Because Of This I Will Praise Him.

I had a phone interview the other day and the first question they asked me was “Who inspires you?” Without really thinking too hard on it, I blurted out “Jeremy.” Then, realizing this man in Denver has no idea who that is, I got to explain. “Jeremy is not only my soon-to-be husband, but my dearest friend. He is in End Stage Renal Failure, meaning his kidneys have failed and he is currently on dialysis awaiting a transplant. Throughout this process, his strength has grown immensely and his ability to persevere against all odds has astounded me. But what inspires me the most is how he loves and serves others so fiercely and wholeheartedly. He inspires me.”

I felt it was a message that needed to be shared, for he is much too humble to boast on himself.

Jeremy loves as Christ loves.

I have always been slightly, and sometimes more than, skeptical of marriage. In my life I have never witnessed a loving, God honoring marriage. All I saw was heartache, pain, and abuse when it came to marriage. When I met the Lord, I brought this up with Him and asked what would be the point of subjecting yourself to this kind of suffering? I read up on different verses on marriage, and became even more confused. Passages like 1 Corinthians 7 left me especially concerned. But then, I heard so many things from the Church about the blessing of marriage, how beautiful it is and how God created it to be something so special. Even into dating Jeremy, I still held my doubts and confusion on the purpose of marriage.

As we reach a year together soon, I must say, Jeremy has shown me more and more what the purpose of this union really is. Mostly, he has demonstrated to me, and to my family, more of God’s character and God’s love. I have seen God work through Jeremy in ways that he isn’t even aware of. Not only have I been able to embrace this love, but I have been able to pour it back out onto him and onto so many others. I realize as I am faced with a huge change in my life, that marrying Jeremy would not be a trap, a life of pain and abuse, but would be a foundation on which we can much better love and serve others, doing good for the kingdom of God. I realize how important he has become in what God has called me to. God knew how difficult this life would be, and He created marriage so that we would not have to figure it all out alone. God created marriage, in its ideal form, to be a representation of how we need Christ at the center of our lives. We are His bride, as I will be Jeremy’s. I know that with God alone all things are possible, but having Jeremy by my side makes that truth so much more real. I can feel my need for a love like Jeremy’s which points me to the ultimate love. With the way he lives his life he constantly reminds me to seek God first.

The other day, Jeremy came over with the intentions of taking care of me because I hadn’t been able to walk for a few days. But, when he got to me, he had a horrible migraine (an unfortunate common circumstance as of late) and was unable to do anything but sleep. All day he was nauseous, having to cancel all plans for the evening, with a throbbing pain in his head. And because I could not do anything to take care of him, we sat in separate rooms all day. It was painful to see him that way. He mustered up enough strength to get himself home later that evening, and left me feeling very frustrated and discouraged. Not only was I unable to take care of him, I was unable to take care of myself with the pain in my ankle and my annoyance with being trapped at home for so many days. But, when Jeremy got home, I received a text from him saying:

“No matter what ever happens to me, no matter how I feel, no matter how sick or healthy I am, Jesus will always be my God, my King, my comfort, and my joy…Because of this I will always praise Him.”

Reading this at that time struck something within me, and I began to cry. In that moment, God felt so near to me because I could so clearly see Him in Jeremy. Oh, what a privilege and an honor it is to be in this man’s life. He is with me through and through. He is patient with me through my constant insecurities, my difficulties trusting, my random bursts of anxiety and stress and so graciously rides the emotional roller coaster with me, believing in me much more than I believe in myself.

After losing yet another friend on my ever-growing list of broken friendships, I sat on my couch so hurt and so distraught. With all the abuse I endured in my life, my friend had told me that I was not okay, that what I was doing wasn’t good enough because it wasn’t working, that I needed to go seek help. I knew that after what God brought me through, with all the healing He blessed me with, I knew that that was not true but the words still hurt, and messed with my head. I looked at Jeremy, and confused I asked, “Why do you continue to stay with me, you a man who is so well loved and respected when all I can seem to do is create more people who hate me? Why do you want to be associated with me still?” I will never forget what he said:

“Ione, those people only see the failures, the hurt, and the mistakes. But I don’t. I do not let those things define who you are to me. I choose to see you the way God created you. You are beautiful, purposeful, and bold. I see you for who you really are, I see all of the good in you and darling, it way outweighs the faults. I love you so much and will always do so because you are a treasure in my eyes.”

Jeremy loves as Jesus loves.

Because this is not just with me. This is with everyone he comes across. He sees the good in people, no matter what they have done. He chooses that.

I want to use his story as an encouragement. We could all stand to be a little more like Jeremy, a man who relies on the Lord for his very life, strength and energy. A man who loves like Jesus. A man who lives out a love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” He does not let his sickness define his life. He does not let it hinder his spirit, and he pushes forward to be the man God has called him to be despite the difficulties he faces.

So, I understand more why God created marriage. With a man like Jeremy it means deeper understanding of who God is, a great encouragement to live like Jesus, and a strong foundation to better light up this world. I pray that our marriage points others toward Christ, that we can honor God in all we say and do. Jeremy does this so well, and I am motivated to do the same.

I will be so proud the day I can call this man my husband.

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