Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here's To Another Ten...

It's kind of strange to think that this August my Joey and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. I can genuinely say that I have loved the road that the Lord has chosen for us. There has never been a dull season. The Lord saw it fit to throw us right into a whirlwind of trial, triumph and trust.

We got married two weeks before my senior year of college.
When we returned from our honeymoon, we opened our mailbox to $3000 worth of bills. We had $834 in our pocket from gifts that we had received from our wedding, just enough to cover our rent with$9 left over and $15 in our bank account. I vividly remember sitting on the curb after I had opened the last bill and just sobbing. Joey came out and sat next to me. I told him about all the bills and sobbed about how we weren't going to be able to pay for any of them and about how horrible it was that our marriage was starting off like this. And then in typical Joey fashion, he told me that everything was going to be just fine. He told me in complete confidence that the Lord would provide our every need, rarely a moment to soon, but never a moment to late. And then he prayed for us out on that curb. THree days later a check for $3000 showed up in our mailbox from a friend that had sold a few things for Joey a few months back.

And that's how our marriage began.

And the best news is... not much has changed. Believe it or not, ten years later, we still find ourselves trusting the Lord to provide. Sometimes He provides in abundance and we do not cease to thank him for that. And sometimes, He provides at the last minute, nor do we cease to thank him for that.

Our marriage has given us ample opportunity to learn to trust in the Lord and equally as much opportunity to learn to trust in each other. We've had times when we've had to ask difficult things of one another. Things that might be easy for one of us, but challenging for the other. A couple days after I graduated from college we found out that my mom was very sick with stage 4 lung cancer. I remember as clear as day, the day I walked into Joey's office and told him, not asked him, but told him, that we needed to move into my mom's house to help out with what ever she needed. And the most amazing thing happened. He wrapped his arms around me and said, "Okay, we'll move our stuff in tonight when I get off work." He didn't question me, or say that I was crazy. And I can only imagine that moving into the bedroom next door to your mother-in-law your first year of marriage would not be anybody's favorite thing. But he did it... for me... and the most amazing part is that he did it with joy. Not a single time that we lived with my mother did he ever make a single negative comment, or have a single complaint. He chose to look at the blessing it was that we were able to help my mom at that time.

Over the years Joey has done several things for me that I am confident weren't his favorite things, simply because he knew that at the time those were the things I needed to do. Some have been little, some have been big. He's helped me when I've been sick. He's sat with me In countless hospital rooms and held my hand when I lost my mom, when we lost our boys. He's given up weekends with his friends to help me with our kids. When money has been tight, he's found things in our garage to sell on craigslist, and taken me on some of our most memorable dates. Pretty much he's a professional at sacrificing for the team.

And this is the part of the story where I have to humbly admit that I have not always acted as graciously towards him when he's asked stuff of me that he's needed to do. I have foolishly dragged my feet, and allowed my heart to even sometimes harden towards him simply because I was not getting my way. I acted this way when we moved into this giant house on the hill. I said one thing with my mouth but had a completely different attitude in my heart.

But these past few weeks I have been reflecting on the numerous times that Joey has blessed me with joyfully going along with my desires.

Like with most things that I struggle with in my marriage the Lord seems to give me ample opportunities to learn how to change those things, how to overcome and defeat those things, and how to make a 180 degree turn from those things and purpose to choose a better way to handle those things.

We have an opportunity to make a major move in our lives right now. I'm normally up for an adventure, but ever since my little treasures have come along I have found myself just wanting to stay put. Several weeks ago Joey asked me if I would be willing to move to Colorado Springs. And I am completely embarrassed to admit that my first response was honestly, "HELL NO." (I know those words don't usually come out of mouth but on this particular day they totally did.) I felt mad... I didn't want to move away from family and friends... I didn't want to leave our church... we would be having our forth baby in a town where I knew a whopping ONE person... and the whole thing sounded just plain awful.

And now, I wish with all my heart that that had not been my first response. I wish with all my heart that I would have given Joey the same gift that he has given me so many times. The gift of joyfully joining him in the desires of his heart. Because, in marriage, there are seasons for everyone. Sometimes Joey will be called to relinquish his desires, his fears, his doubts... and sometimes I will be called to relinquish mine. We will both always be required to give a little and take a little.

On our drive back from Texas we officially decided to make the move to Colorado Springs. In one of our many, many conversations over the past few months about the move, Joey was very forward with me, (in a kind way of course, cuz that's just the kind of man he is) and told me, "I don't want to move out there and have you complaining and blaming me for making you do something that you don't want to do. I'd rather stay here and have you be happy than take you some place that you're going to choose to be miserable." You would think that I would be blessed by that statement but really when he said it, God used it as a mirror that made me brutally aware of my foolishness in the whole thing. You see, I wasn't giving Joey the same gifts that he had so graciously given me throughout the past ten years. Because it's one thing to say yes on the outside, but to be simultaneously kicking and screaming on the inside. It's not a gift, if it's not given with joy... and not fake joy... but true, trusting God more than you trust yourself and your own feelings kind of joy. I want my Joey to know how grateful I am, genuinely grateful, for all the times in our marriage that he has been an example to me of joyfully joining me in the things that I've needed to do. And now that it is my turn, I hope to give you the same gift that you have given me.

We have made it through so many seasons in our ten years of marriage and I have not a single doubt in my mind that there is nothing that we can't do together with Jesus in our hearts.

Here's to Colorado..
Here's to marriage...
Here's to living life together...
Here's to a little give and take...
Here's to the another joy-filled 10 years with the man I love!