When I was a little girl, maybe 8 or so, I heard the story of Jesus dying on the cross to save me from my sins and free me to spend eternity with him like I had heard many times before. I loved Jesus, I wanted to be forgiven of my sins, and I wanted to spend eternity in Heaven, so I said “Yes” to the greatest decision of my life…becoming a Christian. It seemed like an easy decision…who wouldn’t want to spend forever in Heaven with Jesus? Yet that one simple decision has changed my life forever…both my life here on earth and my eternal life. It was a promise to commit myself to becoming more like Christ every day. Yet I had no idea how that promise would manifest itself in the years to come. It was easy to want to become more like Christ when it fit with my plans. Yet it was very hard to commit to becoming more like Christ when it required sacrifice, went against my plans, or caused me temporary pain. Becoming more like Jesus seemed simple enough as an 8 year old girl. But then I faced life’s harsh realities. I had committed to following Jesus when I lost my precious grandfather and my heart was deeply hurting. I was committed to following Jesus to Samford University, a place that I fell in love with, but a place that seemed so far away from home and all the things I loved in August 2011. I was committed to following Jesus when my friends took different paths in life, and I knew I couldn’t follow where they were going. I was committed to following Jesus through the painful ending of relationships. I had said yes on the mountaintop, but yes seemed much more difficult in the valleys.
But at the same time, “yes” brought the greatest comfort during the times when my commitment to following Jesus seemed difficult. I knew deep down, even through the most difficult times, that my “yes” meant there was someone always walking with me. I never faced trying times alone, because in my lack of faith, Jesus was constantly faithful.
On November 18th, I said “yes” to the second greatest decision of my life…marrying Caleb Owenby!! When he asked me to spend forever with him, “yes” felt so natural!! It might have been the easiest yes of my life! But at the same time, I knew the weight and the gravity of the “yes” I was giving. I was committing to the yes for the rest of my life, which is something I’ve only done once before, when I committed to following Jesus. I knew that I had just said yes on the mountaintop, but I had also committed to yes in the valley. And, like my 8-year-old yes, my 25-year-old yes was a commitment to reflect Christ and his church to the world for the rest of my life! That’s enough to bring a couple to their knees (which, in fact, is the source of strength for reflecting Christ and His church to the world!)
It’s a daunting task! Caleb is committing to serve and love me as Christ loved the church, which is something he will spend the rest of his life aspiring to! I am committing to honor and respect Caleb as the church is to honor and respect Christ, which is something I will spend the rest of my life aspiring to! We are committing to love and respect each other in a way that when others see our marriage, they will better understand the love of Christ for his church and, in turn, the respect and submission of the church to Christ. Wow, what an honor and what a responsibility!
After we had called our parents and celebrated for a while, Caleb looked at me and said, “What are you thinking right now, Anna?” I told him I was overjoyed that he had just asked me to become his wife! But then I said, “I’m also a little scared.” I don’t fully comprehend all the difficulties we will face in marriage, but I know they will be there. And although I wish every day could be as happy as November 18th, 2017, I know it won’t. Yes seemed easy on November 18th, but it won’t always seem easy. But then I looked at him and said, “But we’ll work through it together, right?” To which he gave a resounding “yes” of his own! I know that in marriage “yes” will again bring the greatest comfort! In the most difficult of times, I will have Caleb walking beside me. And the ultimate promise that Jesus is with us through it all.
And so with that, I humbly ask for your prayers as we begin this incredible journey together!