** Update January 2015**

When I first started a site for Chapter 3 Ministries on WordPress.com, I decided to use the post author name of thirdtrand. It was a username I had used for years. After I moved my site over to chapter3min.org, I began to wonder if it might be better to go by my name instead. Well, I have decided to give it a try. I think it might help with familiarity. I’m leaving this post up, however, because I do like to explain the significance of thirdstrand; and some of my replies still display it.

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You may have noticed that my author name on these posts is thirdstrand. I’d like to share its meaning. I came up with the username thirdstrand years ago. I was in need of a new username for an online account.  Because I love symbolism, I sat down and tried to think of a name that would have special meaning instead of something like sharon123! I went through different ideas and combinations of words and eventually drew from something that was significant in my life.

Thirdstrand represents an idea about me that I hold in my heart.  It goes back to our wedding day and comes from one of the passages that was read during our ceremony.   My husband had heard the passage read at our friends Bob and Debbie’s wedding and knew right away that he wanted it read at ours.  Here are the verses.

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NASB)

gold rope

Ecclesiastes may seem a strange book to choose a wedding passage from, but we liked what it said about two people helping each other and making each other stronger.  We also liked how the end of verse 12 was applied at Bob and Debbie’s wedding.  The message was that the third strand could represent God, and that their marriage would be blessed because of God’s place in their marriage.

When we got married we definitely had the idea that it was not just the two of us.  We knew there were three strands.  God has always been the center of our marriage.  That has made a huge difference for us.  In the years that we have been married, we have experienced many joys and great struggles.  Through it all, our relationship has remained strong.  We give God all the glory for that. Together with him we are the cord of three strands that cannot be quickly torn apart.

Though this explains the concept of the third strand, it does not explain why I created the username for myself.  That happened as a result of a change in my thinking.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped thinking about God as the third strand.  It seemed more appropriate to think of him as the First strand.  All things come from him.  We would not even exist as a couple if it were not for him.  It did not seem right to weave him into us.  No.  He is the First strand. With this shift in designation I began to think about who is the third strand.  For me, that was easy to answer.  It was me by default because I quickly saw my husband as the second strand.  I did so for a couple of reasons.  First, I saw him and still see him as my head. I believe God has set him as the leader in our relationship. In my mind, his leadership ranks him before me.  Second, thinking of him as the second strand helped/helps to keep my heart in the right place.  As I try to live by the words of Philippians 2:3-4 (which he does as well), I am helped by this reminder that he ought to come first.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NASB)

Meditating on the views that I held of God and my husband and knowing that I would benefit by the reminder, I decided on the username thirdstrand.  I have been using it ever since. It seemed only natural to use it here for my blog.

Thinking of myself as the third stand does not in any way make me feel bad or less than my husband. On the contrary, it is a blessing. It helps to keep my sovereign Lord in the front of my mind and in his rightful place. It serves as a constant reminder of the provision that God has graced me with. He joined me together with a man who lovingly and humbly serves as my head. It also helps me to remember to live as I ought to live. Yes, it is a true blessing to have this reminder.

I am so grateful for the First and second strands in my marriage. I am more than happy to be thirdstrand.