This post is for my husband:
I have this photo of the speed limit sign because it symbolizes a good memory in our family. When my oldest son, Elijah, was toddler we were out driving and he saw the speed limit sign and said "oh two~ty~five." But it also represents the number 25. Tomorrow we will celebrate being together for a quarter of a century as husband and wife. This is longer then we were apart before we met.
We don't have the typical love story. We met and got engaged on a whirlwind. Eighteen days after we met we were engaged and 2 months later we had vowed to love each other until death did us part. It started out more like I want to kill you!
We were in no way prepared for this commitment. We were two broken kids looking for the other to fill up our deep voids in our life. To be blunt our first three years of marriage were filled with horrible fights and ignorant misconstrued views and impossible expectations. It was Hell on earth to put it nicely.
Somehow God put good people and lessons in our life that taught us how to get along. How to not hate each other. To in fact become friends and best friends at that. Still progress is slow isn't it at times? Some hurts are so deep it requires surgery to heal. And when something doesn't heal it can get infected and infection can wreak such havoc.
For a very long time both of us were being consumed with nasty infections of the heart. Eric battled sexual addiction to medicate pain in his life. This was like bacteria to my heart infection of not trusting. I know in my husbands life he had heart wounds from before he even met me and bad habits were in place before we even were together. For me I never felt like I was anything special. This led to sooooo many years of desperation to find something or someone to make me special. I just wanted to be a princess for someone. But because I never was or rather I looked to anything and everything to make me feel this way, other than my heavenly father, lets just say trust issues became my middle name. I didn't trust men. I didn't trust God. It became my job to take care of me and I failed miserably.
All of this brokenness came to a head over the past two years. We moved to Charlotte and I was convinced that being in a great church, that I could trust in that, to fix my husband battles... right? Wrong. I am not saying that there isn't value in going to a great church, there is extreme value in it. It brings you closer to Jesus but it is not a substitute for Jesus. I hope that makes sense. I am pretty sure if we had not been in a great church that we would have disintegrated into complete family destruction.
We had to come to the point where the roots of our issues were faced and dealt with head on. Putting a band aid on a bullet wound just wasn't working anymore.
I think most people plan big trips or celebrations to celebrate their 25th but we had to invest in us in order to have a 25th. We actually went away to intense counseling for two weeks. This involved 6-8 hours of counseling a day individually the first week and the same together for the second. God showed up in undeniable ways. We did the hard work of getting down deep to those roots that was the source of our heart infections. I was able to move from bitterness to compassion with Eric in his struggle. One phrase I will never forget is pain seeks pleasure and my husband was in a whole lot of pain. And for me personally I realized I can not go on mistrusting God and trying to take care of myself. I. Am. Not. A. Good. Savior. I am learning to trust him more and more. As Lysa TerKeurst says, "God is good and God is good at being God."
I thank God for helping me re focus on who the real enemy is in my marriage. I thank him for his faithfulness to never leave or forsake two broken kids. I thank him for his grace and mercy and redemption. To give us all those things and help us to give it to each other.
I know this is so untypical for an anniversary post. I guess I look at it as more of a victory post. Eric my love we have been in the trenches together and we are still standing, so to God be the glory. Now may the next two~ty~five years together be such a throat punch to the devil. These two broken vessels will continue to make progress! We will live loved! First and foremost by the lover of our souls and then for each other.
Thank you Eric for not giving up! Thank you for being teachable. It always has been and remains one of your greatest strengths. Thank you for being more than a conqueror with me. Ours has been a messy love but this vessel promises to keep connected to Jesus and to allow his hand to make every mess into a message. Happy Two~ty~five my love and next year let's renew our vows to each other and go swim with some pigs and make more good memories together to add to the speed limit signs of this life we have together!
photo credit: Shot Up via photopin (license)