Today is Alan’s day off. He works swing shift now and often times we are like passing ships during the night, errr… day. I can hear the trailings of his voice from the girls’ room where I know he is snuggled up with them reading three chapters from one of our homeschool books. They cherish their papi and their time they spend one-on-one with him. I cherish these times too.
I would never try to paint the picture of a perfect love story. Alan and I can’t say things that others say like “we never fight,” or “we just love spending all of our time together and it doesn’t even matter what we are doing,” or my favorite “our love is just unlike any other relationship that I’ve ever seen.” It’s not that I don’t believe those statements are true, it just that it isn’t us. Our eight and half years of marriage have been often times very trying. We have walked through dark valleys and seemingly only experienced mountain top “moments” as opposed to “seasons.”
Of course we experienced, like most, all the fun stages from dating to newlyweds: the young puppy love, the dating butterflies, the “when is he finally going to pop the question” anxiety, the beautiful wedding ceremony, the following newlywed passion (get a room guys!).
Somewhere after kids arrived, and the pressures of two full-time working parents in ministry continued to grow, the passion began to subside. We tried for sure, as best as we knew how, but both of us coming from broken backgrounds and never seeing healthy marriages modeled for us, left us often feeling like our marriage toolbox was empty and with Satan constantly crouching at the door. Thankfully, we both possess an undying desire to be better and closer to Jesus than anything else, our greatest tool. This has been put to the test many times.
Most recently, last year, when Alan confessed to a sin that cost him nearly everything. Broken, bruised, battered and laying at the foot of the cross begging for forgiveness from our Lord, our community, our family, and me. After years of trying seasons it would have seemed like an easy choice to walk away, but we both made a promise and took an oath before our Savior and our community to love and cherish and hold one another for better or for worse on May 17, 2009 and though it seems that we have lived our fair share of “for worse,” I would not abandon my vows to my husband and to the Lord.
It’s been a year since the moments I described above where Alan confessed, and in that year, I have seen the Lord work in miraculous ways. I have tasted and seen the Lord’s goodness through what has been a painful year of impossible decisions- one after the other with consequences that didn’t just affect our marriage, but our extended families, our children, our community, and ministry. I can say after eight years, I am so grateful for the husband I chose, that he continues to choose me, that we continue to choose Jesus together above all us.
He is restoring us and our marriage and this is the single thing I am most grateful for in my adult life because it has taught me truly what it means to follow after Jesus with my whole heart, to find my salvation and satisfaction in Him alone, to trust in Him and his ways when I know not where he is leading us.
And to my dear husband, who continues to show up for our family, who bravely looks shame in the eyes and refuses to let him live here, who holds his head high where others would try to knock him down, who bends low before our mighty King… I love you. I know how brave and strong you are and yet how humble and meek you strive to be. I love your commitment to me and our daughters, and your commitment to providing and to seeking to be a better person everyday. We are climbing the mountain together and their’s no one I would rather celebrate at the mountain top with. Today I give all my thanks to our Heavenly Father, who gave me the greatest gift in the family he chose for me.