worship through marriage // worship from the perspective of a young couple
It was just over five years ago that we found ourselves at the end of an aisle in a quirky art studio surrounded by 200+ amazing friends & family saying "I do." But the truth is we had said "I do" two years before that when we decided to take it from being friends to being in a relationship. We don't believe in dating. Yep, that is right - we never dated before marriage. At least not in the traditional "pick you up at eight o'clock on Friday" kind of way that most people think of.
Tabitha and I have been friends since the first day I stepped into a C3 Church back in Atlanta. We were nineteen years old and met at a youth event the church was hosting. Tabitha was over Connect Team; I was visiting to hang with a friend, but fell in love with the presence of God. I had very little encounter with that before this night. Over the next two years we served on various teams, some that were together & some apart; we became friends, hung out in the same groups, met each other's families, figured out each other's likes and dislikes, and saw how we each reacted in different situations. All without the pretext of a "relationship". There was no putting on a front or trying to impress the other, because we were just living our lives. We were friends intentionally, and separately focused on our own dreams and relationship with God. We never dated because we got to know each other organically. We learned a lot about one another, not by emotional one-on-one coffee conversations, but just by observing as we served the House.
Our marriage is grounded in the foundation of our individual relationships with God. We believe that God says "run the race set before you"; that means that even now, five years into marriage, we are still running our individual races - our lanes just happen to be side by side. We believe a wedding is not the finish line, nor is a thriving marriage; we run this race as long as we are on this Earth. When we decided to move to NYC our Pastor at the time prayed over us a vision of a tree in the city that would only grow taller as the roots grew deeper to support it. In other words: what we rooted our life in would decide the outcome of our growth as a couple.
For us worship is a lifestyle of serving. It continually gives us the opportunity to grow in our lives and relationship. When we got married it only enhanced our hearts to serve. We had friends in the church who would disappear after getting married or having kids and that just didn't make sense to us. Why would you not utilize this incredible new season to do more for God? As a unit we have a constant support system, which makes serving even more rewarding. People say that serving at a high capacity is exhausting, and that it's really only an option for young, single people who "have the time." In NYC this is no one. The truth is that a successful tree (people) always produces fruit in and out of season. As we serve we actually become energized and encouraged, not weakened and tired. There is a fulfillment that comes from giving and loving others. So we take every opportunity to get behind the plow, to become a strong thriving tree in this city. Whether it is serving on a Sunday by putting chairs in straight rows, or serving in our neighborhood by loving on our neighbors and local businesses, there is always opportunity to give of ourselves. // Mike & Tabitha Akins