God’s Fairy Tales

By Anna Thomas

On August 20th, 2016, under the blazing summer sun, I became Mrs. Ryan Thomas. I was embarking on one of the most important journeys of my life, and I was overjoyed. But as I spoke my vows to my beloved husband, I was sobered by the magnitude of the words I was speaking and the reality of that day. Was I prepared?

As a new wife, I was recently asked a question that deserved some pondering: “In hindsight, what is one way in which you prepared well for marriage in your single years, and what is one area where you wish you’d prepared better?” And the pondering began.

The “ponderings” below aren’t a direct answer to the question, or even what “I did or didn’t do well.” Rather, they are a large part of what God taught me through the years that I believe prepared me well for marriage.

From longing to be married as a 9-year-old, to the time I was married in fact at 28 years old, my conception of marriage had transitioned from princess fairy tales to a realization that marriage was real life—that it was going to be raw, challenging, and sorrowful at times. Perhaps it was my critical eye, or perhaps it was the reality that marriage can be hard indeed, but through my later teens and early 20’s I focused on the “cold, hard must-do’s” of marriage:

“I must commit”
“I must submit”
“I must be the very best wife I can be”

With everything that was in me, I was striving to understand and reconcile myself to the reality of marriage in a sinful and broken world.

When I was 19, I made the choice to walk away from a serious relationship that was close to engagement, due to some sudden events that left my trust of my suitor irreparably compromised. It left me hurt, confused, and heartbroken as I struggled with the effects of one person’s sin on my hopeful heart like I had never experienced before. I don’t like the word, but I think I became cynical. Then slowly, something happened. Like a spring bulb popping up through winter’s dirty snow, from amidst that sense of down-to-earth reality came something else—something wonderful, something of the warm breeze of life!

Through some deep and hard challenges, I began to see that God writes His fairy tales differently than we write ours. I began to see how God used my loss as a 19-year-old to show me the strength and joy and freedom that comes from being willing to forgive the deepest hurts. His “fairy tales” use all reality, the good and the bad, to write heavenly stories and make heavenly men and women—just like a master weaver uses light thread and dark thread to weave the whole tapestry.

You see, I had only two ways of thinking about marriage: It’s either all happy or all miserable. Suddenly I had to consider a question: What is “reality”?

You hear a lot of married couples groan and warn newlyweds that the honeymoon phase will soon be over and to “brace yourself for disappointment.” Is there disappointment in marriage? Definitely. Does hardship plague every marriage? Absolutely. Do marriage and conflict always go together? Yes. But you see, that is only part of reality. Reality is not just the small window that we see. Reality is not the circumstances or the world “through our eyes.” Reality is not the failures of my spouse. It is not even my own failures. Reality is the whole picture through the eyes of God. Reality is the fullness with the emptiness. Reality is the blessing and the curse. Reality is the joy and the sorrow.

Think about the character of God. Would He be all that He is without justice? Would He be all that He is without anger? Would He be all that He is without mercy? Would He be all that He is without jealousy? Would He be all He is without love? No. And that is what must define our reality. It is the whole picture. In the context of marriage, the fullness of what makes up God’s idea of marriage had to define my thoughts, attitudes, and emotions. And I realized that this, in turn, would define and drive my actions.

And part of that whole picture is the reality that marriage is an epic, mysterious picture of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church. And what is the reality of Christ’s relationship with His Bride? It is the magnificent word redemption. It is the glorious union of the imperfect to the perfect. It is the miraculous harmony of justice and forgiveness. It is the perfect harmony of truth and grace. It is the reality of death raised to new life. It is the passing away of the old that all may be made new. It is a matchless relationship of love.

I began to see something new as I sought to prepare myself for “reality.” I began to see that I was preparing, not for a perfect marriage, but for a marriage that would be a testimony of the whole picture—the picture that tells us that before life, was death; that the difficulties are simply part of the whole picture, but don’t define it. I began to see that those things are part of the reality of marriage. And that those very real things, when put in their appropriate place in the midst of the whole, simply become a testimony to the beauty of that whole. So “reality” became something wonderful to anticipate. It became a journey of seeking all the pieces and how they all fit together. It became an anticipation of how my Master Weaver King was going to create a picture of Himself in me and in my marriage using the light and the dark thread.

You see, our ‘fairytale’ idea of marriage only displays part of the picture and that means that true reality is never reached. I entered marriage as the most in love, twitterpated, and googly-eyed girl you will ever meet. But God had begun to show me reality from His perspective and that His full reality is what gives romance its grandeur and context. And that is the reality that will enable it to continue. The reality of marriage is that we are all broken and God wants to use each and every marriage to display the reality of His redemption!

When we embrace the reality of marriage, we embrace a picture of redemption. When we embrace the whole picture, we really do embrace a Heavenly Marriage!

Anna Thomas is a new bride who was homeschooled, and graduated from Hewitt in 2007. Anna grew up on a farm in south central Washington, with a childhood full of fun, family and happiness. After several years of seeking to walk with God in faith as a daughter, a student, a homemaker, a doula, a musician, and as a customer service rep, she embarked on a new phase of being a wife.

 

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