2001 (age 17)
This December Rusty and I will have finished the first ten years of our marriage. This September I will turn 30. So it is very easy for me to say that I was just a young girl when I got married. Although I was really a young semi-innocent girl.
Only semi innocent because at the tender age of 19 (the age in which he proposed to me) we had already started having sex. In high school while Rusty and I were dating, I had become pregnant. From the time I found out until well after I had miscarried I heard rumors and all sorts of mean spirited gossip.
At nineteen I was holding down a job. I had moved out of my parent’s house and in with a roommate. I had said goodbye to Rusty as he left for Navy boot camp. While he was away I experienced the pain of separation. I even had to sit down with police at one point a recount a painful experience involving unwelcome sexual contact (rape) only to be told later they would not be pursuing the matter because essentially I didn’t say the actual word no and this would just become a he said/ she said matter. (Honestly I don’t remember exactly what the police told me any more, I just remember how disappointed I was in the justice system at the time.)
Our wedding 2003
By the time our wedding rolled around I just remember being very stressed. In my *infinite* wisdom I planned our wedding the week of my college finals. Our wedding like so many others had it’s hiccups but in the end it was a lovely affair and I had so much hope for our future. Despite all that I had already seen, the reason why I declare I was still even semi-innocent was I couldn’t even have imagined in my wildest dreams what our future would hold.
Christmas 2004, while I was undergoing chemotherapy
Not even a year into our marriage I began a battle with cancer. Despite being in the Navy he did a stint as an Individual Augmentee working with the Army. (The emotions you experience when they are deployed with a ship are different than when they are on the ground. Or at least they were for me.) We have seen several deployments. Infidelity even found its way into our marriage for a bit. I was diagnosed with menopause secondary to chemotherapy. I have experienced two more miscarriages, one of which landed me in an ER. We have even experienced the Navy downsizing and let Rusty go mid career.
Daddy and two of his girls 2011
At times in our marriage I have lost my faith in God. I have always come back though. Rusty and I have come back together. We have worked through our trials. We are closer to the Lord now, than we have ever been. We are closer to one another. We are parents to three smart, beautiful, and funny little girls.
So approaching the big 3-0 and the first 10 years of my marriage, I feel as if I have grown in ways I couldn’t even have imagined. The road is winding, but the Lord has always drawn me back to him, and even closer than I was before I wandered off the time before. When I have emerged from the different struggles I have faced, I find I have a new empathy for those who are still struggling with the things I have been through.
***What are some struggles that you have walked through that have helped you to grow closer to the Lord? Or perhaps you are struggling now and could use some prayer. Just leave as much or as little information about your situation as you feel comfortable sharing and I will be happy to pray with you.***