Monday, December 21, 2015

FOR THE NEXT FIFTEEN {to my Joey}


Yesterday was a BIG day! I wanted to savor every minute of it, and I did. (Which is why I'm writing this TODAY!) It was a beautiful Sunday before Christmas. Gospel turned 7 AND we celebrated FIFTEEN YEARS of marriage. I can hardly believe that I get to do life with you. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't ponder how thankful I am that God chose YOU to be MINE. I see Christ DAILY in & through your life. Through the way you seek hard after Jesus, the way your eyes twinkle and joy seems to break forth when you look at me, the way you treasure me, the way you light up when our kids bring you hand-crafted Lego creatures & carefully thought out notes of love and admiration, & through the way you parent our precious ones. I see Jesus in the way you give mercy and grace to the people you encounter, in how you listen to and love others, & in the ways you continually sacrifice yourself. I also see Jesus so evidently in the redemption I have seen played out BEAUTIFULLY in our midst over the last 15 years. 

When we met we were lost, broken and living our lives in darkness. It didn't seem to matter to either of us that we were individually hell bent on destruction. In one evening our lives were FOREVER changed. The day our eyes met in that bar on Third Street will be a day that God marked for HIS Kingdom and HIS purposes. It's hard to believe that we were those people. The ways in which God has redeemed our lives are more than I could ever quantify with words. I won't even attempt it.  I think back to those days and find myself unable to believe that was us. That we've made it this far. If you would've told me all of those years ago that we would have EIGHT incredible children, that our lives would be lives lived for others first, that we would have deep friendship and that our faith and submission (to whatever CRAZY thing God asks of us) would produce the type of love, compassion and grit that oozes from the depths of us, I wouldn't have believed it. I am humbled. I am grateful.

As I look to the future I have some prayers, hopes and dreams for the next fifteen. Here are a few......

I pray that the next fifteen would be filled with an even deeper love. I pray that the love we have for Jesus, for each other, for our children and for the world around us would grow roots so deep that nothing that comes against us would be able to hinder it. I pray that our love would be evident in the way that we parent, do marriage, do friendship, do everything. I pray that our love would penetrate evil and that it would light up even the darkest of days. 

I pray that in the next fifteen our faith would cause us to do even crazier things. I pray that we wouldn't ever become complacent. My hope is that our faith would be so loud (without words) that we would have lasting impact everywhere we walk. I pray that we would be bold in our decisions and the way we lead our family. My hope is that the faith we share individually and as a couple would be used in the Kingdom in ways we can't even begin to fathom. I pray that we would be brave. That as the world continues to spiral into the depths of despair that we would be a lighthouse. My hope is that we would live lives that are about others and not ourselves. I pray that we would have our eyes fixed on Jesus and that we would remain faithful to him and to each other.

I pray the next fifteen are filled with abundant peace & joy. My heartfelt hope is that no matter what the years will bring, we will be filled with joy, hope & peace as we navigate the storms of life. I pray that we will be a family that holds fast and holds furious. I pray that we would be bound together with ties that cannot be broken by ANYTHING.

For the next fifteen I look forward to more....
SNUGGLING, LOVING, KINDNESS, SANCTIFYING, GIVING, BELIEVING, HOPING, TRUSTING, STEPPING-OUT BOLDLY, HUGGING, KISSING, DANCING, WORSHIPING, HAND-HOLDING, SINGING OUT LOUD, BOLD PRAYERS and BOLD MOVES, GRACE AND MERCY, FORGIVENESS and UNDERSTANDING, DATE NIGHTS and LOVE-MAKING ( I know that you love that I added that one in there!).......

Most of all.....

I pray for fifteen more with YOU.......

Joey, I love you more than I could ever begin to express with words on a page. I am humbled to call you my husband and I am filled with tears when I think of the many ways you enrich my life. You teach me daily, you forgive me frequently, you inspire me to be more and more like Jesus, you model Christ to me in ways that I will never be able to thank you enough for. I pray that I would be even a fraction of the wife that you deserve and are worth. I pray that I would never stop striving to be your better half and that I would make you happy every day for the next fifteen and forever.

I love you...TONS OF BILLIONS OF INFINITIES. 

Thank you for being my better half.