Today marks five years that Jeremiah and I have been married! It seems like yesterday we were back at Liberty, where we met in seminary. I always knew there was something different about him after he had asked me to go to lunch one day after class. And for so long, I’d been praying for God to bring me a man who loved Jesus and loved people (and was good looking too!)
After that lunch date, we started to hang out a lot and I knew I really liked him. Our relationship moved quickly and it scared us. It was nothing that a good “DTR” couldn’t fix. On November 12, 2004- the day before I ran my first marathon, he asked my dad for his blessing to date me, and then asked me to be his girlfriend.
We dated for seven incredible months and on June 4th, 2005 while on a class trip to Israel, he asked me to be his wife at the Jordan River. I said “yes” and we made that promise to each other trusting that was God’s will.
On December 17, 2005, Dr. Jerry Falwell married us among all our friends and family in Lynchburg, VA. It was the best day of my life.
Marriage as a Sharpening Tool
Three months into marriage, Jeremiah lost his job for sharing his faith so that put us on uneven ground for a while. We couldn’t believe something like that could happen fresh into our marriage. We struggled a lot through the hurt. We stayed with my parents in TX for a few months while he looked for jobs in Virginia.
From the trials in those first few years, our arguments exposed the “ugliness” of my sin at times. I was extremely selfish and didn’t fully know how to respect my husband. It was so frustrating, and I even questioned, “Did I make the wrong decision?” I thought that marriage would be so easy like it was when we were dating.
The Turning Point
Eventually, Jeremiah got a job at the University of Virginia Medical Center and we moved to Charlottesville, VA. We lived there for a year and then felt led to pursue more education for ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. We packed our life and headed to Dallas.
Within a few months we started attending Watermark Community Church where we were plugged into a community group of 5 other young married couples. We were paired with a mentor couple who invested in us for 18 months.
We were real about our struggles with each other and were able to discuss openly about sex, communication, finances, past baggage and more. It was amazing to see we were not alone in our journey. Other couples were experiencing the same tensions we had and we were able to work through so much together and actually learn how to communicate effectively.
Learning to Be on Mission
Our first year in Dallas we served together with an organization called Apartment Life planning activities and building relationships with residents in our apartment community. We had countless opportunities to share the gospel and bring residents to church. That experience birthed in our hearts a desire for church planting and to always be involved in the lives of those far from Christ.
Serving gave us a greater purpose beyond just “us.” It grew us closer together. Right around that time, I accepted a job offer to work for Bluefish TV/RightNow.org as a writer and editor and learned even more what it meant to be on mission in every part of my life.
Growing Our Family
Before I knew it, in 2008, we had our first son John and in 2010, our first daughter Rebekah. Through our children, I’ve felt a love like no other. Having children has taught me even more about my imperfections and how I have to daily depend on Christ for his strength and grace. I’m learning that the best gift we can give our kids is to put our marriage first and love each other well.
As of today, Jeremiah isn’t too far away from finishing his theology degree and we want to be wherever God would have us when we’re finished. While we’re still far from perfect as a married couple, we’re striving to allow God to be the center of our relationship and to heal us of our hurts, habits, and hangups. The greatest freedom I’ve found in the battle against my own sin is to confess those struggles to God, to Jeremiah, and to other people.
A Deeper Love
The journey of these five years has allowed me to appreciate the gift of marriage even more. I love and respect Jeremiah more than on the day we said “I do” and I can’t imagine living my life apart from him. He’s my best friend and my lover.
Dave Barnes writes in his song “God Gave Me You”:
I’ve been a walking heartache
I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be
But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm blows through
And I need you
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
For when I think I’ve lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God gave me you
Jeremiah has loved me in my “mess” and through all our ups and downs and to me, that is the greatest love.
Happy Five Year Anniversary, Jeremiah!
And thank you for editing this post last night 🙂