Matt is safely home and the girls just can't get enough of his attention...as much as we girls enjoyed our time together, there is no question that they desperately need and love their daddy, and I do, too!
For the first time EVER, we're actually going to DO something for our anniversary this year. Like, beyond use the precious gift card to P.F. Changs my dad gives us sometimes at Christmas for a dinner out. The girls are going to spend a weekend in July with Grandpa, Cindy, Carl and Mary and we're going to stay at a cute little cottage not far from here...and we can't wait! So thankful for the chance and frustrated with ourselves for not just simply MAKING that happen before in the past.
But even if we're not celebrating today, it's still astounding that it IS today...that today can possibly be 10 years since the big day.
It seemed like such a big thing, that day. A huge deal, getting ready to walk down that aisle.
But looking back? wow.
That was the easy day. That's the day so many people do. That was the fun and easy and dreamy and over the top day, driving off with new toasters and a few envelopes with cash in them for your honeymoon, feeling rich with $200 and blissfully happy and knowing so very little and so thankful none of the guests told you that.
It is a thousand days after that one that make today the actual big deal. It has not been easy. It's not easy, is it?
Sure, moving to Haiti less than two years into our marriage added some unique struggles that perhaps not all marriages have to undergo. Language and cultural learning, extreme discomforts and frustrations, such a big leap of financial faith, leaving all of the family and community we had.
But most of it's just normal. Having little ones and having sheer exhaustion play into so much of how you feel and act and speak to each other. Grave disappointments. Times of serious financial struggle and concern. Ministry and work disappointments and challenges, heartbreak. Family trouble, friend trouble, busy-ness, sickness.
LIFE: an incredibly easy place to be self-centered.
MARRIAGE: an incredibly damaging place to be self-centered.
There have been SO MANY TIMES these past 10 years when I have chosen myself, my feelings, my wants, my desires, my "needs" over KINDNESS. Over gracious, over and over again love. Over unconditional forgiveness and unconditional support. So many times I should have disciplined my mouth shut and simply had to strike, instead. So many times my expectations of Matt have been absurd. So many times I could have supported and respected and instead fought to control. So many times I have bulked at ideas of being the submissive and gentle and respectful wife the Bible shares as WISDOM. Not just to bless our husbands lives, but as wisdom for OUR lives.
Our ten years of marriage have surely highlighted how extremely faulted we are, unlike that insanely hot June day in 2005 when I was sure it was perfect because of how wonderful we were :)
But my goodness.
Has there been happiness. Has there been growth. Have we sought the Lord and found Him. Have we overcome, by His grace, have we celebrated and loved, in the weakness.
Have we ever stuck by.
And sticking by and sticking by and sticking by today means that there is no one who has been there, no one who has understood, no one who has carried on, no one who has drawn me and pushed me and enticed me and grown me to God, no one who has seen the worst and best and continued to love, no one who has loved and been loved in my life like Matthew Ayars.
I am incredibly grateful for this challenging and beautiful marriage, and blessed to be able to say that it is by God's unfailing grace that we live in love today. What an example Matt continues to be of God's unconditional and deep love for me!
I wrote this a few years ago about Matt ("the one I am continually blessed to be eternally stuck with"...remember that one?)...and it's as true today. Praying for 10 more years to love Matt better, serve him better, be kind better and because of who Christ is, live His example in our marriage.