Carrie was 16 when she met Luke. He was attractive, cool, and liked everything about her. They were friends for about a year and then started a relationship just before he graduated high school. From that point on Carrie and Luke did everything together. Young love was the perfect description for these two.
A whole year went by and they knew they wanted to get married. Carrie proposed the idea to her family one-day. She had it all planned out. She would graduate high school in a few months and he would join the military. She explained that with all the bonus schemes and benefits packages that the recruiter boasted about the plan was fool proof!
Her family thought it was a hasty and terrible idea. They said, “Wait a few more years and then if you still want to get married we’ll support it.” Carrie walked away from the conversation with a bitter taste in her mouth. They were so narrow-minded and they never trusted her to make her own decisions. She was almost 18! How could they not see that she was practically an adult and she knew exactly what she was doing?!
A few months later all hell broke lose in her family’s house. Her sister moved into her own place so she could live with her boyfriend. Her parents spent the night arguing about it and her older sister Reece came and told her to stay in her room, “Do not get involved with mom and dad’s argument.” She said. There they go again! Treating her like a child! She marched straight into the living room where her parents were and added in her two cents.
Her dad directed his anger at her now and yelled at her, “Shut up Carrie, you don’t know what you’re talking about! This is between your mom and I so go back to your room! You always think you’re older than you really are! Get out of here!”
Get out of here?! Alright! Carrie thought as she went back to her room.
She called Luke, “Come pick me up, I’m moving in with you now.”
“Did you tell your parents?” Luke said nervously.
“No just come get me.” She climbed out of her window once he was outside.
After a series of unfortunate events Reece was relieved to finally get some sleep only to be awoken at 6am. “I’m leaving! No one in this house listens to me and if you all don’t need me then I’m just going to leave you to it.” He said.
As she tried to pull herself out of a deep sleep she squinted to see the face that the voice was coming from. “Dad? Wait what?” She mumbled as she sat up in her bed. “I’ll be at my shop. I’m leaving. Bye Reece.” He repeated as he walked out of her room carrying a suitcase.
Reece took a minute to consider if he would really leave, she didn’t think so, maybe he would take the day to cool off and then come back. She went back to sleep.
A few hours later she was awoken by a softer voice this time, “Reece? Reeeece? Would you like to go to church with me?” This time it was her mom. She was so tired but after the events of the weekend they could probably use a few hours in God’s house. She knew her mom loved having someone to attend church with on a Sunday morning and since her dad had apparently left she replied, “Yes of course mom, lets go.”
As she pulled herself away from her cozy bed her mom came running back into her room. “Where is Carrie?” She asked with a perplexed look on her face. They looked all over the house – Carrie was gone.
Carrie was relieved to get out of that mad house. Her and Luke were normal. Their families were crazy, but they knew their relationship would be different. Luke’s parents were divorced. His mom had a boyfriend and his dad had a few girlfriends. It was a good thing they weren’t together anymore because his dad was highly abusive towards his mom and even though he still fought with Luke at least his mom was safe.
They spent the day unpacking Carrie’s things excited at how their lives were finally merging together to become one. It was a perfect lazy Sunday for the young couple.
On Monday morning as Reece drove to work trying to clear her mind of the dramatic weekend, she got a phone call. She looked over at her phone sitting on the passenger’s seat. “Call from Mom” the screen read. She didn’t want to answer it. Why would her mom be calling her this early in the morning? She wanted to forget she had a family today. She convinced her dad to come home but her parents were now sleeping in separate rooms, Carrie was still gone, and so was Abby. What could her mom possibly have to say now?
She picked up her phone, “Hi Mom.”
“Hey Reece?” She tried to get out without sounding like she was crying.
“Yes? What’s wrong mom?”
“Carrie is living with Luke now.” She said.
“Well tell her she can’t live with her boyfriend even if Abby is!” Reece said, agitated to say the least.
“I did say that and Carrie said, “I know. Oh by the way, we’re married.” Her mom burst into tears with the end of that sentence.
The words rang in Reece’s ears. “By the way, we are married.” We are married. Married. Married? She pulled the car over to gather herself. This was the last and hardest blow to top off the weekend from hell.
Carrie was relieved to let the secret out finally! It had been almost a month since her and Luke had eloped at the local courthouse and now they could actually live like a real married couple. She was thrilled to be the grown up her family never saw in her. Now she could prove it to them.
– The Dust Moment –
These two sisters are very close to me. I know their whole family and I know what a difficult time this season was for them. Carrie, being the youngest in the family has always tried to prove that she didn’t need to be taken care of and that she could do it herself. She has always considered herself the type of person that has to learn by making her own mistakes. I will continue her story of married life next week. She has, unfortunately, had to learn the hard way many times.
As I spoke to Reece recently she said, “I don’t even know how I can be related to my sisters, they are so different than I am!” She was right. Her sisters thought differently, spoke differently, and fought their way through life in a way that I had never seen Reece have to do. Things seemed to come pretty easy for Reece; she had a great job, her own place, a great relationship, and a strong faith. Her sisters on the other hand were going through abusive relationships, long periods of unemployment, jail, rehab and counseling.
I wondered how she could be so different if they all grew up in the same house and with the same parents.
– The Gold Exchange –
“You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts – limbs, organs, cells – but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27: 17
As I looked at their family these verses started to come to life. They were each strong in their own way. Carrie had a gift for debating and arguing her point in a powerful and non-offensive way. She also lived life by following her emotions. This worked against her when she was making life decisions though she would soon find that an emotion driven life would feel like a never-ending roller coaster. She lacked the foresight that Reece possessed and argued her way into many tough situations.
Reece always had a way of seeing ahead of her current feelings and emotions and she dodged many situations because she made decisions with her future in mind rather than just her current circumstances. She saved herself from making many of the mistakes that her peers bonded through. As a result she found that through the years her well-intentioned advice feel upon deaf ears because no one felt they could live up to the standards she lived by.
What she needed was the emotional intelligence that Carrie had to help her be more approachable and sympathetic towards others. Iron sharpens iron and each of them had a skill that the others could benefit from. I could see now that these sisters were different for the benefit of each other. They were just like a body. Each part was different but without each other they could not be whole and therefore could not function to their full capability.
When this family learns to use their strengths in unity they will be able to accomplish anything.