Twenty Years

This one is for my wife

How in the world can that be right? 20 years??? It seems like just a short time ago we were arguing over where we’d get married! A quick note for all you soon-to-be-married couples: make sure your church has a center aisle so the groom can see the bride when the doors open!

Twenty years. Two decades.

A lifetime ago.

This was long before social media and iPhones, text messaging and such. Thanks to the intervention of a mutual friend, our paths crossed, numbers exchanged and…I don’t want to think what would have been otherwise. On our first date, I knew I was going to marry you. I know…you think I’m crazy. Heck, so did I!!! But I knew it (and I was right…ahem). I was in love with you before I ever saw you, thanks to all those late night phone calls leading up to our first “eyes on” encounter.

I was taken back by your beauty, thinking you were way out of my league. I still think that way! But it was your heart, your joy, what was behind those eyes and that beautiful smile…that’s what captured me.

We’ve come a long way, you and I. Back then, I couldn’t tell you everything I was going through, and you wouldn’t tell me how the stupid stuff I did hurt you! Communication definitely wasn’t our strong suit! We weathered some crazy twists and turns in the early years as we figured out just how hard marriage can be.

But we grew. And we were blessed. Those hard times, which could have tore us apart, drove us closer to one another. My love for you deepened as we walked through valleys, making the good times that much better on the other side.

We had a plan, a grand plan…kids 5 years in. But that wasn’t His plan. Fear, pain, loss…at the time the hardest thing we’d ever been through. I will never forget those days, but not just for the difficulty. No, I’ll never forget them because they knit us together. Our love grew in the valley.

And then, one glorious early summer day…our first born! A beautiful baby girl! You were so brave that day, and so beautiful. Something changed in you then…you became a mom. And my heart soared.

She grew, we grew. We made mistakes. We learned. We moved, letting go of our first house and all the memories it held, embarking on a trial run of “let it go.” Yeah…Elsa and Anna have nothing on us, right? New challenges, new valleys. Less money, but some of the best memories on our journey.

Turns out so much of what we thought mattered as newlyweds…didn’t. We were learning the things that did: love, joy, peace, patience…family, friends…love.

Along came baby girl #2 in 2008, ten years in. We came through another career change and the toughest financial straights we’ve ever navigated…but man oh man did our faith ever grow in those years. Learning to lean not on our own understanding, and depend on Him.

Still learning that one.

Another career move…and another deep loss. Incredibly painful, yet you weren’t the same…we weren’t the same. You amazed me with your resolve to trust God through it, and my love for you deepened. Another move in houses. More memories. More challenges.

And then came our boy…2011…our party of 5 complete. That one was hard. I worried about you, but like always, you were tougher than the rest, and you faced his arrival with a bit of fear, but the same joy and wonder as ever.

We grew some more as our kids flew through those early years. We learned the invaluable truths that we’re not in control, and nothing is certain. Our faith deepened. The valleys changed, too. One of the biggest, longest, and darkest was ahead of us…but we weren’t the same as those kids years before, stepping out of that church into the hot July sun…we had been changed.

And when that valley came, we entered it with trepidation, but we entered it together. Just like we walked out of that church 20 years ago, we walked into this side by side.

Together.

Husband and wife.

I love you, my wife of 20 years. Thankful doesn’t even begin to cover the way I feel this morning.

Joy…that gets closer to the heart of it.

Y.A.M.S.


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