Deep, but soft spoken voice, sturdy, the theologian type.
I responded with “Yes sir” and taking advice, I was there to learn.
Premarital counseling. Ironically, by myself. James was eleven hours away. We were a long distance relationship for six months.
“Caroline, Why do you want to marry James?” He read the question from his notes and then stared deeply at me, awaiting the answer to the important question.
I did not know. Sitting in these counseling sessions, I always wanted to say the right thing and here was a fundamental question that I did not know the answer to. It was off the cuff, and it was from my heart. It didn’t sound right, I was wishing I had thought it through more and knew how to better word this. I didn’t. I didn’t have that time but I knew my answer. At least, I knew the real reason, but I didn’t think it was the “right” answer. I sat there a minute thinking what I “should” say.
He continued to stare at me, waiting for an answer.
“I do not think this is the right answer….I am sure that you are looking for something else…” I looked down, avoiding his gaze.
And then I stared right back into his eyes with complete honesty, straight from my heart, “I just want to be with him.”
James and I were eleven hours away from each other for six months of our dating relationship. I have been through a lot of pain in my life and that tops the chart. I ached. My entire body, heart, and soul longed for James every part of every day. It was the pain of starvation and only being able to think of one thing: food.
I look back on my sessions of premarital counseling and I can not remember any of the “right” answers that I gave. When I think of that time, I think of that question and that answer. And now I know it may be the only answer that I gave correctly and honestly.
That is still my answer. I want to be married to James because I want to be with him. I want him standing beside me at elementary open houses. I want him sleeping on the pillow beside me. I want him walking through the door after a hard day at work. When I get upset and fight, I want it to be with him. I want him to hug me when I am grumpy. I want to go on a summer vacation with him. I want him to sit with me in the doctor’s office. I want him to read the Bible to our child. I want to figure out this thing called life with James. I just want to be with him.
I know what it is like to be without James and it is awful! I never want to go back to that!
Why am I a Christian? The question is asked and I search my mind for the right answer. I try to think of a verse or something theological to say, but the answer is there and I know I have to say it.
I look up and stare the world straight in the eyes. “Because I just want to be with him.”
There is a lot of really great stuff in the Bible, stories of strength and stories of love and forgiveness, lessons for life, and events in history. Praying is great, going to church is uplifting, serving others is amazing. But at the end of the day, it is personal. Why are you a Christian?
I just want to be with him! This life, this time apart from God is so painful! My body and my heart and my soul cry out for him. He calls me on the phone and we talk. He sends me gifts. (I know he is God and he is always with me.) BUT I WANT TO SEE HIM FACE TO FACE! I want to hug his body and never leave his side. I want to spend eternity with Jesus!
I know what it is like to be without Jesus and it is awful! Why would I ever go back?
Tomorrow is Valentines Day, the day of LOVE! Celebrate romantic love, it is wonderful and a true reason to celebrate! But celebrate love of family, celebrate love and friends and celebrate the greatest love of all! The God that made this whole entire universe, the God that knows everything, the God that controls everything, he is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and HE LOVES YOU!
Happy Valentine’s Day!