This is one of my favorite times of the year. I say that a lot, because I have a lot of favorite times of year, but this really IS one of my most favorite times of all. This time of year is my favorite because this is when our love story began. Next week makes 16 years since we’ve been “us” and even though I’ve loved him for more than half of my life now, it feels like it was just yesterday when he held my hand for the first time.
We were only 15 years old when our story began. We were merely two kids who knew little about life, but two kids who loved each other with a love that was solid and would withstand all that life had in store for us, even if people didn’t understand at the time.
We dated in a time before texting (imagine that) back when people talked in person or on the phone. The very first time we ever REALLY talked to each other, we talked for over 6 hours! Even now, all of these later, we could sit up and talk late into the night. We don’t even run out of things to talk about. We find joy in the simplest conversations and I love that.
We spent as much time as we possibly could with one another (still do) and even then, it still didn’t seem like enough. We simply couldn’t get enough of each other, and that hasn’t changed a bit in 16 years.
When I fell in love with my husband, I didn’t expect it to happen. When I had first met him, I didn’t even like him. On the surface he wasn’t someone I even wanted to be around, so I couldn’t imagine falling in love with him. Once I took the time to get to know him I was amazed with who he really is. Then it happened and hit me like a ton of bricks, I’ve never been the same. I fell in love! The first time I told him that I loved him, I didn’t mean to. I did mean it when I said that I loved him, but I didn’t mean for it to slip out like it did. I was sitting with him, thinking to myself “I think I love him…” and before I could do anything about it the words slipped through my lips and it was a done deal. It was silent for what felt like an eternity and then he followed it with a few words I will never forget, “From the moment I met you, I knew I was going to fall in love with you.” *swoon!!* We were in love, and didn’t care who knew it.
When we were in high school he would walk me home every single night to make sure I got home safely, and it never mattered to him how cold or dark it was, he wanted to be sure that I was safe. He wanted me to know he was right beside me if I needed him, or if I was scared when it was dark. Some days he would stand at the end of my street and watch me walk to my house (then quickly sprint back to his own home) and other days he would walk me all the way to the door. He cared about me more than he cared about himself. (It’s cold and dark in the winter in Alaska. Walking a girl home every night even in the dead of winter is love!!)
There were people who thought our love was silly. They thought we were too young or without enough life experience to really know what love is like. There were (and still are) people who don’t want to hear about our love story. Our love makes them roll their eyes. Maybe it comes from a place of being hurt themselves, or because they’ve never experienced this sort of love so it doesn’t seem real.
Half way through the first year of dating he dropped a bomb on me: he was moving to Washington to go live with his dad. Both of our hearts were broken. We had no idea what this would mean for us. We had no idea whether we’d see each other again, whether or not we’d get to talk much. We didn’t know if the distance meant that one of us would fall in love with someone else and forget about the other person. Everything was up in the air and that could have very much meant the end of our story. The day he left and I watched his mom’s truck head towards the Alcan my heart shattered, and I couldn’t think about anything but being with him again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say…and we were about to find that out for ourselves.
We didn’t have the technology we currently have. Phone calls were extremely limited, we mostly had letters. We wrote back and forth frequently (me more so than him) and the letters he sent me were some of my most prized possessions. It was his words, written out for me, for me to look at and hold when I missed him, and wanted to feel close to him because he was so far away. My heart longed to be with him again and that ache only grew stronger with time.
I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days reflecting over our love story, and all that the last 16 years has brought us. We survived a long distance relationship before texting, Facebook, or Skype. We had love letters written by hand, occasional email, calling cards, and many collect calls. We survived Y2k (can you believe it?!) and when the twin towers fell. We survived our first year of marriage (and the 12 years so far that have followed that.) We’ve survived colic, and the terrible two’s (twice now), and two first days of kindergarten. We’ve survived sickness, surgeries, accidents, financial struggles, strained relationships, and death. We’ve survived losing a baby we’ve never met, and we’re enduring anticipation of waiting for our next child to be born. We’ve been through a lot the last 16 years but we’ve survived and thrived in the good times and the hard ones, because of another love story, the one that involves falling in love with a King.
Our love story has really made me think of my love story with Him. Once upon a time I fell in love with a young man who told me that he knew he was going to fall in love with me the moment he met me, but there’s a man who hung on a cross one day and said “Before you were even created, I hoped you would fall in love with Me.”
When I think of my love story with my husband, I also think of my love story with my savior. I think of all of the times He has walked beside me to make sure I was OK, even when He seemed far away. He walked with me when it was dark or when I was afraid. He never once left me alone. I think of the fact that He not only walks beside me, He gave up His life for me.
I think of how often I spend talking to Him. I can say I’ve never spent 6 hours straight talking to the Lord, and very rarely sit up talking to Him late at night unless something is wrong. It’s not often I seek Him out for the joy of the time I’ll spend in His presence, if I stay up late talking to Him, it’s often a last resort. I’m not proud to say that, I’m just being honest.
When I feel distant from the Lord it’s rare that I spend time devouring His love letter to me (the bible) in hopes of drawing closer to Him. I get so busy doing other things that His love letters can sit unopened for days (or more) at a time.
My love story with my husband also reminds me of my love story with the Lord because there are people who are tired of hearing about it. There are people that roll their eyes. There are people who have been hurt in this world and have a hard time experiencing and accepting the savior’s love. There are people who think I don’t have enough life experience to even know what life is like, how in the world could I be committed to Christianity (just the same as they find it odd to fall in love so young, without experiencing life) when I haven’t really “lived”?
Lastly thinking of my love story with my husband has made me think of my love story with the Lord. People have known for the last 16 years that I’m madly in love with my husband. I’ve shared our love story over and over again, but how many people have heard about when I fell in love with the Lord? How many people have heard about the ways He’s loved me unconditionally? I need to work on sharing THAT love story for it will change far more lives than just mine.
Have you fallen in love with the Lord? Maybe you’re at the place where you’re not even sure that you like Him enough to want to be around Him, let alone love Him. Maybe you’ve only touched the surface of who He really is. Maybe who you think He is, is based on what other people have told you about Him, and not based on your own time spent with Him. Maybe you’ve gotten to know Him a bit and you’ll never be the same. Has His love rocked your world? Are you spending time reading His love letter to you (especially when you feel distant from Him?) Do you see Him walking beside you when life is cold, dark, or scary? Do you know He’s with you as you get closer to home (eternity)?Do you miss Him desperately when you aren’t spending time with Him? Do you feel like you can’t get enough of Him? Are you telling people your love story with Him? If not, you should. People may fall in love and find hope in His love, because of your story.
In His Love,
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