Today, Jason and I celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. To some, this may seem like a long time; to others we know, this was long ago in their marriage. This is us after 22 years.
To me, marriage is an ongoing work of art. I am not artistic at all, but our oldest daughter Autumn is. From what I have learned from her, and the second kitchen that she has taken over as her art space in our basement, is that art can be (very) messy, yet amazingly beautiful. it is on ongoing process that can take many different tangents all at the same time and is always changing. Isn’t this what marriage is too? At least it is for us. A lot of the time our marriage is beautiful; there are special times when it is amazingly beautiful, many times it is messy, and it takes us on crazy and exciting tangents we had never dreamed of. Our marriage is ever changing and growing.
22 years of marriage and 26 years of being together as a couple mean Jason and I have spent more than half of our lives together. We have truly grown up together. When we got married at 21 and 22 years old, we were naïve and knew very little about adulthood. A few people criticized us for getting married so young. Thankfully, many people supported us. We were both in college and I can honestly say we sometimes felt like we were playing house. Funny, but true. That being said, we have navigated adulthood together. We have learned to grow and love together. We have been through much of the usual stuff that most couples go through: job changes, house moves, family issues, health issues, etc. We have also worked through seven miscarriages and seven child births together. We have had many laughs and many tears together. From losing babies and losing loved ones, to questioning our career choices and how to pay for all the needs of a family of nine, we have shed many tears. These tears and fears will never be forgotten but are over shadowed by the joy we have experienced in our marriage and life together.
Recently, things became more real than ever in our lives. With a potential life changing health diagnosis for Jason, we quickly reevaluated our lives and what is most important to us. Please note: Jason’s diagnosis turned out good, but it was very scary for a couple of weeks while we navigated the medical system. We are thankful for the people in our lives that were there to support us and pray for us during this difficult time.
So, what did we discover as we reevaluated? We discovered we have no regrets. We discovered we have a Lord that loves us and holds us close always, but even closer when we are struggling, or maybe that was just us being more open to the Lord’s strength in our lives. We discovered we are strong as individuals but even stronger as a couple and that no matter what may happen to either of us, we will have the strength to persevere and carry out our mission as a couple. We discovered we have raised children that are strong, caring, and responsible individuals but when they work together, they can accomplish anything. We discovered that no matter what cross we are called to bear, we will do it together and carry the cross for each other when one of us is weak.
We also discovered that our life together has been filled with joy and blessings that are unmeasurable. We spent an evening reminiscing, with our oldest four children, about our high school days. Things we had not talked about in a long time. Some things we maybe wished we would not have shared yet with our kids, but none-the-less, memories that we needed to revisit, memories that truly helped to form who we are today. Memories of what brought Jason and I together 26 years ago.
Of course, with seven children, our lives have carried us on many tangents that we honestly had never really thought about. Talk about realizing that your plan is not always the same plan God has for you! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be a dance mom; now we have three girls in competitive dance and I wouldn’t change the long competition days and drives for anything. From athletics, to hospital stays, to camps and late nights with friends over, our kids have probably taken us on some of the wildest tangents. This is us.
Then enters moving to the farm. Again, a tangent I never expected to take. As two city kids when we got married, both on a career track, I never expected to be living on a farm with several different species of animals, but here we are. This is us. People who knew me years ago, may be surprised, or not, at the way my life has changed in the past four years. This is where God’s plan has taken us. We — Jason and I — are in this life, this thing called marriage together. We know God blessed us with our farm for a reason. We know that angels have come into our lives to help us through this journey, for a reason. We know God has plans, much bigger than our own and he is calling us to follow.
Isn’t this what marriage is all about? Working as a partnership in whatever you do? Jason and I are 100% partners is Harvest Hope Farm but we are also 100% partners in life. We love and laugh and experience so much joy together and with our children, but we also carry each other in times of need and weakness.
Today, we will celebrate us. We will celebrate God’s plan in our lives and how we, together, can carry out this plan. We will celebrate the miracles we have experienced and the blessings we have been given. This is us.