by Kristi Muston
“But God shows his love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8
I have always been a fan of love stories. In middle school, I “fell in love” with Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, and devoured books and movies with a happy ending. Every Christmas season, I watch as many Hallmark Christmas movies as time allows. While my reading repertoire has expanded since high school, I still find myself returning to books, movies, or authors whose stories involve these uplifting elements. At the end of a long week, these are the stories I choose in order to relax.
God did not abandon us, and he used this time in our marriage to draw us closer to him. By revealing our sinful behaviors and misguided expectations, we both learned to be more dependent on God and his guidance. The first few years of our marriage taught me more about God’s love; His deep, unending, and abiding love for us. It was a time of great spiritual growth for us both and helped us build a strong foundation for our marriage. Six years later, as I sit here in my living room surrounded by our daughter’s toys, I have to laugh about those early arguments about the empty boxes cluttering the floor. Why did I ever think that was such a big deal? God’s love and faithfulness has taught us to better love each other and those around us.
Despite this, I wouldn’t call myself a hopeless romantic; my life experiences have shown me that no relationship is ever as “simple” or “easy” as it is in movies or books. When Michael and I got married a little over six years ago, I knew that marriage was going to take a lot of hard work, communication, and prayer. What I didn’t expect was how hard it would be so quickly…I naively thought the early years would be a breeze and real conflict would only come later. Not so for us. The “honeymoon period” of our marriage lasted only a few weeks after coming back from our honeymoon. When the reality of blending our lives and managing differing expectations hit us, conflict arose. Suddenly, all these sinful behaviors showed up in my life, behaviors I didn’t realize I had until I faced living with, and loving, another person.
Thankfully for us, God’s love story to us is the truest love story ever written. It is through our trust in Jesus that we can even begin to learn how to love, and to model that love to others. Our example is Christ, and his love is perfect. This month, we focus on love stories from women in all stages of life that help remind each other of God’s love for us. February’s issue is chock-full of “how we met” stories and wisdom from women who have been married for 60 years (or more). Jill Pearson’s devotional reminds us of the importance of staying “tuned” to Christ and being unified in Christian community, while Yvette Kidman sheds light on martial conflict and how to seek out support. Mindy Slettedahl shares a craft to make with your kids, and Melissa Meyers encourages you to snuggle up with a book as she reviews the Deep Haven Christian romance series. Finally, when you’re ready to indulge in some dessert this month, dive into Vicki Tierney’s chocolate dessert pairings or Mary Hanson’s Italian cream cake.
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed, we hope you find encouragement in the stories this month. God wrote the greatest love story of all time, and it was written for each one of us.
Kristi Muston has lived in Rochester since 2013. She is married to Michael and mother to Sophia. After teaching English for 9 years, Kristi is now a stay-at-home mom. In her spare moments, she loves reading, running, and eating dessert. At Calvary, she co-edits The Stir blog and is involved with the worship team and Renovare.