I would say one of the most complicated parts of a marriage is merging two lives that have functioned on their own into a shared life. This process is a continuous melting away of your own desires and strengthening of your love for the other person. It is sleeping with a fan when you have never used one before. It is Christmas traditions that you have had all your life and your spouse continues with you even though they are different from what they are used to. It is watching a romantic comedy when all you really want to see is the score of the game. Lots of marriages fall into the trap of comparison. Wives rely heavily on how their dad treated their mom or the role each parent played in the house. Husbands want someone to care for them and dote on them like their mother did. They say the first year is the hardest, but for many couples it is a constant ebb and flow of happiness, difficulty, and growth. My parents, who are still married, had their share of challenges, but they always remained constant and unified. My husband's parents are the same, childhood sweethearts that are still going strong. For this, I am grateful. In an age where divorce, infidelity, and division are common, both set amazing examples of how to choose one another each and every day.
Josh and I have always had a wonderful friendship. Despite anything we go through, at the end of the day he is my best friend. There is no other person on this planet that I want to go home to each day and tell all my stories to. He makes me laugh, drives me nuts, and keeps me on my toes. I would say the first several years of marriage were pretty easy. We had never lived on our own so our first apartment was so exciting. I can remember going to Sonic at midnight and feeling so weird that I didn’t tell my mom where I was going. We traveled as much as we could, sometimes on a whim without any plans. We worked hard at our careers, but always made time to be together. We have always been terrible at keeping a surprise from one another, so most gifts are given as soon as we buy them. We have grown and stretched each other in many ways, some easier, some harder.
I would say that our most challenging times have come from trying to grow our family and then eventually parenting. We tried for two years to have children. We went through hormones, IUI, and a million tests. Through this time we both felt God pulling us closer to him. I can honestly say that our faith grew and so did our relationship.with one another. Crazy how those two things go hand in hand. We reached a point in which we felt like we were at a standstill. We knew that we did not want to go any deeper into fertility treatments, but we were unsure how to proceed. We began to consider adoption, fostering, and just not having children all together. During this time, Josh began to feel a call to do more with our faith. We began to serve at a local ministry in our hometown. It was somewhat of a mobile VBS unit. From our service with this ministry we met four precious children, ages 5, 9, 10, and 12.. We had no idea what their story was, but immediately felt a connection to them. Over the course of a year our relationship grew and we began to prayerfully consider what God would have for us. We found out that their current living situation wasn’t going to be permanent. This seemed to be a clear direction that God had for us. We called about classes and got right in. The classes took five months to complete. We were an approved foster home for one month before we got the call that would change our entire lives. Josh picked the kids up on September 10th and life hasn’t slowed down since. We spent the next two and a half years jumping through all the hoops that the system puts you through until our adoption was finalized in July of 2015.
I guess I could tell you all the insane stories of sleepless nights, sick to our stomach meetings, and hard cries we had over those years, but I won’t. In a way I feel like we went through the newborn years because of those sleepless nights, worn out emotions, and fear that something terrible would happen to them. I would love to tell you that Josh and I stood tall and took all the hits like champs, but we are human after all. I can say that we stood in the midst of the storm, arms held high crying out to Jesus for wisdom, peace, and unity through the storm. You see we never dreamed our family would grow from two to six in one day. We never dreamed that we would look into the faces of children that didn’t have our chin or our eyes. But, we also never dreamed that our hearts could open so wide that we would love someone else’s biological children. We never dreamed that God would lay out a path for us that so clearly was designed for the six of us. Through all the hills and all the valleys two things remained the same; our love for each other and our love for Christ.
Now, five years later I look around and see the traditions we have built for our family of six. I see children who have found peace and comfort in their relatively new family. Most of all, I see Christ. I see His hand on their hearts as they all accepted Christ as their Savior. I see how they have matured and healed from all the heartache they once knew. I see how God prepared our hearts, our marriage, and our faith to weather some pretty nasty storms. This piece of my life is one of the many reasons I decided to get into event and wedding planning. Seeing two people commit their lives to one another is an amazing thing. You see, no matter where the pathway leads, family can be grown in so many ways. Each story just has to start with two people becoming one and letting the journey take them wherever it leads.