Friday, August 10, 2012

To laugh in joy, to grieve in sorrow....

Yesterday marked 15 years of marriage to my best friend.  I know it sounds cliche and a little sugary sweet, but it's the truth.  As we watched our wedding video with our children, our hearts swelled with love and memories of days gone by.  Our kids giggled with astonishment to see what their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles looked like 15 years ago. I squirmed at embarrassing parts and laughed my head off at others, and cried at the beauty of the day.

Andrew composed a song for me and performed it for me at the wedding.  I was in awe as I watched him sing to me.  He was just a young kid, but his heart was mine and I knew it then and I know it now.  How blessed I am to have found such true love at such a young age.  Some people wondered if we were ready to be married at such tender ages, yet I knew Andrew was to be mine, and I was to be his.  Life-long marriage was modeled to us by parents who loved each other and God and I knew we had found that kind of love.  Although we were naive and young, I remember wise words from my cousin Linda, who assured me how blessed I was to have found my life long love so early on in life.  I love the shock on people's faces when they hear we have been married for 15 years!  Andrew was getting his hair cut yesterday and the hair dresser nearly fell over when she heard that he had been married that long!  In a world that is so well versed in brokenness and faltering emotion, choosing to love after 15 years truly is a testament of the role that God plays in a marriage.

It was humbling to hear our vows and to see the young promise of hope in our faces and in our smiles.  We were on top of the world.  We were in that sweet new love stage, and meant every word of our vows.  Yet no one could have prepared us for when joy turned to sorrow and our vows became more than just words.  We had our ups and downs in marriage of course, yet our journey of Grace led us to the path of unequivocal sorrow and pain.  As I watched our young hopeful selves vow before God and man to grieve together in sorrow and love each other through sickness and in health my heart was wrung out.  Memories of our sweet baby, the hospital visits, the ultrasounds, the medicines, the medical teams, the countless hours of prayer and fasting, the constant hope that things would change, followed by the somber realization and disappointment that she would not be with us long, all seemed to pour out from my heart.

No, no one could have prepared us as we pledged our lives to each other of the true sorrow we would walk through.  No amount of pre-marital counselling, no inspirational talks would ever have been enough to sustain us through the loss of our sweet babe.  It is only through the anchor that is Christ that we grew closer together instead of further apart.  We met quite a few families in hospital wards, doctor offices and emergency rooms that were broken by the strain of living with a child with such special needs.  There were many times Andrew and I grieved differently which often led to stress and hurt in our marriage, but the constant tether we both had to God would draw us back to one another.  

As I reflect on these 15 years together, I can see the fruit that has come by choosing to honor those vows we made that day.

Even if I had known the pain that awaited us, I would still choose you Andrew.  For the love that was borne from such deep valleys of pain has been equaled by the joy and beauty of the mountain top.  There is no one I would rather do life with.  It has always been you and always will be...through the joy and the sorrow, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, forsaking all is to you, that I continually choose to make this vow.