Sunday, October 18, 2015

a letter to my husband on our first anniversary

Dear Mr. Cook,

One year ago today, we experienced one of the most beautiful days the Lord created, and I experienced what could be described as the calmest day of my life.  I know, I know- this anxious heart, calm?  Crazy calm.  One might describe it as weird.  Others would describe it as peace that passes understanding.

I spent most of my crazy-calm day with some amazing friends. We snacked, we talked, we laughed, we got our hair did and played with make-up.  You know your girl- I love me some snacks, I love time with my people, I love girly things, so it was fabulous.  We got dressed, took some pictures, and waited for 5:30.  We were actually ready super early. I know you find this hard to believe, but many can confirm.  Ask my dad- he'll tell you.

As our grandparents and moms walked down the aisle to Nichole Nordeman's "I Am", I was reminded of Who God is.  I worshipped as my brother played "Divine Romance", as our dearest friends walked down the aisle to stand beside us.  And while some of our favorite people in the world sat in one sanctuary, while you waited for me at the end of the aisle, we all paused.  And we listened.  To the first two verses of Crowder sing "How He Loves".  240ish of our favorite people in the world listened to a description of how our Jesus loves them, how beautiful He is, and how great His affections are for us. 

I can only imagine that those were the longest two verses and first chorus of your life.

As I made it to the end of the aisle, after our Declaration of Intent, as we walked up the stairs to the alter, your whisper of "that's a lot of ruffles..." still makes me laugh.  Two precious women read scripture that I will always treasure.  From Ruth, "Where you go, I'll go.  Where you stay, I'll stay..."  From James, "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." From Colossians, "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience..."  From Romans, "honor one another above yourselves". 

Can I just tell you that I love that we wrote our vows?  I love it.  I also loved that you told me to "slow down, Tonto" as I rushed the last line :). "Faithfully, constantly, prayerfully"...that's how I strive to love you daily.  We built our unity cross, took communion (featuring purple vitamin water instead of grape juice), sealed it with a kiss.  Just like that, we were married. 

We celebrated with a beautiful candle-lit reception. We had a delicious dinner (I'd kinda like to have that mac and cheese again), danced our first dance to "Never Stop (wedding version)", cut a Tiffany blue cake, ate Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and loved on our people.  We kissed under confetti poppers before we drove off to wedded bliss!  
...then it took us an hour and a half (instead of 20ish minutes) to get to our hotel.  #bbqfestivalincharlotte  Thanks for getting us there safely as I napped off all that excitement :) 

No doubt, 10/18/14 was a fairy tale start to our marriage.  And marriage is always that fairy tale when you love each other so much, right?  Loved ones told us it could be tough, but I really thought "they must not love one another as much as we do."  Ha. #clueless This first year of marriage- I think we can agree that it's been harder than we expected.  I hope we can also agree that it's been better than we expected.  We've seen our share of hard this year.  We've seen our share of joy this year.  At every turn, in the easy and the hard, in the laughter and the tears, I've seen that you are an excellent husband.  And I couldn't have chosen any better.

I've learned more about God and His grace this year than I knew possible, and I know this is just the beginning.  I thought I knew God pretty well.  And maybe I did.  But I know that I know Him so much more for being your wife.

I know Him more because you have shown Him to me.

You have shown me Christ in your selfless service around our home.  You've shown me Who Jesus is in my hardest moments, responding with real kindness when answering harshly would've been much easier.  Your compassion in my surgery recovery and as I wrestle with an anxious heart is priceless to me.  You've seen my selfishness and flaws and met me in my brokenness, loving me enough to meet me there yet loving me too much to leave me to myself.  That's big love.  That's what it means to love another as Jesus loves. 

And, dear one, that's the purpose of marriage. 

Marriage isn't supposed to make us happy all the time.  That is a cultural lie that so many have bought, that at times, I have bought.  Being your wife has brought me incredible joy.  But in the tough moments, I remember the words of Lysa TerKeurst: marriage is a decision to honor the Lord by honoring the one He has entrusted to me.

At the end of each day for the past 365, I'm so glad He entrusted you to me, and me to you. 

We haven't done this marriage thing perfectly. Not even close.  In fact, I could think of at least a dozen ways I've failed in the past 24 hours.  But we have a Rock solid foundation, and in our imperfections, we can show up for each other and let God have this thing called our marriage.  Let's keep bringing our willingness and watch what He does. 

Thank you. Thank you for showing up every day, for loving me so big.  For working hard, for having my back, for having a loyalty to me that I never have to question.  Thank you for praying for me.  For holding my hand in the grocery store.  For sitting through Shark Tank when you'd rather watch a ball game.  For pretending those over-cooked pork chops were delicious.  For being the voice of reason, the giver, the calm.  Thank you for reminding me of what matters most. Most of all, thank you for showing me more of Who our God is. 

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Cook.  I really love being your Mrs.  The best is yet to come!  

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