to know amazing love.
    Thank you once again xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sue. The pain of loss is like nothing else we ever experience, but then so is love. In our humanity, we can’t know one without the other. “But the greatest of these is love …” Out of context, I know, and yet still true here, I believe.

      Like

  4. This is a gem, in its writing as well as the truth it shines. One of my fav here. Each love story you describe only gets better (though I know we could not improve on your parents’ marriage. Just reads like it). I thrill at the reconciliation you’ve known, J, and am grateful for the gospel you unpacked in its relevance, power, and beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Diana. The love I experience everyday, from my husband, family and friends amazes me. But nothing astonishes me more than the love God has for me. Thank you for your visit. It’s always a joy.

    Like

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