Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: MARRIAGE (08/25/16)
- TITLE: Love Covers
By Pat Small
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You can imagine the naysayers. “Sixteen and twenty-two are worlds apart.” We heard that a hundred times, if we heard it once, always amended by “especially when it’s the male who’s sixteen”. Maybe the negativity helped bring us to the point where we were sneaking in someone’s back door. More honestly, it was our own lust and impatience – an unwillingness to wait – the desire for instant gratification.
You can guess the results. Brazil’s tropical sun blazed as we met for our usual tryst. Thunder and lightning would have been more appropriate. “What’s wrong, honey? You seem different today.” I was anxious for action; she seemed distant.
“I’m pregnant. What are we going to do?” Tears rained down her Coppertone hued cheeks. She swiped at them angrily. “I’m so scared.” Her shoulders drooped. She brushed the ebony hair from her eyes.
I was speechless. I don’t know why I should have been surprised. I knew where babies came from. Nevertheless, it had never occurred to me that it would happen to us. The buzzing in my head made it hard to think, much less offer comfort. We clung to each other. We both cried. Then we did what we should have done in the first place. We dropped to our knees. “Forgive us, Lord. Show us what to do.” We choked back our tears.
“My friend said there’s a way to make yourself abort.” Her sad eyes said what we both knew. That was not an option.
“We could lie about my age. Maybe we could find someone who would marry us?”
“That would never work, with that baby face of yours.” We had to smile. In the end, we decided we had to tell somebody. I started with my mother. More tears. She had been so happy when I had become a believer. She was sure that I’d be the first to overcome the dysfunction in our family. She put her arm around me. “I love you, Joey. We’ll figure it out. I think you should talk to your pastor. Maybe he’ll know what to do.”
Bad idea. He knew what to do all right. He called a special business meeting of the church, and they voted to boot us out. Now what?
Marina opted to tell Lynn, one of the girls in our group. “You have to get married. You love each other. My family will help.” As far as she was concerned, that settled it. She, God bless her, was a major control freak. If she said it, it would be so - at least in her determined mind.
Before we knew what had happened, more people knew. No doubt, Lynn was involved. The missionaries who had lead us to the Lord came to visit. “What do you want to do?” At least, someone cared what we thought.
“We want to get married. We know it will be hard, but we love each other. We can make it work. We think Marina’s boss will let us live in their back room if we ask. With her salary, we can make it through the school year.” I forgot to mention that Marina was a maid. She didn’t get much money, but she got room and board.
The missionaries talked with our mothers, Marina’s employer, and the local judge. Before we knew it, we were pledging “I do” with trembling voices. Our first year in that tiny back room was a blessing in spite of the difficulties. We brought our first little man there, and placed him in a child-sized hammock.
With the help of our friends, our families and most importantly the Lord, we just celebrated our twenty-seventh anniversary. Without even high school educations, God supplied. Marina never worked outside the home. Our three children all finished college, married Christians, love the Lord and serve Him in our local church. Early on, we told them our story. We have served as living, breathing examples of what not to do.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8 NIV).
True story – names changed
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