Note: The last few days of this series, I will share stories of those that have influenced my own. I am forever grateful to God for each of them.
My story would not be complete without telling about the one who has journeyed beside me every day for the last 15 years. I’ve written much about him. I extol his virtues to anyone who will listen. I truly fall more in love with him every day.
While this journey I speak of is mostly figurative, the literal journeys we’ve taken largely define our life together. The first time I saw him, our family RV had broken down on the side of the road. His pastor was driving a load of teenagers to the same camp where we were going and stopped to help us get back on the road. Little did I know how later he would get me back on the road of life when I was feeling broken.
The first time he remembers seeing me was another youth weekend, four years later. This time, car trouble once again had bogged us down and we got there late. He says he had hoped that he would meet the Christian girl God had for him that night and had given up on the idea until I walked in. Ever since, he’s been patiently waiting for me when I lag behind.
On subsequent youth weekends, the leaders would put me in his group since we were both from the same state. We drove many miles together before we started talking while the others were chatting elsewhere in the car. He listened without judgment and without stopping me, and he’s never stopped listening to me share my heart.
When we began dating, he took many journeys to come and see me. One particular weekend, I was very upset about some things that were happening in my life. My mom tipped him off, and he came for a visit. We went on a walk in a beautiful park, and while I cried, he told me how much he loved me. And he’s never stopped assuring me of his love.
Our history of car break downs didn’t fail us on our honeymoon. The day after we said our vows, he spent some hours under the car replacing the radiator. That was just the first of many things he’s fixed for me.
We took leisurely journeys to vacation before children. We took rapid journeys to the hospital four times to bring our children into the world. When he started his own business, we traveled miles picking up and dropping off trucks, me following close behind him in our car.
This year, we took a journey that brought us full circle. We revisited the place where we spent our honeymoon, this time with all the kids in tow. We took them to the same attractions, the same mountains, and the same shops. We showed them where it all began, and we spent considerably more money for 6 than we had for 2.
With all the fun things we did, one of our best memories was a lazy afternoon when we went high up in the mountains and found a cold mountain creek. We all kicked off our shoes and waded in while my husband showed the kids his rock skipping prowess. One of the kids approached the water with gusto, slipping on the rocks and falling on his bottom into the creek. We all laughed hysterically, him the hardest of all. Then, my husband reached down and helped him up, both of them laughing and happy.
And I realize that that’s what he’s done all along for me on this journey. He’s helped me up countless times when I felt I couldn’t go on any more. And all the while, he smiles encouragingly and teaches me to cling to joy. We laugh together, sometimes through tears and sometimes in hysterical belly laughs.
But he always reaches out his hand, and gently leads me toward Home.