As a children’s writer, I’m intimately acquainted with “happily ever after.” This “forever” phrase reflects the dream of every girl on her wedding day, the promise of every husband, the assumption of every family, and the last line in many great fairy tales.
Unhappily, the word “forever” is casually overused in love songs, in movies and TV shows where it means … nothing. Like the phrase “I love you,” it is casually voiced and then forgotten as feelings and desires change. Forever takes a lot more work that we count on when we say it.
What can we do to protect a true forever in our lives?
First, it might help to think of our commitment to forever as an ongoing practice over a chain of days. Happy, sad, ordinary, amazing, all our days of consistent love and practice will result in a greater possibility of lifetime relationships. Each day is part of forever.
Forever doesn’t mean “perfect,” either. Some of the days in forever are extremely hard, painfully disappointing, not what we expected at all. That makes them no less part of a “forever.” But we must be faithful to move forward into the next day, maybe for weeks or even years, trusting God to do the rest.
Lastly, forever is an individual commitment. No one can do it for us. It is a vow to forge on no matter the circumstances, no matter what comes, with trust that God can do what we can’t. We let go of the illusion that we are in control. We relax in the knowledge that God holds us safe. We go forward in spite of obstacles and take responsibility for ourselves alone.
Don’t take your forevers for granted; they don’t happen by accident. Forevers happen because God is faithful, and because we ask for his help. So commit again today to your children, your family, your marriage, your faith … and then do it tomorrow, the next day, and the next.
Fulfill your forever vows purposefully, day by day, putting your trust in God. After all, he wrote the best story of all, and he knows EXACTLY what forever really means.