I have no profound military or nationalistic Memorial Day moments. I mostly have the typical holiday experiences of a day off. I have also come to celebrate this weekend as my Anniversary Weekend!
Seven years ago this weekend (on the 26th to be exact) my man and I met with our immediate family members to say our vows under a huge Hedge tree. Ours is a funny story, at least to me.
Just over eight years ago, I moved to Wichita in order to be closer to my family. I had left a time and place that needed leaving and I was looking for a fresh start. God had already started the process by leading my sister and her family to a church that they loved. This congregation that I met included a certain drummer who played in the worship band. I saw him again when I first went to the single's ministry a Friday night in February. We actually met at a birthday party of a man that I did not yet know, but was part of the group. He asked me to dance and I was a bit smitten.
He asked me for a date in April, and I accepted. On our first date, which he dressed very nicely and I was a bit casual, we went to a nice steak restaurant. At the end of the evening I shared with him the time and place that I had left before coming to Wichita. It was one of the hardest conversations I had ever had. After a week had passed, we met again and he shared with me that he felt God was telling him "no" regarding pursuing me. He tried to assure me that it was not because of my past, but I didn't really believe him. Part of me was relieved. I didn't want a "knight in shining armor" to try and save me. I was already saved!
That summer, we tried as much as possible to not have any feelings except friendship for each other. I was still healing and growing, so I was a bit oblivious, but my man was praying for me and seeking advice about me. I wasn't oblivious to some of the niceties that he showed me and I have to admit, he confused me a couple of times! It was during this time that I found wholeness in my Lord. It was one of the most rich spiritual times of my life. I have never felt so close to Jesus as I did then. It was an amazing summer!
By the end of August, I was noticing a bit less subtlety on Pat's part and I was a bit uneasy about it. I had decided that I was going to remain single and love it! Isn't God funny when we decide our plans?! My mom visited one weekend and stayed with me, so I took her to the singles group that night. After the Bible study, we went to an ice cream shop in an upscale shopping center that had a pond with a sidewalk path around it. Pat found my mom immediately after we exited the shop and the two of them began to walk down the path with me trailing behind. It seemed they had a nice time. I was a bit peeved, but couldn't help chuckling about it. He was smart. Get in with the family first. I was still a bit unconvinced.
Somewhere in there, I had my brothers meet him. I value their opinions greatly, and I didn't want any feelings I surely didn't have to skew reality. It didn't hurt that my sister was good friends with his sister. That can reveal even more! Pat, undeterred, continued his pursuit in the most stealth manner. He is a hunter after all.
On the first Tuesday in September, I came out to my car to find a piece of paper on my car. I opened it and it had a single happy face drawn on it. I knew immediately. Pat had forgotten that when he first met me, back in February, he had given me his business card and drawn a happy face on the back. I still had it (still do). It came to pass, that on subsequent Tuesdays, I received a more and more complicated happy face messages. Finally, after a few weeks, I came to my car and, excited to find the note, found nothing. I was extremely disappointed. I figured it must have blown off or something. I went home and found affixed to my door, a lime green poster-sized paper with a huge happy face drawn on it! I laughed and laughed! I also realized that I must like this guy!
Thus began our courtship that basically taught me to trust Pat to lead our relationship. He did amazingly well. He asked to marry me in April and I convinced him to "just get married" by the end of May. We had planned a July wedding, so we kept that as a reception and ceremony for other family and friends. By the way, don't do that. I highly recommend a tiny wedding with no frills like we did, but skip the extra.
The day we were married was truly the most wonderful day. I had absolutely no stress and the most important people to me were there. The ceremony was simple and incredibly meaningful. It was intimate and exactly how I felt our marriage should start. It was all about the marriage and not about the wedding. It was perfect.
Our marriage has not been perfect, but I have to say that it has been amazing. I have not had a better seven years in all of my life. I cannot wait to see what else God has for us. I have been thinking for the last several weeks of all the ways my husband has helped me grow. I can't start listing it now, as it would go on for way too long! I'm sure that it will come out as I share. Most of the learning moments I have, had originated somewhere with him. I am so blessed. I love that we have a positive snowball effect and I want to keep it going. I find it fascinating that the Hedge tree is one of the strongest trees with incredibly hard wood. It may not look as pretty on the outside, but the heart is strong.
This weekend is the time I remember how much God loves me and gave me my husband and me to him.