I didn't get you anything for our anniversary. Well, I did arrange for some pretty awesome picture recreations, last night...
and it was insanely awesome to have our kids see us on our "wedding day".
I mean, how beautiful is our wedding party?
But I didn't go out and purchase a gift for you. The traditional gift for 10 years is tin, so I imagine that we will share a beer tonight and check that item off. We aren't really one for big gifts - you know my style is much more of the acts of service variety, so the fact that I am in bed typing while you are at the grocery store with the kids is a solid victory.
I also don't want the day to go unrecognized, so, my love....
The Gift of Love
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Gosh, you love me fiercely. With fire and ice. With support and understanding. With trust and admiration. With the gift of one hundred thousand things that I've never even seen. You love me. Even when I don't deserve it. Even when I try to make you not love me. Even when you are the last person I want to see - you love me. And I love. Even when I don't want to. Because that's the thing about marriage - it isn't always pretty. It is hardly ever easy. But it is always always worth it. To love and be loved in return is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us (1 John 4:19). Love is mentioned in the bible over 300 times and I think you show me that every single day. By how hard you work for us. By the late nights you spend doing something I don't see so you can coach the kids' soccer teams. By going grocery shopping. By scrubbing toilets. And changing every.single.diaper. for every single kid during middle of the night feedings. By making sure I got an epidural in time. By ordering things on Amazon when I send you a link. By killing spiders. And mayflies. By bringing me water in the middle of the night because I'm thirsty and my feet are cold and I don't want to get out of bed. (I mean, you married a lazy lazy girl). Oh my word, you LOVE me. And I am so honored that you do.
The Gift of Patience
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
To semi-quote one of your favorite quotable movies, "Momma always said" never pray for patience - because God is gonna be sure that you are put in situations where you will need it. And man, does marriage require patience. For and from everyone. Whether it's in the form of waiting on someone to fix something, do something, mail something, watch something, read something, fold something, or my all time favorite, finish in the freaking restroom (seriously - what is up with that? ALL the time - as we are heading out the door!!)... patience isn't just a virtue - it's a necessity and my love, I can say that as patient as I feel I am for you - you have given me that gift time and time again. Whether it's you being patient as I plan our next set of family photos (that require you to move furniture into an orchard), a birthday party, a Christmas party, themed scavenger hunts, vacations, or just an every day moment of me being me - you are so patient. You are kind with words. You are loving. As I continue to figure out this whole "wife" thing - I know I can count on that gift to continue.
The Gift of Trust
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you
This is the foundation of marriage. Trusting your partner. I hope you know and understand just how much I trust you to lead us, to shape us, and to keep us safe. With trust comes vulnerability, being open to showcasing the things about yourself that you are afraid to share, fortunately for you, I'm a total open book all the time. I'm wired to not be afraid to talk about anything, but it's different for you. You grew up being the man of the house and feeling like you had to take care of everything - you weren't used to sharing the load and then you married someone that is stubborn and loud and totally overconfident. And little by little you've trusted me enough to be vulnerable, to need help, to support you. Trust is about more than just telling the truth - trust is shining the light on the darkest parts of yourself and knowing that you will still be loved. Thank you for trusting me.
The Gift of Failure
Where there is stride, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
I am so very quick to offer you advice, and so nice to do so even when you don't ask for it. ;) But the truth is, I have failed 1000 times at a 100 different things and you let me. You never try to "fix me" - you love me the same and that's what makes me so confident. So self-assured. So sassy and full of herself to think that I can drive your jeep to the Kroger and back when I've never driven a standard. And when I didn't make it, you looked up and smiled and didn't utter so much as an "I told you so". You let me fail - sometimes GLORIOUSLY - and you love, not in spite of it, but through it. The freedom to fail is gift that everyone should be so lucky as to receive. The silent support of someone that really may know better but lets you fly with unwavering confidence that you will succeed. I am confident because of you.
The Gift of Grace
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Your grace is as wide as the ocean and deep as the sea and comes in as strong as the tide. With that freedom to fail that you so lovingly give me, you also bestow upon me the grace to try again. We've been in this marriage business for 10 years and I don't know that I've lived a day as a perfect wife. The beauty is, that I don't have to. We are learning how to navigate these waters together and our forever hasn't even begun to begin. In these 10 years with you I know one thing - there is nothing either of us can do to get out of this deal. Even when you make me "the angriest I've ever been" I have forgiven you before I've, ehm, "raised my voice". You have it - my grace is yours and yours is mine. And that is a beautiful gift for our children to see, for young couples to see, for our friends to see and for us to receive. Your grace sustains me.
The Gift of Friendship
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
As cliche as it sounds, we were friends first. And I'm so glad that we were. I wouldn't trade those days at Honey-B for anything in the world. The sandwich making competitions, the fighting to be the cashier, the trading of sandwiches for beer with the dudes from the Cork and the never ending supply of freshly glazed ham. (I seriously have no idea how we gained weight.) You witnessed my heartache and scooped me up in not only your arms but into the depths of your heart. I vividly remember writing in my journal one night after we had just begun dating, "I think I'm going to marry this boy." And I am so glad I did. You make me laugh even when I don't want to. You listen to my stories and embrace all my friends. You are genuinely proud of me. You make me a better person, wife, mom, sister and friend. You are best-friend. My forever shotgun. My Forrest. My Chandler Bing. My romantic comedy date for life.
The Gift of Legacy
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
This psalm was read at our wedding. The 27 year-old girl version of me knew I wanted children but she didn't know that she NEEDED them. What a legacy we have created in them and what an honor we have been given to borrow these blessings for even a short time. I love those moments when we are surrounded by the chaos of our imperfect lives and the noise of 3 young kids is filling every empty space in existence and we just look at each other, laughing hysterically, and ask, "How in the HECK did we become in charge of other people's lives?!?" They are so lucky to have you as their daddy. A daddy that works hard. A daddy that plays hard. A daddy that reminds me messes are ok and the noise of children will soon enough be filled with the quiet of teenagers. This legacy of ours is a great one. I am so honored to be the mother of your children. The one that gets to watch these olive shoots grow and flourish into orchards for His kingdom right next to you.
The Gift of Hope
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
My future is bright beside you. I love that you talk about what is coming next for us - our dream house, our retirement plans, our big vacations and crazy business ideas. I love that we know our hope lies in Him and I am grateful that we have been gently reminded that future doesn't have to happen right now. It's easy to get caught up in the scene around us - what our friends are doing, what their friends are doing, where people go and what house they build - but we have come to realize that we for sure don't have it all together, but together we have it all. I have high hopes for our lives, Ryan King, for our children's lives, for our big dreams and crazy ideas. But more than that, I have hope that He will never fail us as long as we put our hope in Him first.
The Gift of Joy
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.
Our first six years of marriage were hard. I could have never imagined the pattern that we would survive with one death and one baby a year. The three people that raised you, that you loved you, that knew you were all gone by then and even as I type this, it seems unreal. Through all that grief and sadness, we found joy. We still celebrated the light through all of the dark. And you let me bring you joy. I love that we find that in everything we do. I love that you started our nightly tradition of saying what each of us are thankful from that day and giving that joy directly back to Jesus. You bring me joy even when I lock myself in my closet and cry, I can count on you to open that door and bring me through the sadness directly into the shine of joy.
The Gift of Christ
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
My favorite moment from our entire wedding day has been etched into my core memory. Father Michael had just finished his beautiful homily honoring marriage and Christ as a union and you had been moved to tears. You reached over for my hand in prayer and said, "May we always have God into the center of our marriage." We haven't done this perfectly - like the sinful human beings that we are, we have been headstrong into believing that we can do this alone and we all know how that works out. The times that we have leaned on Him, needed Him, cried out for Him are always the most beautiful days. The Gift of Christ in you is a beautiful thing to watch. When you lead with grace and mercy, when you model the way for our kids and for me, when you submit to His will and understanding is when I am the most in-love. His mercy is endless, His blessings are bountiful, and He is the greatest gift I can receive in you. Here's to many more years of seeing Him work in us both, through us both, with us both.
Linking up with Holly today.