I’ve been going through our family photo archives as I work on a personal project and have encountered a number of different emotions as I re-trace the roadmap of our family story as it has unfolded. Visual reminders of the many seasons already traveled in our short years together leave me reflecting on the journey with new perspective and consuming gratitude for every joy and challenge we’ve encountered.
Young, terrified, and completely unaware of what was coming our way, we tied the knot in a simple wedding that was made special by the efforts of the people we love. We had nothing to spend, and literally everything that made our wedding beautiful came as a generous gift from someone. At that time, I knew almost nothing about selflessness, and I would venture to say that I knew almost nothing about love either. My first years as a married woman were rough, but God graciously wed me to a man who is literally formed of loyalty, humility, and servant-heartedness beneath a steady and strong exterior…a blessing that baffles me and brings me to tears when I think of how well he has loved me and my imperfections with reckless abandon.
The simplicity of our first years could not be overstated. We had our first child two days after our first wedding anniversary, and made our way to California a month later with barely enough money to live even in the most frugal way. Very young and totally green, my love started grad school, and I started mom-school, learning first-hand that life as a mom has nothing to do with being glamorous, and everything to do with facing all your deepest fears, digging deep for strength you didn’t know you had, and making flexibility and resourcefulness your top skills.
Taken with a self-timer on a tripod. One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 3/52
Since then, we have received unexpected blessing after unexpected blessing…some of those blessings being our additional children, and some of those blessings being uncanny provisions for giant needs that we could never have filled on our own. Some of those blessings being random bends in the road we are traveling that have led us in new directions that we never would have planned or thought possible.
When I sit back and take a look at everything, it’s hard to miss the love of Jesus woven through every season. Ups. Downs. The really low-downs. Through everything He has been faithful to provide every last thing we have needed, big or small, even in our most desperate circumstances. He has surprised and challenged me in countless ways. He has mended the broken and made me whole. He has cultivated a willing heart where there was an entirely selfish one before. He continues to guide with gentleness and resolve, moving me always toward humility and surrender because that is where the greatest blessings are bestowed…blessings that He is eager to give, when I am ready to receive. He reminds me daily that He is alive and present, writing my story His way and not mine because what He has to give would never make it here if I were writing the story myself.
So I surrender to love. His love. And I will keep saying yes to what He brings or asks of me. Not every step is easy, and not every bend in the road make sense to my little mind, but I know that He is with me, and the very road I’ve traveled already speaks of how worthy He is of my trust.