Fourteen years seems like such a long time. Yet, these past years have flown by very quickly. It was this very day, 14 years ago, that I walked down the aisle of a small chapel with my Daddy. He proceeded to give my hand to the man I was to marry that. This man was as young as I was at the time. We were both 22 yod. We graduated from college a month earlier. Neither one of us had a job. We didn't even have money for a honeymoon. We gave each other a big smile and a giggle during the part of our vow where we said "for richer or poorer." We married each other regardless and started a life together.
God gave us a life that we never expected we would have together. Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagine that God would make of the proud parents of SEVEN children. Sure, the first two maybe three children we have. Perhaps the fourth baby. But the last three babies. Never in our wildest dreams.
Life has had it's ups and downs. Sometimes I would say that by the world's standards we've had more downs: hospital visits, car accidents, unemployment that contained one of those hospital visits with no insurance. We have had seasons of life where it seemed like we just couldn't get along. But God has been gracious to bring us through those times as well as grow us up. Outside of parenting, marriage has been the number one sanctifying entity in my life.
I am well blessed by my husband. He's been used by God to teach me so much. I have learned more about theology that I have ever known. I have learned how to have a good fight that doesn't include shouting and, at times, throwing things. Although I couldn't repeat any of it, I have learned more about the sports world than I ever thought I could. Ultimately, he's taught me to keep my eyes on the cross when all seems so discouraging.
As much as I enjoyed learning, I have also enjoyed watching him grow in the Lord. He started as a man with no clue in how to lead a family to one who gives his children a strong foundation in the Lord. He doesn't use books to teach his children. He uses only the Word of God and his own lessons to teach them. I can't do that. It's makes me glad that I don't have to be the one leading.
One of my growing loves over my husband is his love for the church. He didn't grow up in the best church situations. Often, it was abusive. Although he didn't really care for the church, he kept going. Five years ago, God blessed us with an awesome church. It was just what we needed for healing. It so fun to watch him get excited on Sunday morning as we get ready to leave for church. He loves to serve where he can. For several years, he would stay after church (while the rest of us starved, LOL!!!) and help set up the cafeteria in the school where we were meeting.
His love and devotion to me is beyond imagine. We didn't have the best of starts. Mostly that was my fault. I wasn't the easiest person to date and it got worse when we were first married. I listen way too much to the wisdom of this world rather than God. Books, TV, movies all presented an image of men and I ate up this marriage. This included even listening too much to the Christian radio talk shows and reading books. That was probably my greatest problem. I would listen to these shows and think to myself "why doesn't my husband do that?" Or I would read books by the same speakers on these shows and think the same thing. Praise God for the day I finally realized that HE had to make my husband into a leader rather than me nagging him into leadership. Since then he's been allowed to grow in God's grace as a leader. I believe we are happier for it. I finally shut my mouth began to follow quietly (most of the time) and I began to see something in my husband those talk shows never promised.
I can't imagine life without him now. We've been together as a couple for nearly 18 years but have been married for 14 of those years. In those 14 years, I have watched God take him from a young foolish husband to a man that is bold in his faith and growing ever more bold. He inspires me to constantly seek the Lord and be willing to give my life fully to Him. Should God take him from me sooner than later, I would rejoice. Not in losing him, for my heart would break in that manner. But I would rejoice that my husband is finally made whole. He stands exactly where he longs to stand already.
One finally thought. Underdog makes me laugh. I tend to be a melancholy person. He's grown to love the challenge and finding things that make me laugh. He's had to up the ante a bit in the past few years. I am on to him. But he still makes me laugh. His one liners are the best. Even better is the smile that comes when he's succeeded at making me laugh. This is my favorite part about him.
Underdog, my love for you is stronger today than the day I realized that I was falling in love with my best friend. I knew in my heart that God had made us for each other. But I had no idea the blessing God intended for both of us. I couldn't ask for anything better.
We had two songs played at our wedding. At the time, it was popular to have the Steven Curtis Chapman song "I Will Be Here." Still love that song and it has such meaning. But I had another songs played that was a bit unconventional for a wedding. It's called "Faithful Friend" by Twila Paris. The original was duet between Twila and Chapman. I felt like this song exemplified just exactly what our relationship was about. The wedding was just the beginning. I didn't want to spend alot of money on it. What I wanted more than anything was a ceremony that would dedicate our marriage to Christ not just create an opportunity for a party. I dedicate that song once again to Underdog. You are my faithful friend and much more. (This song still makes me cry as much as "I Will Be Here.")