• I Do

    Date: 2014.11.24 | Category: Family Life | Tags:

    On this date, thirty years ago, I stood in the candlelight at dusk and said “I do” to my best friend.

    I often wonder what I would have said if the minister would have proceeded to list what we would go through in our first thirty years.

    Do you, Lisa, take Dan to be your wedded husband?

    photo (1)

    To have and to hold, from this day forward,

    for better, for worse,

    through adding eight children in three years after your 46th birthday,

    to constantly being busy and pulled in all directions at all times,

    through stacks and stacks and stacks of paperwork,

    through three trips to China,

    through Dan’s 17 years of training to become a physician,

    and having to move away from friends and family for years,

    for richer, for poorer,

    $125,000 in student loans,

    through the years of not having enough money to pay the bills,

    to giving up retirement until well past 70,

    to giving up vacations and fancy cars, and using bonuses to pay for adoptions,

    in sickness or in health,

    having twins 3 months early,

    through the death of a child,

    through Codey’s spending the first 14 months of his life in the hospital,

    through caring for a child who came home with a tracheotomy, g-tube, and on a ventilator,

    through the many years spent in the hospital caring for your children,

    through late nights of no sleep,

    to caring for sick children forever,

    to the possibility of losing five children way before it should be their time to go,

    to helping little souls heal after they have had to go through more than any child should,

    through too many surgeries to count,

    through losing your mom, aunt Kay, Dan’s dad, Dan’s grandpa, your grandpa, Dan’s grandma, and your step-dad all in a six year span.

    to never having an empty nest,

    to love and to cherish ’till death do you part?

    I often wonder what my twenty-year-old self would say.  The twenty-year-old me set out to marry an art teacher, to live in her small town, and raise a couple of children.  Obviously, we don’t want the hard in our lives.  We want the comfortable, the controlled, the fun, the happy, and none of the above says fun or happy to a 20 year old.  We learn that it is all about the American dream from a very early age.  Work hard, make a lot of money, and live the most comfortable life that you can.

    But the fifty-year-old me knows better.  The fifty-year-old me knows just how blessed I am.  The fifty-year-old me would run down the aisle for a chance to spend another thirty years beside her very best friend, the man who holds me up when I think I can’t go on, the man who knows God is in control and trusts God’s plan, the man who tells me every day how blessed he is to have all of us in his life.

    Dan & Lisa

    Because the fifty-year-old me knows something the twenty and thirty-year-old me didn’t.  The fifty-year-old me learned I shouldn’t live with my eyes on the world, but that my eyes should be firmly planted on eternity.  I learned that I should have been listening harder to God’s call.  I learned that this life isn’t all about ME.  The fifty-year-old me knows what it feels like to have a front row seat to God’s miracles.  The fifty-year-old me knows that those hard times have given me the gift of a closer relationship with Christ.

    It has given me great joy as I’ve watched Jesus in my children’s hearts as they opened their hearts to adopt others.  They didn’t fret that their new brothers and sisters might not be on this earth long, they trusted in the fact that God promises forever.  They trusted in God’s plan.  My children learned the precious gift, that this life isn’t about them, way before I did.  They know how to give of themselves.  They know that sharing their room, or their toys, or their parents time and love isn’t a bad thing. They understand being adopted into God’s family better than most people ever will.  They have a firm understanding of God’s grace in ways I never did as a child.

    Watching God work in our family has been an amazing gift that goes so far beyond the pain of the hard.   When you are so far past what you could even consider doing on your own, you know it’s all from God.  The gift of a closer walk with God is priceless.

    Yep, the fifty-year-old me would happily take this journey again because it has been one amazing, wonderful, unbelievable, seriously blessed ride!