Tom and Cheryl have been core members of The Hallows Church since we started meeting weekly for worship in 2012. Tom serves as an elder and lead for the Men's Ministry Team. Anyone who has spent 10 minutes with him knows he adores his bride, children and grandchildren. Cheryl leads our Women's Ministry Team, serves with the non-denominational Bible Study Fellowship, and anyone who has spent 10 minutes with her can attest she radiates Christ in her gentle and warm approach to all relationships. They recently celebrated a big wedding anniversary so we asked them to share a little bit about how they've seen God at work in their lives and marriage, and this is what they had to say:
We are Tom and Cheryl Hartman, and we have been married for 35 years! Throughout that time God has been staggeringly faithful in the way He has continued to patiently refine and sanctify us both individually and in our marriage. It would be impossible to share all the lessons we have learned over the years in this space, but there are a few highlights we both agreed were particularly powerful for our marriage.
Our marriage matters to God! God truly esteems marriage, and He consistently teaches us that throughout the Bible. We believe God has a purpose and a plan for our marriage. If we build our marriage with those truths as a foundation we can unleash our marriage to be all He intends for it to be, which is much more than we could ever dream it could be.
God specifically chose us for each other! We are both flawed and sinful people, living in a flawed and sinful world, while residing in very close proximity to another flawed and sinful person. That is not a recipe for smooth sailing and we have lots of stories to support that. But once we realized God gave us to each other as gifts to help each other, and not to make each other miserable, it changed everything. No one is in a better position to know each other, to minister to each other and to love each other than we are to each other. And as we embrace that we can become instruments for the Lord to use in each other's lives as He works to conform us, and our marriage, to His image.
All of marriage is spiritual! For the longest time the spiritual aspect of our marriage was just one of the aspects of our marriage along with the emotional aspect, the physical aspect, the "who's going to wash the dishes" aspect, etc. But God has shown us that isn't an accurate way to see it. Rather, God wants to be at the very center of our marriage and every aspect of it. We are learning that all of our marriage is about God and all of our marriage is spiritual. The implications of that have been profound and life/marriage-changing.
We certainly don't have marriage all figured out. We still have our moments, and are so thankful that God is personal, forgiving, patient and long-suffering. But because of His Gospel, and because of His grace, we continue to see our love for each other grow and deepen.
Hopefully you can tell we are passionate about our marriage and about marriages generally. Because of that, we have put together a day and a half marriage conference to provides a forum to dig into what the Bible teaches us about God's purpose and plan for marriage and to explore how to align our lives and marriages with those truths. Its called "Cross-Shaped Marriage: Building Marriages Shaped by and Shaped Like the Cross." We will be hosting these at various times throughout the year. If you are married, we hope you will consider joining us at one of the upcoming conferences. For more information, or if you want to get in touch about anything else marriage related or otherwise, our contact information is below. Cheryl Hartman (425) 273-0333 firstname.lastname@example.org and Tom Hartman (425) 231-2901 email@example.com