Tomorrow Asia and I celebrate 22 years of marriage.
I was 23 years old, naïve, hard-headed, determined, and pretty sure I knew how life should go.
He was (two days from turning) 27, optimistic, confident and controlled.
We were just a couple of goofy kids.
I look back on those two people and am amazed at how God has used our marriage to mature us and create true union.
I look at our lives now and cannot begin to tell you the ways I've loved and been loved over these 22 years.
But I'll try today, because I want to honor this miracle of life together.
I came into marriage with a pretty entitled attitude... that it was just what good Christian kids did... they got married (virgins, of course), had kids, grew them up, sent them to church camp and youth group, served in the church, never straying. Steady. Stalwart. Faithful.
Asia came into marriage knowing what he wanted but having never seen the kind of steady example I took for granted. His childhood offered him lots of examples of what he didn't want his home to be like, and left some deep wounds in his understanding of sex, protection and stability. He had never experienced what I assumed would just magically happen because it was all I had ever seen.
So our expectations and hopes were the same - but how we got there ended up being radically different than we imagined.
And amazingly, God multiplied our efforts and we made it through a lot of hard conversations and learning to trust and love each other. Patience reigned in our home as we gave each other space to figure out what it looked like to meld these two radically different lives. Our foundation never faltered - and our commitment pulled us through. But it wasn't magical or automatic or easy.
Asia taught me to welcome tension - to seek change - to live in the space of the unexplainable - to accept challenges knowing they would transform us... he brought me out of my cookie-cutter, safe understanding of the world and introduced me to the beauty of not always knowing all the answers.
And now I live life alongside this man who beautifully carries my heart deep within his... who gives himself away by loving people deeply and still protects and cares for me in the most amazing way. He has brought me outside myself in the gentlest ways, expanding my ability to use my gifts to complement his in this crazy, organic, free-flowing way of living that blows me away. We have loved people together SO beautifully - and I'm so honored to walk through life with this incredible man.
We have chosen together to value relationships in tangible ways - with food and listening ears and availability and openness and vulnerability. We have opened our home and our family to countless people, giving away privacy in exchange for the honor of helping repair brokenness. We value honesty and real-ness in a way that has allowed others the gift of a non-judgmental place to own their own struggles and hope that healing and progress is possible.
Friends, marriage is this crazy thing that in my life has taken a couple of silly, selfish kids and made them WAY better than they ever could have possibly been on their own. It's nothing special that we've created, it's this absolutely ridiculous picture of redemption and God's grace that somehow we can live this life together. I marvel at it.
It's better than all my hopes and dreams.
Happy anniversary, babe. You're the best thing that ever happened to me.