I was in a meeting at work today and someone said, you don’t go huntin’ without knowing what to shoot. Great metaphor, right? It came back to me as I was pouring over these photos and trying to find word glue to hold them all together.
Is it just me, or do big life steps sometimes feel like going hunting without knowing what to shoot? Moving out on your own. Getting married. Buying a house. Having a baby. In each case, the end goal waves like a flag on a hilltop, but from a distance it’s not easy to see the path that gets you there.
He and I. We had this dizzy, rebel love. Think tilt-a-whirl and Hunger Games and whack-a-mole rolled into and fleshed out in two lives. Such steeply-stacked odds we faced, going in.
One of our first official steps was for me to meet his parents and I came away crushed. We were on a plane curled into each other on the way home and he took both my hands in his and he whispered, I just want to marry you right now. I wanted that, too. And so, practically, we did.
Early on, we were short on time. Already I had three babies and babies don’t wait.
Before I gave it to him, I had his wedding ring engraved with a surprise. All the time in the world, it promised, because finally it seemed we could stake that claim. But then, five weeks in, there came a call. He hung up and there it was: Iraq.
When he made it home from the other side of the world we were walking into the mall and a car backfired and he dropped to the ground, gun shy. He got over that part but I don’t think the two of us together have ever recovered from being so short on time. Our days and our hours and even our minutes pass slow when we’re apart and so we typically aren’t.
But life has this way about it. It seeps. It wears. It numbs ever so slight.
I was doing a Beth Moore Bible study and there was this one part about how marriage mirrors Christ’s love for His bride, the church, and how we could rejoice in knowing that at the end of the story, Christ will never disappoint us the way that even the most loving and devoted husbands do. I was thinking it through one night in the wee hours while he slept beside me. I just couldn’t relate. Not my husband. He doesn’t disappoint me.
There are those who say God doesn’t listen to us but I know differently. He listens alright. And if there is a lesson to be learned, He teaches.
There was a lesson in there for me. A very sharp lesson. God used that season of uncomfortable transition and chaos and disappointment and rage to shift my reliance. To rest my hope squarely on Him.
In the midst of that hurt I became a tantruming child. I knew full well what I needed to do but I was obstinate. I had that mountain-moving kind of faith that if I would just dig in and trust Him and do the work that The After would make The Before look like a shadow. That if I’d let Him carry me through that time–however long it took–He’d reveal the most glorious thing.
I didn’t want to. I told Him so–defiant. I fought Him tooth and nail and came dangerously close to reckless abandon.
But He won. And, of course, so did I. So did we.
You have to be the most beautiful family on the planet. These pictures capture all of you so well. Kennedy looks like a goddess from a painting! Cassidy’s freckles – squee! Jayce has gotten SO tall! Charlie’s eyes are, as always, breathtaking.
Love you all so much. Love your story. Love these pictures.
And I *NEED* TO SEE YOU!
Wow! These images are stunning, and your words often leave me breathless. You have such a way with words and I am in awe of you and your faith. Miss you, friend!
Even in your imperfect moments, you are so perfect. The photos are stunning, the love is radiant, and your story – as always – is inspiring <3
Stunning…absolutely stunning. If there is any family that can face adversity and come through it it is yours. You are such an amazing person and mother and Jeff is so admirable for loving your kids like no other. Cassidy is such a blessing and your advocacy for her is undying. I have always been so impressed with your children and your family and especially with your ability to share your life and your experiences so elequantly with us all. You are all so loved…by each other and by your friends!!!!!
Bride, if I wasn’t so sure that my words would pale next to yours, I’d write about the ways that you shine with His light, that you are His hands and feet, and how you are so unselfish in sharing His grace. I love you forever.
Such GORGEOUS photos – and an incredible story of redemption. Love to your family from AZ!