When I walked in the front doors of Whitworth College as a freshman, the dorm president (a junior) was there to greet me. He was sitting on an inflatable chair, with a crown on his head, and a boisterous voice that could be heard down the halls. He commended me on my firm handshake. To this day he says that he knew I was the one he wanted to marry at that moment. My thought? My thought was, "Sheesh, that guy is REALLY loud."
Soon I added the trait "persistent" to "loud". This passionate, charismatic guy seemed to coincidentally be everywhere I was. A "coffee date" turned into dinner and eight hours of conversation. We won Homecoming King and Queen for an (exceptional) lip synch act at a football game. I was swept up in his zeal. I admired his obvious love for the Lord and people. While I was still deciding if I was falling in love with him, he told me he was going to marry me. I kind of hoped he was right.
I had begun praying for my "future husband" when I was 14 years old. I recorded many of my prayers and as S. was wooing me, they started to make sense. We were engaged 4 months after we met and we married a year and a half after that.
Simultaneously I was determined: praying on my knees, and ready to fight for my marriage regardless of romantic feelings.
Many things have changed in the course of 10 years but my grit and relentless prayers have remained constant.
About the time we got married we read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. His now famous and still profound words were; "What if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? And, what if your relationship isn’t as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?"
We adopted this as our aim thinking, what better than to be holy, close to God, and get to use our companionship as a way to attain it?
At the time we didn't realize that the Lord transforms us into His image through opening our eyes to our own selfishness and sin, through allowing heart break, disappointment in those we are tempted to idolize, and through emptying us of ourselves so He can fill us with Himself. Huh. Not quite the spectacular, romantic, "us against the world" idea that I had... but in God's grace, as we chose to "grow up together" He allowed us to grow into Him, not merely into each other.
In our 10 years together we both graduated with bachelor's degrees. We've owned 3 houses but lived in 6 places (7 if you count the trailer in my parent's driveway one summer.) We've moved even more because we vacated one house for 9 months after it was hit by a car and our property flooded. One house never sold (by the grace of God!) so we moved back to it.
S. loves to make statements with his vehicles... and isn’t partial to cars that run. This has also made for some interesting 'adventures' for us.
9 yrs. of adventures have been in doing ministry together. Not only have we remodeled homes and moved numerous times, but we have remodeled youth rooms and moved facilities annually.
We've poured out our lives into students and passionate leaders.
I could fill a book with what the Lord has allowed us to be part of; lives transformed, miracles, families restored, hundreds of people baptized. We've spoken at student's funerals and officiated their weddings. We have sat in the mud through heartbreaks and thrown parties to celebrate breakthroughs. (Oh...and we've spent a ridiculous amount of money on CDs to give away, fireworks, T.P., and other things that youth ministry requires). We've had the joy of hiring people and the pain of having to fire people.
We've had 6 people (other than our children) live with us at various times. We've journeyed through a dad in prison, through celiac disease and debilitating anxiety. We’ve put on events, concerts, and worked jobs from bartending, to berries, to photography and d.j.ing. Countless times we have watched God provide financially for our needs.
5 1/2 years ago we had a little baby girl.
17 months later we had a baby boy.
22 months after that came our third baby, a second boy.
At our wedding ceremony my mom sang, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”. I vowed, “Whither thou goest, I will go. Whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and thy God, my God.”
Although I was oblivious to what that would look like, I knew the Lord would go before me. I knew He would give me the power to honor my commitment and hopefully the grace to enjoy the process.
Now at the 10 yr. mark I can say I am oblivious to what the next 10 years will hold. But I am confident that the Lord will go before me. He will give me the power to honor my commitments and hopefully the grace to enjoy the process. Christ is the Solid Rock that I stand on.
So Sean Taylor, my love, “Whither thou goest, I will go. Whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. They people shall be my people and thy God, my God.”
Now I know enough to sit down, buckle up, and brace myself for the ride. Happy Anniversary.