So to celebrate the husband and I went for a long drive, lunch packed, camera packed and off we went. It was a beautiful day driving the backroads and roads we had never been on before checking out the country side. I decided to take pictures of old barns for our drive so we made a number of stops for me to capture some images of all the different old barns we came across.
We also did some reminiscing, every now and then we'd check the time and think back to what it was we were doing at that exact hour 24 years ago...getting ready for the wedding...the ceremony...the pictures...the reception...the honeymoon. It was kinda fun thinking back to that day. We were so young, I had just turned twenty and my almost husband was about to turn twenty-one. For him the day was a blur...he's not a getting up in front of a crowd kind of person...he's a behind the scenes kinda guy. For him he just wanted to get it over with, he can regret not being more mature about it but it's where we were at and that's okay. For me I think most of what I remember I remember because of the pictures I have.
I do remember though that the morning of our wedding I had a hair appointment at 9:00 but someone had taken off with the truck keys and so I couldn't get to my appointment. I was a little nervous about someone else doing my hair anyway, what if I didn't like it, so I ended up doing it myself which was fine by me. The weather was cool and rainy the morning of our wedding but then the sun broke through right before the ceremony...so the weather was perfect.
We had a hot and cold buffet dinner for our reception, I think the meal was great. The program that night went till about 11:30 or so. My new husband and I left to head to our newly build but unfinished home to drop off our wedding attire and get our suitcase and then head out on our honeymoon. I then realized I forgot my purse and so we had to head to my parents first before really hitting the road. So by the time we actually were on our way it was well after midnight. We only had two nights for our honeymoon, this new husband of mine needed to work and so did I. Our first night was only a 1 1/2 drive away but the new husband was so tired we had to pull over at a truck stop and have a nap for an hour :-) So we arrived at our hotel at about 3:00 am, hit the hay and left early the next morning for our one night stay in Niagara Falls. Yep it was a short and sweet honeymoon. We kinda laugh about that thinking we probably could have taken more time off but it's just not who we were. We weren't real travellers and had never been beyond a four hour radis of home...we were young :)
I remember waking up that Monday morning in Niagara Falls feeling a little homesick and thinking what had I done, this was for life, I was committed and what if I'd made a mistake; so I had to call my mom...can't remember if I told her about my sudden doubts or just needed to say hi. I was young, I'd never left home and the whole marriage thing was a little scary and it was for life. The feelings passed and we had a wonderful day together...this start of our journey together as husband and wife.
Five months after our wedding I was pregnant with our first child...I was so happy and I was so so sick...me and the toilet bowl were constant companions :) Nine months later William entered the world at 10lbs 10 1/4 oz. a big healthy baby boy. Seventeen months later our first daughter Jocelyne was born, sixteen months later their sister Charissa made her appearance and then came their baby brother Matthew twenty-seven months later. So we had four kids five and under and were into our third home. I had married a builder and building and selling was a great way to bring down the mortgage. We lived in unfinished homes and would finish them just before selling...we're both dutch and didn't want to spend anymore than we had to. House number three was our most completed home, we moved in and had flooring and doors :-) We've been here for 19 years now...it's home and it's where we'll stay unless called elsewhere.
Twenty-four years may seem like a long time but it has flown by and much has been packed into those twenty-four years. Our marriage hasn't all been roses...roses come with thorns and we've had our share of thorny moments but we're better because of them, they've strengthened us. I haven't always loved my husband as I should or as I want to and he'd say the same about himself in regards to me his wife. I remember a number of years ago when I was going through some stuff. I was feeling so distant from my husband, one night after church I sat down with friends of ours and told them how distant I felt and how I just wanted to have that feeling of being in love. What our friend said to me has stuck with me ever since, he said something like this,"Sometimes you just have to go with what you know is right even when you don't feel it, love him as you know you should and over time the feelings will follow." It's not the answer I wanted to hear, I wanted there to be some quick and easy fix, I just wanted to feel "in love" and didn't necessarily want to work at it. But in my heart I knew he was right and work at I did...we both did and our marriage has been richer because of it.
The thorny moments have made us stronger, they have been opportunities for character development. I may not always welcome these opportunities and I certainly don't get it right all the time but I know there'll be another one around the corner somewhere down the road and I can try again. A moment where our wills will cross each other and either we face one another and work it out or we turn our backs and walk away weakening our marriage and giving the enemy a foothold.
Unresolved issues may fade over time but they will always lurk beneath the surface, like some predator lying in wait for it's prey. And so conflict rises again over something and this silent unresolved issue rears it's ugly head because you walked away from it the first time and didn't deal with it. This enemy of ours loves the things that lurk beneath the surface, they're the cards he plays when the marriage road is bumpy and full of potholes. And I admit I've allowed this enemy ground that he should never have, I've played into his hand, at times unknowingly but other times knowingly. This heart of mine has been stubborn, has been unyielding, unbending, unteachable...pride at times has had its way. Self has sat on the throne of my heart rather than Christ and when self sits there and Christ is shoved aside the enemy wins and I lose...this marriage loses.
And so life, this thing called marriage is a constant dying to self. I am always reminded of how Christ left the glories of heaven...He had everything and He gave it all up to live among us...He is my example of how I must live my life. May He increase and I decrease. Over the years for both myself and this husband of mine we've ridden the rollar coaster of dying to self and it's a ride we'll take till out last breath.
It's a ride I couldn't imagine taking with anyone else but the man who has stood by my side these last 24 years and then some. He who has loved me deeply even when it wasn't returned. A man who has picked me up numerous times when I have struggled in my stuff. Even when I have lashed out at him he has not walked away, maybe for a moment because he didn't know what else to do and sometimes this wife of his needs to thrash around a bit to come to her senses, but inside he never walked away. He has encouraged me in the things I love, He has called me out. When I have felt like such a failure he has reminded me of who I am and said, "enough, stop putting yourself down." And though he is not perfect and has his own faults, he has modeled Christ to me and how much this God of our loves me and has given His life for me.
We have laughed together and have looked back over the years realizing how blessed we have been. Knowing that even the tough times God has used for His glory, for His purposes and that in and of itself blesses me so much. To know that He can use the messed up things in this life of mine, in this marriage of ours and it can be turned for good. Someone has said He is the Master recycler when our lives are given to Him, our will surrendered to His. He is the Potter, we are the clay...
One Thousand Gifts journaled for days 133 ~ 141
397. My husband and 24 years of marriage - journeying together - commitment
398. Beautiful drive down the backroads with the husband
399. Reminiscing with the husband about our wedding day and life these past 24 years
400. Closure for a family searching for a loved one
401. A story of hope in the midst of great trial
402. Beautiful day
403. Cool day, nice for working in the garden - no bugs
404. Jocelyne mowing the lawn
405. My bed at the end of a long day
406. Gorgeous crab apple tree out my bedroom window full of pink blossoms
407. Freedom to study God's Word with others
408. Almost finished edging my veggie garden
409. The husband helping me outside even though his allergies are awful
410. Health and strength
411. Jocelyne getting groceries
412. Early morning quiet and no bugs while working in the veggie garden
413. These four big kids who sometimes drive me crazy
414. A productive day
415. A relaxing Sunday
416. In Christ Alone - my hope is found
417. Charissa doing the dishes and dishwasher
418. Veggie garden is pretty much finished
419. The smell of lilacs
420. Amazing streaks of lightening lighting up the night sky on our drive home from TO
421. Going to the animal sales barn with dad and Silas
422. The sound of gently falling rain
423. Thunder storms when safe inside