On August 14, 1993 at 1:00 p.m., church bells chimed in a rural Pennsylvania church. As they ceased, there was a holy pause, then doors swung open to reveal a bride ready to be walked down the aisle to her groom. That bride was me, and I remember being happy. I remember being certain. And I remember feeling immense gratitude to God for you.
Today we turn 23.
Happy Anniversary, dear husband.
You and I both know the miracle we are.
Today I celebrate you.
As my gift, I am giving you this post as a public proclamation of my continued commitment to you and our marriage. Included here today is a list of what I am thankful for, a list of your gifts to me I have loved most, and instructions for where to find your anniversary gift.
Things about our marriage I am most thankful for…
- Our children. Without you, I wouldn’t have them. Wouldn’t trade them.
- Our stepchildren. Without you, I wouldn’t have them, or our grandchildren. Wouldn’t trade them.
- The adoptions we have been involved in besides for our son. Each of those children, and the families to whom they now belong, are incredibly important to me. You share that with me. We do that together.
- You let me love Jesus. You let Him be my first love. Letting me do that means you get loved better. Smart move. 😉
- Autonomy. You do not hover over me and check everything I do. You trust me and I have a lot of freedom about how I live my life.
- You let me write a book and you still let me still run Oaks Ministries even though I have only been paid once for speaking and my book hasn’t been a best seller. May Jesus reward you in heaven when you see the results of letting me serve God even in such underground ways. You will see Kingdom grandeur. You watch. I am trusting Him for it!
- You accommodate my job life. I don’t make a lot of money but you support whatever schedule I have each semester without question. And I appreciate when you say, “Thanks for working so hard.”
- Letting church attendance be a priority in my life and our children’s lives.
- The hours you work to provide for this family. Thank you for every dollar that has been deposited into our account. You give it all to the family. You spend nothing on yourself, even apologizing for buying work clothes. So unselfish with your dollars.
- You are the best cook in the world. I like no one’s cooking more than yours (sorry mom). How you enter a kitchen with no food in it and serve up a delicious meal 30 minutes later is beyond me. It’s simple fare, but delectable. Yum.
- Those sick years. Those really, really sick years. You never left my side or complained. (I thank God for the healthy years that have followed. A miracle.)
- Every night — through thick and thin, through richer or poorer, through sickness and health — you have kept coming home to me. I cannot thank you enough for that stability…for me and our children.
Gifts you have given me that I have most appreciated…
- Ireland. I will never, ever be able to thank you enough for letting me take my parents to Ireland so my dad could visit the home his great-great-grandfather helped build before coming to America in 1850 with a note in his pocket. This of course only narrowly edges out the prior trip to Ireland where both of us found the part of the globe from where our families both originated.
- My wedding bands. Our marriage started with me not thinking I needed a wedding band, so I didn’t get one. Then it bothered me that people couldn’t tell I was married so I changed my mind. You then had a band custom-made to fit my engagement ring and gave it to me on our first Christmas. After all that, you didn’t get mad at me when just a few months later I changed my mind again and asked for a completely new wedding band to wear alone in place of my beautiful diamond-band set. Thankfully, the third idea was the charm and I have worn that wedding band ever since. The diamond was too glitzy for me. Thanks for rolling with all of that. I still love my wedding band with the initials of our seven children inside.
- My cuff bracelet. Like my wedding band, it is constantly worn. Like my wedding band, it has the initials of our seven children inside.
- The telephoto lenses on my camera. Still using the ones you bought in 1997 and I love them. They changed my photography life.
- A proper washer and dryer. A new set changed my life. Big enough to actually put a dent in the laundry pile. Powerful enough to actually dry in one cycle. Go figure!
- A GPS. I didn’t even ask and you got me one. Changed my life to know I could always find my way home.
- My hair. The pictures in this blog reveal some hair colors that you have tolerated quite well. Thank you. I don’t feel pretty unless I like my hair and you have never ONCE griped about the only thing I really spend money on.
- I never felt pretty my whole life. Never liked my textured hair, my crooked teeth or my glasses. You not only let me maintain fun hair, you gave me Lasik and braces in my early 40’s. These gifts were invaluable. Thank you, thank you, thank you for each time I have looked in the mirror since and felt like my outward appearance reflected who I am on the inside too. Priceless.
Your anniversary gift…
Last year I had to buy you an alternate wedding band for work so you wouldn’t wreck your original gold band with inset diamonds. In addition to the new band, I had your original band repaired.
You then lost the original band…or was it me that lost it? It’s been a mystery. Either way, the band I put on your finger 23 years ago today has been missing for a few months.
I found it in the lap drawer of my desk. (So that probably means I lost your wedding band?)
Go get your wedding band, honey. Bring it to me, and let me put it on your finger again with the same happiness, certainty and gratitude I had on our wedding day in 1993.
Thanks for marrying me.
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