As we prayed over the next several months, I was humbled before God. He kept putting a tender finger upon my wounds and massaging them—rubbing away the hardness creeping into my heart, revealing to me my own prejudices.

After over four years of relationship, Paul and I weren’t able to take the next step into marriage and broke up.

Even today my stomach tenses as I relive the pain. For the millionth time I ask God to keep my heart tender, to help me focus on the gift of my life now, not the rejection of the past. I glance at Paul, relaxing next to me. He responds to my attention with a tender smile—his blue eyes twinkling. I whisper another prayer that I will believe in love—the love of God, my husband, and the family I joined when I married.

As his gaze deepens, I am overwhelmed by Paul’s devotion. In his eyes shine the same commitment I saw the day he came after me, the day I ran the San Diego Marathon.

Paul and I had been together when I began training for the race and though we had been separated for three months, he came to cheer me on. He drove me to the race and sent me off with his encouragement. I started strong, but after running 20 miles, I hit a wall and began walking. Fatigue overwhelmed me and I wondered if I could finish. Paul saw my struggle and decided to join me. I couldn’t believe this man, who didn’t even like to run, would come alongside of me and help me see my dream to the finish. We ran the last five miles together.

Paul and I were a team. We both felt it. I ran in absolute joy, embracing the knowledge that Paul had truly come beside me, that he was willing to fight for me despite the obstacles that cluttered our pathway. Together, we would discover a way to let our love live on.

A month after the marathon, Paul proposed. After the race, without my knowledge, Paul had gone to his family, told them I was the woman he wanted to marry, and asked for their blessing. When they gave it, he met with my parents and received their blessing as well. After four long years of navigating the complications brought on by our skin color, we could finally embrace the fullness of who we were together.

Our wedding day was like experiencing a few hours in heaven, when all God’s children will celebrate together—worshipping God in perfect unity despite differences in culture, social class, nationality, or skin color. I could feel God’s smile as my dark African relatives in their colorful Yoruba attire intermingled with Paul’s very light, very European family in their traditional dresses and suit. We celebrated together—dancing, praying, laughing, eating, and weeping as one. And that day they all surrounded us and prayed us into our new life together.

Tonight as I reflect on these things, Paul slips his arm around me and I lean against his strong shoulder, reveling in the beauty—the exquisite picture of unity that our wedding day embodied.

The padding of little feet interrupts my thoughts. "Daddy!" squeals Maya. She runs to where Paul sits, throws her little arms around his legs, and smiles up at him, adoring brown eyes full of the wonder of her daddy’s love. He picks her up and she snuggles into his chest, her curly, mussed-up brown hair tickling his fair cheek.

Our toddler cries. I rush to his room and gather him into my arms, marveling at how even with brown eyes and dark hair, my son looks just like his daddy. Cradling Cole, I rejoin Paul and Maya. We cuddle together on the couch as Maya recounts sleepy time dreams and Cole makes sure to glean his share of attention.

As we sit together, I know I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. Our children’s complexion is the perfect blend of Paul and me. The four of us enjoy our oneness. We delight in all the tiny differences that combine to create such a rich picture of our Creator. We are a family. Made in His image. Brought together by love and prayer.

Abi, a birth instructor, lives in Colorado with her husband, Paul, and children, Maya and Cole. Visit her blog at www.Justabitee.blogspot.com


Writer and homeschooling mom, Paula Moldenhauer, is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us or visit her blog at www.gracereign.blogspot.com for personal reflections, book reviews, and interviews with authors.