6 years and counting.

5:00 AM

   The month of April is always a double-whammy for our little family with celebrating Randy's birthday and then our anniversary just 3 short days later.  And June will soon be that way too, with Charlotte's birthday on the 18th and this baby boy due (somewhere in the vicinity of) the 14th!

  So spring always comes roaring in for us and there are plenty of pleasant distractions until it is truly summer, which happens somewhere around the middle of July out here on the West coast.  We need to work on our timing though, because I like to spread out the goodness.  And with Jocelyn's birthday just days before Christmas, it kind of feels like we're always just lumping everything fun and exciting together.

   Oh well.  I think we've established by now that our timing does not always sync with what God has in mind. ;)

Tomorrow, it will be six years since that sunny spring day in April when we exchanged vows.

   Sometimes I think of it as the "wedding that wasn't supposed to happen".  And what I mean by that is, if it had been left up to our own fallen humanity, it wouldn't have happened.  But for the grace of God!  He orchestrated every moment leading up to that day, and continues to orchestrate still.

   For those of you who don't know our story, I will try to sum it up in the shortest way humanly possible.  Basically, we started dating quite young (I was 18, he was 19) and I still had a LOT of growing up to do.  He was always good and kind to me, I was not to him.  I was flighty, indecisive, and unsure of everything in my life.  I was easily distracted, fearful of commitment, and gave away my heart far too freely.  I made some bad decisions, and we broke up.  We spent the next 3 years going separate ways in life, traveling, meeting other people, and God teaching us both a LOT.  It seemed the door to our story was completely closed.  But God had other plans!  He brought us back together after all that turmoil and pain, and we married when I was 23, and Randy had just turned 25.

I am so grateful God didn't give up on us, and Randy didn't give up on me.

  I will never forget that magical day.  The bleak Iowa landscape was just beginning to wake itself from its winter hibernation of snow, sleet, and mud, and everything was brown and gray.  The sky was a brilliant blue, as if it were apologetically trying to make up for the sad state of everything else.  The sun shone warmly, the breeze blew softly, and all was quiet and calm.

     I too, remember feeling strangely calm and composed, a stark contrast to the frantic, hyperventilating brides they always portray in books and movies.  But we'd made it.  We reached the Big Day, and so whether or not decorations were completely perfect, or there was a misprint in the program, or not enough food or some other disaster....it really didn't matter.  It was too late to do anything about anyway.  All that was left was for us to get ourselves ready and try and soak up each beautiful moment of the day.

I remember details, both big and small, and thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

  I remember meeting in the basement of the church to pray.  I remember the church swelling with hundreds of voices singing "In Christ Alone".   I remember our fathers giving their blessings.  I remember nervously singing a song that I re-wrote for my groom.  I remember our reception, how much fun it was, and all of the beautiful tributes from friends and loved ones.  But the thing I remember most from the entire day?  

  Never before in my life had I felt the presence of God so closely.  So intense and real and so near to me.  I hardly wanted it to end.

I remember feeling invincible that day.  

   Like nothing could ever come our way that could thwart our plans.  Nothing could ever be bigger than the love we felt for each other in that moment.  Nothing could ever distract me from my focus on spending the rest of my life with my love by my side, and serving our God together.  

   And something I had never anticipated, was how desperately the Enemy would try to attempt just that.  Thwart us.  Discourage us.  Distract us.  Defeat us.  Trip us up and make us stumble and fall as we journey through this life together.  Because what greater victory could he have?  

   I never expected to go through some of the battles we have had to face.  Next month it will be a year since my husband's family business burned to the ground.  And yet even a trial like that pales at times in comparison to some of the inner turmoil the Enemy has tried to drag us through.  

    Sometimes I'm blindsided by something completely ridiculous, like the Enemy attempting to diminish the holiness of our day with petty comparison and jealousy.  I planned my wedding pre-Pinterest, and so if you're a woman, I don't even have to explain what that means!  The devil can take the most glorious, God-honoring day of your entire existence, and try to taint it with a spirit of discontent.  The "I wish I would have done ___________" whatevers start to pile up until all you can think about when you think of your wedding day is wistful regret.  

   But it's not always over silly little surface things.  Sometimes it's much, much, much bigger and deeper than that.  Dark, inner wrestlings with doubt and fear and wondering if you will ever be free from the battle.

The Enemy doesn't want us to have strong marriages.
He doesn't want us to have a legacy to leave to our families.
He doesn't want us to find victory over temptation.
He doesn't want us to live in freedom.
He doesn't want us to keep our vows.
He doesn't want us to remain faithful.
He doesn't want us to honor, love, submit and respect.

   He is fully and wholly devoted to tear down, kill and destroy.  And he unleashes himself with full fury and power on a Godly marriage.  Because if a Godly marriage can fail and crumble, a testimony to the grace and power of God fails and crumbles right along with it!

   And so each anniversary, whether it is a "milestone" number or not, is a pretty BIG DEAL.  It is a testament, not to our own strength or determination or skill, but to God's faithfulness.  His mercy.  His grace.  His provision.  His love.  And with each passing year of marriage, you are adding brick and mortar to that altar, that emblem of what God has done and is continuing to do in your lives together.

What an incredible, incredible thing.

Happy 6 years love.  I pray for many, many more. 

You Might Also Like


  1. Happy Anniversary! This was a lovely, honest reflection on your wedding and marriage-loved it!

  2. crying . this is so so good. love you friend!! enjoy your celebration. xoxo

  3. Happy Anniversary you two!! Shelley, you have such a wonderful way with words....truly a gift! May the Lord Jesus continue to bless you with HIS power, guidance, and awareness of HIS presence in your marriage.

  4. You are too kind. I always hope to be honest and authentic over here! Thanks for reading.

  5. Aw, so glad it could touch you! That just makes all of the blogging trials worthwhile.:)

  6. You are so encouraging Julie--thank you for speaking life!

  7. You couldn't have said it better, Shelley. And you reinforced the truth of John 10:10, one of my favorite verses which became so in one of our hard times during 44 years of marriage! Thank you for sharing your God-given gift with words.


Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images