On my husband’s forty-first birthday…the gift is mine

This is a tweaked re-post from 2011. It said what I still feel today, and I couldn’t really improve on it, except changing the number of years we’d been married…While it’s his birthday, I’ve the one who’s received the gift of getting to live my life with him…

We met in weightlifting class our sophomore year in high school. It seems funny to tell people that’s where we first met, but when I thought of it this morning, it seemed almost prophetic.

We were young–fifteen. He was wearing a Michael W. Smith sweatshirt–the first person in my school I’d ever seen wearing one. We were friends for a year before we started dating. He marched saxophone in the marching band, I was co-editor of the annual. He introduced me to Paul Simon and jazz; I introduced him to my youth group. We went to prom and on Mission Trips.

We graduated from high school, started at separate universities, but ended up at the same one after three  years. I studied nursing, he studied music.We both changed from the denominations of our families and chose a nondenominational church. Twenty years ago this July, he proposed on one knee and I said yes.

July 30, 1994, we married at our home church, in front of our family and friends. We were 22.

There’s always the “in sickness and health, for richer and poorer” part in there that you recite and think you mean, but really, have no idea what you’re talking about. No one does. If you did, well, most people would probably not keep going with the ceremony. Most people are optimistic or naive enough to believe that they will be the “in better/health/richer” category. No one thinks, “Hmm, let’s go for the worse, poorer, or sick path.”

But you can’t always choose these things. Sometimes God or a sinful world, chooses for you.

We started our life in a tiny attic apartment, only partially heated and cooled. He waited tables while finishing his degree. I worked nights in the hospital.

We moved 5 times in 3 years (don’t ask), then settled in a little house. We dealt with infertility, morning sickness, pre-term labor, a miscarriage, and by the grace of God, had four healthy babies.

There were job changes, job losses, career changes, misunderstandings, fights, problems. Trips to the emergency room, delivery room, funeral home; a trip to Disney World, camping trips and the beach. Love and laughter woven in with tears and pain. Sometimes when you look back at your  life-tapestry it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.

It’s been almost nineteen years of building those love muscles.

“In order for muscle to be built, it has to be pushed beyond it’s normal limitations…

Lifting weights basically tears muscles.

These fibers then heal stronger and larger than before.” (Ehow Health)

Isn’t that’s what life is all about? God taking us beyond our normal, natural-world limitations in our relationships? Tearing at our hearts and lives, healing spiritually stronger than before.

We walk together on this road, pilgrims in this world, strangers in this land, yoked together through this life.

We choose to stay together. We choose to love. No question about it. These past 3 years have certainly taught us that–we choose love through the difficult times and come out stronger on the other side. Life with each other and Jesus is unexpected, hard, fun, exhausting, miraculous, amazing. I would choose it no other way, yoked to no other, for this never picture perfect life. Happy birthday, my love!



Filed under Family

8 responses to “On my husband’s forty-first birthday…the gift is mine

  1. Sharon McLaughlin

    Love through and through….such a fine example to others.

  2. Wishing you many more years of strength, tenderness, and unlimited love!

  3. Happy Birthday!

    Love this, Lara…great to see you and Jonathan’s life story in pictures and words.

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