I married a rule follower.

Like a lifelong Boy Scout, ex-military rule follower who files his taxes in January and would rather lose an appendage than park illegally. And so, as God’ humor would have it, I’ve realized I’m a risk-taking anarchist.

I fully recognize that as a born again, spirit-filled Christian I should have no problem playing it safe and following rules. But I’ve always kind of lived in the grey, leaning a bit more on subjective common sense and maybe pushing the envelope in terms of what most 40 year-old-moms would consider “responsible behavior.”

In my mind, speed limit signs posted in the 50’s were meant to be violated by at least 20 mph, and “no trespassing” signs were meant to be ignored when respectfully hiking state land. And any kind of instruction to show up an hour before school or church events should never be tolerated, let alone followed. Sorry Vacation Bible School director. Mama feeds five mouths a night. We’ll be at practice by seven.

I guess God and I have always been “aware” of my slightly rebellious ways (I did sprain multiple ankles sneaking off my roof in high school) but in my mind, there were worse issues to deal with, and I shine in other areas. Haven’t sworn since 2007 (sans that one time on hold with the IRS) and I did give up trashy TV, Lord. This might sound awful, but I’ve always felt I had a special pass on what I considered needless man-made rules, like daily parent signatures on every piece of elementary school homework or making my kids shower before jumping in the town pool full of chemicals. I think so many are excessive and maybe created for the kind of folks needing “beverage is hot” outlined on their to-go coffees. Sigh. What is wrong with me.

But it hasn’t been until getting re-married this year-this time to a wonderful Christian man- that God’s decided to humorously yet painfully deal with me in this area. So far these are the things I’ve been caught out on:

– Breaking at least four glasses after refusing to load the dishwasher according to my husband’s method (been averaging about one a week).

– Running out of gas after promising I wouldn’t drive around on empty.

– Revealing an old sewer bill from that might have gone unpaid for three years… because well, times were tough and mama was on her own.

“Babe. You didn’t even OPEN the bill?!”

– Maybe putting on a full face of makeup while driving…on the highway.

“When you left the house you had no makeup on. Did you get ready…on Interstate 84?!”

“I can drive with one hand, babe. Same as holding a coffee.”

– Resisting wearing a ridiculous face mask in public days after mandatory in my state. In my defense, I pulled my shirt over my nose when in line.

– Mocked my husband’s cautionary use of new stainless steel pans. And then burnt one to a crisp.

– Possibly getting a very temporary license suspension after forgetting to pay my “click it or ticket” fine.

– Deciding I’d make in indoor fire after my husband said he needed to check the flue first….and smoked our entire house out for hour.

There are worse ones, but I’m too afraid my in-laws will read this.

But over time, my blatant annoyance at my husband’s criticism of my free-spirited ways has honestly turned to appreciation of God’s kind ways, and his gracious timing. I’ve wanted to become less careless and more responsible for decades now, but never had the right person to help me walk through growth.

God knew it would take me marrying the most patient, kind man to reveal my ways, not in a critical way, but a way that makes me want to change out of respect and love for him. It’s basically a mirror of how God handles us. He loves us too much to let stay stagnant in our evolution, but he doesn’t expect us to change overnight or without his help, just as parents don’t expect their babies to automatically walk after a few months.

I’m so grateful for his patience. And so grateful for his tender way.

Aside from the surety of entertainment derived through pairing a practical gypsy with a man who color codes chore lists, God clearly uses marriage to change us for the better. We’re naturally forced to become more vulnerable and more accountable, revealing heart wounds and issues that would’ve remained unchanged, alone. I’d most likely remain continually banned from town library without dwelling with a man dizzying at the mere sight of a late notice.

“Is that a red envelope from the DMV, honey?!”

“Uh. I think it’s more of a pink.”

Coming face to face with our faults is so difficult, let alone dealing with them. Especially when patterns have built up for decades. It’s so easy keeping our secret misbehaviors, vices, or unsanctified parts under wraps until living with Christian spouse. The best news is that it’s never too late to change and we’re all becoming better versions of ourselves, through Him.

I’d like to think my wild free-spirited ways have changed my husband for the better, but sometimes we just lean on each other’s strengths and gifts for a time because that’s God’s design. It can be quite humbling. But if we’re open to change, I can imagine it’ll end up quite wonderful in the end.

I don’t think I’ll ever read ALL the ‘mandatory’ elementary school emails (oh. So many.) but perfection is for heaven. Cheers to the journey. Xo


Jessica Kastner is an award-winning journalist, author and contributor to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Huff Post, God TV, Beliefnet, Crosswalk and many more. When she's not burning dinner, daydreaming about the beach, she can be found on the trampoline with her copious amount of children, wishing she'd ordered the turbo shot.

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