Monday, May 14, 2012

Changes - Hannah's Story Part 6

Hannah's Redemption Story
Part 1
Part 2

Part 6

It was an evening of change.
Some expected.
Some not.
Mark treated me to dinner that night.  And somewhere between the salad and the filet mignon, he asked me.
My heart stopped a moment from the sheer joy of it.  I smiled through happy tears as I nodded yes.  Mark reached across the table and slipped a ring on my finger and I warmed at the beauty of its sparkle in the candlelight.  
“Wow!  Marriage!”  I giggled as I continued to caress the gold band.  
I couldn’t help but think of the girl in the garden, the little girl who had watched her daddy drive away countless times.  
I thought of the teenager who, while searching for value, had given up something priceless.  
And I remembered the young woman and her weeks spent starving herself.  The sunken eyes and protruding ribs.  The search for perfection.
The memories haunted me, but didn’t steal my joy.  I had come so far!  Mark loved me!  He wanted me for his very own.  
No longer would I be left alone, wanting to be wanted.  My relentless pursuit for love was over.  And I had won.  I would do everything in my power to be the woman, no, I smiled at the thought, the wife that Mark needed.  We were going to be so, so happy.
We talked excitedly for an hour, dreaming of our future life together.  Finally, I glanced at my watch.  “Mark, I’m sorry, but..  I really need to get to bed.  I have an assignment due in the morning, and...”  My voice trailed off as I watched disappointment cloud his eyes.
“That’s something else I wanted to talk to you about, Hannah.”  He reached across the table and took my hand.  “You are an amazing woman.  You know that, right?”  I smiled but neither nodded nor objected.
“I...I’m glad you think so.”
He grinned and went on.  “It’s just, I want our marriage to work.  I don’t want to start our life together with so many distractions... things pulling us apart.”  I searched his eyes, wondering what he was getting at.  “You’re always so busy with school and sports and, well, I was thinking.  Why don’t you take a break from college... just for a year or two.  We’ll get married, get settled, and when life slows down a little you can get right back into school and finish your degree!”
My jaw dropped open, but I quickly snapped it shut again.  Drop out?  My mind began racing.  I was on track to finish pre-med and... and.  I stopped.  It was hard for me to even consider letting go of my dreams.  After all, I had a healthy college fund making this possible.  Finances weren’t going to be a problem.
I voiced my thoughts, and he quickly agreed.  “You’re right, Hannah, but, it’s not about the money.  I’m glad the finances are there for you to finish med school, I really am, but, it’s the time that I’m worried about.  With everything you have going on, when will you have time for me?  For... for us?”  His eyes searched my own and I melted a little.  “I want us to have an incredible marriage.” He said, “One that lasts!  I’m not saying ‘no’ to college for forever, I’m just suggesting you take a break... like I said... for a year or two.”
His thumb was rubbing light circles over the ring he had just placed on my finger as I sat looking at the crumpled napkin on the table in front of me.  Suddenly, it all made sense.  He was right!  We needed this time together.  If we wanted to have a firm foundation for our marriage, we had to have these years to build a solid relationship for our future family.
Love takes sacrifice, I told myself.  I had given up far more for love in my lifetime already.  But this, this was different.  This was for a forever love.  And forever love, I told myself, forever love is love worth sacrificing for.

Note: Through the following weeks, we will walk through "Hannah's" journey as she continues to search for acceptance and meaning in her life and her story will conclude on June 10th at Firm Foundation Ministries - my home church. Hannah will be coming to reveal her true identity as well as testify to the grace of God in her life.

I invite you to come, as I know you will be able to appreciate the life that Hannah now lives. She is an amazing person who inspires me daily! Hannah's story conclusion will be posted here as well.

Please feel free to share this link with others. As I've listened to Hannah tell me her story... as I write these words, I am struck over and over again at the importance of father/daughter relationships. I began this series, praying it would encourage young women - teenage women... that it would help them find their value in Christ alone. But the more I listen, the more I write, the more I realize the lesson in here for fathers as well.

If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to Walking on Water (top right corner), and plan to join us each Monday as Hannah's story continues to unfold.

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