“You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11

22 years of marriage

My husband, John, and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this weekend.  Where did that time go?  Last time I checked, I was in my 20’s and…. well, now I guess I’m not.    I spent a lot of time this week thinking about some of the things we have experienced together over the years.  I thought I’d share a few things here.

John and I met during college at breakfast one day with the BSU (Baptist Student Union).  I was late (he should have known then….just saying…)   and he couldn’t quit staring.  We only went on one official date, but we were good friends and spent a lot of time together.  (I’m not exactly sure what we were thinking when we got married 2 years later, but somehow our parents agreed and it turned out great.)

During that time, we have had 7 pregnancies, resulting in our 5 biological children we’re raising and 3 babies who died.  We’ve also adopted twice.  Two amazing little boys with Down syndrome.  Each pregnancy was unique and brought its own complications.  I was hospitalized quite a bit and we had various medical concerns.  2 of our children had chromosomal abnormalities–Trisomy 13 for our son and Trisomy 21 for our daughter.  I even had Lupus during one pregnancy, but have never had problems with it since that pregnancy.  Walking through all of that together has been amazing.  Just thinking back through all of the memories and tears—both of sadness and of joy– brings a big smile to my face.  We’ve been side-by-side through it all.  I can’t imagine walking through it with anyone else.

Of course, we’ve faced other situations together as well.  We’ve both been there for each other as we lost our mothers.  John’s mom during our last year of seminary and mine 2 years ago to breast cancer.  John even got to help preach my mom’s funeral.  He probably didn’t imagine that on our wedding day.

We’ve lived in 4 states and 4 countries together.  We’ve ran through airports trying to catch flights with 5 of our children in tow many times.  That’s just a normal part of life for them.  We’ve sat side-by-side through language school twice.  6 or 7 hours a day for 9 months in Brazil, then 4 hours a day for 4 months in Costa Rica.  Then we barefooted an indigenous language.  Nothing like a little language competition to keep your marriage on its toes.

We’ve weathered the storms of transition and stress many times.  John has been amazing as we’ve moved around the world.  He always stays calm and doesn’t let it show when things bother him.  If I’m a little stressed (Of course, we know that never happens, right?)   he just takes it all in stride and has 1,000% faith in God that He will guide us and make it all work out.  He has been my rock through all of the transition and uncertainty.  What a blessing he has been.

You can imagine how it must have felt to see my husband come home after being away for a week and to realize that he looked much thinner and sick.  He then lost 30 pounds over the next 3 weeks and could not stop bleeding.  We were able to get him treated and lived with him being sick and on meds for over a year.  It finally got to be too much and he had to have a more permanent solution.  We moved back to the States and he had his entire large intestine removed several months later.  I was by his side as he adjusted to life with an ileostomy for 2 months and then again as that was reversed and he adjusted to the “new normal”.  I cared for him when he was unable to do so himself.  We knew we were in this together and we would make the best of it no matter what.  It didn’t phase me a bit.  I had put myself through college by working as a nursing assistant before we were married. I actually enjoy that kind of stuff.  That was good because he surely didn’t.  I guess we each have a way of keeping each other grounded.

We’ve had 2 cars stolen.  On one of those occasions, John was shot at from 6 feet away.  As the thief got into our car, he held the gun to the windshield and aimed right at John’s head as he drove off.  It just grazed his temple and God spared him.  (Of course, you’ll have to ask John to tell the story about the car seat and hamburger conversation as the car was being stolen.  I probably would have aimed at him too.  Ha!) This took place a few hours before we moved from language school to the big city of Sao Paulo.  No stress or anything…..It was a great time to be shot at and robbed.  Seriously though, John was calm and it didn’t phase him a bit.  He just went to the police station and then began to share Jesus with people he met while he was there.

Another amazing memory I will always have is flying to New York City twice for placement day of new babies we were adopting.  I can’t begin to explain the feelings as we sat in the room waiting for another set of parents to walk in, meet us, and eventually place their son into our arms.  Twice.  John was amazing as he’s such a people person and we just chatted with them for a hours like we had always known them.  What a great thing to experience together.  Then flying home with those new little babies and looking at each other and giggling,  “What in the world did we just do?”  I wouldn’ t trade it for anything!  He’s such a good daddy and loves our children so much!  He even opens our home to one of our sons’ birth family to come stay with us and he makes sure we talk to them regularly and send photos and such.

We’ve had so many adventures together through the years.  It has been wonderful.  It really is hard to believe that 22 years have already come and gone.  I can only imagine what the next 22 will have in store!  I love you, John, and am so thankful that God chose you to be my husband!  I can’t wait to spend the next 22 years together!  I know it will be an adventure as we are side-by-side serving God together!  I can’t imagine what God will have us do next and what He has in store for our future!  I know that it will be exciting and probably out of the ordinary, no matter what it is.  :) You truly have been my biggest blessing in life and I thank God for you!  I love you!



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