Well. I haven't even gotten started, and if you could see my eyes you would see that they are brimming with tears. It's because I know what's on my heart, and I just have to write it down. I'm about to back up here and tell 3 or 4 stories all in one...because they all have the same point...
Years ago, there was another relationship in my life. I thought it was going to be my marriage one day, but that didn't work out. At the time, I was really upset about it, but I had faith that God would bring me the right person. I had been taught that a marriage is not just about you and the other person, but that God wants a marriage to bring two people closer to him. It's about a coventantal love. A sacrificial love. A love that gives more and grows stronger as the years go by. That old relationship was not about God, or sacrifice or giving--so that's why I accepted that it was over and waited.
I knew early in my relationship with Jon that he was the one I would marry. We liked each other a lot--we were good friends. He served me. He sacrificed for me. He loved me. I could see that he was raised in a family that had modeled that for him as well, so I felt secure that we could have a strong, loving marriage. They day that we said our vows was one of my happiest.
Ten years later, this past May, we celebrated a decade together as man and wife. Times have not always been easy. Neither of us has been perfect. But we have grown up. Together. We have gone through some really, really tough times. Together. We have grown closer to each other, and to our God. Together. We have started to raise a lovely family. Together. We moved to Honduras. Together.
These days, I just look at Jon and my heart flutters like a little girl. I love him more now than I did back then. I admire him for the way that he takes care of his family. I respect him for how hard he works at whatever is put before him. I am grateful for the way he has always treated me with a sacrificial, servant-like spirit.
Practically, this year has made me even more proud of him. This life is the life that he was waiting to live--he is a servant at heart and he's a hard worker. Working here among people who need to witness the hope that we have has unlocked him and he is soaring in life.
A few months ago I heard about a couple's retreat for missionaries that would be put on in Tegucigalpa--the capital city, 5 1/2 hours away. I asked Jon what he thought about it, half thinking he might say it was too far or not worth it. But he was just as excited about it as I was! I was so giddy about a weekend away as I waited for it to arrive. I figured that even if the conference wasn't very good, just having the time away together would be a blessing.
Turns out that the conference was AMAZING!! The speakers were Steve and Debbie Wilson, who speak on a regular basis through their ministry Marriage Matters Now. Their messages touched us and helped us to feel even closer to each other's hearts. I left that weekend feeling an overwhelming sensation of being blessed--both for having heard such wonderful teaching and for having the privilege of sharing my life with such an amazing husband.
Another way that I just look at Jon and think, "Wow!"...When we moved here a year ago Jon couldn't speak a sentence in Spanish. I had to translate every conversation he had, and I wasn't sure how well he would do to pick it up. He ASTOUNDED me! It's like he never forgets a word! One year later, he is able to stand before the church and lead a public prayer! He directed a meeting for the parents of the youth group last week. He has meetings with employees of the mission. He visits with the people that the mission ministers to. He chit-chats and cuts up with the teens in the youth group. He talks smack with the guys in the shop...It's truly amazing how he has absorbed the language here!
Even more? Since we have moved here he has put his mind to eating right and exercising--and has dropped 52 pounds!! He has never before been successful at getting up in the morning and doing a work-out plan...until now! He has committed himself to this, and it shows! I am so proud of his determination and hard work. And now he's even more handsome!!
There are so many scriptures and promises in the Bible that I cling to...especially in regards to life and marriage. One thing that jumps out to me is when Proverbs tells us to commit our plans to the Lord and they will succeed. I am so thankful to have a husband who is committed to our Lord, and to our family.
What a blessing our marriage has been to me over the past ten years. I truly do love him more now that I did the day I married him. I am praying that it only continues to get sweeter as the years go by...