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Eighteen Years Later…

May 25, 2010

When Joel and I first met 18 years ago, I never imagined that we’d end up married.  I remember my English teacher, Ms. Ann Norton, saying that, come reunion time, we’d be surprised to see how many classmates would marry each other – and I looked around the room and my eyes landed on Joel (true story) and I thought, “that’d never happen.”

You see, Joel and I were great friends.  We both played soccer, briefly worked together, he came to my Mom’s wedding because I’d invited his girlfriend at the time who was also my friend, I drove him to school, he showed up to play the trumpet at our family reunion the list goes on – we were buds.  High school came and went and I moved to TX while he headed to WI.  We kept in touch through mutual friends until one random evening when he came over, asked why we’d never kissed as he leaned in to kiss me and that was the beginning of, well, not much.  We had a bit of a summer fling and towards the end of it, we had a “movie moment” (you know, where the world around you slows down and everything is perfect?) and then that was it.  I sent him off for his OCS training for the USMC and I headed to TN.

We kept in touch sporadically at best and it was in my year in TN that the overwhelming and consistent urge to pray for him began- and so I did.  I had no idea what was going on in his world, I just knew that he was drifting from God and that my heart wouldn’t rest until I’d follow the promptings to pray.  I went home that summer and as I rode my bike to work every day, I passed a friend’s house where he’d stayed and everyday, without fail, I felt a strong urge to pray for him as I came and went.  I wasn’t always sure what to pray so I’d usually pray that he’d be drawn back to the strong hand of our Father and that he would become the man who God had wanted him to be.  I always felt better for a bit after I prayed but it always came up again and again and again and this went on for a couple of years.

During this time, I’d transferred schools to IN and gone up to visit him in WI on two separate occasions and each time, I left so confused as to where my prayers must have been going because each time he seemed further  and further from God.  You see, during that “movie moment” earlier, I’d felt like he could be the one I’d marry.  It sounded crazy to me but as the years went on, I realized that he fit  everything on my dream list for a husband (don’t judge me!) – except the whole “heart after God’s heart” part.  Truth be told as I prayed for him all those years, it wasn’t even so that he could get it together for “us” (I’d long since given up on that thought) – but that it was because a dear old friend was in need – for real.

Fast forward to present day.  We’ve been married eight hard, fun and crazy years today.  Looking back, it’s obvious that not only has God has His hand on our marriage as we’ve fought to hold it together for this long but that He had me get in the habit of faithfully praying for my husband when we were just friends without expectations.  I don’t think I would have believed it if someone had told me how hard marriage is but I’m thankful that God had me in the habit of turning to Him when Joel had frustrated or hurt me even way back in the day.  I know that it’s those tried and true habits, along with my prayer being answered that God would raise Joel up into the man of God He wanted him to be that has made these past eight years of marriage possible – that it has provided us with the love and joy needed to balance the pain and struggles.

So JD, thanks for listening to His gentle and persistent calls.  You have grown from the cute twerp in the collared shirt and khakis on the school bus to an incredibly handsome and valiant  gentleman who has a heart for God that inspires me (and our kids).  You’re a loving husband who has worked tirelessly to fight for and comfort my heart as it heals and grows from the blows that life has dealt it.   When others thought I was too much, you saw me as just enough.  I adore you and look forward to eighty-eight more years with you.  SHMILY

–Ingrid

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Covey permalink
    May 25, 2010 8:45 am

    tear, sniff-sniff – amazing story! Happy Anniversary friends! We love you!

    • May 25, 2010 9:18 am

      Thank you ma’am!! We love you guys!

    • May 25, 2010 1:40 pm

      Thanks Sarah – We couldn’t have made it this far without the love and support of friends like you who stick with us through the good, bad and ugly!! -I

  2. Meg permalink
    May 25, 2010 10:42 am

    Gives a girl some hope 😉

    Thank you guys for being willing to share the good the bad and the ugly! I love you and thank God for the example you show through your marriage!

    • May 25, 2010 11:14 am

      We’re so blessed by your friendship and for the example have set for our children. We pray that they grow to love the Lord in the way that you’ve demonstrated to them over and over. Thanks so much for all that you do for our family!

    • May 25, 2010 1:47 pm

      Hey, I just said “good, bad, and ugly” too!
      Glad to be able to offer some hope. In the midst of it, I must admit it felt pretty hopeless that I would ever find someone that could match the goofy and challenging times I had with Joel who also loved God. Never did I imagine that the prayers I prayed for Joel weren’t just for my friend but also my husband!
      You’re going to be blown away by the perfect dude someday, but first, there is this glorious time of preparation that may mean more for your future together than you may ever know.
      Thanks for allowing us to be transparent with you – and for loving our crazy kids as you do – you’ve become such a big part of our family and we’re going to miss you but lets just ignore that for a few months, mkay? 🙂 -I

  3. Ma Ross permalink
    May 25, 2010 2:48 pm

    I’m am so blessd by you two ! And, I am ever so proud !! I love you both !!
    Happy Anniversary !

  4. Ma Ross permalink
    May 25, 2010 3:29 pm

    PS ….. Eddie Spaghetti says that he is very impressed with you, and your marriage, and how close you are…. Happy Anniversary !

    • May 25, 2010 3:56 pm

      Thanks Ma – we love you too and we’re so thankful for all the support you’ve given us all these years! And please tell Mr. Eddie Spaghetti we said “thanks”. -I

  5. May 25, 2010 3:31 pm

    So sweet! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • May 25, 2010 3:51 pm

      Thanks Chrissy – and glad you’ve found our blog 🙂 -I

  6. Chem permalink
    May 26, 2010 5:42 am

    Ingrid, I can’t imagine any “ugly” in your life after this story. Congratulations to you and your lovely family.

    • May 27, 2010 8:10 am

      Hi Chem! Oh trust me, we’ve had our share of uglies but after what we’ve been through, we’re not giving up now… 🙂

  7. May 26, 2010 9:29 am

    Aw, you sound like an amazing couple. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Darla permalink
    May 28, 2010 8:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! I hope you had a wonderful anniversary!! Sorry this is late. I love you guys!

  9. Stacey permalink
    June 5, 2010 5:53 pm

    Hey! So I’m 2 weeks late here, but I just wanted to say Happy Belated Anniversary! I couldn’t imagin :)e either of you without the other! I often think about your wedding day and how fun it was….especially watching Ingy dance the polka…loved it! AND i love you guys. Thanks for keeping us in your lives all these years!

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