As summer came to an end and graduation was over, Mike asked me to marry him. Just a few short weeks had passed since we met. I, of course, said yes.
The adventure began that summer and as I sit here typing some 18 years later, I still think that “it is just beginning, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Love’s Story so far has been a beautiful one because I know the author. I know the story is just going to keep getting better. I do have my regrets, I must admit. If I had been in charge of this story, if I had been the one to write the script, I would have met Mike in kindergarten. My valentines would have been given to him. I would have run the relay race with him. It would have been him that I would share my chocolate milk with. When I got my new grey leg warmers I would have wanted him to notice. In the 7th grade when I insisted on having bangs (not listening to anyone that naturally curly hair and bangs just don’t work), he would have told me they looked fine. It would have been him that I sat next to struggling in geometry. I missed all those days with him, and I wish I could have them.
I know the Lord’s plan is a perfect one, so those are fleeting thoughts that rarely are given any time. Instead, the thought of him, the daily grind, the working side by side, the thick, the thin, the sickness, the walks, the disappointments, the cups of coffee, the babies, the victories, the joys, the sorrows—these are the things that fill my mind. We have done them all together. We have walked this ground for over 18 years together and a love that is never ending is what binds his soul to mine.
This is an excerpt from something I wrote a year ago for Mike and our boys. I didn’t want the details of how our family began to be lost or forgotten. I want the boys to hold on to these details and pass them down to their future children. I want their marriages and families to be an extension of what they have seen in our family.
Mike and I met through our church. I was home for a break during my senior year of college. Mike was working in the area and had planned a sailing trip for some of the college students from church. My good friend Wendy had been invited, and so she called me and asked me if I wanted to come. This church is where Mike and I were both baptized, both discipled, both learned to serve, and both sent out as missionaries. It is the church that, still today, loves us and cares for us.
I know not everyone meets and “just knows we were meant to be together” like we did. Our story is better than any book I have read or any movie I have ever seen. I don’t give Mike all the credit for that, and I certainly can’t take any of the credit. God orchestrated our meeting, the timing, and He gave me something that exceeded what I had expected.
When I realized I was going to marry Mike, things seemed to fall into place. I wrote,
In the days to come I thought of my past like a flood of movie clips, places, experiences, moving boxes, maps—all of them led to this point in history. All of them led me to Mike; they were all for a purpose and they were all building blocks. Swept up by a whirlwind of what I thought I had planned so carefully, I landed in a place I never expected.
Writing about Mike and our marriage is easy for me. Not that I am thinking to myself that either one is perfect or that I have everything figured out about them. However, I really appreciate the way Mike views life in regard to the Bible, how fresh and simple Scripture sounds being taught by him. He makes faith seem like an obvious response to life’s circumstances and it challenges me. He is the balance to my emotion and he is the calm to my “worst case scenario” mindset. He tells me every day that I am beautiful to him. He is an example of how Jesus loves the church and protects her.
He certainly makes loving him easy, but marriage is a choice. It is a choice to serve. It is a choice to love. It is a choice to forgive. It is a choice to give and receive. It is a choice to sacrifice. It is a choice to be stretched. It is a choice to trust. I don’t always make the right choice and neither does he. No one is perfect, and no marriage is perfect. Marriage isn’t about us being perfect; it is about trusting a perfect God. It’s trusting a perfect God to sustain us and our covenant with one another and our covenant with Him. Making those choices bring us joy in our relationships, in our marriage, and in our family, but ultimately they are for God’s glory.
Nineteen years of marriage have come and gone, and I am trusting the Lord will give us many more years together as we continue to live, love, and serve Him together.
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