A Love Story
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It must have been fall when she first heard him sing, because she remembers how his tenor soared among the fiery maple leaves one hundred feet above ground as she sat by her window. Mike-and-Jen2-300x200It made her breath come in gasps, as if she was doing the singing. She saw him from a distance many times, but they conversed only shyly in small bites, like sparrows pecking at morsels of maybe. Then came the moment he told her he had hopes. Contagious, those hopes.

They wed in her parent’s yard, June sun and rain alternately pouring down. His truck carried them west as if with a will of its own, like a wild horse in search of a mountain herd. They lived simply and worked hard under the big sky.

He had a powerful build, but she came to the marriage rail-thin. Some subconscious torment had kept her in a state of semi-starvation until her ribs stuck out and her hair shed in clumps. His unshifting love and acceptance, his stance that she was beautiful regardless, put ground beneath her feet such that she finally walked away from her fears, including her fear of calories. Though we won’t know until eternity, he may have saved her life. He definitely saved her health and made childbearing possible. In more ways than one.

She chose natural childbirths. The angst of labor and the joy of birth prophesied of the longer labor of birthing each child’s individuality. Nothing cements a man and woman together like raising children. Even today they recollect the little scenes of those years—the dramas, the accidents, the hilarious goof-ups—as if an open channel flows back and forth between their minds. They float through the memories together, blissfully, in the same boat. They’ll never leave the boat, nor will anyone else come on board. It’s sacred, like a vow.

Love is the most difficult thing, and the easiest thing. Love feels unnatural, but then makes nature sing. Love is pure, cold principle, and flooding, hot passion. Love is a towering edifice requiring years of toil, and a flower growing at our fingertips, waiting to be picked. Love is a mystery, but an obvious one. It can’t be explained; but it can be known.

Marriage provides an opportunity to know love. God established marriage in Eden, along with the Sabbath. He built a relational structure fitted perfectly to our needs—one man and one woman, together for life. Within that structure, love is learned, as one learns a foreign language through immersion. Flesh protests as if about to die; and it does die, repeatedly, slowly, painfully. But out of the compost of dead nature love gathers its strength.

He still sings — in the shower. Their children are grown, so his voice bounces off the walls of their more-empty house. In fact, he’ll get up two hours from now, shower, sing, dress, eat breakfast, and go off to work for approximately the 8,320th time in 33 years. Michael Schwirzer, I love you!

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A Love Story — 21 Comments

  1. Lovely story. You are blessed to get such a God-fearing husband. So many are less fortunate to get partners who are not abusive in some way May God continue to be the Leader in your marriage.

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  2. What a beautiful love story. The words flowed with such emotion that it seemed I was seeing the picture of your life together up close. May God continue to bless you and your family - and your writing.

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  3. Wow. Your writing is so apt - like apples of gold in settings of silver. Consider taking it up professionally, if you haven't already. Favourite phrases - 'Like sparrows pecking at a morsels of maybe' and 'put ground beneath her feet such that she finally walked away from her fears..'. God has given you a talent. Glory.

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  4. To Jennifer from an observer hearing a love song the question comes. Can you ever imagine being without Michael in Heaven? If not, why?

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    • Tyler, I've always understood that God intended that our marriages/families were to be a foretaste of Heaven/Earth made new. It is difficult for me to understand why God would remove marriage (the earthly picture of how He wants His relationship with us to be) when Heaven becomes a reality for us. Why would he remove from the human family one of the perfect things he did in creation...marriage?

      Personally, I believe we will be together in our families, and I surely cannot begin to account for how God may handle the issues of multiple marriages. Yes, I can see the New Earth filling up with happy, beautiful people because I believe God loves babies as much as we do! And, I can see Him spreading His human family throughout the vast universe, just to show us off...the beings created in His own image!

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      • We need to distinguish between family and marriage. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy teach that families will be reunited in heaven (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Daughters of God, p. 274). Yet both also teach that "in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage" (Matthew 22:30). Perhaps the plainest statement is found in Maranatha: "[Some] express their belief that there will be marriages and births in the new earth, but those who believe the Scriptures cannot accept such doctrines. ... Neither those who shall be raised from the dead, nor those who shall be translated without seeing death, will marry or be given in marriage. They will be as the angels of God, members of the royal family" (p. 369). We might wonder how God could eliminate marriage and yet provide for our happiness, since marriage is a large part of our happiness here.

        I doubt anyone understands it fully, just as no one may understand how it will be possible to pick flowers that never fade (Early Writings, p. 18) or remain in a physical world without experiencing pain (Revelation 21:4). Heaven is a mysterious place in some ways. My feeling is that God will simply undo our sexuality and desire for children when He creates our glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21), effectually ending marriage. Unthinkable as it sounds now, maybe it will turn out to be as simple as the difference between hunger and fullness. Maybe our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and we will no longer have the desire to "eat" once we have had the "meal" of glorification.

        There is another possible reason for the ending of childbirth: It prevents a second Fall. Every human in heaven will hate sin by experience. A newborn might be attracted to sin out of curiosity. By ending procreation and childbirth, God prevents that possibility.

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        • Thank you Eric for this wonderful comment, It thrilled my heart my friend. Your marriage to your wife must gave you these wonderful insights.

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        • I wonder if marriage, with its specific ability to cultivate other-centered love between two persons, will give way to an agape that will felt toward every person redeemed in the earth made new. The "law of love" reinstated will bind us each other in ways that we only "see through a glass darkly." Prudence and I have been happily married for 33 years. I cannot imagine not being married to her. However, whatever is beyond our best experiences here, must be incomprehensibly higher, better, and more satisfying than anything we have experienced.

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        • Eric, I would like to address your thought: "There is another possible reason for the ending of childbirth: It prevents a second Fall" in which you pose a theory which, if followed completely, would give us a misunderstanding of God as I view it. To say creation will cease and no more new life in order to prevent any possibility of sin is not much different than placing a fence with a guard around the forbidden tree, or not even creating that tree. This removes choice. It also suggests sin had to happen in order to avoid it in the future, which could easily lead some to feel God purposed for sin to take place. It also imposes a finite limit on God's creation.

          It was the most glorious and wisest of all creatures that rebelled, while every evidence was placed before him. He had a perfect home and the perfect Father, yet he cultivated the pride that led him to covet more.

          Those redeemed from sin will be numbered among God's messengers and will have their story to tell the inevitable questioner in the future ages. Christ Himself will bear the marks of our Salvation, and God will use His "DVD player" to share the evidence if need be. As long as free-will remains, opportunity for a sinful choice will exist, yet the promise is that "an adversary (who afflicts) will not stand up a second time"(Nahum 1:9). This does not mean questions won't arise, or that even one will never sin, it simply means it won't be allowed to afflict others and mar the peace of the universe. Not one creature will object the final punishment of the wicked after the 1000 years, nor will they question any following need to "nip in the bud" any determined choice that might err in the ages of eternity to follow. We are only promised that there will not be another Satan who is allowed to continue in rebellion, spreading his lies and tempting others. The Law given at Sinai after the destruction of the rebellious Pharaoh and his army, allowed for the execution of the unrepentant which was to swiftly follow conviction. God will not change at any time in the future.

          Remember, Lucifer had no tempter, and none will be needed to make it possible again, but there is now countless witnesses to approve of God's justice should it be required after every effort is made to uplift Jesus as the Savior from sin. His blood will allow Him to forgive "all manner of sin" for any who repent, as long as He lives. I know this because His death nearly 2000 years ago purchased my pardon. 2,000 years or 2,000,000,000,000...years, it makes no difference to the Infinite Sacrifice who's "mercy endures forever". The Gospel is eternal.

          I'm just sharing what to me is the reality of a creation in which personal choice is the most sacred and guarded gift of the Creator, who gave His own life to preserve it. Our love and obedience to God will always be our choice for eternity. He has allowed sin to prove itself, and once is enough. The same goes for God's display of infinite Love through Christ our Sacrifice for sin.

          So I don't see the Creator ending His act of creating new life throughout eternity in order to remove any possible wrong choice. If this could be justified then He stands accused for giving life to Lucifer. God has purchased the right to both pardon and to execute justice should either be required. As we have been allowed to "grow in grace, and in a knowledge of Jesus", so will others who's choice will remain.

          This is how I have come to understand it presently, as I continue to study the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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      • Yes Connie, God loves babies and there will be many of them throughout eternity is my guess, but not from the redeemed of the earth. Those who are saved from sin by grace through faith will be given a higher existence in the life to come, an existence we don't have the capacity to understand with our limited views from this present life. But God's promises are sure and we will be amazed by the closer union we will have with Him and each other. The exclusiveness won't be required, even though we feel need of it now.

        No, I can't even begin to imagine what will be, and no one has yet seen or heard or entertained adequate thought of that new life, but all will experience it and praise God for eternity. The angels adore and reverence God more than we can even imagine, so it must be a wonderful existence to be like them, and I suspect that if given the choice, no one would choose to be again as we are now, even with sin removed. Perhaps it would be like wanting to be a child in diapers again rather than remain an adult married to the love of your life. I'm guessing that Jennifer would choose the singer in the shower over the diapers. The Lord Himself is going to be our "singer"! Zeph 3:17

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      • Connie,
        We cannot but think at times: How can our Heavenly Father better what He already gave? It tells me that you are a woman who has been enjoying some of the wonderful gifts that God has given to us here on earth, primarily the gift of marriage and family. You are truly blessed. And there are those for whom marriage and family have been the worst experiences of life. For these, conceptualizing the "family of God", Jesus Christ as our "brother", and God as our "Father" is not an easy shift.

        Our Father of eternal perfect love will better everything that He has given to us here, in an imperfect world, and I can hardly imagine what it would be like, can hardly wait to meet Him personally and just thank Him for the Lamb Who made it all possible. P R A I S E!! "For eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, the things..........."

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  5. Dear Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! :)

    So much is hidden underneath the words -- your battle with anorexia, for instance, when you write:

    he may have saved her life. He definitely saved her health and made childbearing possible. In more ways than one.

    I, too, thank God for Michael who put "ground beneath your feet" so that you live, rather than died of anorexia. I praise God for your life!

    I'm glad you hint at the fact that marriage is not all sunshine and roses, but has its difficulties. I'm glad you hinted at the fact that "love is learned," and that it is not easily learned, as you write:

    Flesh protests as if about to die; and it does die, repeatedly, slowly, painfully. But out of the compost of dead nature love gathers its strength.

    Yes, to love with the self-renouncing love that only God can give does feel like dying ... many times. But out of that death, new glorious life and deeper love arises.

    Too often the difficulties are glossed over, and people marry with the expectation of perfect partners who will meet their every need without any "death" on their part. Yet Jesus taught us that only in dying we live -- in dying to self. And dying hurts.

    You beautifully emphasized the positives -- the positives that come from learning to love in the way that Christ loved us.

    I believe that too many marriages fail because of false expectations and unwillingness to die to self. And the partners lose the opportunity to grow.

    Yet God is patient with us, and He doesn't leave us because we fail once or twice or much more often. Like your Michael, who, by the grace of God, put "ground beneath your feet," so our heavenly Father can put ground beneath our feet, if we will only trust Him. Sometimes He uses others (such as Michael) to hold us up; other times He will hold us up without any apparent human support.

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  6. Why on earth do i have such a privilege to read this article? Why? I am not currently in any relationship that might lead to marriage, but here you have given me a strong foundation, i have seen love though mysterious as it appear. I see the Lord Jesus at work here. Vielen dank!

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  7. Hi Jen,

    This is a story I could read many times. This year I will have known you 33 years so you must have been somewhat newly married when we met. I love that you share how important Michael has been to you and how the two of you have shared the children. That isn't something that happens in every marriage but I am glad it has happened and keeps happening in yours. Your example of how you have learned to die to self is appreciated.
    I remember one time you and Mike picked up me and my son and we went to church somewhere and I loved spending time with you and Mike. So together you have touched other people's lives. This is one of my favorite posts. Thanks!

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  8. This is a true reflection of unconditional love. May the Lord continue to to elevate you both. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    • Yes, a married could should stick together through thick and thin because marriage is sacred thing. God Himself instituted it. God bless you more and all God's married couples!!!

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  9. Beautiful love story! Some people have never experienced that kind of love and family relationship. May God continue to bless your marriage.

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