Letting God Choreograph my Dance: Wedding Anniversaries, Weakness, and the Excising of Wounds

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God…”

(1 Peter 5:6)

In May, we will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary.

We didn’t arrive here without bumps and scrapes along the way. I married Josh at 19, he was 20. I look at wedding pictures and can’t believe how young we were.

Josh and Alia

Poor man had no idea what he was getting himself into. I carried wounds etched deep and had mastered the art of manipulating and controlling situations so I was never vulnerable.

 I came into our marriage with very distinct ideas. I was always very independent and things tended to come easily to me. I excelled in school with minimal effort. I landed jobs easily. I assumed when we married, we would both work, save money and then travel or go into missions somewhere.

We were on the 5+ year plan which meant we didn’t want kids for at least that long. We were so young. We had so much life to devour. Although Josh and  I are polar opposites, we found common ground in our love for other cultures, travel, and our desire to live simply.

We were in love. But love is easy when you live in Hawaii, you’re 19 and have money to spend, very little responsibility, good health, and fabulous hair. Just sayin.

 However, shortly after we got married and moved to Oregon, I was crushed with debilitating pain and fatigue. I couldn’t work. Some days, I could barely get out of bed. I dragged myself through my days.  I was nauseous a lot. I spent much of my time in the bathroom or doubled over in pain. I was constantly anemic and light-headed. The world felt like it was tumbling past me. I gained weight, a little at first but  because of the lethargy it piled on until I felt frumpy and undesirable.

Then the depression began. Like nothing I had ever experienced.

 It was an excruciating time for me. It never occurred to me that it must have been an equally pressing time for Josh. Here was his new bride, sick, exhausted and no fun to be around because of her growing insecurity about her weight. Without me working, we barely had money to cover our basic bills. Neither of us had gone to college and my husband was working as hard as he could but it just wasn’t enough.

So much for traveling.

We had plunged into trials as soon as we said “I do.”

 In sickness and in health had only been sickness. For richer or poorer, we had only known trials, trying to make the money cover the bills each month.  Love was harder in these circumstances.

It was humbling to have to depend on someone else to provide for me. To have no resources or identity of my own. When we did go out and meet people they would always ask “what do you do?”  Inwardly, I’d flinch. “Ummm, I’m sick a lot. I don’t know why. I don’t work, I don’t have children.  I don’t have any identity or skills that I am excelling at or that validate who I am as a human.  Now I will just stand here and feel awkward until you walk away.”

Who was I?  This is not what I planned on and because we no longer had the option to travel or go into missions because of my health, it seemed like we also had no vision. No common ground. Our differences became glaring, apparent, and cause for constant tension. We fought.

It was a year before a doctor diagnosed severe endometriosis and we were told  if we planned on having children we should start trying right away because fertility can decrease and make it difficult or impossible in a few years. It took over a year to conceive and there was a lot of heartache along the way.

Sometimes, when there is decay or infection deep within, it has to be excised. It’s not enough to clean the outside because the infection has spread so deep it has sealed itself off.  The wound has to be cut open, cleaned out and then left open for a period of time to heal. If it is not treated the person can become septic and die. My emotional wounds were deep.

Our first few years of marriage began stripping me. My self-reliance. My identity, which was based on what I could do or excel at. My looks, and fabulous hair , which have never been the same since we moved to Oregon. My independence and freedom, I was trapped in this sick and hurting body. The wound was open. God was cleaning me out.

I wish I could say I learned then. I wish I could say I have learned now. But this stripping, this wrestling my grip open and allowing me to be free to God is  a theme. It’s the anthem of my years. If you’ve followed my blog at all you will see that I am in the trenches. 

That this wrestling with God is a finely perfected dance that I have yet to learn. I sidestep and sway and often find myself trying to lead. I step on toes. I am not in sync with the music. I forget the steps. My frame crumbles and I spin wildly but always within his reach. Always within His strong arms. 


photo credit by Dino Ahmad Ali

Some of those wounds are now healed completely and I can look back and see the faintest of scars. But most are still in process, left open, allowing God to heal them.

It is from that place that I write. That I wrestle and dance. That I hope to commune with God as we glide across this life’s ballroom. That I hope to invite you to spin madly with me.

Josh has and it’s been a  journey full of pain, soul cries,  belly laughs, cuddles, warm fuzzies, and the excising of tender and broken places. In many ways, he’s been God’s physical arms holding me up in the midst of it all. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Although, I wouldn’t mind my Hawaii hair back.

Me and Josh

SomeGirlsWebsite.com I linked up with other amazing bloggers.


  1. says

    I had the pleasure of knowing your parents back in my YWAM days. I knew of you through them and how much they loved you and how proud they were of you. What a blessing to hear your testimony and God’s hand choreographing your dance/life. Thank you for sharing!

    • Alia Joy says

      Lanise, Thanks for visiting my blog. I am blessed by my parents lives and how many people they are connected with. Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

    • Alia Joy says

      Thanks so much. I just visited your blog and read your latest post and I tried to comment but I couldn’t pass your word verification. LOL. It may be me but I tried a few times. This is what I was going to say on yours.
      Your’e so right. I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot. I’m an introvert too and it can be hard to find your “place” sometimes. Have you ever read Quiet: The Power of Introverts… ? It’s not a Christian book but it talks a lot about this and I’m finding it fascinating so far. Beautiful reminder about who we are and how we are made. Thanks for sharing.
      Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.

  2. pina says

    You have a talent in writing, Alia, may God completlly heal you and restore your joy. I love you dearly, Pina
    Really enjoy your deepness

  3. Sarah says

    Your post reminds me of one of my favorite songs, called “Thank You,’ by Heather Clark. It’s a worship song, here’s some of the words.

    “When the rain comes down, I’ll be dancing with you. And when the fire falls, I’ll be dancing with you. And in the river of your Spirit, I’ll be dancing with you.
    Place my hands on your hands and I dance with you, place my feet on your feet and I dance with you, lay my head on your shoulder and I dance with you.”

    When I hear it I picture myself dancing with Jesus like a little girl with her father, standing on his feet, holding his hands and resting her head on him, secure and overflowing with joy!
    I love to be reminded of just how “in step” God is with us, how close and near, how carefully he embraces and guides us. How he really is the one “stepping” and our feet truly are just stepping with him! We may go away and dance solo sometimes, or it may feel that way, but truly he is always there and sometimes those sidesteps are for his purposes and like you said, he’s always there to take us back up into His arms and glide across the floor! He truly does carry us!
    Beautiful post Alia! I love the journey God has you on! Check out Heather Clark’s song on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdW__TYcFhg

  4. Ruth Hagenbach says

    This is such a wonderful blog you have written. We are so grateful for God bringing you into our lives. Josh is blessed and your kids are blessed to have you as wife and mom. I believe God will use your words that you share so openly to lead others to their own search for Gods ways. May He bless you continually with His thoughts.

  5. says

    I have felt this way… how life changes and how God uses the change, the hurt, the healing process to grow us in ways we’d never have imagined. Appreciated your post!

    • Alia Joy says

      Jenilee, Thanks! Yes, it’s trusting him in the midst of the hurt that’s the hard part. I am glad you can relate. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

  6. Pinkrev Janice Meier says

    Dear Alia,
    Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. This silent suffering you’ve voiced brings us all healing and meaning, as we connect your pain with ours. This is the way of Jesus, to highlight His moves through our rough places especially.
    I was thinking about your wedding and the romantic reception under the Hawaiian trees with the jar candles your Mom made lighting the dance. And dance you did with Josh, and we did as we joined you both. When I danced with Josh (to fill in for family) it felt like I belonged to your glorious celebration and joy. And I remember your fingertip white veil, flowing in the island breezes. The exotic fragrance of that evening is recaptured in an instant in my heart.
    I’d like to send you the album I created of your wedding (please send me your address at my email: pastorjanice@cox.net). May the dance continue.
    Aunt Janice+

    • Alia Joy says

      Aunt Janice, Thanks so much for this beautiful reminder and for reading my words. I would LOVE that album. You’re so kind. I’ll email you. Thanks for all your encouragement, it really blesses me.


  1. […] I don’t know yet how God will work in these places. I do know that I am willing to let Him and that confessing my heart is the only way to allow Him in.  Maybe I’ll start by accepting Josh’s compliment. By saying “Thank you” when he offers those words, “You are beautiful,” and praying that someday God will heal me to believe it. To truly be the beloved.  […]

  2. […] Remember when you were in ballet and Miss Emily had you practice spinning around and each time you had a spot on the wall you were supposed to focus on as you turned? What happens if you don’t whip your head around and find that one spot? You get dizzy and fall down.  Please God. Please Him alone and don’t worry about the rest.  Let Him be your one spot. Let His be the only approval you seek. It’s the only way to keep your footing.  It’s the only way to make your dance beautiful. […]

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