It’s Still Me But Stronger, Braver, Wiser…

ben and mari 5

It’s Still Me But Stronger, Braver, Wiser…

I’m sitting here pondering what our life used to look like before kids. You know that time that seems so long ago when it was just you and me. Thirteen years ago today, I stood under a beautiful flowered arch and committed to give my all to you. Remember how we couldn’t stop crying as we held hands. Tears just rolled down our sun-kissed cheeks as our good friend Joe reminded us of our love for each other and Gods faithfulness to us.

At that time, I didn’t know where we were going or what God had in store for us and for some reason that was enough for me back then.

wedding

Three kids, piles of laundry and a very wobbly tummy later, I realize, I miss me. I’m sure you miss me, too. I used to notice all the charming things you did for me and now when you walk through the door my hands are full and my mind preoccupied. I used to be fun, silly, adventurous, spontaneous, carefree and inquisitive. Remember when we used to stay up late watching movies and then get up for a late night snack. Oh life was so easy then.

Some days I feel like I’ve lost myself in the midst of the piles of laundry. (By the way, if you don’t have kids let me warn you this “pile of laundry” stuff is no joke, it’s not just a metaphor or exaggeration that mothers use in passing. Unfortunately, I hate to break it to you but this is REAL life. Life with three boys who seem to think the laundry basket is where they “hang” their clothes after they’ve worn it for 10 seconds). I’m still me but maybe sometimes a bit grumpier.

In the midst of a sink that is constantly filled with dirty dishes no matter how  many times I wash them, it is always full. I’m still me with a little bit of suds on my face.

Oh and most currently in the midst of the mess of dust we are living in from the water pipe that just exploded in our wall and flooded our kitchen. Yes, I’m currently sitting here typing away with all of the items in my pantry sprawled out all over the counters, floors, table, trying as hard as I can to concentrate on my love for you. I’m still fun me even though I’m crawling into bed at 9 p.m. like I’m old or something.

So my point is, I’m still me under all of that mess, suds and chaos.

I’m still there!

I’m still me but just stronger, braver, wiser! Honestly, I like myself a bit more this way, thirteen years and a house full of boys later–I love it. Hopefully, those gems I’ve acquired along the way have helped me discover my full potential as a woman. As your wife. As a mom.

Giving birth to three kids, mind you, one of them took more than 24 hours of labor to bring into this world (I like to remind everyone of that), is not for the faint of heart. I would like to think in the midst of the excruciating pain, wider hips and stretch marks that came from delivering our beautiful babies, that I was also able to–

Unleash my strength.

Discover my courage.

May I be audacious enough to say–unveil my beauty.

Raising three boys,  I hope has made me wiser. Though we both know that I’ve made many mistakes along the way.

This life as a wife and mom has tested my faith. As you walk out of the safety in our home every morning to provide for our family you enter a world full of hurt and temptation. I pray.

As our boys climb another tree that seems to touch the sky or jump off another wall that’s too high. I pray.  As they take on another challenge that I’m sure will crush their spirits–I pray. As you take another adventure into the woods with my children and forget to call (don’t worry I’ve forgiven you for that incident)–I pray.

This precious life of ours has made me a prayer warrior.

So much has changed and for that I am thankful, but yet nothing really has. But here’s the beauty of it all that you have loved me just as I am, the “old fun me”, grumpy me, sudsy me, serious me, brave mama me, strong woman me… You have watched me evolve into the woman that I am now and all along you’ve cheered me on!

ben and me 3

In all of it, all 13 yrs of being your wife, confidant, cheerleader, loyal friend, lover, and your biggest supporter… I want to remember–

That I am yours.

That I am His.

That I am who I am.

I’m always a bit hesitant to put into words my love for you. It’s a bit overwhelming to try to share how my heart feels. It’s hard to describe a love that makes my heart jump and at the same time a love that can hurt so much more than giving birth, a love that only by His grace and mercy guides us two completely opposite people into one.

So I’ll simply say from the depths of my heart–you my love are my best friend! There is no greater gift then to walk through life with my best friend. When the days are long and the hours short I pray that I would remember God’s faithfulness to me. His words of truth that echoed in that dark living room years ago as I wrestled with my feelings for you. That I would hold to the truth and remember your devotion and love to our family.

Today marks 17 years of us doing life together, walking side by side, hand in hand as best friends should!

I have found the one whom my soul loves. Solomon 3:4

Note: We were good friends for 2 years, dated for 2 years and have been married or 13 years, so that’s our 17 years!

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