Tonight as I write, I am flooded with so many thoughts. So much is going on in my life, that if I could draw it here for you, I'd be one little lady in the middle of a big page, with arms extending every which way, holding big responsibilities on big plates. I don't necessarily feel pulled in any one way, but some of those plates are getting mighty heavy. I would like to put some of them down. And some I would simply like others to say "hey, I got that one for ya...let it go."
Last week, April 21, marked 20 years of marriage for me and my husband. I don't remember the last time I was so pumped up about a special date or holiday coming up. Not my own 40th birthday, not any of the kids' birthdays, not Christmases, date nights, or vacations away. The road we've been journeying on together for the last 20 years has been very scenic. It started out very scary, taking twists and turns that we felt were out of our control. I was a very young and naive bride. One time, our power was turned off because someone, ahem, forgot to pay the electric bill. What did I do first? I called my mom. She lived four hours away, and couldn't do anything, but it was my first instinct. I called mom first, too many times in those beginning years. She was the one that had to cut the apron strings and say, "you're married now! Talk to your husband!" We lost a baby 6 months into pregnancy in our first year too. I miss that baby....but I can see God's hand in that loss...it really brought Andy and I together for the first time. No one could understand how I felt except him. And no one could understand how he felt except me. As we held each other, tears streaming down our faces, I finally felt connected to the man I had said "I do" with. Five moves, 4 cats, 2 dogs, countless cars, numerous jobs, and 3 kids later, I am still learning how to keep that connection. It has been broken many times, each one of us falling and not holding on tight enough. It is in those times that I know God was the invisible link that held us together. When April 21, 2011 was on my doorstep, knocking, saying "I'm here!" I was scared to open the door. Was I ready? Was I prepared to share this special time, this moment that in my eyes should be perfect, with Andy? I wanted it to be perfect in every way. No regrets, no secrets, nothing hidden, not one thing to even remotely get in my way of being able to say "You are the BEST thing that has ever happened to me, and I want 20 more years, and 20 more after that with YOU, my best friend in the whole world." Taking a big breath, I swung that door open, and celebrated my anniversary with nothing in my way of sweet perfection with the man of my dreams.
My marriage was sadly not always my first priority. For years, I put my kids before my husband. I thought that was what I was supposed to do. He's an adult, he should understand, right? He should be doing the same thing! I would do things, say things, that without even realizing it, was beating him down, not building him up. And as I watched him turn into himself, I got angry. Grow up man! Those were my thoughts. But then God spoke to me, loud and clear. And for the last five months, I have done my absolute BEST to put Andy back where he belongs...second to God. And guess what? My kids are just fine. What they see now is their mom and dad IN LOVE. We go on more dates now, then we have in a really long time. I giggle. We kiss and hug in front of them and they get grossed out. :) I cook and clean for him happily. I wake up each morning, and ask myself, what can I do for Andy today? I pray for him. ALL.OF.THE.TIME. I wonder sometimes if God would just like to say "yeah, you told me that seven times today already!" Does he irritate me from time to time? Oh sure. Just like I know I must irritate him too. Just ask him about the laundry! But you know what? He has put me right up there where I belong too. He holds me when he sees I need it. He kisses that spot on the back of my neck at just the right times. And he does the laundry himself now. :)
All of those plates that feel so full and heavy? Yeah. They still do. College, homework, kids, church, work, friends, sisters, mom and dad, housework, shopping, bills, and lets not forget, taking care of myself. What would I do with empty plates anyway? My life is full. My life is good. I give God the glory. He has blessed me so much.
So Andy and I will continue to journey down the long road named Life together. We will hold hands tightly, and guess what? I've then gained more hands to help hold all of those full plates. :) I think we can do it for 20 more years and 20 more after that, don't you?!