The Rest of the Story.

I remember how happy I was to turn thirty. All of my friends were dreading turning thirty, but I was thrilled to finally be a grown up. I’ve been married 10 years today. Now I’m really grown. I know some of you that read my blog have been married 40 years and you’re laughing. Or maybe you remember the accomplishment of those first 10 years.

 

We did it.

One decade. Four children. Five moves. Three dogs. Two cats. One fish and an ant farm.

Has it really been that long? I can’t believe it. But at the same time, I really don’t remember life before. We went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary and we both kept saying, “How did we get four kids? (insert joke here and get it off your chest) Ten years? Really?”  It’s unbelievable how things have changed in those ten years. Josh posted our love story on our mission team blog, but this is the rest of the story…

We got married the weekend after graduating from William Carey College and immediately moved to Nashville. In fact, Josh had already moved all of our furniture into an apartment there. He was doing an internship at West End Community Church and I was looking for a teaching  job.

So we got back from our honeymoon, loaded up the car and waved goodbye to my parents. I actually remember turning on the radio while driving down the driveway and the song, “Leaving on a Jetplane” came on the radio and I sobbed like a baby. It was really major moving that far away from my parents. I look back on it now as such a blessing because every time we got into a fight that first year, I couldn’t just run home. The furthest I could go was to sit in the parking lot of the gas station at the end of our street. I did.

The first month we were in our apartment, the apartment just above us flooded and we had to move. I remember walking in the door and being hit in the face with water. We had left our ceiling fan on that day and water was seeping down from the fan and the fan was flinging it all over the room. There had been so much water leaking from the ceiling while we were gone that my feet sloshed in the carpet. This is so funny now, but I actually ran through the apartment and flung myself on the bed and cried. Yep, I wasn’t a grown up then.

So, we had to move to another apartment in the same complex, but they upgraded us to a townhouse, which was great. It was on a street called Mountain Valley Drive.

We had a really fun first 2 years in Nashville. We played a lot! We went out to eat and went to hear live music and were basically completely irresponsible.  We didn’t save a dime even though we could have. We got a puppy and then immediately gave her to my parents because we couldn’t handle a puppy. Puppies seemed so hard then. Four kids later, puppies are not hard. My parents still have that dog. I’m really glad we just had fun those first two years because life was about to get hard.

We left Nashville and moved to Louisville, Kentucky where Josh was going to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I actually got choked up just typing that sentence. That year is clouded in thick darkness to me. I experienced the single greatest loss of my life while living there.

We became Presbyterian while we were at the Baptist seminary (but that’s another story), so we moved to Jackson so Josh could go to Reformed Theological Seminary. By God’s goodness and grace, Jackson is only two hours away from my parents. We needed them.

We had barely unloaded the truck at RTS when we were very shocked to find out that I was pregnant with our first baby, Anne Elise. Providential. God sent that sweet girl to all of us. I was able to teach one year and then she entered the world and nothing has been the same since.

Josh and I were committed to me staying home with her, which was pretty difficult when he was in school full time. I think that first year our entire income was $18,000. We were praying about what I could do from home that would take some of the financial strain off of Josh.

This part of the story is for all of my Madison Heights peeps. It was 2005. I was sitting outside swinging the baby with some other seminary moms when I overheard a conversation between two friends of mine. They were saying that there was going to be a new church plant in Madison and they were looking for someone to do the children’s ministry. They were willing to hire a stay at home mom. My first thought was, “They’re looking for me!”

So, I picked up the phone and called Hunter, the pastor, and asked him if we could meet and the rest unfolded into Josh eventually being hired as the assistant pastor. We moved to Madison immediately after Josh graduated and have been there since. While at Madison Heights, we’ve had three more children and said yes to a call to the mission field. Anne Elise was 8 months old when I took the children’s ministry position.

So, back to being married for 10 years…

“You give yourself to it day after day in a lifelong Yes. Having said Yes to the man who asked you to marry him, you go on saying Yes to marriage.”

I don’t know who said this, but it’s so true. You have to continue to say yes to marriage. Just like you continue to take up your cross daily. It’s a relationship that requires consistent care and sacrifice. Consistent care and sacrifice. It isn’t easy. It’s war. Just like parenting. Just like living the Christian life.

I’ve mentioned before that mothering and marriage have been the most sanctifying things in my life. It’s such a blessing to be sanctified. But it hurts. Bad. Elisabeth Elliot said, “Let’s settle it forever – if a Christian life requires sacrifice, a Christian marriage requires sacrifice, the laying down of your life for the other, which is the central principle of Christianity.” The central principle of Christianity…

The central principle of Christianity is mirrored in marriage. Laying down your life.

We have to get that. Marriage requires a laying down of your life. It requires sacrifice. This is the central principle of Christianity. Why do we think it should be easy? Every good thing in life requires sacrifice. My marriage is so worth it to me!

Josh, I can honestly say that I love you more today than ever. More than the day I said yes – I didn’t know what love and sacrifice meant then. I look forward to the next 10 years of life with you, Lord willing. Thank you for loving me and sacrificing for us. I say YES!

Sorry for the mushy ending. You just gotta do stuff like that on your tenth anniversary!

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