On this Thanksgiving — I actually want to be a little serious for a bit and talk about my husband. He’s awesome. He’s wonderful. He’s my favorite person in the world, and I’m his favorite. And this Thanksgiving, I want to talk about how thankful I am for him.
I was recently featured on John Thomas’ website, Inspire Your Marriage, and so I’m linking to the post featured on his site. Thanks to John to allowing me to share my story.
I used to think that I always wanted to be a newlywed – but I was young and dumb, too. I didn’t realize how much joy comes from being married to your best friend for almost half of your life.
With experience comes wisdom, though, and over the past 13 years, both of us have grown wiser. We’ve bought three houses, acquired three graduate degrees, loved on two baby girls, and worked at so many full- and half-time jobs that it’s hard to keep straight. We both have our day jobs, but together we’ve dabbled in radio, blogging (the paying kind), freelancing, and even a brief stint in retail.
We’ve traveled together to Boston, to New York, to Florida, to Tennessee. We’ve taken our girls all over the south, showing them the beach, museums, and zoos. When we’re without them, we talk about them. Talk about taking them to MOMA. About taking them to the Grand Canyon. To Paris. To London. And then we daydream about going by ourselves, too.
We took a staycation the first week the girls returned to school and Mother’s Day Out. For a beautiful week, we had time to ourselves from 8 to 3. We went on random excursions. Played tennis. Ran. Went out to eat and didn’t worry about the wait. We took afternoon naps. It was glorious.
Our marriage doesn’t always reflect God’s love the way it should, but more times than not, I believe it does. He loves me, and I love him. We have created a family together that includes prayer, Bible study, church activities, and lots of love. There are days when nothing goes right, days when I tell him, “This whole family needs some Jesus – RIGHT NOW,” days when we all hop in our bed and binge watch “Puppy Dog Pals” and “Fancy Nancy.” But, through blood, sweat, and tears, we still love each other.
I see it in how our children unabashedly ask for hugs and kisses and tickles all day, every day. I see it in how Kyle and I serve each other and thank each other for various chores and how we work so hard to have night time to spend with each other after the girls go to bed. I see it in how our kids love each other and us.
We got married in a little church in my hometown 13 years ago today. We grew more in his hometown, where we found a community of believers at our new home church. Our baby girls have been raised in this church. Our spirits have grown under the leadership of this church. Our marriage has thrived because of the Lord.
We are so thankful for the guidance and wisdom we’ve received from others over the past 13 years. Marriage is hard. It’s daily work. It’s beautiful, it’s passionate, and it’s joyful, but it is work. And work is always better when you have friends beside you lifting you up and praying for you and your best friend.
So today, happy anniversary to my love, the father of my children, my very bestest friend, my puzzle piece, my soulmate. He has captivated me, and I am enchanted by him.
Thirteen years ago, Kyle and I were living in New Orleans. Technically, Metairie. And technically, as we were just days away from our marriage, he was living with his aunt in Luling, and I was living in our to-be-shared 500-square-foot apartment in Metairie, which is right outside New Orleans.
Thirteen years ago, two days from now, we watched as Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and wrecked our plans for our life.
We had planned to attend the seminary in New Orleans. Kyle had a part-time job as an assistant football coach at a high school and I was a barista at a Starbucks. We were apparently going to pay our bills on sunshine and dreams. Because we were young, in love, and filled with optimism.
Then Katrina came, six days before our wedding.
We still got married. The cross necklace, a gift from Kyle I planned to wear on our wedding day, was buried under at least six feet of water. I borrowed my aunt’s necklace, a diamond solitaire. I borrowed clothes to wear on our honeymoon.
And, six days before our wedding, we were scrambling – scrambling to find a home, jobs, and a new plan – a God-given one.
Because we moved to New Orleans without praying for guidance. It sounded pretty awesome to us, and we went for it. We moved down there in August 2005 and we moved back up to north Louisiana a month later.
When Katrina struck, we prayed – we sought wisdom and insight. We asked for mercy, not only for us but for all those in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Because we were safe. We were together. But not all families had that luxury.
Our Katrina story is actually a happy one. With God’s provision and the support of dear friends, within that week, both of us were employed – and jobs using our college degrees as well. We found an apartment within our first month of marriage. I was able to start a master’s degree that fall, and the only thing we actually lost in the hurricane was a cheap entertainment center and the food from our fridge.
We were lucky. So lucky.
Very few individuals had the same story we did. Our story could have gone a complete different way. We could have fought our way back to New Orleans and stayed. Many people did – and many people needed to. Because that was their story.
But it wasn’t ours.
Our story was to come back up to Ruston, where we made a home. Where we are raising our daughters. Where we plugged into a church home.
I will always have a soft spot for New Orleans. I will always feel like it’s a second home to me, because, for a very brief spell, it was. When I cross Lake Pontchartrain, I feel energized. I feel like I have arrived somewhere beautiful, because it is.
We are embarking on the 13th anniversary of Katrina, and while the date always reminds me of the hurricane, it also reminds me of the beauty of south Louisiana. The people, the food, the culture. There’s something special about Magazine Street, about Jackson Square, about Metairie and Kenner and the surrounding areas. There’s something about it that always calls to me.
We remember Katrina – but we also remember that New Orleans survived. It rose. It thrived.