Friday, November 18, 2011

17 years of grace

I've experienced God's grace in numerous amazing ways in my life. This weekend, I celebrate an extended season of grace beyond anything I could ask or deserve.

On November 20, 1994 my husband and I said "I do" in a little church in Fort Smith that we "borrowed" because at the time we were unchurched. I can't even begin to tell you how much grace has been poured out on our lives. Even before I began walking with the Lord, I saw His hand on our marriage.

For over 6200 days of my life, I have woken up next to a man [ok, technically most days I've woken up after him by a couple of hours, but still ... ] ... next to a man whom I have never doubted, for a single moment, loves me deeply and would willingly "take a bullet" (his words) for me.  Even more significant, he does lay down his life for me in countless demonstrations of sacrificial love all the time.

For over 6200 days of my life, I have heard "I love you." More days than not, I've also heard, "You're beautiful."  

For over 6200 days of my life, I've experienced grace, and I am oh so grateful.

Two years ago I wrote the blog post that I'm reprinting below. Every word is even more true today. We've weathered a few more storms and seen a few more victories since I've written them, but the heart of our marriage has stayed the same. And that's worth celebrating - which is why I'm going "off the grid" for a couple of days to just hang out with my hubby.

I don't know what the future holds. What I do know is that as we celebrate our official 17th anniversary Sunday, I look forward to discovering that future together.

Nov. 19, 2009 post:
Tomorrow, my husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. For us,that represents 15 years of grace. On paper, we shouldn't have made it. We both made mistakes and came to our marriage broken individuals. But over the last 15 years I have learned that grace flows best when it has some nooks and crannies to seep into ... when there are cracks to seal and chipped edges to mend.

I'm not perfect, he's not perfect. But we're perfect for each other. And I am inordinately grateful for the partner God has given me. Our marriage, like any, is unique to us. It might look kooky to the outside, but it works. And the main reason is simply ... grace. Unmerited favor. We got it wrong before we got it right, and we still mess up. But we've learned that God's grace is bigger than that and we've learned to let that grace flow to each other. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

I do love the husband God has given me. I love that he happily brings me hot packs for my neck in the mornings before I wake up, when he's barely awake himself. I love that he seems to spontaneously know the practical outworking of Scripture while I hash it out with my word study books. I love that his gift of faith overflows to every aspect of life. I love that after 15 years of marriage he still thinks of me as his princess. I love that every single day of our marriage I have felt loved and treasured. I love knowing that he will always be the one to check out the weird noises and that he reminds me constantly to be more security conscious.

I love that as much as he treasures and protects me, he doesn't have me in a "doll house". Just as much as he takes care of me, he also respects and supports my dreams and interests. In fact, he encourages me to pursue things beyond what I would even consider knowing that God has bigger things for me than I would envision for myself ... because I am not a risk-taker and have trouble dreaming big! It was on our anniversary 5 years ago that he encouraged me to look for a degree program instead of just some Greek/Hebrew classes ... and here I am on the verge of graduating, thanks to his support. I love that he never gets upset when I forget the coffee I made him or leave the dog out too long because I got distracted studying. I love that when I fall asleep reading he tells me I need to come to bed. I love that he cares about what I was reading and asks me about it the next morning.

I love that he enjoys hearing the details of my work day and sharing the details of his. I love our traditions and our reading together and our constant interaction in each other's lives. I love that he gets excited to talk to the kids and sends me emails with multiple exclamation points about the conversations. I love that he couldn't bear to miss the first day of football with his son in Little Rock and drove down for the day at War Memorial on the spur of the moment. I love knowing that his Pawpaw's heart wants to run to Tulsa everytime one of the grandkids has an event or sheds a tear and I love that sometimes he does it, like the day he dropped everything to attend Cassidy's school function and have lunch with Jesse. I love watching him call around and tell grandkid stories after every visit. I love his pride in the technical skills of his youngest daughter, the servant's heart his son has, and the multitasking talents of his oldest, including her ability to bend people in two at their request (aka personal training).

I love that he always has my best interests at heart. And most of all, I love that this man gets up every morning to spend time with God before he spends time with me. That spiritual leadership has helped me in so many ways.

Our marriage is still a miracle of grace, and I treasure every second.

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