Nine years

Sep 22nd

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, and it’s because of my usual reasons: 1)super busy adjusting to another kid in the family or some other huge life change, 2) I’m struggling hard core and I don’t want all my posts to be doom and gloom haha, or 3) both!  This summer has been a journey with the highest heights of joy and the deepest depths of pain and grief that I realllllly need to catch you up on, but not today.  It’s different today….it’s our 9th Wedding anniversary and I cannot let it go by without writing to honor the love of my life, Colby, the vows that we took nine years ago, and the God who has given the grace for us to keep those vows.

I’ve been super reflective on our wedding day this year as Colby has officiated both of his sisters’ weddings (one in April, one in September) and prepares to officiate his brother’s in January.  To see him standing up there, leading another couple into the covenant of marriage, remembering our own day…my heart can barely take it! (Not to mention how amazing he looks in a suit…heh heh)  I’m amazed at the blind faith we had on that day: two baby-faced 22 year olds that barely had a clue about anything in the real world.  But, we loved and trusted the Lord, we loved each other and we spoke those vows to one another and unto the Lord, believing them as best we could.  I’ve been struck by the beauty of “for better or worse” and what a blank check that is!  We meant that, I see that so much on a daily basis, but we didn’t know what that would mean nine years ago, or what it would look like!

A couple weeks ago at church, we sang a song that we had not in a very long time: In Christ Alone.  We sung this song at our wedding, and I was a messy, ugly puddle as tears ran down my face in church, remembering our “big day” and the proclamation of this great and timeless truth as I stood there in my big white dress and he in his tux:

In Christ alone, my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my all in all
Here, in the Love of Christ, I stand.

Our marriage bucket list (whether voluntary or involuntary) consists of: traveling on a mission trip to South Africa, making a cross country move from the East Coast to the West Coast with amazing stops like the Grand Canyon and Vegas along the way, cross country move to Texas, three jobs for her equaling 9 years on nightshift, five jobs for him (including IKEA furniture assembly and Christmas retail at The North Face…#gradschool haha), three degrees (all his), research project in the middle East country of Oman that left us on two continents for 6+ weeks, two houses in Georgia, two apartments in the Bay Area, two houses in Texas, three Hondas, a Toyota, a Mazda, and a VW, baby numero uno who gave us a run for our money and came early since mama was so sick, CPR at home x2 on said baby…on Christmas ugh, baby numero dos ELEVEN MONTHS later eek!, Kids Ministry, non profit ministry, pastoral church ministry, two trips to Seoul, a glorious international adoption to bring (big) baby numero tres into our home, special needs diagnoses on both our boys, adorable kiddie birthday parties, hosting LOTS of potlucks, holidays and dinners with beloved friends, endless hours of doctors’ visits, therapies, and evaluations, tears of joy, tears of relief, tears of pain, tears of fear, tears of triumph, tears of loss, tears of gain…let’s just say I cry a lot hahaha.  As I reflect on so.many.changes. since the day we said, “I do”, the only constant has been the very Love of Christ covering it all and carrying us each and every day.

And when I see him standing up there in his suit at a wedding, or from across the room at church as he teaches, leads and disciples, I just love him more than I ever knew was possible nine years ago today.  The absolute tenderness and care he’s shown me over this ninth year is fierce and overwhelming.  Except for the Lord, no one has seen the struggle, the darkness, the deep grief that descended in my heart this year as we struggled through Titus becoming a part of our family, coming to accept his diagnosis and how to grasp parenting him…and the Lord has strengthened him to be the husband that I needed, and give sacrificially of himself, just as Christ gave sacrificially for the Church.  These moments are our wedding vows, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health- and he is  a man of his word.  He’s grown so, so much, but he is still that 20 year old guy I fell in love with watching him swing all the village children around in his arms, as they lined up at our campsite in the African bush of Swaziland.

Colby, we are looking another year in the face with more change and more unknowns as we continue this journey, but I wouldn’t want to love and follow anyone in marriage other than you.  You are a man of character, truth, grace and you live out the Gospel of Jesus in our marriage.  You have become so much more than I could have ever known standing on the front porch of  a big white house in Athens, GA nine years ago, and you have always made sure that Christ was our Anchor.  I love you more than I could ever say.

The other day, we packed up our rag tag crew and went out to dinner at a local burger joint that was having a fundraising day for our little kiddos school, The Rise School of Austin.  We were sitting there enjoying our burgers, and noticed a white haired couple sitting at a table nearby.  They had their adult son with them that needed special care and still needed them to be “mom and dad” in the most practical of ways: he had special needs quite like our Tideebear’s.  Neither of us said anything in the moment, but the pangs of “what if” were written on both of our faces.  Yet, as I reflect on the significance of today, I’m reminded that no matter what table we are sitting at in 30 years- and no matter who is still sitting at that table with us daily- I would do it all over again.  Every single bit.  Our Great God is writing this story of His Grace over us, babe, and I wouldn’t trade “normal” for that in a million years.  And besides, I’m willing to bet a pretty penny that even in 50 or 60 years, you’re still going to be looking mighty fine in a suit.

Happy Ninth Anniversary, Colby.  I cannot wait to see what our Tenth year holds; In Christ Alone.

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