In 13 Years




It was 13 years ago that I stood in front of several hundred witnesses, promising all sorts of things to a man I realize now, I hardly knew.  I still remember the day – how beautiful I felt, and yet how self-conscious.  How excited I was, and yet how my hands were trembling.  How I loved my veil, and hated my shoes.  How I thought my eye shadow was too dark, and I wondered whether anyone else would notice.  How my heart fluttered at the sight of Pat, all the while my eyes filled with tears at the thought of leaving my Dad.  I recall the conflict of emotions as my very first man walked me toward my new man, letting go of my uncertain hand and ushering me toward adult-hood.

That was 13 years ago.

In the span between, 4 children have been born to us, and we have been thrown into the bigger realities at the speed of life.  There have been good days and bad.  There have been good years and bad.  And whether the sun has shone or the days have been dark, we have learned.

13 years in, I feel like we are barely scratching the surface of what we know of love.  But there are a handful of truths we have absorbed along the bumpy way.


Love is a Verb

I am a words woman.  I faithfully express 20,000 or so on an average day – more if we are disagreeing.  My husband, like many men, does not.  He daily expresses 7,000 or so – less if we are disagreeing.

One of the monuments I built to self when we were dating, is the confidence that I could make Pat a talker.   That with enough coercion, I could make him a chattery girl-friend, who would read my thoughts and intuitively speak to my every insecurity.

emma and elinor

After 13 years, I have grown to recognize that my husband does not need to exhaust the English language in order to demonstrate his love for me.  Rather, like most prefer, he loves with action and intent.  He meets needs with kindness and loyalty.  He steps into many exhausted situations and rescues.  He does this because he equates love with service.

And the simplicity of love = service is the oil that keeps the engine of a marriage running on many a weary day.

Children Rescue

Children are absurd, aren’t they?

I truly think our kids are the funniest beings around, and daily they surprise me with their quick wit and easy humor.  Kids possess a unique ability to dismantle tension through simply not noticing it.

silly kids 2

They take the shambles of a difficult day, and force laughter and light with their jokes and antics.  Their joy and love not only  supports and reinforces our married love, but working toward their mutual good solidifies our unity as a couple.

Our kids save us many days, and I hope we always let them know it.


As You Multiply, You Will be Tempted to Divide

Nonetheless, there are challenges associated with married parenting. The sweet little blessings who share our DNA, mirroring all that we appreciate best and dislike most of ourselves, have a strong and steady hold on us at all times.  As I type this post, our oldest rarely goes to bed before 10pm anymore, and our youngest seems to have taken to moon-lighting, waking up at 3 am with urgent needs like, “My slipper fell off”.

tiny baby

Parenting is not for cowards, and one of the most daunting take-away’s is perpetual exhaustion, which becomes spousal lethargy.  My Dad {a father of 5} once warned us of the temptation to divide as we multiplied our family.  His words have spurred us on in various ways, one of the simplest of which is securing a monthly baby-sitter.

Too many marriages are becoming mathematical statistics, and I do not want ours to be a lesson in division.


You Will Break Your Best Goals Sometimes {And that is Okay}

Pat and I cooed at one another while dating, stating that we would never raise our voices at each other, or our future children.  13 years in, there is a basket in our living room that has the top smashed in because I broke my word and something had to take the rap {or the wrath, in this case}.  Marriage can, and will reach a boiling point from time to time.  But our basket survived, and somehow there is healthy symbolism in its damaged, yet functioning top.


Life is Hard, But God is Good

Marriage has its challenges not so much because it is intrinsically difficult, but because it takes place in the middle of every other part of life.  Better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health is the broader context for our vows.  And being poor {not rich}, facing long-term illness {not health}, living through the worse {not better} years, can be discouraging, and will easily force to the surface the integrity of married vows.

We were not meant to “do” marriage alone, as solitary units.  We have a God who has gone before us and who stands behind us in all of the intricacies of family life.

We trust His goodness, and not our own.  We rely on His grace, because we will run out.

And we rest our confidence in His faithfulness, because He alone will enable us to be faithful, ’til death do us part.







Women of the Word Month: Sign up and Grow!

bible stacks


Having trouble getting in the Word?

Having difficulty staying in the Word?

This month only, Crossway Publishers is sponsoring a Women of the Word Month.  By signing up, you will receive the following free items sent to your Inbox each day from July 1-31.


  • Daily Devotional – designed to guide you through a survey of the Old Testament
  • Practical Articles – written to encourage and equip you for consistent Bible study from favorite authors
  • Inspiring Personal Stories – from Christian leaders, related to the life-changing power of God’s Word

Feeling a little dry devotionally?

Sign up here to receive a month of solid, daily truth.

For other ideas on Summer devotions, here is a post on 5 Excellent Summer Bible studies for you and a friend.

And here is a 1 simple way to accomplish Summer devotions.


What is your plan for Summer Bible-reading?

If you are struggling to find one, consider Women of the Word by signing up here.

Recap of Gospel Coalition Women ’14

{Photo courtesy of Reformed Theological Seminary}

{Photo courtesy of Reformed Theological Seminary}

After some 8 hours in airports and delayed airplanes, I am finally home from Orlando.  I greeted our children and spent 20 minutes with them before our babysitter arrived – for coming-home day was also our 13th wedding anniversary.  For a Mom who shuttles between Target, school and grocery stores, the past weekend was notedly different.

Here are a handful of highlights from the weekend:

 Room-mate Fellowship

Spending time with my sister-in-law was both fun and helpful.  Fun, because 2 women on the loose is bound to be an adventure.  Whether at the pool, in our room or on the elevator, we managed to experience absurd moments made more hilarious by the sharing.

And helpful, because within the realm of mothering, the need to process is often greater than our time allows for.  But this weekend, we had time to spill our words.  And we did.

photo booth

Challenging Speakers

 Did you manage to listen to any part of the Gospel Coalition livestream?

If so, whose seminar did you most enjoy?

Though I enjoyed the varying angles of each of the plenary speakers, the joy pouring from both the words and the countenance of John Piper, was what challenged me most.  Piper loves, enjoys and celebrates the Gospel.  As he stated poignantly from the stage: “What I want almost more than anything else is to never sin again”.

To hear Piper speak is to be renewed by the beauty of God’s Word.  And to think all the while, I want to be more like that!


The Empty Bookshelves Project

Aileen and I were able to donate a stack of books to a project which Gospel Coalition is under-taking: The Empty Bookshelves Project.  2,000 stacks of books were brought to the conference, to be distributed to pastors overseas.  The purpose of the project is to training pastors theologically, so that they are shepherding their churches in sound doctrine and truth.

book shelves

Most pastors in poor nations lack access to formal seminary training, and often do not have extra funds to purchase books which would assist them in learning.  By the time we left Orlando, all 2,000 book stacks were sponsored and bundled, ready to be distributed.  Praise God!


There is a small group of women who write in varying places.  This weekend we met up for coffee and in-person fellowship.


women who write

 From left to right:

These women are shaping hearts and minds through their giftedness, and it was a privilege to meet {and hug} them, finally.

Writer’s Seminar

On Saturday evening, Aileen and I were invited to attend a workshop for 100 women who write.

Though I knew a handful of book give-away’s might be on the menu, I was not prepared for this:

stack of books

Books were squished into ever crevice of luggage coming home, but books are books – you make room for them!  In the coming weeks, I hope to review many of these for you.

Book Tables

Many publishers were available at the conference with books at 40% off retail. For the nth time, I kicked myself for bringing a tiny suit-case.

book tables

Because of limited space, I made my focus kids books, and I managed to snag a few to read with them this Summer.  Again, as we progress with our reading, I will review and recommend here.

Coming Home

There is nothing like returning to the place where you are loved best and love the most.

my kids

Greeted by hugs and “I missed you” and little cards – this is where the world turns best.

The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference did not disappoint.  It was more than I hoped for.

But it is also good to be home.