Tales from the Skipped: Skipper Goggans
*This is second in a series of posts from Andrew Goggans.
When God brought me my wife, Melanie, He answered my decade long prayer that He would bring me the right girl, at the right time, and make it obvious to my thick-headed self that she was the one. An MK, she was unlike any other girl I’d ever met and completely changed my world with our conversations and friendship; within three months of meeting her I’d realized that the two of us were (at this point in our growth and development) as perfect for each other as two humans ever can be, and I told her that I wanted to marry her. After we started dating she became very ill, and her family overseas and my family locally both went through some difficult transitions; I believe God brought us together when we were most ready for each other and needed each other the most.
Our choice to get married while still in undergrad worried some, but we had the blessings and encouragements of all four of our parents and many others. I’ve never made a better decision in my life: I don’t know how I would have gotten through the difficulties that came in my life without the life-giving intimacy of marriage. Further, nothing has grown me in my walk with the Lord as much as my relationship with Melanie. Our efforts to honor God with our relationship and to build toward marriage—setting good habits and default relationship dynamics for our marriage—grew us immensely as we shared our life experiences and beliefs, often challenging each other to reconsider the way we viewed the world and related to others. This refinement has grown more intense and effective over our almost 4 years of marriage. Being unable to fully rest, cope with life’s difficulties, or function at my best, when there is hurt or confusion between my wife and I, reminds me to stay in good relationship with God as well. We have certainly found it to be true that God didn’t create the institution of marriage just to make us happy, but rather to make us holy, and in holiness—in correct fellowship with God and our spouse—we find a joy as great as and far more sustaining than any giddy high created during the euphoric stages of early romantic love. And yet, even with the growth of a deeper and more enduring love, that feeling of overwhelming, giddy love still surges to the forefront as it entwines itself with a deeper, steadier love.
While marriage dramatically simplified our lives and school, getting pregnant within a month of our wedding brought the complication factor back up. It was not entirely unexpected as we could not find a hormonal birth control that was not, as some point, an abortifacient and because we would not risk sacrificing one of our children on the altar of our personal convenience, we knew that we might have a child to care for while trying to finish our undergrads. It was something we prayed about and factored into our timing of getting married, and we firmly believe that we could not enter into marriage without being prepared for any unexpected pregnancy. With God’s grace and help, we felt we were as prepared as we could be.
We now have two daughters, Hadassah (3 in June) and Meredith (2 in July). They too have driven me closer to God. Knowing I am responsible for their spiritual and physical well being makes me ashamed when I’m impatient with them and broken by the recognition of my sin when I see myself in their misbehavior. I pursue joyous and righteous relationship with God more ardently because I know that I’m always shaping the pattern of their lives, teaching them about God and life, even when I wish they weren’t learning what I’m inadvertently teaching. Several people asked me how I could manage kids in school, why I was ever OK with that happening. I told them that Melanie and I looked at it as more work for more blessing: Our life has been very, very full, and very, very rich.
We made it to graduation too. Melanie, received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Bryan College in Dayton, TN last May, and I received my B.A. in English Literature on May 11th. Though we have ideas about how we want to continue raising our kids and how we want to use our talents and skills for the advancement of His Kingdom, we don’t know exactly what He has in mind, but we do know that He has never let us down.