One of the biggest gifts I received from my marriage was the courage to pray in public. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to unabashedly declaring my faith in front of strangers. Perhaps, this was my internalized sense of shame of having an ambivalent relationship with God in the past or just my own “ emotional baggage.” Either way, I often refrained even though I was thanking God privately.
When I reflect on my spiritual journey, there have been a lot of unexpected twists and I never envisioned publishing a faith-based marriage book let alone co-founding a nonprofit ministry with my husband. Everyone says, that you don’t choose your calling–it chooses you. That has truly been my experience. Events lined up, doors opened and ideas blossomed and God led us gently, carefully together as a couple and to our work together.
This is a way to think about the true blessing of meeting your spouse in your life journey. It was not an accident; it was part of God’s great plan for you, your spiritual growth and your spiritual mission in life. I am very humbled by the person that marriage has made me and how my relationship with my husband has been the perfect complement and challenge to my weakest and strongest areas. In other words, God made him for me and me for him.
Learning this truth and letting it sink into my heart has opened up my need to acknowledge God in every area of my life. Remembering the sacred gift of my spouse has made me more grateful, kind, patient and indeed, bolder in my worship and prayer–in private and in public. I became braver about praying in public when I began praying regularly with my husband before meals, at church, and at our children’s school. That increased practice gave me the confidence to then step out on my own.
I always admired colleagues who prayed at work among others or before meals quietly. Slowly, I found my way to pray–at first in the car before I went into the office. Now, I pray before meals wherever I am and often when as I leave work. I feel like I can own my faith and not have it be about anyone else but my relationship with God. It is my right and thankfully, my freedom to express my reverence and I feel able to do it respectfully and with dignity.
I always say that my husband is my hero for many reasons–he is a self-proclaimed “Jesus Freak” and doesn’t hesitate or wait for anyone’s approval about his faith. May I not have his same personal style, I have learned in marriage to cultivate my own expression of my faith while learning from my spouse and navigating marriage together.
I invite you and encourage you to look at how and if you pray in public. Why or why not? Where is your comfort zone with your gratitude and reverence for the Lord, your marriage and the blessings of your life? I certainly ask myself these questions and come up short but I trust in God’s perfection. I know that my marriage brings me closer to my faith when I ask them. That’s His plan for all of us.