To My Joey,
You and I, even back then, being innocently molded together.
Eighth grade, everyone needed a partner for the graduation ceremony. It somehow got around the school that I wanted to walk down with you. I was thirteen then, with frizzy hair (damaged from a bad perm experience), pimple-faced, and awkward. You wore pants five-sizes to big and rode your skateboard around campus. You were cool, I was not... but you still said yes to this shy girl, who had to have a friend of a friend even ask you because she was lacking the everyday-kind-of-courage back then.
That day, it's one of my first memories of your kindness. And now it's twenty years later and this heartbeat of mine still gets wrapped up in you, wrapped up in the way you think about others.
But there's something deeper about us now...
It's no longer the flighty butterflies of a timid 8th grade girl. It's now the thing that pushes me, your bride, into wanting to be a better woman.
Those junior high days, we were just kids. Now days, we're pouring our hearts into our own kids.
We've lived a good fifteen years together of letting down our guard around one another, speaking true and sometimes difficult words to one another.
We've learned the art of being joyfully silent around one another.
You've somehow found a way to dissipate my tendency towards irritability simply by not taking it personally, and by being bold enough to tell me gently to buck up and get over it. You're right you know... I waste a lot of my life being bothered by things that don't really matter. Thanks for your courage to lead me into being a better woman.
And with the passing of time, You and I, we've built an unspoken trust and we know we can walk away from one another knowing that it'll only be a few hours before our pride falls and restoration comes. Yes, through these years together there's been pockets of friction, but time itself uses those moments of intense fellowship to strengthen this love... our love.
The way you love on our treasures is a daily gift you give to me. You have an ability to patiently explain things about life to them. You are willing to stay with them when this Mama needs a break. I feel humbled when I hear you pray out loud in front of them thanking the Lord for their Mama. I am way to aware of my failures in Motherhood, and even though I know you see them to, I'm so grateful that you purpose to remind me of my strengths.
And after all these years, we still have so many things that we do not understand about each other, things that might take a life together to fully understand, some are silly, like why you just can't bring yourself to give me a high-five or how no matter how hard I try to mask the flavor, you still don't care for whole wheat pasta.
And maybe right about now you're wondering why I'm writing this letter in the middle of July... Our Anniversary's not till August and neither is your birthday...
But I was sitting in church on Sunday, you were standing tall next to me, a cowboy hat on your head, your worn working hand resting on my bare shoulders... and we were singing,
in my life, be lifted high
in our world, be lifted high
in our love, be lifted high'
And maybe the part that talks about 'our love' is about something totally different than what I was thinking about... but I was thinking about us, you and me. I was thinking about our love, our forever commitment to learning to love one another on the most intimate of levels and I was praying through my tears that our life together would somehow reflect His extravagant love for us to our little world around us.
Because when I think back to that day in the eighth grade when you showed kindness to a nerdy-timid girl, I think about His kindness, and I think about how all the little things add up and display His splendor in our lives...
And I pray that as we live out this life together as husband and wife that we would somehow not get sucked into thinking so much about ourselves, about our own happiness.
Instead, may the way that we live,
the way we walk through our mistakes,
the way we choose to offer one another the same grace and forgiveness that Christ has offered us,
the way we look for the blessings in the small everyday stuff,
make us more holy, not simply just plain happy,
set us apart fully, not allowing us to effortlessly blend in,
and all this, completely for His glory.
In our love... Lord, be lifted high.
Worshiping Him together with him on a Sunday morning
Running down a country road, one that leads me home to the farm
Using my birthday machete on tiny snake and becoming a hero to our six-year old boy
Littlest one looking up at me with that stellar smile
Birthdays and little girl giggles
Freshly washed sheets
A new pitcher, a gift from Antrhopologie
Day at the salvage yard with sweet, godly women
Nights on the porch watching sunsets over the mountains
Our Love, displaying His splendor