I had to include this photo from our wedding. We're doing the "Civil War Era" pose where everyone looks off into the distance in different directions! (The groom-to-be for this weekend is on the far left.)
Tomorrow we're leaving for Charlottesville, VA, for the wedding of some good friends of ours. I'm so excited for them! Weddings are such a beautiful celebration of love and these two are just perfect for each other.
Since the anniversary of our own December wedding (unbelievably, it's already been two years) is creeping up on us, it's gotten me thinking about my own marriage. How we've grown in the past two years and how we've been growing in the seven years since I first laid eyes on the man I would marry.
We all have a different story and God teaches us so much through the particular paths He asks us to follow. I like to think that our relationship has been like a quietly simmering winter stew, slow to cook but developing the richest of flavors as the hours tick by. It requires patience and strength because this stew needs time. The beauty of it is in the way it changes and deepens and transforms into something incredibly delicious and satisfying if you only have the willpower to wait.
In the seven years I have known my husband, in the almost-24 months we've been married, we've only lived in the same house for about 13 months. And on top of those 13 months, there were only a few additional months where we lived in the same place--two semesters when we were in college together, and one summer we overlapped in New York. The rest of those many months, which spilled into years, we loved from afar, we grew in fortitude and endurance, we spent hundreds of hours on the phone, and we learned what trust and faith really mean--believing without seeing, relying on more than our own insights, letting go of our pride. It wasn't easy.
But I believe this has been the path God set for us. Some couples meet, get engaged a year later, get married a year after that, and have their first baby a year after that. This is beautiful and wonderful and these couples are so very blessed. Maybe if I had met my husband when I was 25, this would have been our story too.
But God brought him into my life when I was only 18. He wanted me to grow up alongside this man. He wanted him to be there with me when I graduated from college, when I got my first apartment by myself in the city, when I passed my audition into grad school. He wanted us to visit 16 states together before we were even engaged--a side effect of having to travel all over the country just to see each other for a weekend. He wanted us to face the trials of being apart while experiencing the gift of true and lasting love. He gave us the opportunity to grow in circumstances that could have broken us. We could have given up, but we didn't. Now, with my husband at my side, I'm sure I can face just about anything.
Waiting. This has been such a central theme for us. It's amazing, and a little funny even, just how much waiting we've had to do. Let me tell you, we've become experts at it. That's not to say that it's now easy for us. We're in the midst of waiting and hoping for some really big changes to happen in our lives, and at times the waiting feels unbearable.
But years of waiting have taught me--it is bearable. It is always bearable, but only through the grace of God. Only through the awesome power of prayer. Only by leaning on my husband and not putting up walls around my heart. It is bearable because "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." It is bearable because this is God's path for us. He knows best.
And you know what? The most difficult periods of waiting, without fail, have always opened up into the most beautiful seasons of my life. He teaches us and loves us like crazy in our most trying moments, if we only let Him in.
A different sort of waiting...this is right before we walked into our reception as husband and wife!