We were both very young when we were married, and I chuckle now, to think how naïve we both were.
I had just graduated from high school, and we were married the following August. We had great plans. I would work while my husband went to school, in about 5 years we would have a baby, etc. We even drew up plans for a new home someday. (If you could see those plans, they would come closer to resembling a shack instead of a home.)
Well, Paul, my husband, did go to school that fall, and I ran the college laundry, washing clothes for close to 200 students, until surprise no. 1. I became pregnant about 2 months after I said, “I do.”
I did not just “feel sick,” I vomited so often that I carried a little jar to vomit in. I could not make it the half block to the laundry without vomiting and sat over the laundry drain while the old “Maytags” were washing clothes.
To make a long story short, it became obvious that we would have to leave school, and Paul would have to get a job.
We settled in a little house on a farm, with an old wood burning cook stove, and a very few pieces of very old furniture that my parents could do without. Paul was to be the hired hand.
I am so glad that we both trusted God through the valleys, because the valleys seemed to be numerous.
The time came for our baby to be born. In those days, even though I did go to a hospital, there were no epidurals, just a little something in a mask they put on your face, and husbands were not allowed anywhere near.
After I had been in labor for nearly 34 hours, my husband was told to go get a cup of coffee. I was crying, and so was he. The “kind?” nurse said, “What are you so upset about, we’ve never lost a father yet.” You can well imagine how this made both of us feel. I was sure I was going to die, and he was sure that I would too.
In that delivery room, the only way that I managed to keep myself under control was to repeat Psalm 23, over and over, and it did bring comfort.
The phrase that went over and over in my mind was, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.”
At last, our baby daughter was born. She was so tiny. I had never been around babies before, and I was sure that I’d never be smart enough to keep her alive. Thank God, we were kept in the hospital for nearly a week, because it seemed that there was one trauma after another.
I knew so little about babies. The nurse scolded me because I had allowed her to nurse too long, and she had eaten too much for a newborn. She told me that if I overfed her like that, she could get diarrhea and die. The next time they brought her in to nurse, she’d filled her diaper and it was running out both legs. I was sure that I had killed her, and I sobbed at my inadequacy.
None the less, God has supported and kept us through 61 years of marriage.
Yes, there have been many valleys, but God has sustained us through them all. Last year we were able to celebrate our 60th. Anniversary with our daughter and husband, who were celebrating their 40th. Wedding anniversary.
Oh yes, and we did build a home after almost 40 years of marriage, and it is a far cry from the little house of our dreams.
God leads us through the valleys, and His ways far surpass ours. There is a wonderful peace in knowing Him.
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