To Ryan – my strong, faithful man
Do you remember that deserted old playground in the boon-dock, backwoods area I grew up in? It was dusk and we sat together for the first time on a rickety tire swing, feeling like middle schoolers, with 23 years behind us.
Remember trying to tickle me and me throat kicking you? No? Wait… Maybe I only imagined that part. 😉
Remember you taking our first picture together on my little red phone with that horrendous flash, that made it look like there was a headlight on my forehead? I felt so attractive. I still don’t get why you liked that picture of us so much. You were as handsome as ever in it though.
This was our song. Josh Turner didn’t know it, but so many of his words got me through one of the hardest times of my life.
But mostly what got me through was my strong, faithful man.
You used to give me butterflies. When you were around, I felt like there were unlimited possibilities – to everything, where we could eat, where we could go, where life would take us. You were the handsomest guy in my world. You were strong and independent. I felt safe with you. I loved your smell and how your arms fit around me perfectly. You had so much energy and drive and life. So much life... Somehow I thought if I was around you, if you loved me, I would have life too.
I can’t believe that was 7 years ago. I can’t believe the completely different people we are now, compared to then. My how time changes things. Yet you’ve always been my strong, faithful man.
You know my crazy story. You know my messed up past, my pile of baggage that still comes back and threatens to crush me. Love, you know my anxieties and misgivings, what others have said about me and how deep those wounds went. You’ve encouraged, helped and carried me through years of physical sickness and then years of treatment finally bringing me to a point of more health than I’ve ever had. These last 3 years of pregnancy, babies and toddlers have done a number on me. You got to witness firsthand some of those insecurities from my past add to the postpartum depression and almost swallow me whole. I’m still not who I was when I promised myself to you.
But you’ve never failed at loving me.
The dark, heavy days, you’d come home from work only to work more by making supper or helping me pick up the house because you know how messes make the anxiety worse. Or you would hug me and try to understand where my craziness was coming from. You would try to be silly and make me laugh, which usually only served/s to make me more angry. You finally encouraged Biblical counseling when there was nothing else you could do, and raced home every Monday night to get me there on time. I know I don’t say it enough, but you’ve been the best part of my life. I couldn’t ask for a better strong, faithful man.
The stages of our love have been so different over the years. Sometimes I fear the fire went out and we’re really just housemates raising babies together. Yet with a few words and your special hug, you can make me feel like nothing else in the world matters more than us. Other times I wish I was more a part of your busy life, and that we had a few moments to just be us again. I know there’s still so much we could be.
I also know there’s so much that we are. You’re my everything, you’ve seen me through so much more than I can even list. You’ve witnessed and had a hand in all the changes I’ve gone through. I’m stronger now than I was. I’m braver now too. I’ve learned about and experienced real, unconditional love. Dear, you’re why. I became the woman, Christian and mama that I am because of you. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have the love of a strong, faithful man.
My husband, I know we don’t get along all the time. I drive you crazy with some of my irrationality and anxieties, and sometimes you’re insensitive when I need you to set everything aside for a minute and listen. We have a long way to go, and I’m sure God has many plans of how He’s going to change us through the coming years.
I also know that no matter what happens in this life, I know we’ll be OK because for 7 plus lovely years now I’ve known the love of a strong, faithful man.