I remember a card my dad gave me on my wedding day. It was a beautiful card with a little blonde haired girl blowing on a daisy. It was filled with love and words of affirmation. I still have it in my bible today. One thing he wrote in it that I may have skimmed over was that the marriage was going to be work. At 22 I am sure I thought well work won’t be too hard. I work as a lifeguard and I love my great tan and I am basically “off work” when the sun goes down. And still at 22 I was more concerned with who was going to be at the wedding or how thin I looked in my dress more than the “work” that this was going to be.
15 years later and my dad was right. He perhaps should have said it will be like the worst job you have ever had but hold on. Keep coming back. Don’t worry about not getting a paycheck. Keep opening the door. Keep working and serving when the other has walked away. Open the door. Because the good will come. And it will be better than you could have ever imagined.
This week we celebrate 15 years. 15 years filled with things we never would have imagined. Five kids. One before we even walked down the aisle. Unexpected deaths. Moved far away from family. Raised many children who we didn’t birth. Finished college. Came to know Jesus. Baptized. Part of a church we call family. Loss of jobs. Loss of friends. Didn’t know how we would make Christmas happen. Loneliness. Bought our first house. Homeschooled. Public schooled. Private schooled. Master degrees. National Boards. Many tears. Many fights. Many slammed doors. Pride taken down. Liberia. Post-partum Depression. Sierra Leone. Adoption. Uganda. Just to name a few things.
For those of you that said we weren’t going to make it. (I was one of them). We didn’t. But God did. It is only by God’s grace and redemption that we are here. I know that many of you have seen our struggles and the pain that we have encountered. And those that we adore came right alongside of us and entered in the ugly muddy part of our hearts and carried us through. They weren’t afraid to call. To ask the tough questions. To make the late night visits. To pray over us. For us. And between us. These 15 years have been hard. And at times we have felt like giving up. But the amazing thing about God. He doesn’t. He doesn’t give up on us.
Our God knew from the very beginning that Tim was supposed to be with me. That He would make him into the man of God he is today. That Tim would be an amazing dad who loves his children completely. That he would be the leader in his family, to teach them how to walk through an enormously difficult time. That he would meet some of the most Godly men when he moved his family to a new church. Men that have become his brothers. God knew what Tim would need to learn to be the kind of husband his wife adores. A man of grace and love. A man who stands up for his wife. A man who supports her and encourages her to be better today than she was yesterday. A man who faithfully prays the darkness away from his wife. A man who God himself transformed.
In 15 years we have grown, taken a few steps back and learned to kneel before our Jesus with grateful hearts. I would have never thought 15 years ago that God could make something amazing out of the mess that we were. But He did.
Happy 15 years babe….you’re still the one.