9 Years and “Immeasurably More” Ago…

My man and I are celebrating 9 years of wedded bliss and high adventure today!  Wow… what a ride it’s been!  Not much has changed in these 9 years except our address (5 times), our hair and our hair color (at this writing he has more hair than I and less of it is gray than mine), our weight (no comment, but thank God it’s within 10 pounds), and of course my, uh, bosoms.  Hey, but who’s counting.  God is good!  I’m crazy about my man and love him more than ever!

The day I married John the Lord answered a lifelong prayer of mine, and when He did He gave me “immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20).  I was 43 and had been praying and praying for a godly man; and the Lord gave me  the BEST… and so worth the wait!  I asked for a faithful man with a great sense of humor, and God also granted both of those; I am thankful each and every night that my man comes home to me… and makes me laugh so hard I cry!  I also prayed for about 40 other things on my “Husband List”, and God answered 37 of them (we are not the same age; he was not an Episcopalian; and we no longer live in Orlando… all incidental).  And here’s where the “immeasurably more” part comes in.

Nearly every single day since I’ve been married the Lord has managed to reveal to me hundreds of other things I’d forgotten to put on my “Husband List”… things I never even thought of, but that He was well aware I’d need, and they came in the package of my JT.

I didn’t have the brains to ask for a man who would remember to tell me to “be careful” each time I left the house for any reason, but I got one who does.

I never even imagined how much I’d need a man who would take care of my simplest needs- like taking my car to get filled up with gas… all the time.

Little did I know to ask for the best companion to travel across the country with… in a car… on 9/11, 3 weeks after we were married; or the kind of man who would make leaving home, family and lifelong friends to forge a new life, in a new city, for the sake of the gospel… such a great adventure.

Never did I dream to ask for a man who would stand by me, walk with me and pray me through a breast cancer battle- all the while telling me how much he loved me and how beautiful I was as a bald woman.

Nope… never thought to ask for any of those things and more.  But God…

Some of my most favorite passages of Scripture are the “But God…” passages.  God told me “no” quite a bit when it came to marriage… but God had a better “yes” in the works.  When I think back to this day 9 years ago, I had no idea then the magnitude of the incredible gift God had given me.  Not only had He given me a wonderful and godly husband in John, but He gave me the gift of a family, too… one that I have grown to love deeply and treasure dearly in Luke, Christin & Joe, Adriene, Adair and Josie!

Luke, Me & JT, and Christin

Joe Hutchinson holding Adriene (1 1/2), Me, JT & Christin

Never, ever will I forget the great expense of the loss by which my great joy came.  John lost his wife, and Christin and Luke their mother, Ruth Anne in 1999.  My great happiness is a result of, and at the expense of, their great sorrow and loss.  And when I think of the stories I’ve been told of how a woman I never knew, prayed for me as the future wife of her husband, well… no man could have penned that one.  It’s stunning, and I am humbled.  God’s ways defy my imagination and my ways.

So, this day is so much more than an anniversary for me and my man; it’s a beautiful lesson of grace… immeasurably more than I could have asked for or imagined.

Happy Anniversary to my Sweetie Boy.  And to God be the glory!