Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"All the days of my life..."

“To love and to cherish, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. All the days of my life.”

10 years ago, those words were spoken to me by a boy of merely 19 years old. Never have I had truer words spoken to me. We were both 19 years old with a whole (completely unknown) future ahead of us. We were so in love and ready for whatever life threw at us.

For 10 years, I watched that boy grow up with me as we endured life’s ups and downs; mountains and valleys. We have been incredibly blessed to get to witness and endure so many mountains and good times, yet I had absolutely NO idea that in ten years, we’d crawl through so many valleys. But those valleys showed me just how blessed I was to have Michael. Moments when I felt I could not “crawl” any longer, where he’d pick me up and carry me through it.
Michael has truly loved and cherished me more than I’d ever thought possible. There are days where I just look at him and my heart skips a beat as I wonder how I could ever get so lucky to be his wife. How did I get so lucky to be loved and cherished by this man? Who continually loves me even on days where I definitely don’t deserve it! There are days where I fall head over heels in love with him again: as I watch him down on the floor playing doll house with his 1 year old daughter; as I watch him spend hours playing Legos with his son; see him spend hours outside at night rewiring wires on our circuit breaker box when our well goes out or replacing the radiator on a vehicle; or watching him as he sits with our kids all snuggling next to him as he reads the Bible and devotional each night and then spends time in prayer with them – truly being the spiritual leader of our home.

“For richer or poorer…” We haven’t ever quite gotten the “richer” part in America’s eyes, but in the world’s eyes, we definitely have… But we’ve definitely endured the poorer as we’ve battled unemployment twice in the past 10 years. 6 months after the Marine Corps and then once for 9 weeks right in the middle of our adoption of Mikiyas and Eyob. Scary moments, but we clung to each other and relied and trusted that God would provide. And as always, He did!

“In sickness and in health…” This one. Wow. I feel like we’ve had more sickness than health and that’s when I’ve realized just how much he loves me and his family. 1 baby born with a cleft palate and kidney problems. 3 surgeries and an insane amount of doctors and specialist appointments and hospital visits. Another baby born. This time, 9 weeks early. 5 weeks of a hospital stay and more doctor appointments and another surgery. Constant crazy health problems for me. A few later, adoption of two HIV+ boys. Come to find out, the HIV was the easy stuff as we also endured ENT’s, a surgery, GI doctors, cardiologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists and a crazy amount of speech, occupational, and mental therapists. Then throw in another completely unexpected pregnancy with multiple problems and going into labor early again – this time 6 weeks early! She had her fair share of medical problems in which we had unexpected ER visits, hospital admissions, and various specialists. Then you add in a son who suddenly goes blind in one eye and we endure 3 more unexpected surgeries over a span of 6 months.  It was crazy. All while enduring a child who had extreme adoption attachment issues: extreme and constant rages, tempers, self abuse and more. It was enough to probably tear a family apart. But goodness! Not us. Michael held us together each step of the way. Days where I felt I could not go any further, he picked me up and encouraged that together and with Christ, we could. Nothing would have ever prepared us for what happened 6 months ago. Despite our difficult trials through marriage, we faced the hardest moment of our entire life as we struggled with the decision of having to give Eyob to another family. What probably should’ve torn our family apart at that moment, only brought Michael and I together more as we prayed and sought wisdom and clung to each other with every fiber of our beings. We had no idea that something so tragic would build our marriage stronger than ever before. Just another way that God made beauty from those ashes. And here we are today as we struggle with yet another “sickness”, as we get to spend the afternoon of our anniversary at the doctor’s office for preparation for another surgery next week. This time for me, as the doctors try to figure out what’s going on and why I’ve been going through severe pain and having other issues over the past 3 months. While we’re unsure of what’s going on, I know that Michael has been there by my side through every moment and will continue to be and will continue to love and cherish me and care for me during these moments of “sickness”.

God has been so very good to us and has continually given us strength to overcome all that we have. We have come to know and trust Romans 5:3-5. "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."

I don’t know what our future holds, but there is one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that “All the days of my life” will always be true for the both of us. I had no idea that 13 years ago in July, after that first date that I would eventually fall in love with that 16 year old boy. I had no idea that 3 years later we would get married. I had no idea that we would endure so much in just ten years of marriage. I had no idea I could love someone so very much. But I know without a doubt that I will truly love and cherish Michael, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health ALL the days of my life. I can’t believe we are celebrating 10 years already! Happy 10th anniversary, Michael! I love you! I cannot WAIT until we get to celebrate 80 years! I can only imagine the list of things we’ve done and overcome then! :)

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