“I want a few goats, at least 2 acres….. and chickens!” I said to Jake a few weeks ago while we were daydreaming about the house we may or may not build in a few years Lord willing. He responded, “I’m not gonna mow two acres, and we can’t live that kind of lifestyle, we are too busy to keep up with those things.” I replied, “You won’t have to mow! That’s what the goats are for!” Jake answered back, “Well, if you wanted all of those things you should have married a farmer!” Without skipping a beat I replied, “Jake, when I met you, you were wanting to go to school to be an AG teacher…I thought I was marrying a farmer!” This statement made us both laugh as we looked back on the plans we had made several years ago and how they have changed so much.
Our plans. Ha! God had something else in mind for these two crazy kids fresh out of High School. Now, ten years later, I am so thankful Jake is not an AG teacher. I am thankful for the phone call I received six months into his nine month deployment in Egypt…our first year of marriage. He said, “I have been doing a lot of thinking, studying and praying….I want to go to school to be a preacher. Over here, people are begging for a Bible and wanting to know about God so bad. I have been taking that for granted, and I want to do this.” I was shocked… really. We were not what you would call solid Christians at that time. I began going back to Church when he left for his duty, and was feeling my relationship with God deepen while I was separated from my husband, and it seemed, Jake was doing the same while away from me. Looking back, I feel as if God was teaching us “You shall have no other gods before me.” during the separation. We were putting our lives together in front of His will, and we needed him back in our lives separately, so we could serve him together. He asked me to pray for him over the phone so he could hear my prayer on his behalf. I don’t remember the words I said that night, but I remember the feeling of total and complete surrender.
I whole-heartedly believe that our marriage was sealed when we chose to dedicate our lives to God’s work together. The new relationship we created with Christ while we were separated strengthened our marriage and our commitment. Sitting here tonight, I am reflecting on all of the crazy things we have been through since being married. Our love story has been incredible. We have experienced amazing highs together and sorrowful lows. We fought hard with each other, and for each other the second year of our marriage when he returned from his deployment. We experienced Ramen Noodle suppers regularly because of how broke we were because of school and day care. We experienced the births of three beautiful children, and suffered the loss of one of our children due to a miscarriage. We leaned on each other through deaths of loved ones and through jobs that were not meant to be. I woke up to Jake in fervent prayer by my side in the ICU when I had suffered an aneurism that had almost taken my life. I remember the pride we both felt as Jake walked across the stage to receive his degree in Bible that took so long to recieve. We have amazing kids, and enjoy each and every milestone in their lives. We have met amazing people of the Lord’s Church, and were even able to add a few to the number. We worked along side some of the most inspirational people we have ever known, and experienced growth in the process. I remember an overwhelming sense of peace in God’s presence when I waited six hours for Jake’s heart surgery to be completed. None of these things would have impacted my life in the way it has if I were a farmers wife.
Of all the things I cherish about my marriage to a preacher, I think my favorite thing about him is accountability. He loves me enough to tell me when I am wrong and helps me fix the problem. He rebukes me when I get too caught up in other things and forget my responsibility to him and to our children. He calls me out when I am in a bad mood, and reminds me of my purpose. If not for his accountability, I would not be the person I am today. I am not perfect, and at times (more than I want to admit), I am terrible, but Jake keeps me in line with my purpose. He helps me hear my calling. He keeps me on the right path. He is my personal cheering section. He wants from me what God wants from me, and that is dedication to God’s will, and I ask the same thing of him.
It would be so much easier to let each other slip through the cracks, but we try to sharpen one another, and build one another up in the faith. That is the sweet spot. Building one another up. Not in financial terms, looks, or worldly success. But in faith. I hope that we will have many more years to go together serving in love, following God’s plan. God’s plan got us to this spot right now. God’s plan lead us to the throne. God’s plan lead us to service and a deeper commitment to each other. I am glad we listened, and that I am not a farmers wife. I could not imagine not doing what we have done together for the past ten years. Jake is not the man I married ten years ago. He is far more than that skinny cowboy I said “I do” to. He is a zealous servant of Christ, an amazing and supportive husband, and a wonderful father. He commits himself to Christ daily and urges me and the kids to do the same. I am thankful for my husband and for the man he set out to be when he made that phone call so many years ago. I still think we should get a few goats though….if not goats, at least some sheep…..preachers need sheep….