13 Years…

Thirteen years ago, after dating for four years, Brad and I made it official and he gave me his last name. Our first five years of marriage were full of fun and joy, three beautiful daughters, financial ease, lots of friends and family and the blissful ignorance that so often accompanies youth.

The next few years brought tremendous difficulties, heartache, loss and the painful realization that the “bliss” we had taken for granted for so long was no longer within our reach. After a series of poor and selfish and destructive choices, I found myself at the “rock bottom” that I’d only ever heard of other people enduring. I was more alone and as close to death as I’d ever known.

My “friends” had walked away and my husband was under the impression that I was lost to him and our daughters forever. I’d broken my dad’s heart and he had absolutely no clue how to help me. My mom was angry and hurt as a result of my actions and only now, in retrospect, do I have even an inkling of how much time she must have spent on her knees, praying for me.

Whether she believes it or not, my mother saved my life that day. She begged me to meet with her Pastor – just to “talk”. I’d barely crossed over the threshold to his office when I began to cry – not the silent, pretty cry that they show in movies, but the guttural, red-faced, can’t-catch-a-breath sobbing that goes hand in hand with heart wrenching pain and sorrow. I, very literally, cried out to a God that I’d cursed, who I felt had somehow let me down over the years and I confessed and repented and asked for forgiveness. Pastor DeVille lead me to pray for salvation and I became a new creation in Christ.

I drove back to my parents house, drained of every tear and every ounce of energy I had. I slept and slept and slept like I hadn’t slept in as long as I could remember. When I awoke, I knew that things would be different but I had no idea the journey that I was about to embark upon.

Five years later, I look back in awe of the twists and turns, the ups and downs of my life since that day. God, by His incredible grace, healed our marriage. This is absolutely NOT to say that we are somehow super human and have the perfect marriage. We. Do. Not. But, it is absolutely a-ma-zing and we are more in love today than we were yesterday, six years ago and even as the 17 and 15 year olds who fell in love 17 years ago.

God also healed my relationship with my parents. My mom is my best friend and my dad and I are closer than ever. He healed a friendship that I truly believed was beyond repair. He’s brought new friends into my life and given me the strength and discernment to branch out and become acquainted with people whom I otherwise would’ve passed by.

There was a time shortly after I became a believer that I wondered why God allowed me to nearly self destruct. While I’m not proud of certain choices I made and I still find it hard to believe that I made it out alive, I’m so very thankful for everything that our marriage endured. Had we not been there, we wouldn’t be here. And, here is an incredible place to be.

Had someone told me in the midst of the ugliness that five years later Brad and I would be happily married with two more children on the way, I wouldn’t have believed it. In fact, someone told me that they thought that maybe I was biting off more than I could chew in light of the struggles I’d had in the past. Humans find it hard to forgive and nearly impossible to forget. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so has He removed our transgressions from us.” I’m so, so thankful that, by God’s grace and His grace alone, I am forgiven and blameless. And, by some beautiful miracle, He has deemed me worthy and qualified to be Brad’s wife, Ginna’s, Avery’s and Sydney’s mom and mom to even more children. I’m so humbled and so grateful and so very, very blessed…

And, I’m overwhelmed, exhausted and rambling on and on.

Happy Anniversary to the man I love and adore, to the man who my mother prayed for from the moment I was born, to the man who my God chose just for me.

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2 thoughts on “13 Years…

  1. Oh wow! Can you say “ugly cry?!?!” You are both so amazing and I love you so much Shell! Praise God for His amazing grace! Happy Anniversary!

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