Today, January 19, 2014, is my one-year anniversary with my darling husband Ben. I get choked up even thinking that today marks a year already! A year with the certainty of each other, a year of the trials of blending our family (I have one son, he has THREE sons)...a year of learning that our love and obedience toward God MUST, must ALWAYS, be at the center of our marriage. And we are delighted to put Him first. We are honored to serve Jesus in the way that we love one another unconditionally.
I don't often talk about Ben in my blog posts, and I SHOULD. He is the person I spend the most time with, whom I wake up next to every morning (thank you, God!), and the person in whom I confide my deepest heart-ponderings. He is the most wonderful husband in every way, from the way he holds my hand with gentle strength to the way he respectfully listens to me even when we're in disagreement. Ben has sacrificial love and devoted servitude to our family and asks for nothing in return. He gives loving and encouraging words freely, yet those words feel like the most precious and honorable gift, all wrapped up with carefully-crafted bows. He is a very real dream; what I've always wanted was to feel precious, and Ben makes me feel valuable, rare and beloved. When I deserve it least, he showers me with grace and adoration. He loves God and seeks His wisdom, and in turn, I am a very blessed wife.
People often talk about the "honeymoon period," and undoubtedly we fall under the category. With four boys, however, our honeymoon period looks drastically different than the 20-somethings who spend their first years with only each other. I wouldn't trade my honeymoon for anything, though. I have had the honor of getting to know and love Ben's boys, Braydon, Drew, and Kolby, in deeper ways than ever before. They and my son have given me many more smiles than I could have ever hoped for. I have gotten to know Ben as both husband and father over the last year, and there is nothing more attractive than how he approaches both of those roles with a confident, Godly love.
Ben gives the boys his time and resources, as well as loving discipline when they need it. He tells them he loves them, and will take any opportunity he can to embrace them. He helps me to understand my own son, the growing pains (literally and not) of boys, and how to handle each struggle with compassionate love. Ben cares deeply about his relationship with each of our boys, and works to maintain a loving companionship with each of them. Amidst the crazy noise, the busy schedules, and the constant ball games in our living room, Ben is my steady hand, strong and reassuring. Every day I hope they notice the kind of man their dad is, and I pray they emulate who he is as a father and as a husband. He is a role model through and through.
Ben is my one true love, and I get to live in that reality every day. Glory to God! :)
I am not only saying this to brag, though it is my JOY to brag about my husband. I am saying this for those of you who are still searching or still dating or still wondering if this could ever happen to you ... this will happen for you if you remain steadfast, true to who you are, and open to God's guidance. As a single mom, I thought this would never be me. But I just kept working on my relationship with God, getting rid of habits or sin that kept me from Him, and Ben came into my life. Even though I hesitated and had to work things out in my own life first, Ben waited with understanding. When we finally went on our first date, I knew.
There were many times I thought I would have to settle for someone who loved me most of the time, or even some of the time. I thought I would have to compromise something or many things so that I could be a part of someone's life. I saw myself as a wife who only smiled on the outside, but had many struggles on the inside because of all she had sacrificed, not in duty or in love, but because it was "the only way." I was like many of you. So, on my anniversary, I want to be an encouragement. Wait for true love, and not just the feelings of love, but the devotion of love. Wait for the man who will say to you, "You are precious in my life; I am willing to give up any earthly thing for you. I will wait for you. I will adore you. I will be devoted to you." And he has to mean it. You know when a person is fooling with you, and when they are not quite believable, though you want them to be. Don't settle. Don't compromise your beliefs, your values, anything. Through this test, you will know: Does he love me for who I am right now, with my values and beliefs and morals? Does he devote himself to me, and show understanding of my worth in God's eyes? Does he honor me? I could honestly answer "yes" to every one of those questions when Ben asked me to marry him. I can still answer yes, and I know I always will be able to. He seeks God's leadership with more desire each day, so I am confident that Ben will always be the man of my dreams, the one whom I am breathtakingly honored to call my husband. Dear readers, you deserve nothing less. Again, do not settle. You are a precious gem to God Himself, and you shouldn't be regarded as anything less than that.
To Ben's mom and dad: I want to say thank you and I love you. Thank you for raising such a loving son, a man who knows how to treat me with devotion and kindness. Thank you for your love, too. I felt like I was your daughter the moment I met you, and Julien felt like a true grandson, too. Ben has learned from you the kind of hard work it takes to provide for a family, the kind of love it takes to bring up children in the way they should go, and to selflessly devote himself to those he loves. He had a great model in both of you, and because of that, I am blessed. I am all choked up as I write these words because they are not enough to express the gratitude I have for both of you. Thank you from now through eternity. Your efforts as parents have resulted in unending joy for those who know your son, especially me. :)
To Ben's sister: Thank you for being the kind soul that you are. As an older sister, I know the impact of our siblings on our lives. Without my brothers and sister, I would not be who I am, and they would be different, too. A sibling bond is like nothing else on Earth, and Ben speaks fondly of who you have always been. The impact you have on his life is everlasting, and Ben is who he is because he had you for a sister. So again, because of you, my life is filled with love and joy like I could have never imagined. The direct and indirect impact of who you are as a sister is joyously felt every day. I love you and your family fervently; you give me many reasons for thankful prayers.
To my family: I can't say enough. I just can't. I won't write it all here - I'll have to call you! ;) Your love in my life, through my crazy childhood and teen years, through eating disorders, through single motherhood, through it all...that love makes all things possible in my life. You are the reason I'm still alive, the reason I can be a wife and a mother, the reason I can accept the kind of love Ben gives me. I learned love from you. I live this love out in my life because of you. I thank God for you. You are Love.
To Ben: Every time Earth brightens with a new dawn, I think of the blessing of another day with you. You are everything I described on this page and more. You are God's son in every way, especially in your unconditional love towards me and our family. I have learned the song of your laugh and the gentle opening of your eyes in the morning. I feel honor every time you take a breath because you chose me for a wife -- that kind of gratitude can't be explained into words; it's the melody of my spirit each morning and night. Thank you for allowing me to be who I am, telling me I'm beautiful, praying with me, praying for me, leading our family, and guiding us all with your gentle, yet powerful love. Today and always, I am filled with honor and joy to be called your wife. I love you!