Through The Years

 
   This week, my husband and I are celebrating 20 years together. We actually dated for 3 1/2 years before we married; so, I could say, we’re actually celebrating 23 1/2 years of being together and 20 years of marriage. I can now say, I’ve been with him over half of my life!
IMG_0852(Look at those two youngins! Who in the world is that anyway?! Oh. My. Goodness!! lol.)

I can honestly tell you, I love him more today than the first day I met him and even more than the day I married him! Some people could scoff at that statement, and some might wonder how that could possibly be true; so, as a way of celebrating today, I’d like to tell you a few things I’ve learned along the way and a little bit of how this can become true for you…

*This is, by NO means, a complete list, nor is it a perfect list. There are so many more things for me to learn, and I shall until the day I die…

#1 – If you want your marriage to last, you must first love God before you love your spouse. I don’t love my husband, because I am, somehow, a strong person, or because I’m “just that good.” I love my husband, because I love God first, and He makes up the difference for my humanness.

#2 – A great marriage takes a thousand little miracles to make it work right. (Thus, another reason, you need to love God first! 😉 )

#3 – You’ve got to give a lot and take a little to make a great marriage. It takes both of you giving, learning and growing together.

#4 – A great marriage consists of two people who never gave up on each other, no matter how hard it gets at times.

#5 – A great marriage consists of a sacred and hot marriage bed. Ok, yeah, there ya go. I said it. It’s hard for me to publicly talk a lot about this, cuz I don’t believe everyone needs to know my business; however, if you’re going to have a great marriage, this has got to be true, and No, it’s not “all about sex” either. If you’re on either extreme of that spectrum, you’re gonna have troubles. 

#6 – If you want your marriage to last, you’ve got to date each other. Life can just run over you until all you see is bills, children, school, work and more bills. You’ve got to remember how and why you got in this thing to begin with. Flirt, go out, have fun and remember the man/woman you fell in love with!

#7 – A great marriage takes a lot of grace and forgiveness even when you don’t want to.

#8 – Your spouse must come before your kids, your job and your family (parents, etc.) If you are always putting other things above the needs of your spouse, don’t be surprised when she/he does the same, and then, one day, you both ask yourself, “Why am I married to this person I no longer know?”

#9 – A great marriage consists of trust, honesty and loyalty. If you don’t trust your spouse, how can they ever have the freedom to be honest with you? If you aren’t honest with him/her, how can he/she want to be loyal to you? The three work together like a well oiled machine, or they work against each other for a broken down mess.

#10 – A great marriage consists of authenticity and vulnerablility. You’ve got to be authentic with each other. Why would you play games with the one you love? You’ve, also, got to be able to be vulnerable with each other. Why would you want to be with someone with whom you can’t share your whole heart?

#11 – If you want your marriage to last, there’s got to be lots of prayer and encouragement for and to your spouse. Your spouse not only needs your prayers and encouragement, in the spiritual sense, but he/she needs to hear these words spoken and written throughout the years.

#12 – A great marriage consists of a mom and dad who love each other so much that the kids know dad would choose mom over them in a heartbeat, and she would do the same. This doesn’t mean they don’t love the kids, but it does mean they won’t be divided by the kids.

#13 – You’ve got to learn from each other as parents. There are some things at which she will naturally be good and some things at which he will naturally be good. Some things, neither of you will be good at, and you’ll have to learn together. Learn well, and have grace for each other when it’s not how you would do it.

#14 – A great marriage consists of great perspective. If you’re not seeing eye to eye, try changing perspectives. You’ll be surprised what you might see. 

#15 – A great marriage consists of two people who work together to make a good home.

#16 – If you want a marriage that lasts, you’ve got to be faithful. This doesn’t mean that infidelity always leads to divorce, but WOW, it does mean unfaithfulness sure makes the journey together (and the restoration) all that more difficult.

#17 – A great marriage consists of two people working hard to savor the moments and appreciate the little things that make their spouse who he/she is.

#18 – Your confidence in who you are and who your spouse is can make or break a good marriage. You’ve got to love yourself before you can truly love someone else, and you’ve got to believe in your spouse before you can begin to truly see who he/she is.

#19 – A great marriage consists of loving the past for what it is, having hope for what the future brings and living fully right here in the present.

#20 – A great marriage doesn’t consist of two perfect people making a perfect life together. A great marriage consists of two imperfect people living an imperfect life, while serving a perfect God who draws out a perfected love for Him, and in turn, creates a daily perfecting love for each other.

I am so thankful for my husband, this wonderful man God gave me to marry 20 years ago. I love him more with each new day, and I am more amazed with each passing year just how much I don’t deserve this blessing I’ve been given! He is my love, my best friend, my confidante, and my cheerleader. He protects me, and he encourages me to be more than I thought I could be. I could go on and on about my love for him, but I will stope here and simply say, I could not imagine asking for more! ❤

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Man-Child

Our son shared a devotion during his youth service last night, and someone snapped a photo and sent it to me.  

 At first glance, I was in shock, in tears and in awe of who I saw. It was as if he had grown up overnight, or maybe just in the hour and half since I dropped him off. How does this happen??

They are so tiny when they’re born, so helpless, so dependent on everything we do for them. We survive the endless midnight feedings and sleepless restings, only to enter the toddler years, when they seem heck-bent in killing themselves in one fashion or another! 

  
Then, it’s school days and taxi driving to every event and sports practice known to mankind. This is soon followed by the absence of mind and hearing through the teenage years, and we wonder some days how we could have given birth to such a creature. These days of challenge and adventure are continued as those, once tiny dependents, start testing their abilities and spreading their wings. They push for their independence, and we seriously wonder how our hearts will handle the empty nests once they’ve flown. 

Yet, there comes a moment after the night of events, when you’re watching his smile and hear the excitement in his voice, and you realize you wouldn’t want him any other way. You know within your heart you never want to hinder him or hold him back from his dreams. You see that the once little boy may no longer be in those days of youth, but you realize, as he wraps his arms around you and says, “I love you, Mom” that your man-child has grown past the point of no return, and you long for him to spread his wings and fly to the highest heights and let nothing hinder his dreams and aspirations. 

Happy Father’s Day

*Lengthy post alert (just a little 😉)*

Father’s Day invokes so many thoughts, feelings and emotions for so many. To look through social media lately, you’d think every woman is “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and most men are “Dad’s Best Bud;” yet, for many, like myself, Father’s Day is filled with a pure mixture of emotions.


You see, as a small child, I hardly ever saw my biological Dad. He was an alcoholic, worked as a merchant marine and was off to sea more often than he was at home. His father wasn’t really present in his life, and he didn’t know how to be present in mine. Sure, he promised to call, promised to come, and I’d watch and wait for hours.  At four years old, I’d even have my bags packed by the door, waiting for hours on end, only to realize, in the moments of crying myself to sleep, that he wasn’t coming, once again. I do have a few fond memories of him from my younger years, and I still hold those tightly in the treasure chest of my mind, but I don’t call him Daddy anymore. As an adult, some things have changed, and we have slowly begun a new relationship, but those days of “Daddy’s little girl” have faded; for some things are simply lost over time and just can’t be regained. The emotions found here are disappointment, forgiveness and resolution.

There was another man in my life with whom “Daddy’s little girl” took on a totally different meaning… My grandfather, or as I affectionately called him, Pa”T,” stepped into my life and became the daddy I never had and of whom I’d always dreamed. He was bigger than life, purely a man’s man, rough and tough as leather but tender as a rose petal when it came to me. He treated me as a jewel and loved me with a fierce, protective love. I grew up learning what true love in a marriage should look like, what kind of man to look for in a lifetime partner and how that man should treat me through the years. In 2002, I had to say goodbye to my Pa”T, and my life was forever changed. The emotions found there are admiration, devotion and respect.  

Steve came into my life when I was at the young age of twelve. He married my mom and tried to become the father figure I had never had and the dad he had never known to be. He taught me so many things over the years. He taught me a love for the Smoky Mountains and an appreciation for God’s creatures and all of His creation. He learned to listen to my teenage chatter and helped me to see beyond my selfish adolescence to the beautiful scenery of God.  He taught me kindness and patience, but most of all, he taught me about the miracle love a father can have for a child who is not biologically his. He became the earthly father I needed who would, one day, give me away to my lifetime love. The emotions found here are appreciation, recognition and acceptance.  

Not to overly extend this little list, but I’d like to add another, if I may…my father-in-law. I guess, there are some who wouldn’t really want an “in-law” on their dad list, but I choose to, because what he has brought into my life, few other men have. He has taught me a spiritual wisdom far beyond his years, a sense of authority and confidence in God which conquers fears and intimidation, and a love for his children that surpasses personality differences, life changes and even direct conflicts. The emotions I have found here are encouragement, fortitude and honor.

 On this Father’s Day, all of these men and all of these emotions turn me to the one father figure who has been present throughout my life and even before I took my first breath. He has been here before the beginning of time, and He will remain beyond the time frame of my understanding. He is the Author and Finisher of every life ever known to be, and He is the picture of pefection. He is the best Daddy that could ever be hoped for or even imagined. He is God. He sees our faults and our failures, and He still loves us! He knew us before we were born, and He makes great plans for our future. He thinks of us as His precious creations, and He longs to have strong, unmovable relationships wth us. He redeems us from our sins, and He’s promised to come back for us again one day. I’d have to say, He thinks we’re pretty special! The emotions I find when thinking of Him are so many of these I’ve already mentioned all wrapped up in awe and wonder for who He is, who I am not, and how He could love me so much!

I have found that no matter the emotions I may uncover for the earthly fathers I have, my Heavenly Father is beyond amazing and beyond my comprehension. He is worthy of all my praise and all my adoration, and with Him guiding me through this life, He is the only Father I need for all the hopes, pains and dreams I may encounter. He is all I need.

No matter the emotions this day may bring to you, remember, you have a Heavenly Father who loves you and longs for you to come to know Him. Just talk to Him, spend time with Him, and you’ll soon find out what being a real daddy is all about.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there. I say thank you to the ones who have played such an important part in my life, and I say an extra, great big thanks to the One who has taken the most vital role of all. He holds my hopes, my dreams and my very life within His hands…My heart just stands in awe. ❤️