Eleven years ago today, wearing my mother’s dress and flowers in my hair, I married Tom. It was an evening candlelit service at the Scarritt Bennett Center in Downtown Nashville, a block away from the Starbucks where I worked and a mile away from the university I had just graduated from. We had a string quartet playing carefully chosen music, as members of my family were escorted into place by young men wearing rented tuxes. Before the procession started, a solo violin played a stanza from the classic hymn “Great is thy Faithfulness”, like a prayer of blessing over what was about to happen. Then the traditional Pachabel’s “Canon in D”—which I learned to play on the piano in elementary school— was played as sister after sister—and I have five— walked down the aisle in red satin dresses, holding bundles of roses and back up tissues in case things got emotional.
My dad, hands shaking, walked me down the aisle towards that young guy with a goatee and no idea what he was getting himself into. Our parents read scripture, our young college pastor preached the gospel and quoted C.S. Lewis. My best friend and my sister-in-law sang hymns over us as we took communion and lit candles together. After we had said our prayerfully written vows, and given each other the rings that still sit on our fingers, we walked back down the aisle hand-in-hand to “Great is thy Faithfulness” once again, with the biggest smiles on our faces. Married.
We didn’t know at the time that in six months, we would be on a plane, following a call from God to do youth work in the English church. Not having more than three nights booked in a hostel and no leads or income when our feet hit the British soil was not ideal. But it was less than we week that we had a place to live, a temporary job and interviews booked for year-long youth work internships at a vibrant Anglican church. And that year internship turned into a five-year residency in our little Chorleywood village, learning and doing ministry, growing in our marriage and gifts.
Great is thy faithfulness oh God our father….
We didn’t know, on that day as we danced in the old ballroom to a swanky Jazz Trio made up of friends from our freshman dorms, what life would look like four years down the road when we tried to start having a family. And miscarried. And then had a molar pregnancy, all in a foreign country. We didn’t know that we’d have to wait four more years and endure another miscarriage before becoming the parents to amazing and spontaneous twin boys. And get our bonus boy only 15 months later.
Morning by morning new mercies I see…
We didn’t know on our first night together in our dingy one-bedroom, animal-infested apartment, how many times we would move this place and that, how many houses would become homes and then quickly become memories. We have lived in two countries, three states, moved house eleven times, and had 16 different jobs. Now transition is all we are living in until we move to the mission field in France later this year. But our constant is Jesus who has called us to each and every move.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
I didn’t know that when I said, “I do” to my husband, that I was marrying a man so perfectly matched to me. Sure, I loved him and I could imagine that he would be an amazing guy to hang out with for quite some time, but I really didn’t know. I believe I am still discovering all the ways in which God has made him to be an ideal partner in this adventure we are living. He is the perfect husband for me. That doesn’t mean he is perfect by any means, but he is exactly what I need. He challenges me, and helps me grow. He encourages me and builds me up. He loves me and provides for me. And he is an amazing father to our children. I couldn’t have known eleven years ago, but I am getting to know little by little what a gift this man is from the Lord.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
I couldn’t have imagined these last eleven years on that mild January day at the age of 22. How can anybody see where this life will lead? We never really know what God is up to, but we can surely walk in faith and trust, knowing that He who called us is faithful.