We were lying in bed and I saw the tears welling in his eyes. He is relentlessly strong for me in this process and yet on this night I saw his tenderness and pain escape him. His body rocked and he sobbed like a young child. In fact, he looked more like Braden than ever before. I held him and hugged him as he allowed himself to feel the reality and pain of our life in a moment that was fleeting.
They come and go; come and go.
This is the eleventh year that I have loved this man and somehow it has grown more than I ever knew it could. We used to fight hard and love hard and now it seems life has stolen that from us. Now we just love hard, knowing that ultimately that is really all that matters. Doors used to slam and voices would yell and now the energy that it takes to do those things is purposed in other directions. We make a great team but my heart is broken for my other half. I hate feeling sorry for him as if I'm to blame for Mabel's disease but in a sense, I'm just so sorry for both of us.
When we were just kids ourselves, I dreamed of having his children. I knew they would have red hair, blue eyes and huge personalities. I knew that they would be ornery, loud, even obnoxious. I knew that it would be exactly what I had imagined it would be.
And then there was Mabel. A gift that was wrapped in the tightest swaddle you have ever seen and a bow that topped dark black hair. She was nothing like I had dreamed and yet everything I needed and didn't know I wanted. But she sure was not what I expected.
Looking at this man, I always knew that we would fight any fight together. I always knew that we made up two parts to a really amazing team. He is fierce and can be downright mean and I am aggressive and don't back down either. We have this determination about us that is ruthless and in that we have found a great drive to stand up for injustice and advocate for our daughter. We have faced people's criticism, hurtful words and even their negative opinions with alot of grace but with more fire than ever before to do well at whatever it is we do together.
By day, we are truly a force to be reckoned with. He is the love of my life and he drives me absolutely, insanely crazy. There are days I am overly annoyed by everything he does but I cannot tell you the feelings I get when I see him across our yard or when I hear him pray with one of our children. I cannot explain the kind of passion I hold for him when he whispers in Mabel's ear. I cannot possibly make you understand that I love this man with every fiber in my entire being.
If I would have known all that this life would hand us before it did, I would have said yes anyway. I would have married him, moved across the country with him, sent him to war twice, had 3 babies in 4 years with him, rode the awful. shaky. ugly diagnosis train with him ten million times if that's what it was going to take to make me understand that this life was meant to be shared with
[him]. All of it.
-The good and The bad and The ugly.-
He has always been and always will be worth it to me.
Now here we are raising a baby whose life is precious but who will probably visit eternity long before he or I will and in the midst of it, I feel a greater calling to be a better wife. I feel a greater desire to know that when I look at him from across the room that he understands my heart and rest in the assurance that I know his as well. Here we are, grown adults clinging to one another in the middle of an otherwise normal night begging God to not let us miss our baby. Rocking together in fetal positions as we hash out the truth of what our future together holds.
Not the plans we made long ago. You know the ones that look like "when our kids are grown, THEN we will have time for us. THEN we will plan vacations and THEN we will not have debt." Our plans for our future have changed. Now we just pray that our grief won't swallow us and that we might recognize each other at the end of it all; when we climb out of the dark tunnel that we are going to have to inevitably walk through.
He is so strong for me but he is her dad too. And if you will, please pray for him as you do for me. He is hurting and he needs divine strength. It doesn't go away; it's here with us every day. He may look ok, he may appear strong...but he is tired and sad too. He feels guilt too. He is a good man and a good dad and he needs our God to continue to pour into him each and every day.
[thanks for praying us through.]
Jeni: Thank you for spending today with me. I love talking with you about life and love. I hope that in it all you can truly see that it is all worth it. The hurt, the forgiveness, the fears, the trust. It's all worth it. Because in the 11 years that I have loved him he has been there for me every time I have needed him. And now as we walk this road together I can assure you that he also would have said yes had he have known the kind of hurt we would endure; because at least we were doing it together. He is my greatest friend and in all things we have trusted God above each other. That way, when one of us falls short or fails the other, we can still stand on the foundation that bound us in the beginning. Your life journey is just beginning, babe. Hang tight and enjoy the ride.
I love you.